Tell us what's happened to you recently (that's interesting)


Are you guys in SoCal? Stop on by I’ll give you/her a tour and a free hour. Trust me, you can get soooo much more work done when someone else is watching your kid nearby. You can always go over for snuggles if a client pitch goes bad or something, recharge with love and then get back into the trenches. It’s a great way to work, I love it and work there all the time.


House update: the inspection found a significant number of mostly minor issues. The sellers have agreed to fix some of the most pressing ones and allocated up to 4k to address anything else the FHA appraiser requires to go ahead with the loan, as well as pay for a year of house warranty for me. So I’m going to be buying it. Just signed a bunch of loan documents tonight, will have to do a bit more on it next week and then the appraiser will be going in.


Congratulations! Welcome to the money pit of home ownership!


Amen, brother!


Also you get to worry about things that you never would have thought about! Like, “damn, it’s raining really hard. I hope the basement isn’t flooding.”


Here’s my not-so-fun story from yesterday.

My eldest daughter delayed her drive back to college until the last minute because of the weird southerly snowstorm that hit the Carolinas on Friday/Saturday. Rather than drive through the snow, she (wisely, it seemed at the time) decided to drive back Sunday.

OK, to back up a sec, we live in Northern Virginia near DC, and she goes to school in Wilmington, North Carolina; it’s about a seven and a half hour drive if you stop for a quick meal in there somewhere. Her car is my “hobby” car, a twelve year-old Jeep Wrangler that I’ve given a modest lift and tire upgrade over the years. I baby that vehicle and insist that my daughter take it in for oil and fluid check-ups regularly; she did so on Thursday.

At about three in the afternoon, I’m at my other daughter’s volleyball tournament and I get a call from the eldest. She tells me I need to go somewhere where I can hear properly because it’s “really important”. My blood goes cold immediately.

But it’s not THAT bad, thankfully. She and the girl she was carpooling with are on the side of the road (I95). The Jeep’s clutch has gone kind of wonky and it’s stuck between gears. She can’t do anything but coast. It’s still daylight, but the temperature outside is 21F (-6C).

So I’m having her try various stuff over the phone and via texts, and nothing is working. I’m passing on AAA numbers and trying to figure out how to get a mechanic. She reports that a cop has shown up, which is great, I figure. Should have known better, of course: no interaction with the cops tends to end well in today’s cops-must-get-paid environment. More on that later.

The cop calls the lone tow-guy for like 40 miles. I should add that they are pretty much at exactly the halfway mark between our house and her dorm, just outside of a little town called Emporia, fast on the Virginia side of the VA/NC border.

The tow-guy is fairly helpful. He tries to see if he can get the Jeep into gear and fails, passing along that he thinks it’s probably a linkage issue since there is no smell of burned metal/rubber/fluid. He hauls the Jeep off to his repair shop and drops the two girls off at a Hampton Inn, who graciously allow them to camp out there for a few hours.

So I’m trying to figure out what to do. These girls are sitting four hours away and classes start the next morning. The kids are all of 19, so no one is going to rent them a car, I figure. On their own, they call up a bunch of friends from school, but no one is willing or able to drive seven hours (round trip) to pick them up.

So I’m pretty much left with a single option - I’ve got to drive down and get them. I figure I’ll meet them in Emporia, rent a car, give them my car, and send them on their way. We can figure out what to do later.

All right, this is droning on, so let me cut to the chase. There are NO car rental places open on Sunday evening outside of Charlotte and Richmond. There was actually one in Rocky Mount NC that was open until 6PM, but I didn’t even get to the kids until 6:30. We ended up having to drive an hour back north to Richmond Intl. Airport to get a car, and even for that one I had to game the system because they were out of short-term rentals. At about 9 PM the kids left Richmond in my car to get back to school in Wilmington, which they reached at about 12:30 in the morning.

Here’s the cherry on top of the crap-pancake of the day. After calling the tow-truck, the cop gave my daughter a ticket because the Jeep’s registration was expired. But it ISN’T expired: my daughter - on the side of an interstate with a broken car in freezing temperatures with a cop demanding paperwork - grabbed the first thing in the glove compartment she could find, and it was the old registration, not the new one. The thing is, the cop should have known that it wasn’t expired because (a) the plates have the sticker that says that they’re good until summer 2018 (in VA, your registration is tied to your emissions, which are tied to your plate-expiration stickers) and (b) he must have run the plates when he pulled up and his system would have told him then that the plates were good. Honestly, why do cops today even ask for the registration when they have that information on their goddamn screens before getting out of their cruiser? Plus, what dick cop gives a kid a ticket when they’re broken down on the side of the road?

Sigh. Not a horrific experience compared to what could have happened. The end result will be a lot of driving, hopefully less than a $1000 of repair, rental, and gas… and probably me having to take a half-day in the next week or so to retrieve the Jeep. I’ll call it a bargain. But stressful and annoying. And I’m not sure what to do about the ticket… I’m pretty sure that I could show up for the court-date with the registration in hand and get it dismissed, but that would be MORE driving and ANOTHER day off of work. It’s not like I can’t afford the fee; it just pisses me off.


I know what I would do, because the principle of it would piss me off.

Which would be to court to fight it simply because fuck that asshole. Not saying it is the financially optimal choice, simply that its what I would do.


He wins either way. You either spend your time or your money. Which is more important to you? If you spend the one that’s more important, he wins more.


That’s where I am (mentally) today too. We’ll see where I sit in February when the court-date is. The other thing that gives me pause is that in many jurisdictions, cops actually get time-and-a-half for having to show up in court… which mean that by “standing on principle” I’d end up encouraging the behavior.


And if you don’t, the department gets their money, which tacitly endorses their behavior as well.

Sadly the only possible better outcome would have been if your daughter had the presence of mind to argue it at that point, but given the circumstance and her no doubt somewhat strained emotional state, I can’t fault her for not. Plus, given the guy is just being an ass in the first place, it probably wouldn’t have mattered.


Try calling the detachment and explaining the whole thing. Might work.


I wish I lived near you. I’d go for you and spend the time needed. That is absolute bull crap. IN fact, that officer should be reprimanded for being so lazy and unobservant.


Probably the same one who wrote a ticket for illegally exiting the highway for a friend of mine. You know, the one that was in a hospital bed for months while they reattached his fingers and leg after some loose gravel sucked his motorcycle off the road.


When I was 17, I was at an arcade with some friends until closing time (Midnight). I got home and went to bed without incident. About 7:00 the next morning, my mom came bursting in to my room asking “oh my god, are you OK? What happened?”. I had no idea what she was talking about, so I said “Uhh, yeah, I’m fine?”. She followed up with “Did they hit you or did you back in to them?”. Now I was really confused and asked her what she was talking about. She took me outside and showed me my car. Half the rear of the car was buckled, making it pretty obvious that my car had been rear-ended at a decent amount of speed.

When I had left the arcade, the parking lot was dark and I had approached the car from the front. I was never really at a place or angle where I would have noticed the damage. The damage did nothing to hinder the car in drive or reverse, but it had crunched things enough that the trunk was stuck shut. My mom called the police to report the accident. When the cop came, she took all my information and wrote it up as a hit-and-run for our insurance. After finishing the write-up, she then said “I’m also citing you with failure to display proper registration information”. Wait, what? So yeah, when the car was rear-ended, it popped off my rear license plate. She wrote me up because I had driven the car home without a proper plate on the car… $85.

In my teens and early 20’s, I had many other run-ins with our small town police (I grew up in LaVista, a small 'burb of Omaha which, back then, had less than 9000 residents). Eventually theirs actions stopped amazing me and I just accepted that any interaction I had with them was going to be interesting.


You know, if we changed the system so that the money from traffic violations didn’t go right into the pockets of the municipality they wouldn’t be so quick to write up mickey mouse tickets.


I just make sure to have Anti-Flag playing as loud as possible anytime I’m within 30 paces of a cop. Gotta show 'em who’s boss!


Hey Tin, maybe you can answer a car repair question. How easy is a wheel hub-bearing assembly replacement? Seems I can save $600 or more if I do it myself.


I think you’ll be ok:

You will need some special tools though, it looks like. Maybe you can borrow them from O’Reilly or whatever? I’ve heard they lend specialty tools.


Well, like most things automotive, it’s less about the “difficulty” and more about whether or not you have the proper tools.

To get the bearing-cover off, you’ll need some massive-gauge socket – like somewhere between a 28 and a 40mm. That’s not super-expensive or even rare, but you might have to order from Amazon. Past that, you’ll want a “slide hammer”, which can run about $80 new (you might be able to rent one at an auto-parts store). Then, since this is a repair where you absolutely do NOT want your car to be toppling over on you, you’ll need some jack-stands (cheap and ultra-useful later on, but call it $50 for a good pair). Torque wrench, necessary. Probably some large-size torx socket drivers, which are available at your local auto-parts store.

So if you need to get a lot of the above in addition to the cost of your bearings ($50 to $80?), your savings are looking a little thinner. Then the questions are simply (a) do you enjoy doing stuff like this, and (b) if not, how much is a full afternoon worth to you? For me, the answer to (a) is “yes”, so (b) is largely immaterial.


YouTube is just a gold-plated gift for home mechanics. It’s so nice to be able to watch other mechanics run through the repair before you do, and just to have the video next to you on a tablet or laptop. Not like the “good old days” where we just squinted at a Chilton’s guide diagram for five minutes before going to the ol’ trial-and-error routine.