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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Well, La Dee DA....

Wow.
Seriously.
Just wow.
I've had my brake light out for a while and I've kept meaning to have it replaced. And I decided to look online to see if it was something complicated or could I do it myself. Turns out, it's really simple! The hardest part is taking the cover off to find the brake light.
So, I drove off to the local auto store, and as I pulled up, I decided to go ahead and check my air filter while I was at it. It wasn't terrible, but it was dirty and had a bit of wood chip stuck in it. I decided to replace that as well (especially since I've noticed my gas mileage has slipped a bit recently...)
I went in, and the girl working there helped me find the air filter and the bulb and for $22 walked out in less than 10 minutes. I replaced the air filter immediately as I had taken it in to compare.
As I drove off, I could feel the difference already. My car was happier.
Next came the brake light. I headed to my sister's, replaced the bulb, then called her to help me test it (pretty hard to press the brake light and see if it's actually coming on by yourself.)
It worked! Bingo!thankyouverymuch!
Today, out of curiosity, I decided to check just how much that would have cost had I taken it to someone to do it.
So, I looked online. Of course. And do you know that the price they showed for a brake light was about $80?!?  I paid $7.50 and got not one, but TWO bulbs! And they want to charge $80? What kind of crack is that? (now, in all fairness and full disclosure, my regular mechanic charged me just $5 last time it burned out, but I knew it was a favor and I've known him for years. But knowing that if I had taken it to someone else?! And gotten charged a ridiculous fee for a part that costs so little and the labor is less than 5 minutes. Ridiculous.)
And the air filter? Listed for $86. Are you feckin' kidding me?!  Wow.
Just wow.
I don't know how they can get away with those kinds of prices for something that takes less than 10 minutes altogether and doesn't require any special tools or knowledge, nor does it require environmentally safe elimination, such as oil.
It's good to know how to do some simple things.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

on getting older...

This week I completed another rotation around the sun. The numbers keep getting higher, which is both a good and bad thing.
Good, because, well, it's better than the alternative.
Bad, because, well, the passing of time takes a toll on the body.
Creaky knees, achy joints, other medical inconveniences.
I suppose I'm lucky- mine aren't all that bad.  I can still walk, I can still move around on my own, and the other medical inconveniences are manageable-nothing life threatening or seriously life altering.
So, it occurs to me that these are the years I should be having a mid-life crisis, and I now understand where that comes from.
When you're younger, you're so busy trying to make it, and you have all this energy to expend that your main drive is going out there and doing! By the time you get to your "mid years," that energy is no longer quite what it used to be. And it makes you think. Combine that with the health issues, even if minor, and then you start to think.
Like Winnie the Pooh thinking... Think. Think. Think.
And you start to look at your life and decide what you want to change, because you realize you no longer have as much time as you used to. Or maybe, you just get tired of going along with expectations of what you're supposed to be doing.
But I've never been one to quite do what I'm supposed to do... so, no, I didn't get married, have the kids, get the steady job that pays the bills but never quite satisfied my soul. Nope. Didn't do that.
As a bona fide Gen-Xer, I think I absorbed the lessons early that you can't really depend on that-that somehow you have to make your own way. But I'm still figuring out the how. That's the tricky bit.
So, maybe the mid-life "crisis" that is so cliche' isn't really about a crisis at all, but rather trying to figure out what is going to make you happy. For some, it's about rebelling against everything your life has been up to that point, but that's a bit like shooting yourself in the foot because you don't like your shoes!
I say, keep the foot, change the shoes!