February 28th, 2009


Grinding Through The End Of February

Wednesday 25 February 2009

... ended up being Exam 2 Day for Dr. Phil's students. Thursday was supposed to be the day, according to the syllabus, but because Thursday afternoon classes had been canceled to allow the university community to attend the memorial service for the late President Diether Haenicke, I had to back up my exams by one day. Made it, but my schedule had been set up for Thursday. So getting previous quiz solutions up on the website for studying purposes, writing the exams, writing the solutions so the graders could get to work, etc., added to the tiredness I felt after coming off of all the medications for my sinus infection -- which hopefully is gone?

Thursday 26 February 2009

This was supposed to be Exam 2 Day for Dr. Phil's students, but changed as noted above.

So we went off to an afternoon showing of Revolutionary Road. When we came out, I noticed that the left rear tire on the 1999 Bravada looked a little flat. Well, we were on 28th Street, albeit the east side, so we drove west towards Hi-Tech Goodyear, my tire dealer for more than fifteen years. Alas, there was no sign by the road, not a good sign in this economy, and found out that indeed the Goodyear tire store is no more. Gone. Didn't leave a forwarding note in the window. You know, the west end of 28th Street in Wyoming MI is getting more and more empty. Rogers Dept. Store, Studio 28 megaplex, Hi-Tech Goodyear -- businesses we've depended on since we moved down to West Michigan are all closed. This has been going on for years now, so while it is connected to the economy, it is connected to the longer bad economic decline of Michigan which the rest of the country is only now getting to experience.

Back home I lay down for a little nap. First time in a month I've tried to sleep horizontally. Mostly the head stayed clear. But what I'm hoping is that the slight sloshing around inside is the continued draining of all the crud that'd been packed in there and not anything new.

Friday 27 February 2009

It's WMU Spirit Day! Feel the school spirit! Okay, so it's the effective start to Spring Break. Still feeling pretty good that it isn't even Saturday yet, even though it is hard to figure out which day of the week it does feel like.

In the morning I pumped the left rear tire on the Bravada up from under 20 psi to about 35 psi, then drove off to Chevy. They diagnosed a leaking seal on the valve stem, rather than a nail or hole in the tire, and in checking the other tires found another bad valve stem on the right front tire. Now the B.F. Goodrich tires on the Bravada are likely at least its second set of tires, based on the mileage when we bought the Bravada, but I know nothing about where they are from, etc. Don't know if the problem was a bad lot of valve stems, bad rims, bad help at the tire store, etc. But this summer I'll probably put a full load of new shoes on the Bravada. And my Chevy dealer is selling Goodyears and promising aggressive pricing, so I may be able to consolidate my maintenance all at one site.

Most people bitch about having to spend time at the repair shop. Me? I'm thankful for how many times it has been that I actually have the time to sit in the nice business center they've got off the waiting room, and get work done online. Sure, you can laugh at spending part of Spring Break at Chevy. But not having to coordinate two vehicles to drop off and pick up? Priceless.

Got a nice rejection letter from Stanley Schmidt at Analog for a story which we both knew he probably wouldn't like -- too long and too military -- but how many markets are there for long stories? The recent size change to Analog effectively cuts the total word counts they can buy, which means that shorter stories are going to be easier to sell to Stanley. Well, that was something always of the case, but man, it's becoming a short short story versus long novel world out there. (grin)

Which brings us to...

Saturday 28 February 2009

This morning I was heading out to hit the post office before noon and I was going to take the Bravada, because the seat was already adjusted and it's in the first position in the garage, when I noticed -- wait for it -- the left rear tire was completely flat. Bugger, bugger, bugger!

Bad seal? Bad work? Previous bad valve stem masking a real problem with the tire itself? It'll have to wait til Monday. I'll try to reinflate the tire then and either drive it to Chevy or call AAA and have them put on the spare. Hey, we have two AAA Plus RV gold cards -- there's no reason I have to crawl around on a 15degF concrete slab.

Well, my usual car karma serendipity feeling is a little abused at the moment. Monday is definitely eating into my Spring Break time and we're already filling up the days with Things To Do, dammit. Fortunately we keep three 4WD Blazer-class vehicles around in order to have two running. So Mrs. Dr. Phil will have to make do with her previous red Blazer, which I checked and did start even though it hasn't been run in a month or so.

The weather has turned cold after a day of hard rains, but the sky is blue and the sun is bright. And the snow is pretty much gone from the yard, save for a few places in the shadows of the pines.

And I have to keep telling myself, Spring Break is just now starting, not feeling like it is nearly over. (grin)

Dr. Phil