Friday, October 24, 2008

Dead car...

Yesterday after Lisa got off work, we had to head out to get tickets for the Witches Ball on Saturday. We stopped to fill the gas tank, and went towards the store on the xway. As I was getting off the ramp, something grumbled and felt wierd in the car, I shook it off as the awful pavement. We drove 1/4 mile down the road to the bank, and as we pulled in, the car did it again, and once more as we pulled out. We decided to head home rather than get the tickets, and the car slipped, chuttered, whined, and jerked the whole way home......yep, transmission.
Of course, by then all the tranny shops are closed, so I get online to get a few phone numbers to call tomorrow (today). After getting the numbers, I get curious and check a few online car forums, and got a HUGE shock. Apparantly '03 Saturn Vue's are notorious for bad transmissions. I read post after post of the same things happening to literally hundreds of people on the same exact vehicle. Many stated that after talking to Saturn's customer care, they are well aware of the problem yet doing nothing about it. A few people said that Saturn offered to help by covering half of the repair bill, but most were dealt with covering it themselves. Now for the kicker....... EVERY person that posted had the same figures about repair cost from Saturn, every single one. The price????.......hold on to your hats.......$5-6000 plus labor. I almost fell outta my chair when I was reading this. There is NO WAY we can afford that much right now, not a chance. We're down to the last 6 months or so of payments on that thing, and now it decides to take a s**t?? I honestly don't know what we are going to do. We sure as hell don't have that kind of cash laying around, and of course can't take on another car payment. Even if we could, we couldn't get financed. Thanks to 20 hour weeks most of the early spring, bills were late and our credit is in the crapper. We're really stuck. Just when we were FINALLY getting caught up on bills, here comes this royal kick in the ass.
Luckily, today is Holly's day off, so she is coming here and running us both to work. I'll be making some calls to tranny shops today from work to get an estimate, which hopefully will be lower that the outrageous ones from Saturn, like that really helps anyway. Half or whole, we just don't have it. Lisa has to work tomorrow, and I don't know how she is going to get there. Work will be getting me a company vehicle soon, but that doesn't help a bit right now. I'm angry, frustrated, depressed, and worried all at the same's not a good day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Last post continued...

Looks like the digital may finally be deciding to take decent pics again, so I snapped one of one wall of my new room. This one shows my stock of camp stoves (3 burner fuel, 2 burner propane and single burner fuel), propane, camp cookware, lamp oil, camp dinnerware, heater, 1 of the propane lanterns, 4 oil railroad type lanterns, handheld cb radio, flahslights,perculators, teapot, and hunting & fishing knives. There is still a bit of camping gear in the garage I need to bring in, plus bring down the spare oil lamps from elsewhere in the house. I have plenty of other things to be finished and organized in here, and I'll post pics as they get gear, hunting gear, tents, cots, sleeping bags, air matresses, butchering supplies, fire starters, fire extinguishers ( A MUST!), ammo, guns, candles, rope, tarps........I have quite a bit already. Others I have listed to buy.
People I talk to already think we're nuts for the whole homesteading thing, but when I bring up backstocking/preparadness, they almost laugh as most people do to anyone else that does the same thing. It makes it hard to talk about to most anyone. I recently read an article that compared survivalists to Ted Kysinski (spelling?). People do tend to laugh, but when they don't, you get that look, that "you're f**king nuts" look. Tell them we grow our own food and they say "thats great", tell them we have chickens and meat rabbits and they say "ummm ok", tell them we want a wringer washer and they say "why the hell would you want THAT??", tell them we dont own a microwave and they look at us like we're aliens, tell them we want to get rid of the tv and they ask "what will you DO?", but tell them we want to stock a years supply of food and they are ready to call the guys in the white coats with the cute little jacket that lets you hug yourself all day.......Let 'em say what they want, let 'em think what they want, fine by me. They have their opinions and views, and I have mine.
We aren't the folks living in a cabin hourding MRE's, AR15's and 20 different camo outfits, (though I do own several of both), but we're what I would call realist survivalists. We aren't unlike the people from the cold war era of the 50's-early 70's who built bomb shelters in their basements and stocked them full of food and supplies. These people had every right to be scared, and to be prepared for the worst. But just like those who stocked for Y2K, they were a joke to most since they prepared for something that never happened....luckily for them. Just because nothing ever DID happen, it doesn't make them nutcases for preparing for it. That's where we come in. We prep for many reasons, all of which I have said in previous posts. With our current war/enemy status, the way our economy is going, the thought of losing one of our jobs, injuries, illness, natural disaster, power outages, and many others, we want to be ready.
It's not like we stock things we don't actually USE either. We grow and can our own food already; I already had the fishing, hunting,shooting and camping gear; we already use the oil lamps throughout the house, and anything we will buy in bulk we already use. (oats, flour, rice, etc) That's the key to the way we are stocking-stocking things we use and little to nothing else. Sure I don't really NEED all the ammo, but I bought most when it was less expensive; we don't really NEED 2 cases of propane for a 4 day a year camping trip, but it was on sale *cheap*; we don't really NEED 150 lbs of flour, but Lisa bakes a LOT nothing is really wasted time or money. Plus another thought.....someday we'll be at the point where we will have to use up some of this stock so it doesn't go bad....we could easily do a month or better on rotating stock and making room for new alone and not have to visit a store at all for anything but milk. Hows that for a thought??

Monday, October 20, 2008

preps and stocking

Yesterday we FINALLY got around to getting signed up at sams club. Lisa's work paid for memberships for all the employees, so wth. Even though I hate the idea of giving more money to Walmart, there are some good deals there.
While walking through the isles, looking at gallon jugs of mayonaise and 5 gallon buckets of pickles, we started to fill the cart with things that we actually USE, and things to stock up on. We didn't get a lot, but we got the notebook from Lisa's purse and started a list of what we plan to get on the next trip. 25lb bags of flour, 50lb bags of rice, 12 packs of Sterno (chafing fluid by store/martha stewart definitions), 5 gallon buckets of cooking oil, cases of TP, 25lb bags of sugar,coffee, tea.......lots of good deals on great things to stockpile. We came home, went through the list, and once again went through a list of all things necessary on the list we already made. We spent a few hours going through our list while the sound of bubbling water from the canner full of chicken soup filled the house....not a bad afternoon at all. We did get 50 lbs of flour and a weeks worth of lunch food, so we did well. We normally don't buy junk food, but neither of us could resist the 12 pack of cheese danishes......wth, we gotta indulge once in a while.
We talked more about canning and storing food, and decided on making some other things to can. We'll start this week with chili, then move on to various meats after this weekend. The weekend will be too busy to do much since Lisa will work Saturday till noon, and then the Witches Ball and my friend Mike's annual Halloween party after that. Possibly on Sunday we can do some more.
While we were talking and the canner was going, I sat and cut up two 5 gallon buckets of the last of the green peppers for the freezer. I also got some carpet thread and strung up the last of the chili's and jabenero's to dry and hung them here in the basement room. It stays dry and warm down here, so they should dry well. When the chili's are dry, I'll grind them by hand with a mortice and pestle and make my own chili powder and try the same with the jabeneros. I figured it was worth a try with them too, if it doesn't work well, I'm not out anything but a little time. Just one more thing to add to the stock list and cross off under the "spices" category. Our list is a bit beyond the basic necessities, though we have a seperate small list for a BOB or to have ready to go beside it. IF something were to happen and our preps came in handy, I don't want to be the guy living on ramen noodles and potted meat.(ICK) I'd much rather have a good stockpile of good quality food and food prep items. I hope we never will need it, but I'm happy it's there just in case.
The food list will take a while to work on, but slowly in between I am stocking other things down here as well. I had some time to kill before Lisa got off work on Friday, so I went to the Walmart near her work and got 10 packs of Coleman mantles. I was looking at some prices and figured by the time I replace the globe, pump, and strikers in dads old fuel lanterns, I can just get a new propane one. I already have 2 propane lanterns, but I'll go ahead and get 2 more with the plastic case and start buying more cans of propane. I already have a dozen, but more can't hurt. I'll go ahead and get a couple spare globes too. Same as oil lamp chimneys, they're glass and DO break, so having spares is a good idea.
I plan on continuing this post later, but for now I have to feed the critters and head to work.....grr thats what I get for sleeping till 6 instead of getting up at 5 as always........

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