Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snow, Cheap Car Parts, Contessa Coffee

Inspired by some fellow bloggers, I'm going to try to do a periodic Three Beautiful Things post. It's a nice idea -- first, because describing the beautiful things in my life helps remind me of their existence (which I need), and second, because I should post more. I should post more, not because I have a great readership [1], but because I want to be a better writer. And, just like photography or cycling or running or knitting, one of the best ways to get better is to do it more. So:

I hadn't been really paying attention to the forecast yesterday, but there was snow last night. When I woke up this morning and glanced outside, everything was covered in a blanket of white. Unexpected snow always makes me happy. Even when it means shoveling, even when it means scary dangerous driving ... it's just so lovely to look out on a frosty, snow-covered world. I think that some part of me will always be seven years old, face glued to my bedroom window with the lights off, watching the pool of light cast by the lamp-post at the bottom of my driveway, hoping to see snow falling, knowing that that would mean a snow day, and breakfast in my pajamas. I miss that lamp. It made me think of Narnia.

Cheap Car Parts:
I have a 2001 Volkswagen Golf. It's a diesel, which means that it gets fantastic mileage - usually in the mid-to-upper 40s on the highway; I once broke 50 mpg with highway driving. That's great, and saves me ... oh, probably $10/week on gas over a similar car that uses gasoline (it would save me more, but diesel is pricey these days. Yes, I've heard about the veggie oil kit. No, I'm not going to drop $2600 on a kit to get "free" fuel. $2600 [1500 for the kit, 1200 for the install] buys a LOT of fill-ups.). Anyway ... the car has been getting expensive lately, to the tune of:
Early December: New snow tires, $450. Yeah, those are important.
Late December: New front brakes, plus rotors, plus a fluid flush: $400.
Early January: New glow plug controller module, plus three glow plugs, plus labor ... $500.
Early January #2: New battery, $100.
Last Thursday: Rear wiper motor.

The good news on the latest problem: I said, "Dammit...this CAN'T be that complicated. I'm going to try to fix it myself." I was right. There's a motor; the motor drives a gear; the gear turns the wiper. The gear is made of plastic. The plastic teeth on the gear had been reduced to a fine dust. So I called the VW dealer ... they don't sell the gear. They don't sell the gear assembly. They sell a new motor assembly, and it's $150. So here's the beautiful part: I got on, and had a couple of people offer to sell me used ones for "best offer". Here's hoping that that's a lot less than the $150 the dealer wants. And if it isn't ... well, I found an online source ( that'll sell me the part for $100. Yay!
Update: New motor coming. $45 shipped. Hooray!

Contessa Coffee:
I love coffee. I *need* coffee to function. I'm an addict, and I'm OK with that. But, unlike some hard-core coffee lovers, I don't completely turn my nose up at flavored coffees. Flavored coffees are tasty! I found one I really like: It's made by for Barefoot Contessa (on foodtv); as far as I can tell, it's coffee with a little cinnamon. And it's wonderful. Especially on a snowy cold morning.

OK, OK. Enough with the blogging. I need to get up and be productive. On the agenda today:
Cleaning the house, acquiring black and white medium-format film, stretching my illiotibial band, doing some sort of exercise (yoga? Stationary bike?), getting groceries, doing laundry.

[1]In particular, it looks like (based upon the hits I get) my travel advice is pretty popular. Which is cool, and I hope it's helped some people get where they're going with a minimum of pain. HAVING SAID THAT... Google is great - they will tell you what queries people have run that returned links to your site. So, for example, my site shows up for a lot of queries on "flight cancellation" and some very specific queries, like "what to do when your United flight is cancelled on a Thursday in Chicago." On the other hand, I get some REALLY odd queries that return my page. My favories so far:
"lorna bagged latex" (?!?!?)
"traveling in turkey liquid" (It's the only way to fly!)

1 comment:

Tommy said...

Good coffee? Try Intelligentsia Coffee. The large majority of it is organic and/or fair trade and 100% of it is TASTY!