Friday, September 3, 2010

The Weekend that Almost Wasn't

This weekend we're supposed to go to Argus Ranch again for our first AKC agility trial since the end of June and final qualification period for the invitational. But the world started to fall apart last week...

Perhaps not the world, but certainly my world. I drive a somewhat older truck, an '02 Chevrolet Silverado. It's getting up there in miles a bit so things have started to go wrong. Last week a screaching sound started. The sound was constant whenever I was in forward motion, on or off the gas. When I braked it seemed to go away. Needless to say it was obnoxious and also a bit embarassing. Nothing like having your arrival precede you by an ear-splitting sound. I kept hoping it would go away but like most mechanical things, it did not. I talked to people about it; I fretted over it; I lamented about it on Facebook. And mostly I stewed, stalled, and avoided the issue. By now you're probably wondering why I didn't just call my mechanic and deal with it to cut down on the stress. So here's the back story. I got married at 18 to a mechanic and spent my formative years doing no more than putting gas in my car and, even that was at the same station every time so I got comfortable. Until my mid-20s I had never been to an oil-change place letalone mechanic's garage for service - at least not without him. While it was important to my dad for me, as a female, to learn to drive a manual transmission, he either didn't push for (or I resisted) learning to change a tire and perform my own oil change.

So by my mid-late 20s, I had more than a little anxiety over the car-related tasks in life. To be fair, I had more than my share of sheisters try to take advantage of my lack of knowledge though ("Ma'am, it looks like your air filter is dirty. We can change that for you. How about your cabin filter...marker light...fuel system flush....?"). As you can tell, I was none too thrilled by the screech following me down the road. A couple of nights ago I texted my brother to ask him if he knew how to check belts and that launched a text-versation over the next little while resulting in his referring me to a shop where he has taken his truck in addition to where vehicles from his workplace are sent. Yesterday I called them and was told I could bring my truck in this morning to be looked at. The person I spoke to said the problem sounded like brakes, gave me a quote, told me they could get it done in a couple of hours today, and I assured him I would stop in today.

At 5:45 this morning the alarm went off. After a short (necessary) snooze session, I was up and moving. Picked up coffee and hit the road, arriving at Bridgetown Automotive at 7:25 am, I was a bit early but glad to find a parking place and hang out for a few minutes. The neon sign said Open but the door was locked. I caught up on my early morning email, enjoyed my coffee, and stepped inside at 7:55 am. Talk about a busy Friday morning. The guy at the front desk was swamped. When he got to me, he told me he had me on the schedule for 1:30 pm. Uggg! I told him that wasn't my understanding and he was able to shuffle things so they could take my truck for a quick test drive then put it up on the racks. A short 30 minutes later I had my answer: brakes and rotors on the front, brakes on the back. The good news is that he indicated the problem is more annoying than it is a safety concern right now. The quote was for $327 and change for the front end and I scheduled the work to be done the first week in October.

So, now that I know we're okay, we have a fresh oil change (last night) and good enough brakes! Yay! When I get off work tonight and head home, we'll be packing up the truck, eating dinner, and hopefully in bed by 8pm. My plan is to get up at 2am, get ready, feed the dogs, and hit the road at 3am. With a 3.5 hour drive ahead of me, that puts us in the region at 6:30 am. If we can get away a bit earlier, I'll probably stop and get my son breakfast at Sheri's or something - unless he's sleeping.

We're entered in Fast, Standard, and JWW Saturday and Sunday with no Fast on Monday. Saturday is a small to tall day which means so will Monday. Hopefully the entry is small for Monday as it's a long drive back and the kids start school on Tuesday. I'll do my best to keep things up-to-date over the weekend. Here's hoping for some clean, fast runs and more MACH points for my girl! This will be the first trial since the new AKC rules took effect (9/1/10) and I'm excited to see what that brings us results-wise. The big ones are an extra two seconds time for 24" jump height dogs and no criteria on the table.

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