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

*****

March 21, 2013: Mammogram/Ultrasound

*****

Nope, Those Aren't Mine.

Nope, Those Aren’t Mine.

Well, things have been pretty quiet here since missing my Grandmother’s unveiling.  That one hit me hard – the repercussions of which are still setting my head spinning . . . but that is a subject for another post on another day (that is Still processing).

On to today’s topic.  My post-active-treatment (except for my second and hopefully last reconstructive surgery) life Does in fact go on, one day at a time.

Since my last post, we’ve had The Great Anti-Hormonal Experiment of 2013 – which was an unqualified failure, and is now over!  (Ten days on Tamoxifen before I became near completely non-functional, then [after a detox period] Six days on Raloxifene [Pre-menopausal use is apparently a new off-label use of what was only a post-menopausal drug] to start going down the same road as Tamoxifen).

Tamoxifen

My medical oncologist doesn’t know I stopped taking the second one.  Why not?  Well, making that phone call, then being basically “on call” during my working hours for his call-back to tell him that was not going to change the fact that I’m not taking it anymore.  I need to not be “on call” for a doctor calling me back every goddamn workday of my life.  And I’m seeing him again in two weeks (geez, has it really been almost three months since my last in-person visit with him Already?!) anyway, so I’ll tell him then.

Which basically skims over some shit I’ve been dealing with, the details of which may or may not ever “grace” the pages of this, my blog, to turn a phrase (:)), and catches us up to last week.

I made yesterday’s appointment six months ago – in August of last year – at my last cancer surgery follow up appointment.

First, they call me the week before the appointment to tell me that I have to come in an hour earlier than it was scheduled (thereby taking Another hour off work – which I have to make up) because there won’t be a radiologist there to read the films.  I’m sorry, what?

So, I deal with this, then try to make sure I’m getting Both a mammogram And an ultrasound.

You see, I have dense breasts, so having a mammogram alone actually isn’t even going to tell us what we want to know.  Therefore, I’m not going to go in and get my tender girls mauled for basically no good reason (and to Not get the information we’re trying to get).

Then I show up to see the work Unilat on my paperwork?  Is that, um, “Unilateral?”  As in they’re just going to test one side?  Um, no.

They’re both here, check them both.

I’m told that insurance won’t pay for checking the right boob (i.e., the one on the right side of my body, and the one that did not have cancer in it last year) because it has been less than a year since it was checked and I can come back in June (in three months from now) to check that one.

june_calendar_2013_H6X

So, you’re saying my two breasts are going to be on separate mammogram schedules?  Um, please refer to my comment above – NO!  That’s just stupid, and although I didn’t do stupid well before cancer – let me tell you I do it even less well now.  They’re both here now and I’m not going anywhere until they’re both checked out – thanks for playing!

I went half-postal on almost half a dozen people in that place getting them to understand that we were checking Both of my breasts, and if necessary I would have the “that’s just Stupid!” conversation with my insurance company.

But it turns out it won’t be necessary.  You see, they found something in my right breast on the ultrasound.  They tell me it looks like a cyst and my cancer surgeon gave me a choice of “wait and watch” or biopsy.

Hm, let me think – I’ve had breast cancer WITHIN THE LAST CALENDAR YEAR!  So, I’m NOT so much in a ‘wait and watch’ frame of mind – let’s stick that bitch and know for sure!

So, tomorrow morning at 8:00 am I’m having my second breast biopsy in less than a year.

Book Excerpts: Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

*****

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

” . . . Once in the truck, she glanced at the house.  From the outside, it wasn’t much.  But to her it was everything she needed.  A place to retreat and lick her wounds.  Somewhere she didn’t have to pretend.  Sanctuary. . . .”

Thankfully, I have somewhere like that – my bed at home.  I’ve been spending a lot of time in it the last six months or so.  It’s a place I can go and shut the world out.  I’ve needed to do that for physical and emotional healing while I deal with the cancer and its effects on my body and mind – my life.  I’m glad it’s here for me, as I expect to need it off and on for quite a while yet.

” . . . “I’m sure her time in the army has changed her.”
Carly rinsed out the dishcloth and hung it over the sink.  “How do you know that?  You barely knew her before.”
“How could war not change someone?”

Right, so the current language is that a cancer patient “fights” the cancer.  ‘Nuff said.  Or if you don’t get what I’m saying from that, please see “Awakening.”

“She had to admit, looking better made her feel a little better.  More here rather than in some kind of emotional limbo.”

Emotional limbo – been there, know that place.  It’s not Always a bad place to be.  Sometimes it’s a way station for where one needs to go while necessary subsurface processing happens.

“. . .” You’re not stupid and you’re not alone.  We all do things that don’t make sense to other people.”

I’m sensing a theme here.  I like it.  I resemble that remark.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Book Excerpts: The Queen Gene by Jennifer Coburn

*****

The Queen Gene

” . . . “I need some time to digest everything you’ve said.”  I learned that dismissal years ago when a client said it to me.  At the time, I thought it was a polite way of letting me know that my complex concept needed time to be broken down and properly appreciated.  Now I know it’s a nice way of saying, This conversation is over. . . .”

Who knew one could learn actual life skills from a light, fun read?  I’m Definitely remembering this one.  I learned from a very wise therapist once that just because someone else wants to have a certain conversation Does Not mean that I am required to have that conversation.  This is a polite way to say “I am not having this conversation with you.”  Nice.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Book Excerpts: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

*****

The Marriage Plot

” . . . What made Madeleine sit up in bed was something closer to the reason she reads books in the first place and had always loved them.  Here is a sign that she wasn’t alone.  Here was an articulation of what she had been so far mutely feeling.  In bed on a Friday night, wearing sweatpants, her hair tied back, her glasses smudged, and eating peanut butter from the jar, Madeleine was in a state of extreme solitude. . . .”

I like that idea – extreme solitude, and yet not alone.

” . . . ‘Of or related to Leonard Bankhead (American, born 1959), characterized by excessive introspection or worry.  Gloomy, depressive.  See basket case.‘ . . .
Hannaesque,” Leonard said. “Stubborn.  Given to ironclad positions.”
“Hannarian,” Madeleine said.  “Dangerous.  Not to be messed with.”
“I stand warned.” . . .

” . . . Grief was physiological, a disturbance of the blood. . . .”

Yes.  I have no insightful commentary, just yes, so yes!

” . . . A bruised ego reflected its own image. . . .”

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.