Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Working On It

As far as shortcomings go, I am not in short supply. I am so rich in this area of my life, it is surprising that anyone would be willing to spend any time with me. Of all these shortcomings, the one that probably troubles me the most is my inflexibility. It is bothersome because it is a totally self-induced and unnecessary neurosis. I make plans, I follow those plans, and if events deviate from those plans, I get pretty broken up about it. This inflexibility takes many forms, including obsession with timeliness (mine and others), emphasis on routine, and aversion to change. It's nowhere near an actual disease like OCD, but that makes this area of life even more frustrating because I should have the ability to loosen up a little bit.

Over the past few weeks, some pretty major things have gone not according to plan. However, yesterday I was feeling pretty good about myself, because with some of these unexpected occurrences and changes, I was bending and flexing with relative ease and taking the events of life as they came. It felt like a major milestone and possibly a turning point in me sucking less in this one area. For example, despite the flooding issue we had on Saturday and subsequent annoyances, I'm not all that put off that my normal life routine is severely interrupted. Here are a couple of photos of our place that reflect some of these subsequent annoyances.

You may be thinking "Hey, there shouldn't be a million holes in your drywall" or "why are the washer and dryer perpendicular to each other sitting in the living room with a closet door on them?" and those are good questions. Another good question is "Does it really need to be 87 degrees in the condo to assist with drying out the flooded areas?" I guess this is the way it needs to be, because this is what the professionals say. It's imperfect, but these things happen in life.

Yesterday I was feeling proud of embracing flexibility and not being frustrated by the littlest things, but today I was reminded by some greater power to not get too proud of some version of personal "progress" - there's still a lot of work to do. Here's the story:

My car is a pretty good workhorse. The only thing that absolutely sucks about it is that the tires are incapable of holding air for an extended period of time. It must have something to do with poor construction of the rims, or a poor rim/tire interface design. Regardless, I have to refill the tires all the time. One downside to this is that sometime the tires get so low, the 50 cents paid at a gas station will actually not provide enough air to fill up all (or sometimes even one or two) of the tires, and it is difficult to get an accurate pressure reading from the tire gauge, so I'm left either feeling cheated of air or uncertain of the tire air pressure correctness. For these reasons, today I decided to take my car in to the mechanic to fill up the tires (and replace a missing tire cap), and while there (because a tire fill up is not reason enough to go to the mechanic) change my oil and take a look at an alignment problem. I emphasized "please fill up the tires, give me a new tire cap, and change the oil."

They changed my oil and when they took a look at the alignment, they said I had a big problem with my control arm, and this should be immediately replaced. I have no idea what a control arm does or why it exists, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't a scam because a mechanic told me a few months ago he saw a budding problem with the control arm and it would need to be fixed at some point in the near future. Today was the near future. I told them to go ahead and make the fix and then to complete the alignment. Three hours later, the car was ready to go, so I paid my $550 and took off to do some painting in Northville.

When I got out of the car in Northville, I noticed that the tire with the missing cap was...still missing the cap. Slightly bummed out, I checked the tire pressure and it came in well below where it should be. I called the mechanic to ask if they filled the tires and I was getting a bum reading, or maybe there was some other problem going on. Somewhat apologetic, he said they must have forgotten to fill up the tires and give me a new cap. Of course, the whole car process started because I wanted about $2 worth of air, a new tire cap, and the assurance that the tires were filled to the right pressure, and it ended with none of those things and approximately $600 in unexpected repairs.

Maybe one day when I do finally get to the point of fully accepting life's flaws and unexpected events, the little negative things like not getting tires filled with air will pass by with nary a negative thought, but for today, I'm pissed.

1 comment:

CraigF said...

that sucks -- at the end of the day, it's the little things that make you make you happy (or unhappy) with the service you received.

and you needed $2 worth of air! and a tire cap!

side note: can tire caps be purchased at normal car stores? I feel like that should be an inexpensive find, but someone could have a crazy tire cap monopoly or something like that.