A wedding; some visits; some car troubles, and more!

This past weekend, I had quite the flurry of events.

But first: a short interlude about how thankful I continue to be for my job and generally being home:

While I really enjoy my coworkers, the setting, and the actual work involved with my daily tasks at work in Sales Operations… the core of my enjoyment (and it is pronounced, my enjoyment) comes from working in a DIY’ers paradise each and every day.  The projects of the past 8 years are a core part of what got me through schools and cities which were, at best, not good fits for me… and so it is doubly (trebly?) sweet to now have a paying job ensconced in what I love!!! 🙂

SO.  Back to the weekend’s trip.

I had a very busy week, prior to this trip, as I spent it repairing the two oil lines into the turbo (the supply line, and the return line).  It was a big pain in the ass to do, not least of all due to problems actually getting the right part I ordered from the British company I went through… but lo and behold, my 20 year old car no longer leaks any oil!

With that new-found greatness under my mechanical belt, I still packed a tool-case alongside my suit-case:

Tools and suitcase, packed and ready for almost anything.

Tools and suitcase, packed and ready for almost anything.

And this was Friday night, after one of the more grueling work weeks I have yet had (it just was consistently super busy, combined with a spat of poor nights of sleep).  Because, being a connoisseur of bad choices, I decided that the best way to attend a wedding on Saturday evening in Durham, NC… was to drive the 9 hours down from Cleveland, OH that same day!

Wedding!

And so drive, I did.  On and on, through the extremely rainy and foggy conditions from Cleveland to the NC border.  Once at the border, it was suddenly sunny and 70, a wide variance from the snow doom still behind me at home.  I got to the hotel, shaved and shined my shoes, changed and drove over.  I eventually ended up at the Duke Chapel, where my good friends Chris and Liz were to be married:

Duke "Chapel," which is more of a cathedral

Duke “Chapel,” which is more of a cathedral

The “chapel” is really more of a cathedral, and the interior supports that hypothesis:

View of the organ and the impressive columns

View of the organ and the impressive columns

 

The altar

The altar

Once seated in that cavernous space, we waited until graced by both bride (a Duke undergrad) and groom (a Duke grad alumnus) were in place, and the wedding could wed its way to victory:

Lovely people, a lovely ceremony

Lovely people, a lovely ceremony

A beautiful ceremony in a beautiful space: I am not surprised to report that the reception which followed, at The Cookery, was equally delightful.

The reception at The Cookery, all decked out for the evening

The reception at The Cookery, all decked out for the evening

Great to see old friends, I was happy to make it down there and celebrate.  After that 9 hour drive and then wedding+reception, though… it was also great to make it back to my hotel and pass the hell out.

Downtime in Arlington!

Sunday saw a nice and easy drive up 80 onto 95, passing the 14 people pulled over in ~300 miles of highway, with spring weather and good music accompanying me.  I drove up to visit my friend Andrew, and upon my arrival we went into SERIOUS lazy Sunday mode.  We had delicious food (Guapo’s Mexican food and Bonchon-style Korean chicken, two of my favorite foods discovered in 5 years in the DC area), there was time for a nap, and otherwise a SERIOUS computer game overload with our mutual friends Tony and Jefferey.  The day went by entirely too quickly, but a pleasure to have visited.

(unexpected) Car downtime in Arlington!

I woke up on Monday morning, went out to my car intending to have breakfast with my friends Deb and Kim elsewhere in Arlington… and found that the power steering was out, on my car.  I limped the handful of miles over to Cassatt’s Cafe, where we ate breakfast.  As I waited, I texted my friend Mark, the Passat B4 Master, and he knew off the top of his head what to look for (and later, which tools I needed to replace this).  I jacked up the car, and looked underneath, and found that the power steering pump had drained the last of its power steering fluid quite rapidly:

Power steering pump absolutely pissing fluid. Not an ideal discovery.

Power steering pump absolutely pissing fluid. Not an ideal discovery.

Deb was an angel and let me drive to her house, and then drove me to an auto store so I could buy a replacement pump, fluid, and the necessary tools, AND use her driveway to work.  Got the passenger front tire off to make it easier to work, and found that the replacement fluid put in drained out in less than 13 miles:

That is a lot of power steering fluid NOT in the pump, but on the ground.  Ugh

That is a lot of power steering fluid NOT in the pump, but on the ground. Ugh

The afternoon was a lengthy process, working with what Mark told me and trying to just figure out how to remove the old pump.  Eventually I figured out how to get the cradle which holds the pump to swing down; how to remove the pump and its lines (in one case whacking myself in the face with a wrench slipping off a damnable rusty bolt!); taking a trip to a nearby auto shop to have them remove the pulley from the old pump and pressing it onto the new one; and then buttoning it all back up.

Playing mechanic in Deb's driveway

Playing mechanic in Deb’s driveway

Test drove the car as the sun started to set, and had zero leaks combined with the best responsiveness I have ever had from the power steering.  It has taken 6 hours and change to figure out, but I had figured out how to replace this pump and saved hundreds of dollars by doing it myself.

I was, that night, a guest at Deb’s and her family’s home, as they are very gracious people.  From board games (Love Letter, Zombie Dice, Corsairs) to delicious dinner, to their delightful standard poodle Lucy…

Lucy, Debs' family's standard poodle

Lucy, Debs’ family’s standard poodle.  A much nicer ascot than most.

… it was a great time, albeit an unexpected one!  My deepest thanks to Deb and to Mark, for their respective home and help.

Departure (with a side of additional unexpected car issues)

So Tuesday morning saw another brief check of the power steering, without a single leak.. and onto the road I went, headed for Ohio.  An hour into the trip (out into Maryland, beyond the awful traffic of 495 N Beltway/mess), I stopped and checked, and found no leaks – all was good.  No more than 15 minutes back on the highway, though, the brake came on… and then the brake pedal got mushy… and then it gave out completely.  Oy.

Engine-braking my way off at the next exit, I was lucky to have an auto shop right there, which was nice enough to bump me to the top of their list as someone traveling out of town… and they found and patched the spot where it burst.  The brake lines were fully on my spring project to-do list anyways… now they are first priority!  I am definitely glad I am safe (and eventually got home safe, later on Tuesday).
All told: a long weekend indeed, filled with good and less-than-ideal, but as per always: NEVER a dull moment in my life, it seems.

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