Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stranded on a Desert Isle

I'm stranded.

Up a creek without a paddle.

Hard to live without a working car?

2.2 miles to nearest grocery store.

Over 3 miles to the feed store where I buy 40 lb bags of wood pellets for litter.  Shall I walk them home balanced on my head?  Might take a whole day to go get one bag and get it home.

I live on a cemetery quiet suburban cul de sac.  Not a creature was stirring....

I live for leaving this cul de sac, and have left it at the drop of a hat, before the car broke, to do anything at all.  Because its like a tomb here.   And now, I can't leave.

Sounds a little like the beginning of a horror story.

Thursday when I was returning from Heartland with the three cats I'd taken there in the morning, the car problem became, hmmm, let's say severe.   Soon, it would violently shake at speeds over 50, then it was 40, then I could just make 30, with people giving me dirty looks, stares, the finger and horn honks.

I made it home.  The car has not been out of the garage since then.  I had an appointment for it to be seen the next day, but the appointment was in the next town and the car is scary to drive.  It can go short distances (I hope), before the engine is hot and begins its violent dance.

So now I have an appointment Monday with a local mechanic, but only for diagnostics, to see what's wrong.  An hour---$105!  That's not to fix it, but just to try to see what's wrong.  For $105 they better figure it out.

Life changes in an instant.   I hope it can be fixed and that whatever is wrong, is not something that costs a mint to fix.  Then I'll have to make the decision about whether its worth it, if I can come up with the money, to fix a car with almost 300k miles on it.  But what's my choice?  I don't have the money for another used car and when you get a used car, you're opening a box of chocolates and not knowing what you might get.

I went to Waterloo today, went with a friend.   I had hoped to trap or at least spot any remaining cats there of those left behind but we got there kind of late and saw no cats.  Then went to a trailer, same town, where I'd gotten a bunch fixed last fall.  They still have an unfixed teen girl, plus their cats were flea crawling again.  I flea treated about ten cats, wormed them, took them four bags of cat food, and brought back the unfixed girl teen.   My friend is taking one cat from the 34colony and another from Brownsville to Heartland Monday to be fixed, and will take this one along too.

I got a call from the complex Trouble and Zoey came from too.  The maintenance man has a trap now and there had been new arrivals.  He'd caught one of them and put him in a shed, so he could try to get the other two.   He showed me the large shed the cat was now in, full of shelves and stuff and hiding places.  He said he would have to set the trap again inside the shed to get him contained for fixing.  Such a nice polite kind young man, too!   He has a kitten too now in his house, who was born under the complex and now needs fixed badly.  She is probably the one bringing in more males from miles.  I hope to be able to pick that girl up tomorrow too, when my friend comes for the Waterloo kitten, so she can be fixed, and the orange boy in the shed too, if he catches him again by tomorrow.

I can do some things without a car, but only if there's someone free to give me a ride or do the transport work.  It's frustrating.

At the Waterloo trailer, I took this video of a big Himilayan male, fixed several months back with the others, at the FCCO.  He nurses and kneads on blankets like a kitten.

I made this video in one day, trying to get to an appointment and getting held up by trains.  Train hold ups are part of daily life here.  The railroads do what they like in town and use the middle of busy streets as switching yards.  Trains often seem to park and sit across streets, blocking traffic, until one by one, cars realize they'll be there for a long time, and begin turning around, to find some other way around.  It's kind of hard to see the train in the second part of the video.  It was a long line of black tanker cars, probably carrying toxic materials.   You can see one tank car way up on the left.  Some cars were even bumping up over the curb into a median strip of grass, going between trees on the median strip to turn and go back the other way.  I didn't catch that on video.

I gave up watching youtube videos on what could be wrong.  There are so many things that could be wrong.  Fuel filter is number one on my mind.  Mainly because its never been changed and I have a vague remembrance of a clogged filter on a Chevy Vega.   But they're no longer a cheap part and easy to change.  Mine is attached to the fuel pump set into the gas tank.   And replacing the pump and filter are quite expensive.  Not something you would do, to just see if that solved the problem.  Unless you were in the money.

Some videos suggest all kinds of valves and switches associated with the fuel line to the engine.  The throttle control switch.  The throttle flutter valve sticking.  Some thing attached to the back of the air intake manifold.  All sorts of valves attached to emmissions.  Clogged fuel injectors.   Oxygen deprivation to the engine from something clogged.   A clogged catalytic converter.  Bad spark plug wire.   Failing transmission.   That last one has me a little worried.  I had a car that acted up this way before and its transmission was toast.  I suppose I could tackle all these suggestions, from youtube videos, one at a time.

However, I have a favorite.  That's fuel pump and/or filter.    I just have a feeling.  One video I watched described exactly what I feel, in the gas pedal, when I press on the gas, when its doing its thing, a catch, a depression, before it goes.   That's my baby!  Those two words, "a catch" so precisely described the problem as it began, that if they were precise in their own description, that would nail it.

Instead of attempting repairs myself, I'll just take it to the mechanic Monday.  If it will run.  I think it will because it runs cold just fine, seems like.  But after about ten minutes on the road, then the problems begin.  I suppose that's a super significant symptom.  Better go back to youtube with new search terms.


  1. Good luck with the car. It's remarkable that you've kept it running for 300,000 miles. However, I know that doesn't help now. Hopefully, it's an easy fix that will get it up to 350,000 miles.

    1. I need more than 350k out of my little workaholic. LOL, asking for the impossible possibly. But the price of used cars has skyrocketed.

  2. What terrible irony considering your former post. Best wishes, my friend.

    1. Thanks. Stressed tonight, thinking of it going to the mechanic tomorrow. So much hoping its something that can be fixed and not cost everything I have and more. I haven't opened the electric bill for last month. I just can't bear to do it. Not with the car too now.