Friday, March 21, 2008

Thank God it's Friday! Or well, thank God for Friday, and this one in particular.

Took yesterday off to deal with the truck servicing. My truck repair bill came out to 666 dollars, which should come as no surprise. You'd think they'd add a dollar, lest we discover who's actually running the service center. Evidently my brakes had a "hot spot" and needed the rotors replaced, which cranked the bill up a few hundred. It was one of those things, you know? Where you hear the brakes squealing around Christmastime and you put off the repair because of the cost? Well, now I'm really paying for it. Save yourself a few hundred: take the vehicle in when it starts making the flying saucer noise. Don't wait until spring.

Also, they claimed I needed a "throttle flush". They claimed this before and I said NO. I'd had it done twenty-five thousand miles ago and thought it was one of those things they tack on to the bill to fill out the form. Ink companies are making a killing. They also said I needed a "brake fluid flush". Compromise: I accepted the former and rejected the latter, and told them where to flush it. Cost: another few hundred. The whole concept of "throttle flush" pretty much nails how you feel you're being treated during the process.

They also said I needed a new air filter element for 30 bucks! I said, no thank you I'LL DO IT MYSELF and they all shook their heads at me. I ain't no spring chicken. I stopped at Kragen Auto on the way home and picked up an air filter and when I went to change it out, which took all of sixteen seconds, I took a close look at the two. They were exactly the same filter. No, really. They were EXACTLY THE SAME FILTER! They had the same guide marks from the same plastic mold in Israel. Only difference was the Toyota sticker on the original. Lesson to us all: FRAM is the brand that Toyota uses. Toyota cost: $30. Fram cost: $10. Toyota mark-up: middle fingers all around.

Glad that's over. They reminded me that my "Check Engine" light is on. I reminded them that the light has been on for a few years and that it doesn't seem to affect the performance. "It won't pass emissions." Well, I've never had to pass emissions. Also, the 'D' light doesn't work on the dash. I always take pleasure in pointing out that there's no particular delight in this entire exchange.

But that's all over and done with until next year! I drive that truck pretty hard, so it's expected, and it's all a tax ride-off anyway. Now my bank account has a "hot spot". Seems I'll never learn.

Had a good easy day, otherwise. Went to the farmers market with the Ditchmans. Gave the fiddle player a dollar and felt good about it. Got some flowers, vegetables. Ate a gyro. Came home and gave the tortoises a throttle flush out back in the sun. They seemed to appreciate it. I also hooked up my new water filtration system! A birthday gift from Mrs. Ditchman, I originally thought it was going to save us a ton of money on fresh water, since I've been buying my aquarium top-off from Sparklett's. Now that it's all hooked up I see that it takes about 5 gallons of water to produce one pure one. This waste of water I find irritating, annoying... ackk! So now I have plans to plumb the waste water out back to water the plants. Perhaps I can do it through a nice little water feature on the back wall near the spa. I'll need a decorative basin.

A new project!

Happy Easter.