Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WOW!!! What a week!

Well, the past week and a half has been busy, interesting, and at times, a not-so-funny comedy of errors. Let me explain...

About 2 weeks ago my Check Engine light came on in my minivan. Mike checked the oil, the gas cap, and all the other things that he could think of that would cause this and couldn't find anything wrong. The van appeared to be running fine, just the light was on. As a precaution we only drove it in town when necessary. After a couple days when it didn't appear it was going to fix itself, we took the car to a local auto shop here. After putting it on their diagnostic computer they determined that the light was triggered by a sensor in the exhaust system...either something was wrong with the exhaust system or the sensor was bad. They felt that it was probably still covered under our warranty so didn't mess with it.

Mike called Dishman Dodge and spoke with someone there. He agreed that the problem was a warranty issue as well and they made an appointment to have it fixed last Thursday. So on Wednesday night Mike's dad came and traded me cars. He took the van to Dishman, received a loaner car, and spent the day doing errands in Spokane. When he went back to pick it up they told him that they had actually found two things that were causing the light to come one. One of them was a warranty issue and the other one cost $350 to fix!!! Of course, it was one of those things that had to be fixed to avoid damage to the car!

The day before Mike and I had just discussed how we had managed to overspend on our flooring project leaving us a little "lean" in the financial area. Also the day before Mike had visited the credit union where we keep our very meager savings account and nearly emptied it to get cash for his week long trip to Boise this week (most of his expenses are reimbursable, but the reimbursement will not arrive for 30-60 days). So, the $350 bill had to be put on the credit card, ugh!!!

Car fixed, now ready for All Star baseball games in Coeur d'Alene. Having to drive there three days in a row and paying for that gas was not something we were looking forward to so we drove the van, which gets the best gas mileage, the first two days. The final day, Sunday, we decided to take Mike's pickup to Plummer and load up some landscaping block that Mike's dad was getting rid of. Then we would take his car from there to Coeur d'Alene.

Halfway up PeeDee hill the pickup starting making some weird clicking noises. By the time we got to the top of the hill it was blowing TONS of white smoke and trying to cut out unless he kept the accelerator pegged. When we got to flat ground it seemed to improve a little so he decided that he would try to limp it into Plummer (another couple miles) and look at it there. But on the next hill climb it did the same thing, except this time the smoke was black. He decided to pull over and as soon as he let off the gas the pickup died. It wouldn't start again.

While we were there trying to figure out what was wrong some friends of ours from Plummer drove by on their way to church. They stopped, offered some suggestions and encouragement, then headed into town, but not before offering to trailer the pickup back to St. Maries if need be. We called Mike's dad and he came and picked us up.

Mike had a suspicion he knew what part was possibly causing the problem, so when we got to Cd'A we headed to Schuck's to buy said part (did I mention that we are kinda broke right now?!?). Then we went to the game.

After the game, back to Plummer, and install the new part on the pickup on the side of the road. Got it installed, attempted to start the pickup....NOPE, apparently that wasn't what was wrong! So we had to call our friends, Walter and Denise, and take them up on their offer to load up the pickup on their trailer and pull it back to St. Maries. Of course, this got us home at about 9:30pm, which was too late for Mike to mow the lawn and for us to get some of the clothes washed that he needed to pack as he left early the next morning. Oh yeah, and when we were getting out of Walter's pickup in our driveway, I heard Mike's cell phone (one of those Palm Treo smart phones that are so FRAGILE) hit the ground and break into several pieces....I didn't even ask!

It was one of those weeks that makes my stomach hurt and my hair turn gray(er), but there were some definite blessings hidden in there as well. Let me list them for you (it makes me feel so much better about the situation)...
*at least ONE of the items wrong with the car were covered under warranty
*we had recently talked about looking into trading in the car...this got it past the talking stage, now we are looking
*we were not running late on Sunday. Had the pickup broken down when we were running late on Saturday Ike would have likely missed the warm up part of his game.
*the pickup made it to a great spot when it died. The field access on the side of the road where it stopped had enough room for the pickup and Walter's pickup and trailer when we were loading it.
*when we left the pickup by the side of the road we were concerned because Mike did not have his key with him to lock his tool box in the bed of the pickup. No one touched his tools.
*we got the pickup loaded and ready to go just as the heavy farm equipment arrived needing to use the field access that we had been parked in all day.
*Walter and Denise...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Mike left for Boise first thing Monday morning, we could not have left it there for a week.

I feel better already! :)

In addition to the fiasco part of the last week, I do need to say that the All Star games were absolutely FABULOUS!

Friday night we played Lewiston. Lewiston baseball is notorious for being very skilled, as their good weather permits them to start practice in the late winter months, rather than late spring like us. It was an evening game and the weather was great. The game started out as many people expected. Going into the top of the third inning we were behind 10-1 (at this level the boys play 6 innings, however after 4 innings if one team is ahead 10 or more points the game is over). Then our boys kicked it into gear. We started hitting the ball well, pitching well, capitalizing on mistakes made by the other team, and playing really good defense. We battled back and lost the game, after 6 innings, 12-11! It was such an exciting game. It was interesting to watch the teams and crowds leave the field at the end. Lewiston, the winners, were quiet and dejected looking. St. Maries looked like they had won the World Series.

Saturday was Ike's 11th birthday...can you believe it?!? We were running late that morning, but managed to get him there just in time. After the game we set up one of those pop up shelters near the field and cooked hot dogs for the boys and their families. It was fun, the team loved it, and clean up was so much easier than if you have a birthday party at your house!!! They played Timberlake that day and won was kind of a boring game, but Ike played really well. In fact, he even got his name in the Coeur d'Alene paper the next day. He popped out once, and got a single, double, and a triple (another one of those that was just feet from clearing the fence).

Sunday was the fateful broken truck day. But baseball went well. We played Coeur d'Alene. We jumped out ahead early, but Cd'A kept battling back. It was extremely close the whole game, but we ended up winning by 1 point I think. Ike had an interesting game, a bad tag and two bad throws (by him) scored for the other team 3 different times...but he evened it out with two great plays at the plate and two more REALLY long hits! He also got beat up pretty bad, he was hit by 2 pitches while catching and another while batting. They ended up taking third place in the tournament, which was a very good showing considering the competition.

Mike left for Boise on Monday morning and I had to spend the day yesterday at our location in Pullman, Washington so Ike and Cassidy stayed in Plummer for a couple days (Kaittlin is still at camp) so I have been "home alone". Although it is weird to not have anyone there it is kind of nice to have a little peace and quiet...I have not gotten nearly as much done as I would have liked, though.

That's the update for now. I am hoping for a much quieter second half of July! :)

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