Monday, January 23, 2006

How can you say no without offending them?

This semester, my bills have been a bit heavier than previously. It's gotten to the point that I can barely afford everything myself. I could do it, but it'd mean cutting out everything I don't absolutely need. I'd have to go another 6 months on my worn down shoes and threadbare work clothes. No more buying books, no going out to the bars, hell, I wouldn't even be able to go out to eat. And after 3 and a half years of buying next to nothing, I decided that I'd finally break down and be like everyone else. I'd take out one of my university's alternative loans.

Fifteen hundred dollars would cover my car repair, tuition, and textbooks. That would leave me with only having to worry about rent, food, untilites, and the car loan payment. Everything that was left I'd get to spend. So, being a dutiful son in a stable family(my parents are still married, strangely enough), I went to talk to my parents about my decision, and to see if they'd be willing to cosign(much better interest rate, and little or no origination fee). And you know what happened? They decided(after some discussion) that they'd either loan or gift the money to me.

Now, my emotions on this are pretty conflicted. On the one hand, I'm happy that they'd be willing to do this. On the other, I know that while they can afford it, but I don't really want them to. See, I've got a big family, six brothers and sisters. Four of them have already graduated from college, one's in college, and one's still in high school. My family has never been that well off. We've been doing better in the past few years, as my mom went back to school and then went to work. The past few years my parents actually made quite a bit of money, enough to pay off most of their debts. All the credit cards, most of my mom's school loans, and both cars. Then, a few months back, when my dad decided to change lines of work. He was going to go into real estate. And so he did. And he hasn't managed to sell anything yet.

So my parents have finally managed to get a little bit of money to spend. Enough so that my dad felt secure enough changing jobs. But they deserve to get to spend that money. Not give it to me so that I can spend it on stuff I can easily do without. They're looking at ways to save money while my dad isn't making anything, and here they are giving it to me. Hell even thinking of what I would have to give up seems pathetic. There are many more people worse off that I am. But, it would be nice to not really worry about money. It'd be nice to be able to run out and by a computer game, or a book, or dinner, or some new clothes, or many other things. It's just that I don't want my parents to be paying for it for me. Hell, it's probably just my elitist bastard side(more on that later) speaking out, but I just want to be able to say, that I payed for, when I look at my degree. I don't want to say, look what daddy got me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

My face hurts

So, my mom bought me an electric razor. Just a little ~$30 Braun razor. Probably a hint that I should actually shave when I go home for the holidays(my idea of a vacation is that I don't have to shave). But anyway, I've been using that for about a week or so. And quite frankly, it sucks. I can't manage to get a decent shave with it. It will always leave a few hairs on my face that aren't that noticible unless you're looking for them. No big deal, right? The real problem is my neck. I can't for the life of me get it to do anywhere approaching a decent job on my neck. After shaving it would be patchy, that is to say there would be patches where it actually shaved some hair off.

Today, the shave finally annoyed me enough that, after giving it a go with the electric razor, I pulled out my trusty Mach 3 razor and shaving cream and gave myself a real shave. And now my face hurts. I think it was because I shaved with the electric razor, then waited about 45 minutes before coming back with the Mach 3. By that time, my face was dry, and the razor burns from me trying too hard with the elecric razor didn't help. On the upside, my face feels very smooth. Bleh, it looks like I'm sticking with the Mach 3.

Follow-up on car repairs

Well, I must just have been crazy when I picked up my car Tuesday night. Because Wednesday afternoon, the problem reared it's ugly head again. I had to have my car Thursday morning, so I didn't get it in until about 11:00 in the morning on Thursday. Which meant that they didn't look at it until Friday.

And on Friday they gave me great news. They were unable to duplicate the problem. But the went ahead and replaced the fuel pressure sensor that was reading 7.54 psi higher than their mechanical gauge. Hopefully that will fix the problem. But somehow, I doubt it. We'll see on Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Car repairs

There are definitely times where I wish I knew more about cars. Or at least that I was less of a pansy. So here's the story:

My car(2000 Ford Taurus FFV) has been having trouble starting recently. If it has been sitting out for a while, it'll sit there and crank, but not start. If I give it some gas, it starts almost immediately, but if I don't it'll just sit there and crank. Every now and then it'll surprise me and start, but it usually takes me giving it some gas. Now, I may know next to nothing about cars, but I at least know that you shouldn't have to be giving fuel injected cars gas to get them to start.

So, after about a week of this, last Tuesday I called to make an appointment with a service shop that I've dealt with in the past. Things start off decently enough, they can't fit me in on Wednesday, but if I could drop it off Wednesday night, they'd be sure to take a look at it first thing Thursday.

I drop the car off Wednesday night, leaving the keys with the guy at the counter. Thursday morning I decided to give them a call to better describe the problem I was having(I had been pretty vague over the phone on Tuesday). The guy who answered the phone(not the same guy at the counter) seemed a bit confused after hearing my name. Apparently they had lost my appointment. Just grand. You would think that they might have said something when I dropped off the car, but apparently not. At least I caught it in time, rather than had my car sitting all day. The problem was that the guy who answered the phone thought that they might not get to me Thursday, but they'd be sure to get me first thing Friday. Great.

Well, they did manage to get me in Thursday. I got a call around 10:30am. What they found did not make me happy. Apparently my fuel pump was dying(only pushing 32 psi, apparently they should push a minimum of 35, preferably 40) , which was causing the hard start. The could replace it for me for a mere $400(apparently you can't just get the fuel pump any more, you have to get a fuel pump replacement module which includes a bunch of associated stuff). Plus $118 in labor. And another $37 in taxes. Yay. But you know, I'd rather pay ~$550 than have to deal with a hard starting car and the chance that one day it wouldn't start. So I have them go ahead and do the work. Four o'clock rolls around and I get a call. The fuel pump just got to them, and they wouldn't be able to finish my car that afternoon. Oh joy.

Friday comes. They finish my car around 2:00. I pick it up after work, around 5:30. It starts with little trouble. It took a couple seconds, but it started without me having to give it gas. And thinking back, it usually took it a couple seconds to start, even before I had the major starting problems. I drive home, and pretty much let it sit over the weekend. I took it to the store once and it started the same as it did at the service shop. Same thing Monday morning. Monday afternoon, however, the trouble is back. Won't start without me giving it gas. I'm a little pissed. I spend ~$550 and still have the same problem. Back to the service shop I go.

Today after work I've yet to receive any calls from the service shop. So I call them. My car is done they say, we just haven't had a chance to call. The culprit is a pinched fuel line. They say that they must have pinched it when they re-attached the gas tank(they had to drop it to replace the fuel pump). Doesn't make much sense to me, but whatever, if it's fixed it's fixed.

I pick it up and the car is noticeably different. I turn the key and it starts. No couple seconds of cranking. No trouble whatsoever. I get driving and it's driving better than it has since I got it(June 29, 05). I had always put the Taurus's general not quite sluggish, but not especially responsive feel to the fact that it's not the same type of car I'm used to(I had an '89 Accord Coupe before the Taurus). But this much of a change makes me wonder. Was the fuel pump really the problem? Or was it just a pinched fuel line that they overlooked to begin with? Or am I just imagining the significant change in the way the car drives?

Bleh, I wish I had some clue about cars. :/

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Finals and Girls

This week has sucked. It was pretty much a given from the moment it started. I mean, come on it's finals week. :P

Honestly, it hasn't been too horrible, but I've definitely had better weeks. Finals have been finals. I hate finals. Mainly because of the type of person I am.

I'm smart. Not genius quality, but definitely above average. Throughout school, up until I hit college, I didn't have to work to pass classes. Concepts were easy, as long as I sat and listened to the teachers, I could generally pass any class. Hell, I managed to graduate with a 3.2 GPA. And then I got to college, and guess what? I could still coast. I didn't work at anything first semester. Second semester I skipped most of my classes and found that I did need to do some work after all. I had two classes that I couldn't coast in. But even those, all I had to do was do the homework and go to class. No notes, not studying, no worries. And here I am, a Junior, still coasting.

I've taken four of my five finals at this point and all of them had me feeling unprepared and somewhat lost. I almost think I might fail a class. But in reality, I doubt it. I'm an MIS major, and am probably doing better than most everyone else. Hell, I at least go to most classes.

Oh, and that girl I wrote about earlier? She didn't show up to the final. :/
Maybe it wasn't her that I saw after the last class. Maybe she was auditing the class. Maybe she had a conflict and took the make-up. Maybe she's got a learning disability and gets to take tests elsewhere. Who knows. I still want to see her again.

Oh, and on the way back from my morning final today, the girl that was walking towards me slipped on the ice and fell on her ass. I had actually moved to catch her, but was too slow, so I offered her a hand up. But she didn't accept it. She just said "Sorry," got up and walked off. My first thought was "WTF?" I mean seriously. If someone is offering to help you up, the least you can do is accept it. But then I realized that I hadn't said a single word, and I had been looking intently at her with my usual blank expression. I've got one of those faces that lends itself well to glaring. Hell, I normally look like I'm glaring. She probably thought that she had pissed me off by falling in front of me. Or that she had done something to offend me. Bleh.