This DIDN'T work into my budget.

The car, after my rad hose replacement (2 & 1/2 hours, 2 hours removing old hose, 20 minutes adding new one), continued to spew fluid and so I decided (without evidence, as is my wont) that it needed a new water pump. The leaks were too far back to be the radiator.

So, when time and money permitted, I booked it into a well reputed mechanic, a lot of google searching, but I finally found one. 

Tuesday, the 14th of July.

I'm not thrilled about this, I'm anticipating some rather costly repairs that I've been pretty happily ignoring.

And, sure enough, by 11:00 AM that morning the mechanic calls, the problem wasn't with my water pump, it was a loose rad hose, it's fixed...

Um, Oh...

And, BTW, we noticed, the muffler you wanted us to put on, well, it's not the muffler, it's the entire exhaust system...and there's issues with the ball joints, the shocks, the coil springs, vague oil and transmission leaks, brake hoses...he could go on.

I authorize him repairs up to $600.00. "I mean, is it worth it?" I ask, and he understands, explains that often it's sentiment, knowing your car, and I explain that I'm not afflicted with those for this, it's all practical, business, business, this isn't the Volvo, after all, and after a bit of hedging he agrees. Approved up to $600.00, he'll ignore the exhaust, work on the rest.

He calls me later, estimates $772.00, I haven't the cash for this but agree, back to the pawnshop...

The daughter, 14, she arrived last night, she's tagging along, a day in the life of Pa...

After the pawn and before the trip up to retrieve the car. He's looked at all the data, looked underneath the car, it isn't worth it. And so I'm just going to pay for the pressure test (fix the rad hose problem), and the muffler check. Under $200.00. And I'm in part relieved, this car was only ever a beater, not a project for me. and I'm glad I didn't over invest in it.

We take a cab to go and pick it up, the daughter and I. Take cab, the daughter arguing it's an extravagance, for me, it's a relief, the $772 Quoted repairs don't accommodate my budget...

...At the mechanic's he's explaining to me what's wrong with the car. He's got the overly intense stare of a Zealot, the crazy eyes, he's telling me again about the loose ball joints, broken coil springs, leaking shocks, the exhaust, the loose rad hose, the right rear tire worn to the point where you can read the legend "REPLACE TIRE NOW" raised in the rubber..."Never seen that before...." he tells me. The only tire I haven't replaced.

"Don't know who fixed it...., and I don't mean to give any insults...but..."

He knows, he knows damned well...and he continues, the brakes, as well, were recently repaired, they're loose, all over the place...they'll work, sure, but he explains to me how they should have been repaired, me, I'm playing along, the idiot, "Damn that last mechanic!!" I say, but we both know who that mechanic was...

Maybe I can sell it for parts, the engine, the tranny, their good, easily worth $500.00 as a parts car he assures me, but not at all worth investing in fixing. And I'm praying that it lasts the summer, no more logging roads, the first big prospecting finds will be sold and reinvested in a jeep,...

After the mechanic, the daughter, she guesses..."You fixed the rad hose and the brakes, didn't you...?". "It'll be a great car for you to learn to drive on" I counter.

At the restaurant, G, in preparation for his trip to Italy, has been reading every facebook post by every distant and forgotten relation. And finding disturbing clips, Italy, now overrun with African Immigrants, committing crimes, getting paid to do nothing, blighting the Italian Economy...

He's got a theory. Round 'em all up and send 'em home. He'll be the next Mussolini. The owner agrees, and the new Italian waiter, as liberal and kind as he is, depending on the "distinctness" of your ethnicity, agrees as well.

Me too, I'm xenophobic, I remember, as a child in a small town in Saskatchewan, an entirely white childhood, 12 years old before I saw my first black person (in full tribal regalia, I felt I had stepped into a National Geographic magazine...), the population of the country has increased by ten million, or a third, since then, mostly through immigration, visible minorities overwhelm you everywhere you go, "round 'em all up" I say, "Starting with the Italians...".

2 Weeks, 4 Shifts to go. I can be a little free with my opinions...

And, having been away over a year, some customers are curious enough to ask what I've been up to.

"In jail for credit card fraud." I tell them. "I was taking customers credit card numbers and using them to buy stuff on eBay...selling them off to Russians..."

Some laugh. A very few. Others laugh, nervously. And a few, well, there's just a double take while I ask "How would you like to pay again?...".

I mix it up. Try new lines....like ..."They never found the body, so they had to release me....". Somehow they find this funnier. more acceptable...

Coffee time, Beano as always, and while there's nothing new I meet the boy for a coffee. Trifling conversation, I tell him of the squirrel that burst into my apartment through the balcony...

"Had me wondering, I mean, what if it was one of those gerbils, I don't know that they were all accounted for, could have slipped out unnoticed in a fart, all mutated due to all the genetically modified corn I've been eating..."

- "...that's why you don't eat GM foods..." he parries.

And I tell him about my tdcs device, designed to make me a genius like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, by running a low amperage 9 volt current over my head. Only I haven't bothered hooking in the resistors and potentiometers as my multimeter broke anyways, damn the amperage, I'll be all about the voltage...

- "you're sure it's not dangerous?" he inquires, by way of humoring me, he's skeptical and I just wish he'd do a bit of research before he rained on my parade...

"Probably I'll become Telepathic, or maybe even Psychokinetic, there could be a whole host of unintended superhero side effects..." I assure him. "..but not to worry, I'll live...I'll need to get a different set of clothes though..."

These conversations, inane and absurd as they are, they're his preparation for the real world...