A Series of Unfortunate Events

I’m told bad things always come in threes. Well, yesterday the third one finally showed up. (Locations censored until the right things go to the right places).

I’ve been sick since Friday night when I finished my last paid day at Highland for the summer, and am still recovering with headaches and congestion – we’re getting there. The second thing was that Kelly is supposed to start her new job at the day-care on Monday and has been called up for jury duty Monday-Wednesday. The employer is fine with it, but it’s annoying.

The third one is big though. We drove from Broadway into Harrisonburg yesterday, about 15 miles all up, to get some paint and (Kelly was hoping) some wallpaper for a dresser we bought really cheap at Goodwill a couple weeks ago. The car has been doing some strange things when started cold recently. It’ll violently shake until it gets up to temperature (and then it’s fine). It did that when we left Broadway, was fine by the end of the street. Was fine all the way to [Censored], where we got paint. Couldn’t find wallpaper, so we went over to [Censored]. They don’t carry wallpaper either, it’s all special-order now. So we leave and get in the car, turn the key and.. vroom-vroom/click-click/vroomclickvroomclickvroomclickvroomclick. I shut it down, thinking there’s something stuck in a fan blade or something (that’s what it sounded a lot like). Lift the hood, find nothing obviously out-of-place, get Kelly to start it again, and the whole engine is vibrating, and it seems to be in sync with the vibration as if it is the engine that is knocking something, although I couldn’t see what. Shutting down again, I checked oil and transmission fluids as last resorts, and both are fine.

We resort to calling Randy, Kelly’s dad to see what he thinks. He and Kelly’s mom come in to Harrisonburg in the van and he takes one look (and listen) at what it does and says he thinks it’s misfiring (at least) one of the cylinders and that we will have to leave it overnight and get Sonny (his mechanic of choice) to tow it in the morning. So we removed everything of value, and leaving a single key hidden inside and the drivers door unlocked, we let [Censored] staff know that it was there to be picked up in the morning, and rode home in the van.

Kelly called Sonny this morning, and he was intending on picking it up and looking at it, and would contact us and let us know what we were looking at in terms of damage and cost. We’d decided earlier in the summer that a second car was needed sooner or later, both because of break-downs as well as our needing to go two separate directions in motorized vehicles (and Randy’s truck isn’t always going to be available).

We basically came to the conclusion that if it’s minor engine, we’ll consider it. If it’s major engine, we’ll probably get another car and get it worked on over time, if it’s transmission, we’ll get another car and consider options. Kelly has a real attachment to Juanita, as it was her first big purchase on her own, and for that reason I’d like to keep it going as long as we can. We’ll just have to cross-match the desire to keep Juanita vs. the economics of maintenance.



I had a call from Kelly around lunchtime. She’d heard from the mechanic. Juanita is toast. This is makes decisions easier.. We’re looking for a new car. Anyone who is aware of a good-working Sedan, Station-wagon or SUV for sale in the Broadway/Harrisonburg area (or up to a reasonable distance away) for up to $5,000, please let me know.


Yesterday afternoon I had a phone interview with 3 members of Rackspace staff based in Herndon, VA. It went very well, I was pleased with how I answered the questions and they seemed to like me as well. I was invited to an onsite interview, and it has been scheduled for Monday morning at 10am.

Basically the job involves building servers from specified parts, testing and installing operating systems using automated processes, and some diagnostic work on running systems.

We’re planning on going to the DMV tomorrow so I can sit for a full drivers license, and I need to read up and make sure I know what to expect. We’ve been working on a small list of things that we can pay for or start saving for already, including paying off the smaller loans and the well over-limit credit card, as well as cell phones and looking for a second vehicle. As summer begins to come to a close we’ll begin looking at houses, and it would be really nice to look into some additional furniture in the not-too-distant future.

We’ll also be able to save a huge amount (expecting in the vicinity of $5-10,000) to start a savings account to use for moving costs and such. So I’m fairly hopeful that I will get the position, though I haven’t made any purchases or done anything silly as yet..

In other slightly worse news, I had to tell a client this morning that her computer was irreparable. I feel particularly bad for her because it is her primary source of income (she uses it to scan and print her artwork for selling in multiples) and has small income also. I agreed to waive all my fees (I’d quoted $30) and that if she could afford $45 for a new computer I’d install all the software as well as restoring the backup I’d taken of her PC. I found a P4 1.8 for $50 on eBay and have bought it, it’s much faster than her P3 800, and has an XP Pro license (vs. the Millennium license she had, with XP Home installed). Hopefully I can have it to her by the end of next week. I’ll also get to scalp her old PC for useful parts (not much. Hard disk goes to the new PC, as will at least the CD-RW. I’ll get memory, video card, 10/100 ethernet and a sound card, and a PSU..?)

Here’s hoping things get better for her in that respect, and that everything else works out for me!