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

*****

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A Word A Week Photo Challenge – Round

The “A Word A Week Photo Challenge” lives here.

As I follow skinnywench in my reader, she reblogged this post and I decided to steal this idea to construct my own post – thanks to both of you in advance!  (I was originally going to approach all these photo challenges by going out and Taking New pics for them, but this is much easier!)

Honey - Round

A very well-designed honey dispenser I found at Gulfstream Restaurant.

Paint - Round

The two colors of paint in my recently finished garage – the light grey on the right is the walls and ceiling – the cobalt blue on the left is the architectural details (the fuse box cover, the joist and pole that hold up part of my house, the garage attic ladder door and a few other details in there).

Recessed - Round

More garage stuff – we got one of these to see how we would like the light it produced and we did, so I took this pic when we went back to get more so we could make sure to get the Same one again!

Red Jewelry - Round

This is a jewelry set I got two of for the holidays – one for me and one for a girlfriend!

Rings - Round

These are the rings I wear on my left thumb.  If you want to know more, please see “I’ll Take Red Please.”

Sloppy Joes - Round

This is a pan of homemade (from scratch) Sloppy Joes Hubby had cooking on the stove the last Wednesday of my Radiation Therapy.  For more info on that, do a search on my blog for the keyword “Radiation.”

AHO - Round

This is one of two photos of my organic produce delivery through Abundant Harvest Organics from this week (delivered to my porch last Saturday).  See those beautiful round navel and clementine oranges both?  So sweet and delicious!  Not to mention the Russet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli and fresh dill!

Checkers - Round

This is a checkers set I crocheted, including round crocheted checkers, that I gave to my work colleague who has a couple of not-quite-ten-years-old grandsons – she sent me a pic of them playing with it!

Dashboard - Round

The dashboard in a rental car I had last year after getting hit on the way to work – photographed as proof against them charging me for gas at their outrageous prices.

Invisibelt - Round

I wear a fair amount of untucked shirts, so I got one of these wondering if it would do away with the belt buckle bulge – the jury’s still out on this.

Jewelry - Round

The card of an artist I met at a local show whose jewelry I like and want to be able to find again in the future.

Mrs. Mays - Round

Yummy round fruit-nut-chocolate snacks!

Pancakes - Round

Mmmmm!  Pancakes and sausage links for brunch!

Siggi's - Round

Now this is my very favorite yogurt – thicker than Greek even, and they use only agave nectar (a low glycemic index, all-natural sweetener).  Currently, I’ve only ever seen it carried at Whole Foods Markets here in So Cali.  I’m hoping like the Greek yogurt craze, this will make it to the traditional supermarket chains too!

Amiata - Round

This was from a bar of soap I got at the same local farmer’s market as the artist’s business card above, and I took a picture of it so I would know what it was if I liked it and wanted to get more.  Turns out I Didn’t like it and the picture is still in my camera roll.

Bloody Mary - Round

Bloody Mary from the Egg Plantation.  Round olives, round glass –  need I say more?

Glazed Mug - Round

A cup I saw from an artist (again?!) at the local farmer’s market.  Wasn’t ready to buy it that day, but the pic reminds me of it if I want to go back again.  Seen from above it’s, well, round.

Boobie Beanie - Round

This is what’s known as a Boobie Beanie.  I made it for someone I work with when she had her second son.  It’s a hat for the baby to wear when nursing.  Cute, huh?  She didn’t precisely ask me to make it, but showed it to us as something fun and I surprised her with it at her work shower.  You might have to think about it for a minute to see the ’round’ part.  :-O!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Writing Challenge: Starting Over – Up at Midnight

Reposted January 14, 2013 re Writing Challenge: Starting Over.

Midnight-clock

There’s one day of the year when being up at midnight is a “thing” – New Year’s Eve.  Here in the US that was last night.

I’m not a big New Year’s girl.  Never really have been.

Yesterday I had a half day of work (they shut down extra early and sent us all home) and I came home to rest (see “What Looked Like ‘Better’ Turned Out to be PMS and a Full Moon“), which ended up being a late nap (about 4pm-6pm).  I knew that would screw with my night’s sleep, but as quickly as I fell asleep after lying down, I apparently needed it.  And I was off work today, so who cared if I was up half the night.

And I was.  And then some.

After waking up and having separate dinner together with Hubby (we both kind of fended for ourselves according to personal taste at the moment but prepared and ate together – you can do that when there are no kids to feed), we both settled in to rest – me still from the radiation fatigue and him from some crazy long days at work last week and a relatively active weekend.

We were having nice quiet time separately in the house together and along about 11ish I checked on him – sound asleep in his room.

I went back to bed and finished the book I was reading.

The Winter Palace

The time was about 11:40pm.

I picked up a new book (which I have decided is my first book of 2013 . . . because I can) and started to read it.

Beautiful Disaster

It grabbed me right away, so I forgot about the time.

Then I heard noise from outside.  It only took a nanosecond to realize what the noise signified.

I looked up from my book.

There I was, alone in bed, Hubby safely and peacefully sleeping in his room, a book in my hand, still hearing the year turn.

I took a moment to just be.

In a way, though it was near 15 hours ago, I feel like I’m still in that moment.

I could hear my neighbors fresh starts being shouted to the Universe, and thankfully I was not required to participate.

I felt something in that moment that is lurking still somewhere in my consciousness.

I don’t know what to call it.

I do not have the sense of transition that often comes with this night/day.  I do not have the relief of leaving the year in the past or the societally-imposed hope for a better year upcoming – behind me are two surgeries and destruction (yes, it’s actually what the real goal of radiation treatment is, even if saying it that way makes some people uncomfortable) of my cells – ahead of me are more surgeries and chemical castration in the form of anti-hormonal medications leading to artificial, forced menopause.

I’m very glad that when I go to sleep tonight, this year’s official “Holiday Season” will be over.  A few more days of being wished “Happy New Year” and facing the expectation that I display hope and joy in response to same, and then maybe I can breathe easier.

Being where I am in my cancer treatment, I have no realistic expectation that most of 2013 is going to be much better, easier or more fun than most of 2012 – that’s my reality.

I believe lots of people Do have that expected hopefulness and transition happening for them, and if you are one of them, I am truly glad for you – I just ask that you please not expect me to feel and display the same this year.

And before you try to buck me up, I’m okay with where I am just now.  I’m trying to just sit with it until it shifts.  And it will, in it’s own time.

Check with me a year from now, I may feel differently.

I went back to reading my book for a few more hours; I couldn’t put it down.

I finally took a 2nd Benadryl, which forced my eyes to close.

It was 4:00 am.

This Must Be The Worse Before The Better

thumbs-down

December 11, 2012: Breast Cancer Support Group Holiday Potluck Party – otherwise known as the once-a-year gathering where those who no longer need the group on an ongoing basis bring something to eat and join the rest of us for a quick munch & gab & catch-up.

This event lands in my last week of Radiation Therapy.  To say I’m struggling is an understatement of epic proportions.

When I’m asked how I’m doing, I can barely (and sometimes not quite) keep from losing it, both with people I know from group, and those I don’t who are coming for their once-a-year appearance.

Maria is one of those people I meet who doesn’t come regularly, but comes to the party, and to whom I confess how hard things are for me just then.  It’s been years since she was in active treatment, yet she remembers seemingly like it was yesterday – I think we all do/will.

She tells me when radiation ends it gets worse, then it gets better.

I was told that the radiation is still active in my body for about 2 weeks after the last treatment.  I assumed when Maria said there’s a further dip and then things start to look up (I’m paraphrasing), that the worse would be about two weeks long and then end.

My last treatment was Friday, December 14th – 12 days ago.  I don’t feel like better is going to show up in two days.  I think I made an assumption and just realized it’s probably not a valid one.

Last weekend, Hubby had to work all weekend moving his company.  My office was closed Monday/Tuesday, as was his (providing the moving was completed enough).  When he told me he was working Saturday and Sunday (and that they would be long days), I was thrilled.

I don’t get really any meaningful time alone in my house these (general) days – with the way our schedules interact.  Being an only child (and Hubby a first-born), we both need alone time – maybe more than folks with more siblings.

Now that the absolutely overwhelming schedule of Radiation Therapy has backed off quite a bit, lots of things are flooding in, the chatter seems to have intensified:

Work: revise this, draft this, file this, fax this, answer this phone, schedule this meeting, cover for this person on vacation, etc.

Personal: check in with Mom, check in with Dad, listen to Hubby, (and with Christmas yesterday: buy this, wrap this, send this – do it all On Time), etc.

Household: dishes, laundry, pay this, stop for this, buy this online, descale the coffeemaker, clean out the fridge, manage the grocery list, etc.

And of course, everybody’s happy right now – taking vacations, giving and getting just the right gifts, opening their hearts to family and friends – and looking forward to the “fresh start” the New Year provides.

I’m not happy right now and the new year is Not a fresh start for me (as I’m only mid-way through my active treatment)  – I’m still fucking tired, on So Many Levels – physically, emotionally, FYI in case you were wondering my last pain-free day was August 12, 2012 – the day before my first surgery.  So I either feel guilty about not sharing everyone else’s joy for/with them, or am further exhausted by faking it for/with them.

I was thrilled with Hubby having to work because right now I just want to be alone.  I feel like the last six months have been a blur of overwhelming input and I just need quiet.  To get that quiet, I need to be alone and let the rest of the world’s demands go away.  I had two days of that.  I need more.

I imagine this crawling into a hole period will have some people upset – I’m going to have to try to not care.  I need to walk my talk of being selfish.

I need that quiet to process – to transform another part of the journey toward “after the first year.”

I imagine some people in my life are going to notice this difference and not like it.  Because what they think about what I’m doing is not actually about me, I’m going to have to try to not care.

I don’t know what that means for this blog in the near future, I actually don’t know what that means for a lot of aspects of my life in any (insert short-, mid-, long-term word here) future.

I guess I’ll be sitting with quiet as much as I can create it while waiting for…

thumbs_up_bciy

Thoughts: Week of December 17-19, 2012 (No Thurs/Fri)

Monday:

8:15am-9:30am Drive from Home to Work

[Extra late, thanks to the rain, which now means a shortie lunch to stay on track timewise.]

Work
Lunch
Work

Fatigue:

[It showed up at about 1:45 today.  Ah well, I knew it wasn’t gone.  I was hoping some small miracle would happen.  Well, I guess it kinda did – I didn’t really feel the fatigue until afternoon.]

Acupuncture
7:15pm-7:50pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

Tuesday:

[General post-radiation weirdness item: today is the second day in a row I left the house wearing a necklace.  I couldn’t do that for the past 7 weeks.  Well, I could have, but since I couldn’t wear any neck jewelry during the treatment, I’d have had to take it off then put it back on after.  Instead, I took necklaces in my bag and put them on after treatment (if I remembered) which sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t.  Now I can get back to doing this in it’s proper place in my day – at home, when I’m getting dressed in the morning.]

8:00am-9:00am Drive from Home to Work
Work

Fatigue:

[Yeah, today it arrived at about 11:30am.  I still had a few hours this morning where I could forget about it – but fewer than yesterday.  Good thing I have tomorrow off!]

Lunch
Work
5:30-6:30 Drive from Work to Home

Wednesday:

Physical Therapy
Whole Foods
Egg Plantation
Nap
Dishes
Laundry
Reorganize a Freezer
Make Dinner

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– put gas in the car
– made Saturday nail appointment
– moved RSurg appt (to not conflict with follow-up ROnc appt)

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

SNL (1975-1980, 1985-Present): December 15-16, 2012

Who gets the reference?

Saturday:

– coffee
– reading in bed
– bowl of cereal, also in bed
– first nap

[Okay, this was really just getting my ass through to morning.  I only half-intentionally did an experiment last night – fell asleep without taking my meds.  No Benadryl.  No pain meds.

I woke up at 4:30am for no reason that I could think of.  The great news about that is that I Did Not wake up because I hurt (which tells me I don’t need to take the Norco at night anymore to sleep through).  The good news is that it was Saturday, so who cared if I slept funny.

In fact, I was up for a couple of hours, then had First Nap, which if it had been properly tacked on to my night’s sleep might have gotten me through to about 7:00am.  As it was, separate from the rest of my night as it was, it took me through to about 9:30am.]

– coffee
– reading in bed

[If this looks familiar, it is actually Not a typo, but rather “Second Verse, Same As The First!”  Yep, I did it all over again.]

– brunch with Hubby
– Second Nap
– empty/reload dishwasher
– take trash out/replace bag
– do dishes by hand
– clean out refrigerator
– clean up grocery store list in app
– make dinner

Sunday:

– coffee
– reading in bed

[Yeah, I know, there’s a pattern here.  I am Not a morning person.  Let me just put it this way – stay out of my face until the first cup of coffee is completed and nobody gets hurt.

One of the hardest things about Radiation Therapy was having to get up and out of the house in such a short time, so when I don’t have to, I’m Enjoying Not.]

– brunch with Hubby (mmm, cage-free eggs!)
– vaping & hanging with Hubby
– watching accumulated music programs recorded on the DVR with Hubby, while knitting the poncho from here.
– snack for dinner

Things Not Accomplished This Weekend (That I Had Planned to Accomplish):

– clean up bedroom, put clothes/shoes away
– do laundry
– decorate mini-pumpkins with supplies purchased a while ago

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.