A Cheap(er) Fix
I need to give a shoutout to BMW of Bellevue, where I bought my car. I called them instead of the dealer in Spokane because even though the dealer in Spokane has treated me well, their attitude is that no one should be working on BMWs who doesn’t have a special dispensation from Munich. I was pretty sure that if I called them, I would get a lecture about how I really should take the car to a qualified mechanic. They didn’t like the fact that the husband was doing the oil changes now. I have to keep myself from pointing out that he was working on his first BMW while many of their service techs were still in diapers. No one wants to hear me go all Clint Eastwood “get off my lawn, punks” on them, tempting as that may be.
Anyway, the parts guys at the dealer in Bellevue were fabulous, especially Wayne. I explained to him that we wanted to replace just a few parts instead of the whole transfer case and he verified all the part numbers and quantities for me. He had to order the parts, but they will be at the dealer on Monday and Wayne will ship them here to the house. I was even able to negotiate a discounted price and that made the husband happy. (He had suggested that we just open a business account with them—being that he is my qualified mechanic—but doing so would have taken a few extra days.) The upshot is that replacing only the worn parts instead of the whole transfer case will save us about $2700. And my mechanic is willing to be paid in apple pies.
I am a bit nervous about driving this car now, but as usual, the husband put it into perspective. He said, “Ignorance is bliss; you drove it to Spokane with no idea that it was about to fail catastrophically. Anything mechanical has the potential to break.” How comforting. Looking back, I do think the car was behaving weirdly, but I’ve watched enough YouTube car repair videos to know that going to your mechanic (even if it is your husband) and telling him that your car is intermittently twitching at stoplights is going to get you a raised eyebrow, at best. He said the spline inside that flange assembly was slipping and that probably was what I was noticing, but how do you track down something so nebulous? Hindsight is 20/20. In any case, because we know that part can fail, it will go on the list of things to check periodically.
[Years ago, the husband worked for a now-defunct auto body shop in Baltimore that specialized in foreign cars like BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes. He was in charge of the parts department. I observed that he was temperamentally unsuited for that job because he has been complaining—volubly, and this is a man who doesn’t speak unless he has to—about having to hunt down parts. That is why the job got outsourced to me. It is my car, though, and I learned a lot about automatic transmissions this week.]
My wheels should be operational again soon. Yay. I don’t mind driving the Crown Vic other than it gets lousy gas milage thanks to that huge V-8 engine. It is rather like driving around on a couch—very comfy.
I finished my Redwood Tote yesterday:
Yellow is a hard color to photograph well, even in diffuse light. This is reasonably true to real life, although the contrast between the twill and the linen isn’t as pronounced as it is in this picture. And the picture isn’t picking up the texture of either the twill or the linen. They make a terrific combination. Trust me when I say the bag looks better in person.
I left off the grab handles; if I decide I want them, I can always add them after the fact with Chicago screws, as I did on the Fremont Tote. The handle is from the Fremont Tote and it matches the brown waxed canvas on the base, which doesn’t show here. I probably should have taken a hair dryer to the twill and smoothed out those wrinkles, but waxed fabric is like linen—it’s going to wrinkle eventually.
As with most projects, I was more relieved that this was done than excited about how it looks. I do like it, but I need to field test it for a few weeks to see if I prefer this design or the Fremont Tote design. I think the waxed twill was slightly heavier than the canvas I’ve used in the past. I had to manhandle a couple of seams through the machine. If I make this bag again, I am going to change the inside pockets. There is a slip pocket divided into only two sections as per the directions, but the sections are too big and they flop open, particularly when I put my phone in one of them. I would do three sections next time. And I decided to use the Tim Holtz fabric for the pocket linings—as accents—rather than the entire lining. For the lining, I used the same linen that is on the front. That was a good choice and I would do that again.
The weather has improved, but there isn’t really anything I can do out in the garden. We won’t put seedlings out until after Memorial Day. Until then, I am just waiting for peas and potatoes to come up. I think today will be devoted to cleaning the house. I’ve let it go and while it’s not awful yet, it’s getting there.