awfulhorrid: (Wood Spirit)
After this quarter's finals next week, I've got a break of two weeks. My dad has been in pretty bad shape the last year or so and [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm and I had been going back and forth on driving down to NC to visit him, my mother, and my grandmother for a few days. After a lot of consideration I'd finally come to the conclusion that this was a trip we probably shouldn't take since we're pretty stressed financially right now. Then I talked to dad on the phone ... The short version is that the cancer that resulted in the operation to remove 2/3 of a lung has now turned up in his lymph nodes. We decided that perhaps we'd better go to visit this break after all.

Of course this doesn't mean our financial situation has magically cleared up. I'm looking for a way to raise some money for the trip (or to cover things after we return.) To this end, I'm putting up an offer of custom walking stick / staff making. I've got a good pile of material that's been drying for several years now ready to be turned into staffs or walking sticks. I have a few stain colors available, mostly brown to black, and I can do some carving - although my skills are mostly characters or line work. (Sorry, I'm not quite up to figures yet!) I can even mount a marble in the tip for that classic Wizard look.

My starting price for a staff is $40. For a higher donation, I'll do much more customization. Heck, even for $40 I'll try to give you what you want! I make no promise for speed, though, but I'll try my best. I also do other woodwork and toy making - some people seem to enjoy my floggers and impact toys! My prices there vary quite a bit, but if you ask me about it, I might be able to do it.

My paypal account is (barbarian)(at)(ripco)(dot)(com).

Example of my work - a shillelagh: http://pics.livejournal.com/awfulhorrid/gallery/0001dr08

What now?

Mar. 25th, 2011 01:44 pm
awfulhorrid: (Default)
This morning my old Saturn was pronounced officially dead. Oh, it starts and I can probably drive it to the junkyard, but it's no longer fit for even short-range transportation. In the past few months I've been getting small warnings that it wasn't going to last much longer—the periodic OBDII warning light, issues with shifting, losing oil and coolant ... lots of smaller issues pointing to a single undeniable conclusion: it's a 16 year old car with over 300,000 miles on it. Really, there's only so much you can do to prolong the inevitable with that.

On the way home from school last night, the transmission suddenly shifted into low gear and just stayed there. I've had this happen a few times and usually if I shut it down and wait a few seconds the problem clears up. (Rebooting works in an amazing number of devices these days; who knew?) This time was different. As I pulled off the road the oil warning light came on and the engine shut down even before I could stop. When I hit the ignition it started right back up, but now there was a cyclic whirring sound from the engine and the oil light kept flickering on and off. I knew there was a gas station a few miles down the road, so I continued carefully onwards and stopped there. It was closed, but there was a Walgreens across the street and at least I was off the street and in a well-lit location.

Upon checking, I discovered the oil wasn't even hitting the dipstick. I could see a sheen of oil on the accessory belts and a spray of oil across the underside of the hood. For those less than automotively inclined, these are not good signs. The dark oil oozing from the front of the engine said the words 'head gasket' to me which is bad, but I knew I'd at least be able to get home. I called [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm to let her know what had happened then purchased three quarts of oil from Walgreens. That put the oil level back to normal and reduced the engine noise back to merely concerning rather than immediately alarming. It was a little nerve-wracking trip. I could hear the oil-soaked belt slipping every time I had to slow down (and the alternator output decreased, of course.) I drove to the garage near our home and filled out the drop-off form. The mechanic called me this morning and gave me the news.

I'm really not sure how we're going to swing a replacement vehicle. The balance seems to be between payments to a dealership -- which means a higher overall cost, but probably a more reliable car and more options for recourse if something is wrong with it -- and trying to find an individual seller with a one-time payment in our range. That way seems almost certainly to be buying someone else's problems. My mechanic has said if we do that then we should bring the car by his garage first and he'll check it out for free. Apparently there's a firm benefit to being regular customers. I'm leaning heavily towards going through a dealership, though. We can figure something out for the monthly payments, although the down payment, tax, title, and other costs remain a concern.

Augh.

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