Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm Such a Girl When It Comes To Cars

I'm in a foul mood. Well, it's not that bad and at least I know it'll be gone by the time I'm done with this post - ah, the real reason we blog :)

Firstly there is the Car Issue. My car is old, a VW Chico with about 160000 on the clock. But I've never bought a new one since I struggle with the "a car is not an asset, it just chews cash" concept, it irritates me supremely. And I don't know if I'm going to London or not ... it just doesn't make practical sense to get a new one if I am. But that means it is slowly falling apart as I drive the acceptable million miles around Joburg every day - yes, a million miles is how far everything is from where ever you are in Joburg ... it's a mathematical constant :)

So let me start at the beginning of the story. The car trouble goes all the way back to my drive up to Jhb 3 years ago this month. Mom and I planned a reasonably timed journey over two days with a half way over night stop in Colesburg. We were making good time to arrive in Colesburg at 5pm. Unfortunately we ground to a halt at about 4pm, 10kms past Richmond. We called Dad in a flat panic. He called back with the number for the local mechanics guys in Richmond and left us to it while Mom tried her reiki skills on the steaming engine. We called them and they toddled out in their battered old Ford. Seems we'd burst a water pipe. The detached the pipe and left us girls stranded on the side of the N1 while they took it back to Richmond for repair - no sense if having them tow us in if that's all the problem was.

Turned out it wasn't and we ended up spending the next 24 hours at a "hotel" in Richmond while they sent the cylinder head gasket to De Aar to be skimmed. The "hotel" in Richmond is literally attached to the only Petrol Station in the small town. It was not the most pleasant experience.

So at about 4pm the following day we managed to set off on our journey again. Everything seemed fine and we stopped for dinner along the way, deciding to drive straight thru to Joburg during the night. Mom had a plane to catch the next day.

At about 10pm, 20kms out side of Kroonstad, we ground to a halt again ... in the skinniest yellow lane you've ever seen on a dark higway surrounded by metre tall grass. Fantastic. Called Dad again. We managed to get the local tow-truck to come and get us. Turns out the guys in Richmond hadn't attached the petrol pump to the engine properly and it had come loose, clearly not ideal in a driving situation. They towed us in to Kroondustria and had the 24hour mechanic take a look. He reattached it, filled the oil and water and declared us fit to go. We followed to tow-truc k to a local petrol station while the mechanic locked up shop so that we could follow him back out of Kroondustria to the highway and complete our journey to Joburg.

In famous last words, I said to Dad on the phone that the next time I spoke to him, we'd be in Joburg ... or have broken down *again*. While at the petrol station, the tow-truck's starter motor went ... which in hind sight was terrific for us. It kept the mechanic around long enough for me to notice the engine light kept flashing.

You'll never guess? The water bottle needed replacing. At now about midnight on the day we were supposed to have already arrived in Joburg, we now another 12 hour stop-over. We spent the night at the Hacienda Hotel in Kroonstad ... memorable simple because the entire front of it is air-bricked up. Yes, right up over the windows, perhaps they have a high-percentage of visitors who turn out to be jumpers, I don't know. But it doesn't make for the best experience.

We finally managed to leave Kroonstad at about midday on Saturday and reached Joburg about 2 hours later, after leaving Cape Town at about 8am on Thursday morning. I took mom directly to the airport (Dad had changed her flight a couple of times already) and headed to Bean's.

So that was the beginning and the car had quite a job done at it's next service. There haven't been too many other car problems, really ... had to get a new Battery a while back.

But now, there were oil problems. I don't know if they're resolved. Luckily this morning I stopped at a garage with a workshop. They replaced some oil do-hickey that plugs into the engine and loaded my empty car up with 4 pints. I hope it's fixed - fingers crossed because I can't hear any of those "car-noises". They all sound like perfectly normal car noises to me. And I freak out when any of the lights start blinking ... I don't understand cars!

And then there is the small matter of the giant tent-shirt I am wearing today. I have mentioned before that I am a member of the People Forum at our office (like SRC but at work ;) ) and we got ourselves personalized polo shirts tha twe can wear on days when we are hosting a function (like today). We only got these shirts last week and this is my first attempt at wearing it. Ordinarily, I am a medium ... this shirt is almost down to my knees, the sleeves end at my elbows. I feel like I am in a men's XL. It does not improve my mood.

So there you have it. All vented and I'm feeling better and ready for the day. I do have another post planned about the current blog-flaming going on ... but I'll let it brew a little longer, this subject was far more pertinent today!

Oh, and no exciting goings on last night ... went to Yoga, had dinner, watched some Grey's. The end.

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