Replacing the Clutch of a 2009 Subaru Outback

The Story

I guess the last post I made as about the trip to Maine.  Toward the end of the trip, aka during the drive home, I noticed that the clutch was making a slight ‘whirring’ sound when pressed. Turns out this was either the throw out bearing going out, or the throw out bearing having gone out and the metal sliding on the clutch springs.  Shortly after getting home, the slight whir turned into a full on screech as the bearing totally locked up and started grinding the metal of the bearing against the metal of the clutch springs.

I bought the parts, and following a guide I found online for a Subaru Impreza, managed to change the clutch… three times.

The first time, I used a non-OEM clutch from Valeo that according to spec would work, looked and felt like it would work, but alas didn’t work.  I thought maybe I did something wrong, so I took thing apart and tried again (attempt #2) with the same results.  I could kind of drive the car, but I could never fully disengage the engine from the transmission even with the clutch all the way down.  It was like driving a manual without synchros – if I got the engine to transmission speed matched then I could shift.  What this meant is that if I stopped the car if had to turn off the engine, put it in gear and start the engine in gear.  I did drive like this just a little bit to see if there might have been a need to wear the pressure plate in or something like that, but that made no difference. Continue reading

Jeep Eulogy

The Jeep came to be mine in the fall of 2000, almost nine years ago. At the time all I had was my car, which would have been silly to drive in the winter, so I needed to get something suitable for year-round driving. My Dad found the Jeep on my behalf. It went down to MSU with me and my car went into the garage for safe keeping. It was nothing special, but in an environment where you’re lucky to have a car at all, it served me well for driving around, carting friends around, trips to Meijer etc.

Sometime that winter, I was sitting around debating whether or not to drive up North for the weekend. I finally decided around 10 at night that I would go and headed up. Having missed my M115 exit, I changed plans to continue north and head toward Traverse at Gaylord. I almost made it to Gaylord. There were wisps of snow blowing across the road, but nothing concerning, until the road turned into a solid sheet of ice. Suddenly I found myself sliding sideways down the freeway at about 60-65mph. I slowly drifted from my lane, across the left lane and into the far snow bank. The front right corner of the Jeep caught the bank, sending the Jeep into a sideways roll. As best I could tell I went over twice before coming to rest right side up in the middle of what used to be four, and had been turned into three, small trees.

The damage to the Jeep was primarily to the front driver side and rear passenger side. The windshield was cracked, but no other glass was broken. I had been wearing my seatbelt as usual and sustained only a small (about 1”) impact scratch to my right leg – it’s still a mystery to me where it actually came from since there was nothing in the front of the vehicle to fly around.

There had been many accidents in that area that night, and police of various sorts were out patrolling. A state police office picked me up and took me and the bit of stuff I had packed the last few miles to Gaylord where my parents came to get me. Then they arrived, we took a loop back to see the Jeep and determine if there was anything that we could do about it. A wrecker was already there pulling it out of the ditch, a process which involved, at some point, inadvertently tearing the trailer hitch off. I’m not sure how it was held on, but I’d have expected it to hold up better than that.

Over the summer, my Dad and I (mostly my Dad) pounded, bent, welded, etc. the Jeep back into useable condition. There was a parts Jeep acquired to provide replacement structural members and other essentials that had been broken in the crash. The oddest maneuver was using a chain-binder to bend the back end back to square so that the hatch would open and close appropriately. Some of the replacement parts came from a junkyard and had lettering on them which I did not remove for several years after.

That was a big event for the Jeep. It had to take a break from the excitement for a few years. The fun would ramp up more slowly from this point forward.

In summer of 2004 I was on another trip up north when a fluid line of some sort broke. It was a hard line and apparently there was some latent damage (a bend in the line) from the accident. I was only about 5 miles from home when it happened so it was easy to tow the Jeep the rest of the way and replace the line.

Sometime in the winter of 2005/2006 the locks started to stick enough that the power lock/unlock would not always be enough to move them in one hit. Usually, several presses would do the trick, but eventually the passenger door lock quit working all together. While the failure was primarily the fault of the solenoid losing power, the total cause was something more since it couldn’t be manually unlocked either. At the time, I rarely used the Jeep and didn’t really have people riding with me, so I was content to ignore this problem until summer. When it was warm enough to work with bare hands I pulled the paneling off and, finding nothing obviously wrong with the mechanism, cleaned the old grease out of the latch and applied new to restore function.

Summer of 2005 marked the start of my foray into kayaking, so the Jeep was seeing more regular use. On one early trip to Mackinac Island I noticed that the Jeep was running a bit hot so I checked the oil when we stopped for gas. Turns out I was about a quart below the add line so I added some and we continued on. It’s probably a bad idea to drive a vehicle fully loaded hundreds of miles with the oil below the fill mark, but the Jeep’s inline 6 was built to take the abuse.

Sometime in summer of 2006 I learned that my radiator had a slow leak. This discovery came in the form of the Jeep overheating on a routine trip to Meijer. I limped it home (getting pulled over for running a red light along the way) and when I added coolant found it to be about 1.5 gallons short. Apparently Jeeps can run 1.5 gallons short on coolant before it matters. Since the leak was slow one, I put some sealant in which held for several years.

On a return trip from Traverse in later summer 2006 I ran over a nail coming down M115. I put some sealant in and inflated the tire, but made the mistake of removing the nail. The sealant couldn’t keep up with this and I ended up with a flat a few miles down US127. Fortunately, I had the spare and a mid-night in the dark wheel replacement commenced. I continued on with the spare, and found when I fixed and inflated the flat that it was damaged beyond repair. I later had a different wheel/tire sent down, probably with my uncle who was coming from TC to a MSU football game.

It was somewhat commonplace for us, meaning me and whoever else wanted to participate, to collect loft lumber at the end of MSU’s school year. This is technically illegal, so it was usually done in the middle of the night. Well, this one night was highly lucrative, and in one trip I ended up with in excess of 500 lbs of lumber on the Jeep’s rack. The rack is rated for something like 150 lbs. It held up for the most part, but this started a break at the plastic foot which connects the crossbar to the roof.

Early in Winter 2007 I went to use 4WD and discovered that the Jeep no longer had that feature. Apparently a seal on the transfer case had blown, and I had been running it without oil for some unknown amount of time. Normal drive worked fine, but the 4-wheel components were worn beyond repair. This cost $500 for a parts-Jeep replacement and was fixed the following spring.

That summer I realized that the engine was now burning, leaking or otherwise expending oil. Semi-regular oil changes were replaced or supplemented by semi-regular oil additions.

Mark at some point around this time wanted to reduce the interior noise in his Jeep so he grabbed the lift gate upholstery from my Jeep, which was removed, and put it in his. Somehow, he declared squatters rights and I ended up putting a red one from the parts Jeep in mine. It matched the likewise attained spare wheel cover.

Still in summer ’07 the Jeep developed the famed “death-wobble” in which a bump in the road could start it bouncing violently left and right at any speed beyond 45mph. This was eventually fixed by replacing the front shocks and steering damper, but not before an intermittent incident. I was driving home from work when the wobble started and I had to slow down to about 40 to stop it, much to the curiosity and annoyance of the car behind me. On the freeway on-ramp a coolant hose blew, sending coolant spraying onto the engine with the associated cloud of steam/smoke. The car behind me stopped and turned out to be one of the few people from work that I knew through Josh. He took me back to the nearest car parts store for a length of hose and some coolant to patch things up.

As the final event of ’07, the muffler and associated exhaust components took their leave of the Jeep on that same fateful on-ramp. All the retaining brackets including the pipe leading up to the muffler had simply rusted through. It was shortly replaced, but for a few weeks the Jeep was appropriately dubbed the “thunder bus.”

In Spring of 2008 the roof rack finally broke completely after too much kayak hauling. I temporarily fixed it with some small steel strips and a hose clamp appropriately cut and drilled to replace the broken bracket. It was soon replaced all together with a solid Yakima rack found on craigslist.

April 25th, 2008 (with the exception of the trade in, this is the one date of certainty for the Jeep). I had made a trip up north sometime shortly before and had swapped wheels on the Jeep. Apparently I am not familiar enough with my Dad’s impact driver, because while my concern was over-tightening, it turns out my lug nuts were under-tightened. They managed to hold out for a week or so and finally gave out about 1/3 of the way down the driveway at work. At that point, as one would expect, the front left wheel proceeded to fall off. This got an interesting reaction from the security guard when I walked up to the guard shack on foot and directed his attention to the Jeep. Four of the lug nuts had come off cleanly and had fallen out of the socket when I made the turn into the driveway and were easily reclaimed. The fifth blew off the last few threads just prior to the incident. Security brought over a floor jack and I put the wheel back on. The only lasting damage was a slight flat spot on the brake rotor where it met the pavement and some deformation of the frame which made the driver’s door hit the body when ever opened or closed. At this point, I got my own floor jack and jack stands which, along with a full toolbox, became full time residents of the Jeep.

While fixing this, I did notice that the anti-sway connector bolt had sheared. This was easily replaced, but appeared to have no bearing on the performance of the Jeep.

As the last event of 2008 I replaced the spark plugs and wires. I don’t know exactly why I decided to do this bit of routine maintenance while ignoring so many others, but I did note that the old plugs were well beyond their normal spark gap.

In spring 2009 the Jeep was up on the lift for one reason or another and Michael noticed that the upper control arm for the driver’s wheel was completely sheared. Looking at the damage, it was almost impossible to figure out how this had happened, since it was a three inch deep, inch and a half wide piece of U-channel. Regardless, it was replaced with an arm off one of the parts Jeeps.

When I went to change the snow tires out, I discovered that my summer tires were worn down to the steel belt in places. I decided just to drive on the winter tires for a bit since $400+ for new tires wasn’t an investment the Jeep was worth at the time.

Shortly after this I found out that the right front wheel hub had self destructed. I replaced it, but the process (specifically, removing the rusted on hub from the axle) took more than a week. Since it was summer, I was able to retrieve the my car for this time.

The last major trip for the Jeep was to Muskegon for the 2009 Western Michigan Coastal Kayaking Symposium. Josh and I got on the road before we discovered that the rear shocks were all but useless with the amount of weight we had in the back and on top. The trip was successful, but a bit slower than planned due to a significant amount of sway at high speeds. On the return, we were driving across a small two-track when there was a loud clunk from underneath. I looked for any apparent damage, but there was none to be found so we continued on. It was also noted on this trip that the rails were starting to come loose from the roof.

Sometime shortly after the trip, the passenger door lock failed again. Since it was summer, I couldn’t blame it on the cold. Minor efforts toward repair were taken, but by this time the CARS bill had been announced, so motivation was less than 100%.

On the return from the Jeep’s final trip to Traverse City I noticed that it was running significantly hotter than usual. I was suspicious of being either low on oil or on coolant. I added about 1 gallon of coolant and a quart of oil, again noting the Jeeps tolerance for abuse, but this did not fix the problem. I never did figure out what the issue was.

On Thursday July 23rd, the CARS bill went active. I considered a new Jeep, since this one had served me so well, but for various reasons ended up settling on a new Outback. That Monday I swapped the wheels out for the worst set we had which required air every two days to stay useable. On July 29th my Dad came down to sign the paperwork with me (the Jeep was still titled in his name) and the Jeep officially became the property of Delta Subaru. I was told that they were required to drain the oil and put in a solution which would cause the engine to seize up, which is unfortunate, because the engine might have been the only part of that vehicle that was not complete junk at that point.

Why did I keep the Jeep so long if it was such crap? It’s not that I couldn’t buy a new car, I just didn’t want to. Cars are a losing investment, so as long as any given repair didn’t cost more than $500, I was going to keep it running. The fact that my Dad has a shop, a lift and two parts-Jeeps to make certain repairs easier helped. I also don’t think any other vehicle could have handled half the abuse the Jeep saw. As of trade in, I needed new tires, new rear shocks, new rear brakes, a new radiator, possibly a new alternator and a fix for whatever problem was causing overheating. It was a good time to get rid of it. Still, I was a bit sad, I had truly hoped to see all systems simultaneously fail, turning the Jeep into a pile of disconnected and useless parts on the side of the road.


RIP Jeep

Auto Update

So, as of Wednesday, thanks to Obama’s brilliance, I have a new black Subaru Outback. It’s a bit sad that the Jeep had to be prematurely laid to rest. I was rather hoping to drive it until it flat out fell apart, but passing up on $4500 trade in for a vehicle worth $500 would have been foolish.

Despite knowing about the CARS bill for months, it still caught me off guard because it went into action a little more than a week earlier than expected. I thought I’d have the weekend of July 25/26 to test drive the Compass. I went to a dealer late Friday, but the one available in Grand Rapids was already sold. I called around on Saturday but could not find a manual transmission within 300 miles of Grand Rapids to test drive. This kind of helped me make the decision for the Subaru since I wasn’t going to buy a car I had never driven. I had previously driven the Subaru in both automatic and manual transmissions and knew I liked the manual.

The Subaru is a base 2.5i, with manual transmission as mentioned. The base Subaru came with a couple of the “essential” options that came with the step-up Jeep, the most notable of which is cruise control. The notable features that I would have been willing to get the step-up Subaru for are alloy wheels and fog lamps, which I may upgrade myself along with adding a class-II trailer hitch.

Over the weekend I test drove the 2010 Outback automatic transmission which, new this year, is a CVT. I’m typically not a fan of CVTs, but I’ll say that they did a very nice job with this one. There was no need to mash the throttle to the floor to get acceleration and it was overall smooth and responsive over the standard driving speeds. The problem with it is that CVT’s really aren’t meant for towing and the 2010 auto has it’s tow rating reduced to 1000 lbs., a weight that is limited by the transmission and one which I’m likely to approach when I do tow things.

One last note, it’s a change going from the Camaro to the Subaru. The Camaro has a V8 and an almost excessively hefty transmission. The Subaru has a H4 and a comparably delicate transmission. It feels much more like Josh’s civic and makes it nice for casual through town driving.

Cash for Clunkers

The bill made it through congress about two weeks ago and has now been signed by Obama. The quick summary is that for cars, if it gets 18mpg or less you’ll get $4500 trade for anything getting 10mpg improvement. For trucks, that $4500 comes for a 5mpg improvement. Both have lower requirements which get $3500.

I have several issues with this:

  1. It’s essentially tax payers subsidizing new cars which is just stupid. Even stupider is pointedly subsidizing those who possibly just made careless choices when gas was $0.82/gal.
  2. If it’s to be a convincing “green” bill, subsidizing anything that counts as a truck is rather silly.
  3. It only applies to new vehicle purchases. In some cases the environmental impact of a new car’s production is greater than the expected emissions savings over the life of the car. It’s also an issue because it severely limits who can take advantage of this – someone who can’t afford a brand new car probably still cannot afford a brand new car after $4500 discount.
  4. It was passed by tacking it onto a war spending bill, which is bullshit, not just in this case, but as a general rule. Wasn’t Obama supposed to quit spending money on war?

The major complaint I have read is people whining about having a piece of junk car that still gets 25mpg and thus getting nothing from this bill. While unfortunate, the bill’s purpose is not to help you buy a nicer car, it’s to reduce fuel consumption. The most commonly suggested compromise is money for any vehicle based solely on % improvement in mileage. The issue here is that an old car that gets 25mpg replaced with hybrid gets 45mpg (80% improvement) saves less fuel per year than moving from my Jeep which gets 15mpg to something that gets 22mpg (46% improvement). Despite the percentages, the former would save 133 gallons of fuel per year while the latter would save 254 gallons – near double. So, that being said, money allotted based on expected fuel savings might make good sense.

So, as said, I don’t really approve of the bill, but since I do pay taxes and all, I have little moral issue with taking full advantage of it to replace the Jeep. Which, pronounced in Spanish is Heep.

Also, for anyone who cares, Consumer’s Reports appears to have one of the most complete yet simple breakdowns of the bill:
http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2009/06/president-obama-signs-cash-for-clunkers-car-allowance-rebate-system.html

No Maintenance, Just Fixes

For those who haven’t met me in person, I drive a blue Jeep Cherokee. It’s old, it’s rusted, it’s dented, it’s been rolled once and declared totaled, and I don’t do preventative maintenance.

I have about a five mile drive into work. Last Friday, about 3.5 miles into the trip I started hearing a thump-thump noise. My first guess was that it was a flat tire. I’ve had one of those before and rolled on it long enough to completely destroy it. Not wanting to repeat that, I pulled into a nearby parking lot to check things out.

Went around, checked all the tires, gave them all a good shove, etc. I couldn’t find anything wrong, so I figured it was just the Jeep making odd noises and decided to check it out later.

Well, apparently, that was the wrong choice. I made it the additional mile and a half to work, then about 2/3 of the way down our 300ft driveway: Klunk! My front left wheel falls off right there in the driveway.

I stopped (didn’t really have an option) and walked up to the security booth. I told the security guard that I had a problem and he got about half way through asking me what it was when he looked up and my Jeep siting there missing a wheel. He pointed a security camera at it and phoned the protection services office. They sent over someone with a floor jack.

I found four of the lug nuts right near the road and the last about 1/3 of the way down the drive. As best I can figure, the four came loose and all fell out of the sockets when I made the turn into work. The remaining threads on the fifth quickly blew out and the wheel came off. We jacked up the Jeep, I put the wheel back on with the four good nuts, went and parked.

After work I bought a few new parts and borrowed a tap and die set from work. Saturday, I took the wheel back off, cleaned up the studs, re-tapped the nuts and put it back on. Results: The Jeep is as good as new, or at least as good as it was. I did twist the front end a bit, so the door rubs when I open it now, but it’s not like things were properly aligned before…

I also noticed while the wheel was off that my left connection to the anti-sway bar was completely busted. I might be inclined to fix that sometime…

Oops…

I got ranned into on Thursday afternoon… which was mainly because I pulled out in front of a van in a turn lane. It was my fault, but I understand how it happened. The girl who hit me, I’m guessing was about 17 and a little more shaken up than I was.

Damage to my brother’s Jeep: dented front right and bent tie rod resulting in a misaligned wheel.

Damage to her parents minivan: cracked bumper and headlight mount resulting in need for a new headlight mount.

Cost for them to fix: $3.24 for a headlight mount, they didn’t intend to replace the bumper.

Cost for me to fix: one Sunday spend with a jack, two vehicle lifts, an impact driver, a drill, a hammer, a blowtorch and lots of grease.

Police reports filed: none.

Parties who are shit out of luck: my brother, because I’m not fixing the dent (nor do I think he’ll care).

The best and simultaneously worst part was the “opinionated dude on a bike” who came by and first declared himself a cop (in jest I guess), then told us that we needed to move off the road before we caused another accident (we were completely to the side of the road), then told me he’d saved me a bunch of money by talking her out of reporting the accident.

We waited for her parents to come. They assessed the damage and we traded insurance. I don’t think either of us had enough damage to warrant filing a report and insurance claim. I the drove very slowly the 15 or so miles home with the right side of the vehicle hanging off the road when possible.

Kayaking – what else do you expect

So, what’s new with Matt:

Kayaking – the last two weekends have been committed to kayaking. Two weekends ago I went to up Cheboygan for an Instructor Certification Evaluation with the same group of folks who sponsored the IDW I mentioned a month or so ago. Half the expected participants dropped from the class, so instead of having two instructors and eight students we had two instructors and four students. This was nice for us, but ended up costing the club more than it otherwise could have for the three days.

The weekend went well overall. I discovered that rescues in waves really are harder than on flat water. I discovered that I don’t know as much as I should about navigation. I rediscovered that I get very nervous when teaching. But, despite all this, I did achieve a Basic Coastal certification – which was the highest we could get given that we didn’t have conditions of 3 foot waves or greater. Now to see how much I use it – I am signed up to teach two classes here (Lansing) on behalf of the LAWWP once the school year starts.

Last weekend was the Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Symposium in Grand Marais. We headed up late on Wednesday night. Oddly I didn’t end up driving the end shift – which is usually about the time D falls asleep mid-sentence. Todd got D and I integrated into the instructor system up there, so I guess we had instructor status even though we still paid to go this year. Doug took a little more advantage of his ‘yellow hat’ than did I, but that surprises no-one.

Probably the most exciting part of the symposium was the surf that was driving up by the North wind on Thursday afternoon. There was an impromptu ‘class’ which C, D and I participated in. It was grand fun, but not much of a class. More just sporadic tips from instructors. Nearing the end of the time there were five of us out there and no instructors (except unofficially D and me) which had to be an amazing liability risk.

Friday was the cruise along pictured rocks, which was beautiful as expected. Lake Superior was a little choppier than in previous years, but not bad and the weather was good unlike last year. Saturday was class day, but I ended up not doing any on-the-water classes, instead opting for expedition planning, kayak photography and Michael Gray’s cooking demo in between. There was one slot for on the water classes at the end but, as I told Callum, I wasn’t really interested in having someone tell me what I was doing wrong at that time.

Saturday night was drinking at the Lake Superior Brewing Company. I exercised a bit more restraint this year and only had 4-5 drinks, rather than getting shit faced and going down to the beach until 4:30 in the morning.

Living – I should be moving toward GR soon. I am in theory out of my current place on the first of August. I say in theory, because I haven’t really found a new place to live yet. I have an aunt and uncle near Alticor who have offered to let me reside at their place for a while.

I would like to acquire a house in that area, since I have too much junk to keep in an apartment and I’d like to not just pay hundreds of dollars per month to some unknown entity. This of course requires finding a house I like and getting a loan (or becoming magically rich). I could get an apartment and storage unit as a temporary solution. I could also stay with my aunt & uncle, but I see that as a temporary solution which is really only useful if I can find a house I like before winter – otherwise it’s just an extra jump in the moving.

Vehicles – my jeep was having undamped oscillations somewhere in its chassis. So, my Dad is seeing if they’re fixable right now. Fortunately, I have Michael’s jeep at the moment for kayak and stuff hauling.

Pictures Etc.

Some pictures I took on my way home today. They might have been better taken yesterday, but alas I didn’t have my camera with me. I certainly would have liked to have a tripod, since taking 1/3 – 1 second pictures by hand is rough. (I took 30 trying to get these two.)I forgot how much I like taking pictures.

In other news, the first ski day of the year was had on Sunday. Doug and I joined up with a friend of Doug’s from radio land and went up to Boyne Mountain. The conditions weren’t amazing, but I wasn’t skiing on dirt either and given the current stage of the season that we are in, I’m inclined to take what I can get. Demoed a pair of Volkl AC3’s which were nice, a little easier to get one edge, but a little slower edge to edge. They certainly would be better in heavy powder, but my skis are about as good as I expect to find for groomed stuff.

Steve recently started a myspace account and prompted by his questions, I resurected mine. It’s interesting finding out tidbits about people who I haven’t talked to in 7 plus years. 😛

I have decided I want to read the Dragonriders of Pern series. Its 18 books or something, but they’re written for kids so I’m figuring I can read the set in a month.

News from the Life de Conk

This post is going to cover the last week of my life. That means you chance getting bored by the end, so I’ll try to compartmentalize stuff so you can skip without worry of getting confused.

Break part 1:

I went up to TC for Christmas week. First night back, went out to a few bars w/ friends – mainly those associated with my brother, since few of mine are still around. Second night, went to a family gathering in Empire – acquired one new directv dish (score one for me). Third day (Sunday), parents got back from Florida, went to midnight mass with a belt that didn’t match my shoes.

Christmas day:

Put off gifting until 1pm or so, then opened stuff. My entire family isn’t huge into gifting, so this is not a particularly large event. I acquired a PSP for M4 and a 20″ flat LCD monitor for M3 on behalf of the parents. Both gifts were well received (not really surprises though). Note to all – a 12 year old, presented with a new PSP system and games – will be come completely reclusive for the rest of the week if allowed to do so. M2 and I got a nice tool chest (each, not to share). This was nice, and somewhat a surprise to me since I hadn’t asked for anything. I owe my Dad a cordless drill battery, but they’re very expensive in stores. Nice family dinner rounded things out.

Break part 2:

Tuesday, went into town and met up with Sean – talked about the current state of Rome (aka TCSF Church) and watched some Star Trek. I considered going to bar with Sean and friends – gave up on that. Wednesday through Saturday – didn’t do that much. Went to see Eragon with M3 and M4 – it was good, but intended for younger folks. Saturday Mark was going to have a bonfire so I stayed around. Went to dinner with parents and upon our return we found no fire, but instead a Mark sleeping soundly at 9:30 at night.

I did at various intervals in here finish about one and a half books of the Left Behind series. There was also a good amount of family socializing, which is good given that that’s why I go up North.

Yesterday:

Return to EL, went to the lab from about 3 – 11 pm to take data. Took data. Got home about 11:30 and tried to set up internet to figure out what station was showing the ball dropping. About 11:55 I gave up on that and just flipped through the low number channels until I found Dick. Watched the ball drop – whoopidy doo!. Heard firecrackers and revelry. Discovered that I had one homemade explosive left and took it outside. Lit it and threw it in the pond. Heard the thunderous boom and put all other firecrackers with in a mile radius to shame. Came back in satisfied, frittered about a bit and went to bed.

Today:

Didn’t feel too grand. Hopefully I’m not getting sick. Decided to clean up my room and the mess that I made of it unloading my jeep. (BTW – a tool chest, two bins of ski gear, two bags, two satellite dishes and a computer make for a full Jeep, with no rear view capabilities). Started doing laundry, and got sidetracked into cleaning the basement. Result – room still a shithole. Basement much cleaner. D and I took two Jeep loads of stuff to the trash. Its impressive!

Status of things:

My Jeep – my 4wd was apparently not working. This I discovered a few weeks ago. This week, I discovered that a seal had gone on my transfer case, leaving it without oil. This resulted in my transfer case biting the dust, so I currently have no 4wd. New transfer case will cost $350-$400. Junker Jeep: $500. We’re going for the whole Jeep – since 4wd is not an immediately critical concern. Maybe a whole Jeep for $1000 and then mine becomes the Junker. If anyone finds an older Jeep in decent condition for cheap, let me know!

My room – shithole, but we’ve covered that. I’m working on it, and with the basement cleaner some of the crap that I’ve accumulated in here will be moving. For now, let’s just say sitting on the futon is not really an option and navigation may be dangerous.

New years resolutions – made, but not posted here.

Me – maybe slightly sick… hoping I’m in the getting over it phase vs. the leading up to crap phase. We’ll see. Currently $1044 in debt, pending M2’s repayment for laptop purchase, then almost breaking even for the year. Speaking of which, new resolution – keep better track of finances – not that this has lead to problems in the past, but someone of my age and analytical ability should have a more exact grasp on his incoming and outgoing cash flow.

Laptop – touch pad going crazy. Not really cool.

Skiing – has not yet happened, despite 3 different plans to do so which have all been canceled due to lack of snow. This sucks, very very badly. I’m considering packing up and going to New Hampshire or Vermont. I’ll get somewhere cheap to stay and find a job once I’m there – except the point is to spend all my time skiing, so job hunting would probably be a wash.

Tha-tha-tha-that’s all folks. Goodnight.