Don’t Be a Shtarker

Letting Caregivers Actually Care

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Rebuilding a Mazda 3: Part One

Hm, let’s start with my title.

My little stop-me-I’m-speeding-red daily driver Mazda 3 wasn’t hit (since last June, but that damage was fixed by the other guy’s insurance company) and didn’t strand me on the road (today anyway – last time it did was early December of 2012, when I was still in radiation therapy), but needed quite a bit of work:

– air conditioning compressor (that’s what crapped out on me and stranded me on the side of the road last December, thereby creating a 5-hour detour for me between my house and radiation therapy – never mind the fact that I was supposed to work that day.  Yep, never did make it to work that day)
– motor mount(s) (knew one was broken, decided to change all three since this is a known weakness on this car – turns out when they were all replaced that all 3 of the existing ones were busted – facepalm!) – Oh, and the new ones are black and red and grey and on my, so sexy!  I know, I’m weird, but I’ve found a few people who appreciate my weirdness, so it’s ok)
– shocks (one was leaking – I have 150,000 miles on the car, so that’s not the biggest surprise in the world)

Since some serious work was being done: all four tires coming off to do the shocks, the air conditioning compressor is on the passenger Bottom side (not a typo) of the engine and the motor mounts are two on top, one on the bottom of the engine, and because I can’t emotionally deal with flipping a car right now, not to mention the financials don’t support it (so we’re hedging against another 5 years with my little baby), the “while we” list got kinda long:

– struts, shock boots (to go with the new shocks)
– brake pads (we new at least one end needed to be done – let’s do ’em both)
– brake rotors (turns out this was a good decision, as Hubby said he didn’t think my old ones had another turn in them)
– rear adjustable camber arms (another Mazda 3 weakness – for some odd reason the OEM camber arms set such an angle that this car eats tires faster than it should – aftermarket adjustable units should let us adjust the rear suspension to stop doing that)
– radiator and new coolant
– transmission filter and new tranny fluid
– thermostat
– cooling system flush
– spark plugs
– oil filter and new oil
– air filter
– all light bulbs, both fore and aft
– water pump (this has failed at some point in every car Hubby or I have ever owned and I was starting to hear that tell-tale squeak which often presages a water pump failure)

I’m sure I’m forgetting something which, when I remember it, I’ll let you know about in a new post!

The photos below are what my baby looked like this past Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm.  This morning when I went to work (leaving Hubby at home to continue working on it after calling in “I have no idea what” to work), it looked pretty much the same, but had lots more new parts on it than when these photos were taken.

Last night when the work was over and it was dinner time, Hubby said most of the “big-tool” jobs were done.  You know, the ones where power tools are used and/or something needs to be bashed on (which feel a bit risky with nothing but 4 little jacks holding up my baby – but those jacks ROCK!  Seriously, they’re Extremely Stable and took all the bashing Hubby had to do with brake work and shock work and all.  I’m just more comfortable being there overseeing the jobs that could get Hubby or the car hurt).  The only other “big-tool” job is reconnecting a belt after installation of the air conditioning compressor.  Everything else is what he calls detail work – tedious, but no big forces required.

He said if he worked on it another day, he thought it would be “drivable.”  Well, not so I can drive it to work since some of my lights won’t be here ’til Wednesday and we’re not putting the whole front end back together just to take part of it off again to replace light bulbs – but drivable enough so he could wander out to test drive the suspension and engine component repairs for safety and bedding in.

So I have no idea what it’ll look like when I come home tonight, but this was from Saturday afternoon (and still substantially looked the same this morning):

2013-04-06 16.03.12

2013-04-06 16.04.21

2013-04-06 16.04.16

2013-04-06 16.03.57

2013-04-06 16.03.22

2013-04-06 16.03.31

2013-04-06 16.03.44

2013-04-06 16.03.54

*****

Awakening

I think cancer is causing this awakening for me…

awakening

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling t…o hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective………..This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

– how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop,
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

-Sonny Carroll (Awakening)

~via Soulfire Sacred Bodywork~

This is beautiful, and I think true for me, thanks to my breast cancer, and is put in a very positive light.

I don’t think it necessarily feels so positive to some other people in my life.

As I go through this transformation:

– I may be less likely to have conversations they want to have because I Don’t want to have it.
– I may be less likely to respond in conversation the way they expect me to.
– I may be less likely to respond to them in other ways they way they expect me to.
– I may not give them the time and/or attention they want or expect.

I think you probably see where I’m going here.  I’m simply no longer the person they think I am or who I actually used to be.  From my perspective it is all personal and positive – I Literally do not have time and/or energy to devote to things I no longer care about – and I do not do this out of Any malice whatsoever.  Still, I realize it can be disconcerting and confusing.  But that’s for them to work out, not me.

I’m definitely still in transition, a limbo I am accepting and quietly ‘being’ with until it shifts in its own time.  I don’t know who I’ll be when I come out the other end or what my (personal) life will look like or who will and won’t be in it.  (The basics of my life – Hubby, home, work are not likely to change – but even they, I suppose, could – NOT that I’m looking for them to.)

I’ll keep you posted.

Personal reflections – Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

The Reality Blog Award Nomination

Reality Blog Award

Thank you so much to anotheronewiththecancer for the Reality Blog Award nomination!  I am so grateful that what sometimes just feels to me like selfish whining actually Helps someone else!

The rules for this award are:

  • Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you √
  • Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back to them √
  • Answer the 5 questions presented √
  • Nominate up to 20 blogs for the award and notify them on their blogs √
  • Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere √

5 questions

1.   If you could change one thing what would you change?

The obvious answer would probably be to not have cancer, but I’m not sure if that’s true.  Oh, who am I kidding, trying to be all noble and shit – it probably is the answer.

2.   If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

It’s funny that this question shows up for me today.  We chanced into this conversation last night at Support Group, so my answer is 35, same as it was last night.

3.   What one thing really scares you?

Abandonment.

4.  What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?

In retrospect, I would have answered this question as becoming a writer, but this blog’s existence means that dream has been completed.  Not sure what the next uncompleted dream is, will have to think on it…

5.  If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?

I don’t know that there is anyone else I want to be instead of me, even for a day.

Question Disclaimer:

For those who’ve been reading me, my answers to the above questions are very uncharacteristically short, with really no explanation whatsoever.  I’ve got something weighing on my mind just now and it’s taking up almost all of my mental energy for the moment, so these answers are short and sweet.  These questions may (if I feel like expanding on my answers later) or may not (if I don’t feel like it) become their own posts in the future.

In return, I would like to nominate the following Bloggers (love their blogs):

The Jiggly Bits

The Oatmeal

Swift Expression

A Faded Romantic’s Notebook

Joy the Baker

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Late for a Surprise Purpose: My Favorite Cigarette-Seller

First, let me say I’m still nicotine-free.

In fact, today is 135 days CFT!

No Smoking

Now, on to the point of the post:

I’ve been wigged lately (do a search on the tag “Tamoxifen;” there will be more posts with this tag soon).

This morning when I woke up I couldn’t get going – for no particular reason that stood out to me.  I didn’t even get out of bed until 7:30am, went downstairs and, while coffee was brewing, put together my supplements for the day (including the new ones I got yesterday to deal with common side effects of the Tamoxifen I’m starting Friday night).

Then I went out to the garage formerly-smoking area and watched a bit of news while sipping on my coffee.  For some odd reason, I just couldn’t get my ass moving to do the morning leaving-the-house-to-go-to-work deal until the clock showed 8:00am (the time I Really Should be getting in my car to drive to work).  Weirder still is that I wasn’t even stressed about it.

I went upstairs to do a super-quick clean-up, got dressed in clothes that are too tight ‘cuz I’ve gained 20 lbs during my cancer treatment so far – but that’s a Whole Nother (yes, I know, not a word – whose blog is this, again?  Right, thanks!) series of posts – took my morning meds and headed downstairs to make the day’s second cup of coffee (the one that goes to work with me).

Made the coffee, got in the car, turned the car on, realized (as I had seen last night coming home from group, but was no longer foremost in my mind after a night’s sleep) that I had to put gas in the car before I went very far or I wouldn’t get anywhere at all.

Headed to the gas station, and went inside the building because strangely enough the pump registers at this particular gas station don’t work with my debit card (a debit card that works Everywhere Else I use it to pay for stuff – who the hell knows?).

And I run smack into Roz, my favorite person from my former cigarette shop near my house (former because, of course, I don’t smoke anymore – much praise on this account is still quite welcome).

She and I talked for a few with her telling me I’m facing this cancer with grace and that I look great (I told her she caught me on a good day, despite being wigged lately – but maybe it was just running into her).  She is such a warm, sweet woman and apparently the joy she lavished on me this morning is still doing its thing.  Thank you Roz – I’m grateful for you today!

So, I guess what I’m getting at is maybe I was supposed to be at that gas station at that time (and Not earlier which I would have been had I been out of the house at my usual time) so seeing Roz could bless my day, and I didn’t even know it.

Oh, and I was only 5 minutes late to work too!  Score!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.