Online again.

So I’ve been recovering for a month now. Wasn’t hurt too bad in the accident, but it flipped a switch in my head. Didn’t feel like blogging or writing or working at all, really. Of those three things, though, only one was really necessary so I did do a lot of extra work lecturing and speaking here and there.

As I type away on this dirty keyboard, it slowly feels like I’m coming back to a place of comfort. I was angry for a long time. Specifically, I was angry at the shop that almost killed me through negligent automobile repair. When I last wrote, I was waiting to hear back from them for a repair estimate for my car. All I thought about for three weeks was how I was going to get back at them – three weeks is a very long time for a devious mind to concoct intricate schemes. I even dreamed about it a few times, standing on a battlefield under a tattered flag, watching crows pick at the corpses of my slain enemies. Or standing in a courtroom at the moment of winning an all-or-nothing class action lawsuit, showered with applause from others who had shared similar experiences. Like I said, three weeks is a long time.

As it turns out, though, I may end up accepting the shop’s offer to pay for just half the damage, because the estimate ended up being about 10 to 20% of what we thought it would cost. The son at the shop ended up being cool about it and called in some favors at a body shop so we could get it done cheap. It’s still not ideal or just in my mind, but I’m willing to let it go now – it’s not enough money to stress about. Plus, I can leave it up to the shop to make sure shit gets done and not have to deal with details every day. And most importantly of all, karma’s a bitch. Motherfuckers who do bad shit get bad shit in return. That’s just the way it works. Believe that.

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Just before I finished the restoration of my car I had somehow amassed a stable of three 100-150cc scooters. One cruiser, two two-stroke sport(ish) bikes. When I started parking my car in the garage again, I had to move them out and thought about what the hell to do with them. I moved them to temporary spaces around the outside of the house and covered them with tarps, using them about once a week on rotation to keep them maintained. So when I got in this accident, I was lucky enough to have transportation ready. I love old bikes, and two-stroke engines are awesome because they are so powerful and no longer produced. Pics to follow, sometime.

Things I replaced on our car over summer vacation

You may understand part of the pain and frustration we¬†experienced if you can recognize the complete set of gaskets and ferrofluid engine mounts (replaced with solid urethane mounts). Yes, the whole front end of our Cefiro A33 (USDM: Infiniti i30) was taken apart and put together again. It runs really sweet now, except for a noisy power steering pump, another set of wheel bearings, some paint bubbling up on the roof, etc., etc., and so forth…. And my car, the 40 year old Kujira Crown, will be totally done sometime this year, hopefully (that’s a story in itself; not enough space or patience to cover it here).

Two batteries, two alternators, one radiator

We’ve been having a run of bad car luck as of late. A couple weeks ago, a cop from Khon Kaen backed into our parked Cefiro and broke off the front license plate holder. Nam saw it happen from the pediatrician’s clinic across the street where she had taken Max for a booster shot. She took it to my pal Ot’s shop and got it replaced (on the cop’s dime, of course).

The very next day, I lightly clipped a scooter that was running the wrong way down the street and crossed in front of me as I was waiting to turn out. The young female rider must have known it was her fault, and didn’t even stop. Ot was pretty surprised to see my car needing a new plate holder again and gave me a pity discount (the 2-in 2-days special).

Yesterday, we found out that the radiator which we replaced on the Cefiro 2 years ago was already rusting through in several places. We had it replaced, because Nam had to use the car today to go to Ubon (3 hours one way) and translate for her aunt’s fertilizer company. At the same time, we were having power issues and I had noticed slowly dropping battery fluid and corresponding hairline cracks on the battery body after the car came back from repairs for¬†the crash. Not wanting Nam to break down on a long trip, we also replaced the battery. I was pretty sure it was a battery issue, because we’d had the alternator replaced a few weeks ago.

Nam drove the Cefiro up to Ubon with her sister today as planned, but on the way back, they lost almost all electrical power. They struggled back to Ot’s shop, where we bought the battery, and he had an electrical specialist come in to take a look. He took a look and declared it to be a faulty alternator. We’d had it replaced by a solid backyard mechanic named Yon, so we took it to him to start on the claims process with the supplier. By then, it was time to pick up Max, so I got him and picked up Nam at Yon’s garage and took them home in the Crown.

At home, we were readying the house for my mom’s arrival tomorrow. I had to run out and pay some bills that Nam had intended to take care of, but was unable to due to car problems. It was dark by the time I actually left the house, and there was something funny with my car. It was struggling to keep running, and I thought the headlights were quite dim. Oh shit. But the bills needed to be paid, and I needed to head to the other side of town to update our bank book first. So I kept the old Crown running through sheer willpower and curses to that dastardly mongrel in the sky. She got me there. I stopped across from the ATMs, found that the goddamn update machine was out of order, and walked back to the car. It wouldn’t start, and the cranking was real weak. Dead battery. WHAT THE FUCK YOU FUCKING PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT FUCK SHIT FUCK SHIT FUCK. SHIT!

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I stand in solitude as I compose this post. My phone’s display burns into the night, and nary a soul will aid in killing the mosquitoes that are biting the hell out of me.

I am waiting for the good mechanic Yon, who was working on my other car when he got the call to come save my ass in this one… I can find no wifi signal to share my loneliness in this foreign land…

Yon has arrived with a spare battery, and now we shall see what further expense motorized transport hath incurred this very day.

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Next day: So it seems both of my cars will require new alternators. The Cefiro has a new battery (which is in the Crown now so I can get around today, even though it’s not being charged by the alternator); the Crown probably needs one as well, since the current one has been completely discharged a few times, which isn’t very good for it. The new radiator in the Cefiro seems to be fine. But. I need a car to pick up my mom tonight in Khon Kaen. That goddamn dastardly mongrel in the sky and his impeccable timing…

If Yon can get his hands on a new alternator for the Cefiro, I’ll be really happy. But that depends on a lot of things to be lined up in a short time, like the supplier accepting the claim against the original part, there being a replacement one somewhere very close, and for that dastardly mongrel in the sky to keep out of my shit for the rest of the day… The alternative is to load a spare battery in the Crown and replace it if the one installed gives me grief (headlights run down a battery fairly quickly. I can only say, UNGH.