September 17th, 2003


Dear Ghods... I'm sorry, OK?... Love, MacThud

I was gonna write some good stuff here for once.

I wasn't just gonna post quizzes.

I was gonna glow about a Very Fun Trip with catya to NYC, for epilady and chestertodd's utterly fabulous UnWedding, even though I managed to badly bruise penk's new car (whacked the driver's side-mirror on one of those stupid, new, tall, traffic-cones, that look too much like a distance-shot of one of the big barrels to the road-weary, until they are too close to do anything about; looks like a $250 bruise, thanks to brittle plastic mount-points in the inner-workings of the power-adjust mirror) which was borrowed for the trip due to its absolutely stellar mileage (50 mpg diesel, at $.30/gal cheaper than low-octane gasoline!)...

I was gonna rejoice in a bit of NRE, now that a long-time-ago crush has returned to the area, albeit for only a couple months, and we've finally gotten together for some fun...

I was gonna spout a bit about how much fun it is sort-of-working at King Richard's Faire this year, and contemplating whether I should return to the booth I've worked for the past decade (Fellowship Foundry, or remain a free-agent, if I decide to work Faire again next year...

I was gonna reflect a bit on the ongoing partner relationship with catya; and how interesting it is to have been proven an introvert, and yet to have more people tolerance many times than my extrovert partner; and just how many assumptions of how things are (based almost entirely on experience of how things have been) can be proven wrong (for both of us, in both directions); and, and and...

But instead, I'm gonna vent about the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very-Bad Week I'm having.

I've got a huge report due at the office (all about the evolution of ODBC on the Mac), on which I've made nearly no progress. Well, that's not quite true. I finished it, once, weeks behind schedule. And emailed it to the next person in line. And promptly managed to over-write my final version with an ancient draft. Before learning that the email never got through.

So I've made nearly-no progress on the rewrite, in the two weeks since. Because I've had a kajillion new and largely high-priority Support Cases to handle in the meanwhile; along with trying to wrap my head around the almost-but-not-quite-formalized QA process; and poking at corporate partners to Do The Right Thing with the software we're building, cause it will Help Us All; and trying to re-awaken the folks who first wrote our cash cow products, who have largely been resting on their laurels, rather than keeping up with competitive and partner developments, alerting them to the things that We Had First but never released -- and now we've lost the flash, because someone else released it already -- and released it better than what we've built....

Last week, driving my van to work, I was pushed a bit far left in the fast-lane, and whacked my own driver's side-mirror on a dead sapling that had been left leaning over the guardrail. So that's a looming repair bill, in addition to the one for penk's.

Yesterday, Tuesday, driving to work in the rain, I suddenly became aware of a rather significant cloud of vapor behind me. It didn't quite look like it was just water, but it wasn't BLUE (burning oil), and it wasn't WHITE (burning radiator coolant), so I kept driving the last mile or two to the office. It was too wet to figure out quite what had been going on when I arrived, so I just went to work...

I didn't leave my desk much through the day, and didn't get back to the van until about 7pm, when I noted that there was a significant coating of oily stuff on the whole back end. OK -- something's whacked -- time to check all the fluid levels. Brake is fine (just replaced master cylinder -- ought to be); radiator is fine (just checked that the other day, OK); oil is a little low (but it's due for a change, so a quart or so down is OK); transmission is LOW -- barely even dampening the dipstick. That's BAD.

I just got the transmission rebuilt, complete with a new trannie cooler (since it's a big van, and I haul stuff fairly regularly, that's important). Turns out the trannie cooler had a bad hose and a couple bad fittings, so the quart of fluid I poured in poured right back out, almost as quickly. Had to have the beast towed 25 miles to the mechanic (thank you AAA), while I took a cab 35 miles in the other direction (don't ask how much that cost -- it was only slightly less than the tow would have cost, without AAA).

My regular mechanic didn't do the transmission, cause it's a complicated one -- 3 speed with automatic electronic overdrive -- but it's a warranteed job, done by a regular subcontractor they use. They're fighting that fight now -- but I'm going to be dependent once again on the largesse of others, for the 35 mile one-way commute to the office, and getting to Faire for the weekend (not to mention, I typically spend Saturday nights sleeping in the van), and Ghu only knows how long it'll be to get the trannie rebuilt again.

Oh yeah -- did I mention?

My regular mechanic found my van this morning, in the parking lot of the gas station next door to his repair shop. No biggie, but he had to pour two quarts of transmission fluid in to make it go at all, and that was all gone by the time he'd driven the 50 feet between lots. So, he put the van on the lift, and looked around. Found the bad hose, and the bad fittings, and did what had to be done to fix these (thinking that the cooler had been there before the new trannie). Filled the trannie, and started things up, let it warm.... and found that it wouldn't shift worth a damn. The rebuilt trannie is cooked. So it needs another rebuild.

Now, this is absolutely warranteed work -- I've done nothing to the trannie, except check fluid level, since it came back, and I haven't had to add anything -- until the hose went south. But I don't know how rushed I can make it, and I don't know how rushed I *want* to make it, given the ineptitude they showed with the last job. My mechanic tells me this is very unlike that trannie shop, and they will make it right, but... It's not tasting very good right now.

Last time, they did things reasonably quickly, but not like lightning -- it went in to my mechanic on Monday, then to the trannie shop on Tuesday, and back to my mechanic and then me on Friday. This time... it got to my mechanic's hands on Wednesday morning, and won't be to the trannie guys until Thursday. I just don't see that I can expect it back before a week from Friday.

I'm not at all sure what I've done to anger the powers that be, nor what offerings to make, nor where to make them, to make up for that transgression -- but if you've any thoughts, or if the powers owe you any small favors... I'd appreciate a good thought or three, out there in the aether.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna keep on keeping on. Somehow.


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