Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fuel Pumps and an Orange Balloon

Well, back to the fuel pump, for a moment anyhow.

I was chatting with a co-worker, W., a month or so ago, and he was complaining that the fellow he was trying to sell an old car for $500 bucks to was grinding him down on the price. I asked if it ran and W. said it did and had $300 worth of new tires he had just put on. I said if it ran I'd buy it for $500 bucks as I was needing a car for the crash pad/cottage/second residence (another long story I'll get to sometime). As we both on our way to work, he said to give him call when I got back in town and he'd show me the car. I said OK, and oh what kind of car is it? 1986 Mercedes Benz E300 was his reply. Well this floored me because I am particularly fond of older German cars, ( got two already and my second favorite vehicle I ever owned was a 1984 Westfalia).

Upon return, I called W. and he said he would bring the car by as he had errands out my way and I could take it for a test drive. It is sky blue and except for a rather large dent in the rear passenger side door, reminiscent of the dent my daughter put in her car in turning into a pillar in the underground parking lot, seemed to be in excellent condition.
We hopped in the car and went to run the errand. Apparently the car was well maintained, yadda, yadda, but had recently been stalling out during the warm up. Probably an electronics issue was both W.'s and my "educated" guess and he had in fact located a chap who had the suspect part, that was the errand.

We arrived at the address to find a modest house with a large garage behind it and the driveway and parking pad full of similair vintage Mercedes in various states of dismemberment. The chap was parting out old Mercedes. We chatted for a while, turns out he was a lay minister for a minority group and had become too busy to keep up the "auto parts" business and was trying to get rid of the stuff. We talked about the stalling problem of the blue car and he said he had other parts as well if needed just let him know and he'd take it off one the several donor cars he had.

We decided to try just the one part that we had thought was the problem and installed it as we chatted, the car seemed fine, but it was an intermittent problem, so you never know. As the car idled away, the chap went to one of the other cars and grabbed something out the inside and then proceeded to install the small center hub caps which had been missing on the blue car, he said "you might as well have them". $20 bucks for the electronic part that W. said the chap had listed for 80 on the internet add and free hub caps. Sweet.

Car ran fine, we drove back to W.'s to consumate the $500 sale, as the car was registered in his wife's name and would have to sign the transfer. She was home when we got there and although we all work at the same place, I had not met her before, W had been a friend for a while, but only at work. W. told her I was going to buy the car and she began what seemed like a job interview for the mechanic's pool; asked if I had any "experience" with cars and what I was going to do with it and if I was going to keep it in good shape. I told her about my passion for automobiles and how I had recently rebuilt an engine for my '69 Porsche 912 and about my other car (later).
She seemed to nod, not seeming too impressed, and told me the blue car had been in the family since it was "two" (years old) and that her parents had gotten the car from friend's a the consulate and her father had polished it almost every Sunday until they had given it to her a few years ago.
She then turned to W. and said "I want 'AJ' to have the car". W. nodded and I took out the wad of cash ($500) to complete the deal. She said "NO. I want him to have the car, no money". I was stunned, I think W. was too a little. That's how I wound up with a $500 car for free.

It ran fine for about a month but the stalling did start up again this last week and I took in to a mechanic that I had met through a good friend and the mechanic diagnosed the problem. Fuel pump, no biggey, let's just get a new one. Oops. Mercedes Benz. New pump from MB $1800. Mechanic says he'll look around, ( I'm not stuck as I have my white car to drive) and he finds a used one for $836. A bit steep, but considering what I paid for the car, I am happy to say I would have happily paid the $1800 for the fine blue car and when it is all done, would have spent twice that for an old car just to keep from driving my white car (1997 BMW 850, V12 engine, 39000 original miles, a bit of a collector car) around town too much.

Oh and did I mention, the dented door, as we walked out to leave W. goes up to the attic in his three car garage (with a car hoist) and brings down a replacement door in perfect condition, "you need to get it painted" it was white.

Yesterday I visited my daughter, she loves to go to the mall. Lot's of activities and lots of people to shake hands with. She is nearly 18 but severley handicapped. She can hear but can't speak and uses ASL to express herself. She functions at about a 2-4 year old level depending on the skill. She loves people but becomes very anxious at times. She pinches and pulls hair and will even head-butt when she is stressed. She live on her own now, well actually, she lives in her own apartment with full time staff. I now visit her on the weekends as much as possible.
We had gone to mall the weekend before and had a good visit, the mall had been extremely packed last weekend and there seemed like no room the move at times.
This week we returned to the mall and found it was far less busy. Our routine consists of getting a balloon, the staff at the Party store all know my daugter and often offer her a free balloon, but I always try to get her to pay and get change for the .53 cent helium filled orange (she almost always signs orange and picks an orange balloon from the bulk box) balloon. I have found that if I just tie the balloon to he wrist that it becomes liberated within minutes, I believe K. is a charter member of the Free the Balloons Society, it never bothers her to see the orange orb grow smaller and the string slip out of reach, she enjoys the anticipation and the event of the purchase, once that is done she cares little for the object.
I have found it if I get a really long ribbon, really long, I can tie a loop for her in the middle and then tie a loop on the end for me, I am bothered by orange orbs growing smaller I guess. The added bonus is that K. gains a new found confidence when tethered with the balloon ribbon, she normally sticks like glue, mostly holding my hand as we walk, tugging at clothes if I let go and grabbing my chin to turn my head so as to look at her signing if I am not attending properly, in her opinion.
But with the ribbon tether she will let go and start to run taking up the 3 feet of slack and seems to have a sense of confidence that is not present unless she is holding your hand.

Last weekend we couldn't run, the mall was that packed, this week we ran, she loves to run and laughs and runs and signs where she is running to in the mall.
I mentioned in an earlier post I had gotten a concussion. Dr's orders for the last two weeks- no aerobics, exercise etc, getting Physio for the sore neck as well. Friday the Dr said it was OK to start some moderate cardio, but to listen to your body and be careful.

Running with K. was fun, but then it hit me, a little too much and bang I was done, fortunately my soon to be ex came to the rescue. I called her as I sat and tried to get some lunch into K. but she had become both bored and anxious, she's very preceptive of people's feelings and if your sick, her reaction seems to be fear driven and she will pinch, scratch and or head-butt you, it must be some sort of fear driven reaction in her (?). With a bump on my head and bloody ear (K grabs my rather large ears and digs her nails in rather than pulling my hair, as I have a crew cut essentially, I had to leave them at the mall.

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