Typing quietly on the front porch.

Sitting on the front porch editing some photos from the weekend, enjoying the sunshine and my day off. Vince is still crashed out on the sofa – he came down from Van for a Nissan meet yesterday and Patrick and i kept him up late eating bottemless riblets and playing billards. I don’t know how he’s still sleeping, it’s far from quiet around here. Between Christian and i creaking around the house this morning (this house is *so* noisy), the neighbors pounding and sawing and sanding something in their front yard, garbage trucks rolling by more often than should be neccessary, and my infernal typing in the room next door, well… he must be a really sound sleeper. So i’ve moved out to the front porch (wireless internet is so neato).

We actually had two Nissan meetups yesterday, one down in southcenter (that i have pics from here) arranged by the Maxima guys, and then later in the evening we rolled to lynnwood to cross paths with the 240sx-heavy crew from NWN. I didn’t get to wash my car beforehand, as i spent the morning changing the oil and checking out the Sentra for Justin – he’s going to pick it up today. Actually, i’m going to head up to Stanwood to put tires on the truck at the shop where he works, and then bring him home with me to pick up the car. Anyway, both meets were good, pretty laid back, but it’s nearing the end of the season. It was also an unexpected sunny day after a couple weeks of dreary ones, so i don’t think anyone expected it would be a nice enough day to come out for a meet.

Jason stopped by yesterday to pick up a key, drop off a few things, and then is headed to an outdoor concert festival in nevada for the rest of the week. He will get back monday, Christian flies to Munich on sunday, Mom and Dad get here for a week sunday… the b&b is booked solid this month! 😉 I’m going to miss having Chrisitan around – he wasn’t here very long, and i’ve been working so much that i haven’t really seen him during these four short months other than in passing. I’m pretty bummed that i went to so much work to help him move here and then didn’t really get any quality time with him, and now it’s too late. And he’ll be a hemisphere away again for who knows how long. At least i have someone to stay with in europe again – but it’s going to be awhile, as i still haven’t paid for the last trip…

On a family note, everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with my Grama Polly today as she heads to the hospital for examination, to determine if she needs another heart surgery. I hope her news is good today.

Craigslist works its magic.

Craigslist is amazing. I posted my Sentra for sale a couple hours ago, and already i have three emails from people interesting in seeing it. I figured it’d take a week or so to sell it… what a surprise! Maybe i should be asking more… It’d be very cool to sell it, as i really need the money to shop for truck tires – those things are freakin bald and it’s a little scary in all this rain we’ve been having lately. I’ve got two cars that don’t drive in the rain and i live in, uh, … Seattle. Yeah.

Work is quiet so far today, a nice break. And it’s almost time to go pull a box out of the freezer and transfer it to the microwave for 6 minutes of modern miracle food preparation.

They’ve got Adam West (the original tv batman) advertising some MLM scam on tv now. It’s pretty bad. The worst part is he makes a batman joke at the end… terrible. Makes me feel bad for him…

Okay, that’s the fourth email about the car. Craigslist rules.

My first 4WD.

Just made it home after a long – but good – day. House is empty – Kim must be at the gym, Christian out somewhere having a social life. I’m ready for a weekend for sure… although i guess i can’t think of a friday when i haven’t felt that way – after all, the best kind of workday is the one where you don’t have to. Anyway, i very tired, cause Gabe kept me up until 3.30am talking about skiing and whatnot last nite (and then had the gall to oversleep past 11am and miss a lunch date with Kim and I, whereas I set my alarm to 6am so i could catch the bus to work this morning!). Now, why was i riding the bus to work today, you ask? Well, it’s a complicated story about logistics and minimizing trips, but the gist of it is that i bought a truck and needed to drive it home from bellevue tonite. Yup yup, i’m now the very proud owner of an 88 Pathfinder (yes, a Nissan, what do you expect? i’m not gonna buy a ford or anything!!). My friend Eric needed to sell it, and it was a perfect chance for me to have a better vehicle to drive all over for work, carrying computers and whatnot, as well as all those other projects i’m always dreaming up that require carrying big stuff around. As an added bonus, it would make it home to MT for the holidays without trouble, and could probably tow the Z on a trailer in a pinch (although maybe not up a steep hill). Eric took great care of it, and has already outfitted it with a ski rack and a cd player, so there’s really not anything i need to fix or do before i can start using it like crazy. It even uses the same oil filters as both the Z and the Sentra (it has basically the same engine block as the Z, a VG30) – how lucky is that! Speaking of the Sentra, i’m selling it to Christian, as he needs something to get him to Ikea and whatnot that wouldn’t cost him much, so it was a perfect deal for him, too. So, yeah, i’m super excited to have the extra flexibility of an SUV, and even more the option to keep the Z at home safely under its cover on crummy, slippery, dreary days, or when I’m going somewhere messy (home depot, the beach, work) or sketchy (tacoma, pretty much home depot, also work). Now i just need to invest in bolt cutters so i can get into that bloody garage and the Z will have a nice place to spend those days, waiting for a sunny afternoon when it needs to be driven!

The other fun thing I did today was spent lunchtime in bellevue… now, wait, I know that sounds thrilling, but my story gets better. Kim came along with me to Sturtevants to pick out new ski boots! Since Gabe was a stand-up guy and gave me a pair of Head twin-tips he scored at a ski swap, i’m that much closer to having all the gear I need to see some powder days next season. I ended up with extra money after paying the taxes on the truck – it was less than i had budgeted for – and the Nordica boots i found were on super-sale, so i’m two steps closer to ski season! And, my new 4wd SUV will get me to the hill. Sweet!

I don’t think you understand how truly sore my fingers are right now.

Another day spent in Steph’s garage, elbow deep in that engine bay… sure wipes a guy out!

Eric and i pulled the driver’s side head off the old motor today, and have the passenger side one loose, just a few connections on the bottom side and it’ll be free. Yesterday he was over, as well, and we removed the lower plenum and did some other prep work to make today’s tasks possible. A ‘thank you’ of huge magnitude is in order for Eric – i really appreciate all his help. So much of this stuff i really need a second pair of hands to accomplish.

Heads from the new motor are spending the weekend in everett, along with the crankshaft, in a machine shop. An inspection revealed that the valves weren’t sealing completely, so a complete valve job is being performed, and the crankshaft will be polished to within spec bearing clearances. My machinist Steve was cool enough to let me bring up the gaskets and seals i already had as part of my rebuild kit, rather than charge me for new ones.

Also spent some time this weekend and last doing some rewiring of the stereo system, reworking the trunk area with a false floor, and repeatedly deodorizing the Sentra. Both Steph and Shanna observed that it smells like Febreeze, which is much better than musty cigarettes, at least on my smell-points chart. I’ve found that Meguiars makes a great automotive Febreeze-like stuff that works great. You just don’t wanna be in confined spaces with it for long, and you want to make sure your seats are dry from it before you get in and drive… or before you pick up a friend, right Patrick? 😉

Went to a great party at Dave’s place in Wallingford last nite, always a good time, especially when Anna, Christy, Amy & Sonya are there, and when Kim, Shanna & Bonnie come along with me! 🙂 We partied like rock stars until a little after 3, then headed to Beth’s for breakfast. It was a most excellent nite, i had been really needing some responsibility-free fun-time lately!

Well, that’s all i got kids. It’s 1.30 am, it’s not the 15th anymore, it’s the 16th, and i’m having trouble not dozing off into the keyboard. Plus my fingers hurt and i keep missing keys – down to about 1.3 words-per-minute here, not exactly peak efficiency. 😉 I’m tired and sore all over and tomorrow is going to be a rough day, as Clint, Jason and Mike will be here to help me remove the motor from the car. So, ok, i could think of excuses all night, some of which might be true and some of which might be good, but few of which would be both true and good. Or i could just say goodnight, because i’m [insert your favorite excuse here].

It’s like I’m 16 all over again.

Lounging around the house, probably should get dressed in case the guys are wanting to show up soon. Eric was a huge help yesterday pulling the heads (thanx Eric!), and Mike got me all motivated and the two of us polished and cleaned a bunch of stuff, and he’s going to paint the valve covers candy apple red for me (thanx Mike!) for extra coolness factor.

I’m also no longer without transportation – YES!. It’s not pretty and it’s not fast, but it’s very reliable and i brought my 1989 Nissan Sentra home for $678 including tax, plates and tabs. Travis hooked me up – it came through on a trade-in at the dealership and he jumped on it before anyone else could – and i was able to buy it from the dealership at wholesale cost. So excellent! I’m very happy to be moving around on my own again, and that i’m able to make (and keep!) appointments, buy parts, and drive to the UPS center when they miss my deliveries. 😉 It will also be nice to avoid those 3-hour bus rides back from Kent! I need to get it detailed this week on the inside, but otherwise it’s good to go and won’t need any infusion of cash. Alternator, tires, axles, muffler, exhaust, and battery are all new, CD player works, heater works, no dents, straight frame, no leaks. No power anything – locks, windows, steering are all manual – no AC, and the clutch is a cable system, not hydraulic, which has taken a bit to get used to, but that’s less systems to maintain. All in all, i’m very happy that Travis found it for me and that i have the freedom of my own wheels again!

As long as we’re talking about good things this weekend, let’s talk about turbos! So i was planning on having the turbos off my old motor rebuilt from T25’s to T28/28’s at a cost of $1400. Once that motor came out of the car, i would have to send them away and hope to have them back in two weeks. So Jason noticed a pair for $1500 on that one of the forum members is selling. They’re rebuilt by majestic turbos in texas and are brand new, never been installed. They’re T28/28’s, basically the same thing i would have done – this guy pulled them off his 1991 5spd TT and had them rebuilt – but without the delays! He’s in Portland, so UPS ground will get them here before the end of this week, for $1580 shipped. And if you’re observant you’ll have noticed that this 1) does not require getting my motor pulled before i can proceed and 2) leaves me with the T25’s off my car to sell once they come out! So a great deal all around, saving me money and time! Nice work Jason, thanx for the turbos Jeremy… this weekend has been a total success story!

Transportation stars in the moon and rising

A charmed day for sure, the moon must be in the third quarter of neptune, or whatever…

Had excellent bus karma today – walked right up to be met at stops by the one i wanted. Didn’t sleep through any stops. No large smelly people sat on the aisle seat next to me and smothered/suffocated/trapped me. Nobody mugged me for the ipod on the route through white center.

Good transportation day in general. Erica W gave me a ride home from downtown on her way to join us for dinner. Ron was at the dentist a few blocks from the Burien office and gave me a ride back to Bellevue. I rented a flexcar and drove from downtown to Lynnwood, leaving at five an arriving in only 40 minutes (it’s about 30 miles) – a rush-hour record for sure. Icing on cake: Travis found me a daily driver, a 500-dollar ’89 Nissan Sentra, a cheap-to-own 4-door that will get me back and forth to the garage for the next month until the Z is running again. After that, it will possibly be my work vehicle, to spare the Z from any chance of utility truck duties – at least on days when there is a chance of such travesty or when it’s not undeniably nice top-off weather. And certainly when the weather is hideous or i need more than two seats… and am not looking to impress anyone. 😉 It’s not an impressive car by any means – i’ve never been a big fan of brown interior – but all the mechanical stuff is solid and lots of parts replaced recently (axles, tires, alternator – good stuff). I mean, my mechanic found it, a diamond in the rough (okay, a semi-precious not-remarkably-sparkly piece of limestone in the rough) and i trust Travis wouldn’t have called me without being confident that it will run for a while with very little attention (the phrase “generic parts” passed his lips) and i’m determined not to be picky about things as silly as color. Am i picky about the color of the bus? Well, sometimes, the yellow and brown ones are really uncomfortable. Not enough leg room for tall people, and the seat backs dig into your knees. Well, maybe not your knees… mine tho. But no, i board anyway. And this will be substantially smaller and more mine than the bus. 😉 I’ll find out for sure friday afternoon, but by the weekend i might be a two-car family…! Uh… American over-indulgence rears it’s ugly head! LOL!

It’s not that i hate riding the bus… it’s actually kind of a nice way to get downtown, and i can listen to music and read a book, or fall asleep and miss my stop. Er… but anyway, i don’t mind it, but this job makes it miserable, cause i’m going to different places every day and always struggling to get there and get home. Last week my trip to Kent was 2.5 hours down and 3 hours home. Shoreline is just over 2 hours away on the bus – it’s 20 minutes by car. And often my transfers are in neighborhoods i don’t know, so rather than relaxing on the ride i’m peering nervously out the window reading every street sign and stressing about if it’s string-pull time yet. The freedom of jumping in with a friend after work, or not being tied down to a parking spot – and not paying for parking! – is pretty great… until i want to run to Costco after work or need to be in Everett to shop for tools, or want to work on my car in Woodinville for the weekend… ugh. That’s when it starts to suck. And yes, i’m a big spoiled fatty lazy capitalist pig American who can’t live without a gas-guzzling car. Well now i’m gonna have two… somebody call Captain Planet on me!

Stopped at Helly Hansen again today, but the goggle lenses i ordered haven’t arrived yet. Oh, well, guess i’ll just have to flirt with the cute sales girl… Thanx to her, tho, i spent a bit more than my gift certificate – on top of the new blue mirrored lenses from Smith, i came home with lightweight fleece gloves and a cool beanie, both by Dakine. Actually, i wore them both home, tried them out keeping warm as a walked through downtown… pretty good! I’m a big dork and i do stuff like that. The sales clerk assured me that about one third of her customers wear their new stuff home… i think that was just her flirting back. 😉

I achieved an improved balance of adequate sleep, reasonable diet, exercise and caffeine this week and have been getting a lot done, around the house, at work, on my resume, on a contract design job, on my Z. I’m not perfectly healthy by any means, but at least i’m not developing gout on the Atkins diet or getting fat by eating compusively in my sleep. Can you say the same? 😉

Okay, the furnace has turned off for the night and my office is starting to approach absolute zero… i’d carry the PBook to the couch or bedroom where it’s warmer but i brought the wireless antenna to Steph’s house and my battery sucks lately anyway, guess it’s time for a new one. $igh. Guess that’s coming out of the Christmas bonus… oh, wait, all i got from john l scott for Christmas was an empty card. Ok, new plan – guess i’ll get tarted up and take the bus back to White Center…