A Few Small Repairs

Source: Coach.com

Sunny came home with a list of names
She didn’t believe in transcendence
‘And it’s time for a few small repairs’, she said
Sunny came home with a vengeance

“Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin

So, there’s been a series of mishaps around these parts lately. Crumbled supports, breakages, blockages, etc.. Oh, and things mechanical and structural too.

Some improvements had been on the to-do list for months, but we’ve had a few unplanned surprises crop up too. “Best not to ignore it,” the professionals always say in that grave, mortician-like bearing they have. I’m always struck by the helplessness one feels when receiving news that something is broken followed by the cost to fix or mend it. Depending on the attitude of the person offering the bad news, I either feel like schoolboy being asked to stay after class, or a grief-stricken sufferer accepting comfort from a dear old friend. There’s apparently a lot of psychology that comes with being a plumber, mechanic, or medic.

My car is a good example. It’s a 2007 Toyota with now over 175,000 miles on it. I bought it new and have been its only owner. The six of you out there might recall that it has a dent on its rear end from a parking lot hit during the infamous “Egg Foo Yung Incident” of a few years ago. About a month or so ago, I began to hear a new groaning-like sound from the engine whenever I began to accelerate. At first I thought nothing of it. In car years my Toyota and I are about the same age, and lord knows I’m known to groan when I accelerate too. So some age-defining sounds are validating to me, on their own terms of course.

My mechanic thinks otherwise.

Your engine mounts are completely worn out and all four need replacing,” he explained. I asked what would happen if we just ignored it. It seemed like a logical question to me given the age of the car, plus I have no idea what engine mounts are anyway. He just stared back at me for a moment. “Ignoring this will result in serious engine damage,” he said in a stern, algebra teacher-like tone that I assume he uses with people like me. “It will also greatly impact the performance of the vehicle. You don’t want to be driving with worn out mounts.” He clearly wasn’t choosing a dear-old-friend persona for my benefit.

When I later went over the high repair cost with Gorgeous, and thought aloud whether this might be the time to get rid of the car to save money, she was steadfast on the importance of maintaining it.

Keep the car. Mine is still new and nice and I want it to stay that way.” My head continues to explode at the number of indirect messages inferred in that response.

Two pressing needs in our home right now are new carpeting and a replacement toilet in the master bathroom. The toilet is a no-brainer that can easily be resolved with a trip over to Lowe’s and arranging with either them or our plumber to install.

The carpeting is a more time-consuming project, or so we’re making it to be. It’ll be all about looking at samples followed by long and deliberative discussions about what we each want and how we’ll pay for it. Last year we put a band-aid on this by buying two runners which cover the worn areas of the carpet. It now has a dorm room-cum-covid lockdown look that screams “Replace this before family and friends see it!” Or a blog audience too come to think of it.

Our problem, though, is that neither of us appears ready to want to start this project. It’s too daunting at the moment. I’m guessing that sometime in the next ten days or so we will pop a champagne cork over a new toilet (now there’s an image) and pat ourselves on the back for taking care of something. A trip to the carpet store will be delayed for an indeterminate length of time. Stay tuned.

A need to paint the guest bathroom and adjacent hallway is definitely on the spring agenda, though. Technically not a repair job, of course, but rather a leftover item from our pre-pandemic punch list. The original plan was to do this ourselves. But in a moment of happy hour-induced honesty, we freely admitted to one another that neither of us has the necessary skill set to paint around bathroom fixtures. The owner of the local paint store highly recommended “Painter X” but warned me that because he has a full commercial schedule, he tends to arrange residential jobs far in advance. Sure enough, a phone call with Mr X in February placed us on his May calendar. We’re fine with that. I’m assuming that he can paint around a vanity mirror better than me.

Not to be outdone, our doctors are also in on the scheme to offer the healthcare equivalent of a car mechanic’s opaque caution. Over the last two months, there have been multiple scans, draws, samples, etc., all in the name of preventive care. The same robust “best not to ignore it” messaging is offered except this time, thankfully, it’s all wrapped with a kind, bedside manner. Well, easy for me to say; I wasn’t the one having to undergo three successive mammograms in as many weeks. No amount of smiles and compassionate talk is going to make that a pleasant experience.

Source: Harmonystuart.com

There is happily good repair news to report: a source within mi familia informs that two of my siblings, who hadn’t been speaking for all of last year, are now back in good graces. It seems there was a recent 90 minute phone call between the two with promises to keep up on a weekly basis. Weekly? Good lord, they might be pushing it. Nevertheless I believe this marks the first time in many moons when all four of us are at peace with one another. And it didn’t cost a dime.

Book Recommendations: I can recommend two that I really enjoyed during my recent blogging hiatus: (1) ValΓ©rie Perrin, Fresh Water for Flowers (2020 Europa Editions); and (2) Ian McEwan, Lessons (2022 Alfred Knopf).

Until next time…

39 thoughts on “A Few Small Repairs

  1. Nice to ‘see’ you again, Marty, A sad, poignant song that evokes many memories when I first listened to it (1996 – checked release date). I Re listened to the lyrics. Always up to interpretation.

    Interesting observation about the psychology that comes with trades and professions. As you know, friends and family who love you will never judge you on your carpet and floors.πŸ’•

    Darn, on the mammograms and the scare. (extra hugs to you and Gorgeous) Thanks for the book recommendations, Marty. Looking forward to next timeβ€¦πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually saw Shawn Colvin perform in a small club before she was famous, Erica. But I just love that song regardless — 1996? Oh, my. So long ago!

      Thanks for the hugs. I’ll be sure to let her know. She has a bit of a road to travel now, but we are ready for it.

      Thanks, Erica!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: we are in the high maintenance years now. I am in the yearly mammogram club now due to my sister’s diagnosis, but 3 in 3 weeks?!?! I hope everything is ok with Gorgeous. Nice to see you back on the blogosphere, Marty.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh how I giggled at this post Marty. Your car is a year older than mine, I am going for fixing it, cheaper than buying a new one. Ever the eclectic shabby chic girl, I like the rugs. Huge hugs to gorgeous and to you, for other scary things. But we won’t give them energy. ❀️❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess the rumors of your demise were exaggerated! My stepson’s car is from the mid-1990s. He has over 200K miles on it and recently had it repainted. It’s a Chevy so it’s not one of the German cars that are made to last forever. Maybe it’s a guy thing? Hugs to you both on the mammos. Yuk!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good to have you back, Marty. Thanks for the smiles and recommendations. Next, sympathies to Gorgeous – three mammo’s in three weeks. Buy that woman something – whatever she wants! And agree to get your Toyota fixed. Our own Toyota Prius lasted until 334,953 miles. We were the only owners and drove it for 2 months with the head gasket blown (4214 miles.) (See my “So Long Prius” post if you don’t believe me.) So, stop being such a baby. Gorgeous, again is right. Congrats on the new found peace in the family. Our family has also experienced such a miracle – between my sister and one of my brothers. It only took my mom’s passing to make it happen. But at least it did. My last suggestion is to have two matching runners rather than two different ones. Then having the two runners will rise to the level of “interior designer” idea, and you can forget about getting new carpet for an even longer while. Once again, welcome back. Keep enjoying life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m blown away by 335K miles, Betty! That’s an honorable feat if I’ve ever heard of one. We’re laughing at your matching runner suggestion — a good one, but maybe just replace the carpeting and be done with it already. πŸ˜† Sigh, yeah, families. Always some bit of drama, eh? I look forward to checking in again at both of your doings on your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Heh heh, look who’s come out of storage!
    πŸ™‚
    The car:
    Ours is a 2003 Toyota Camry with 430K on it…just sayin’…
    The cork:
    What an image indeed!
    The mammograms:
    Be kind, be gentle and I join you in whispering plenty of prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness, Marty is back!! Keep the car, fix the mounts, and appreciate how much you’re saving by not having to buy a new one which has risen to a whole new range. I need to consider new bedroom carpeting, mattresses, and our go-to-chairs in the family room, but I can’t quite bring them up to the top of the to-do-list. We had some medical to-do’s ourselves and have checked a lot of them off. I wish your beautiful wife the best in working through hers. Again, glad to have you back in the community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We still like having two cars, in spite of the expense. I also have a sentimental attachment for that old buggy — in fairness, it hasn’t cost me much in the last few years other than new tires and oil changes. As my mother was fond of saying, “it doesn’t owe me anything.” Thanks, Judy!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Fab to see you back Marty! πŸ™‚

    So sorry to hear about your old Toyota, and it sounds as if gorgeous feels about you + her car the same way as Himself feels about me + his car! I hope it’s not too financially painful keeping your old faithful on the road… My Honda (with admittedly a lot less miles) is making a strange noise. I’m trying to pretend I don’t hear it, but also know I have to get it into the shop to be checked out. After having my catalytic converter stolen late last year, I was hoping for a gentle year on my pocket this one. Also not great to hear about the 3 mammograms – I hope that the outcome was a good one?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you about wanting to just ignore the sound, Debs. This particular “groaning” sound started about six weeks ago, and it bothered me enough so that I finally gave in mostly out of fear that something might happen too far from home. I’m so used to just general maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations, etc., that it was difficult to get up the courage/motivation for something more challenging. But now the sound is gone, so I’m obviously glad I did it. Do it for your Honda too, you’ll be glad!

      Gorgeous was diagnosed just yesterday with Stage Zero breast cancer. I probably won’t be blogging about it, but we’re grateful it was caught early. She’s having surgery next week — we were aghast at how quickly that was arranged. 😲

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marty, I understand your decision not to blog about that. I’ll drop you an email shortly.

        I’ve used the excuse that we’ve had a 4-day weekend which has meant 2 shorter than normal weeks, which generally means everyone is busy and grumpy. So I shall ring my garage and try to get something next week(ish). I will feel better, I know it, especially when it stops groaning every time I go round a corner!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful to see you again here. I understand about your attachment to your old car. Mine is 20 years old and I love her, I do. As for what you walk on, whatever. If it works well enough it’s good. As for the mammograms, hoping all is well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cars. My first infiniti was a J30. I drove her for 22 years and she had less than 100k miles. Felt like I had lost a(nother) child when watching her drive away.
    Toilets. So easy to install yourself. Just make sure you get new lines and a wax ring. πŸ₯΄
    Mammograms. My doctor has been trying to get me to have one for YEARS! I figure I can mash my own boobs flatter than a pancake. But…just the best wishes to your better half!
    Here…four years of sobriety…down the drain…but I’m still kicking! LOL
    Good to see you back.

    Like

    1. Never a problem, Laurel. 😁 But seriously, me? Install a toilet? Oh, please. Like that will ever happen! There are laws about me getting within an inch of any plumbing or electrical unit! πŸ˜†

      I hear ya about seeing a beloved car go. I’m just not ready to say goodbye to that one yet. So in the end, I was glad to see it get fixed — even though it cost me a fortune!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Marty,
    I understand having projects to do, and some simple ones, and not wanting to deal with them.
    I got a new boyfriend, and he came over and worked on some of them for me πŸ™‚
    Good luck to you on your car issues, and sending Gorgeous prayers that all will turned out fine.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey Marty – Some of your travails have a ring of recent familiarity to me. IDK if you’ve been checking any of my intermittent posting about these events, especially since one of my IRL friends who is also a WP blogger pointed out to me that the dates on my posts may be confusing. Even with that, here’s the link to one in my most recent series.

    Old ladies need help!

    I draft them then edit them then split them into shorter scheduled ones which may be the reason for the unclear dates. I also hope the series of mammograms were not for Gorgeous and/or did not reveal anything serious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Sue. I perfected the return from hiatus in being able to write a blog post after many months. What I need to work on is the reading of other bloggers! πŸ€” Hope to get to yours soon! Many thanks.

      Like

  13. Always so much fun to read your posts. Although I did let out a groan or two on the repairs – mechanics and doctors are dangerous. They always find something! Hope Gorgeous is okay. Mammograms are so scary they can send us women to a cardiologist for a skipping heart beat.

    And three cheers to your siblings. This has kind of happened with my guy and his six siblings. All seven are talking to each other now. Nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

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