Good news, I have a computer again. My ex dropped off an old laptop he had laying around that used to belong to an employee who worked for his uncle. It's amazing to be able to be able to easily check my bank account, tweet, and most of all write again. I've been attempting to go to the library which has made me really appreciate how good I have it the majority of the time. An advantage of writing at the library is greater focus, some of the disadvantages are more users than computers, old equipment, and time restrictions although if nobody is in line for your machine they don't really enforce the time statute. It can be distracting to hear the reference librarian helping other patrons. Sometimes they ask for my library card, more ofen than not they don't. It's helped me realize how valuable a library is in a community and how many would be isolated or underserved if the brick and mortar structure were to vanish. Every third Thursday our library becomes a temporary DMV with limited functionality. The last time my driver's license expired I was able to get a new one at our library which saved me time and the hassle of driving to another city in weather that wasn't the greatest. More and more I'm thankful for the blessing of an automobile which leads me to my next point...
Because I'm seeing someone who lives in a different state I wanted to drive down to see him. The only problem apart from being nervous was a message taht my car kept giving me. Whenever it rains my traction control warning is displayed. I know this happens, it's been happening since I got the car so for the most part I ignore it, but this time it kept coming on when the weather was dry. Formerly my car knowledge was exceedingly narrow. I drive stick, my car is a six speed. I bought it because it was fun, fuel efficient, and I thought I could afford it. It's been mostly reliable, but I broke a spring and had some power steering work done when I felt a delay in responsiveness. There are a couple of auto parts stores in town, but I almost always go to the one by the McDonald's on the far end of town because the guys treat me well. For a while I felt like I was going there every other day to replace lights, my car eats them like my kids devour Halloween candy. The guy behind the counter recommended paying more for a really expensive set of lights since they last so much longer. He gave me the item number and I kept that slip of paper so I could save up for the expense. I appreciated him passing along that info even though it meant costing his store a sale since they don't carry those lights.
In the past I've been able to get some diagnostic codes from people who work there so when I saw the light wouldn't go away I thought it wouldn't hurt to have them tell me what they thought. Fortunately for me the guy I normally saw was working, later I learned that he's way overworked, but that's a separate issue. Another kid was there that day, he was stocking shelves, he seemed shy, but as we got to talking he chimed in with a couple of comments. The guy went out to my car with me, checked my battery, went back inside and went onto a forum that discusses car problems. Eventually he told me that he thought it was a hub assembly problem. Just the parts were $1100 which is a lot of money for me. I asked the guy if I should take it into the shop and then asked if he would be willing to work on my car for cash after he shrugged his shoulders. The first night we ran into a stripped screw which impeded our progress. The next day wasn't very good, I decided to take a quick shower so I was dripping wet when my kids told me that this guy was at the door with five of his friends. A couple of the guys left a couple hours into the process of trying to dislodge the current hub assembly from my car. We broke a mallet, said a lot of curse words, and ended up driving to Wal-Mart to see if we could pick up a sledge hammer that they don't stock.
This morning my doorbell rang at 9:15. I hadn't slept well, they told me I looked exhausted which wasn't very complimentary, but was definitely true. I spent most of the day talking to a guy who at nineteen is a member of the Army Reserves and wants to get his PhD in biochemical engineering so he can work at a hospital in R&D. These kids are motivated, driven, interesting, and nice to me. It's refreshing to be treated like someone who can learn something new. It's nice to be able to laugh and commiserate with them when parts don't work, break, and other frustrations mount. It's cool to see friends who have each other's backs and kids who are young and gifted with the potential to change the world. They all smoke, they probably drink, their diets are terrible, they're taking better care of the machines they drive than the machines that are their bodies, running on caffeine, adrenaline, and the belief that they are somewhat invincible. Old age won't happen to them is the impression I get, and I remember being that age, having to work a ton of hours at a low paying job, wanting to hang out with my friends, never having enough money, trusting that having a college degree was going to be the ticket to big money and financial security. I want a job, they need a driver, but if I make too much money I lose my health insurance coverage. It's not an easy decision to make, but I know I'll find a way to work through this challenge. I believe in myself and right now, that's half of my battle.