Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo and Apology

Stairway to the perms

This is the extra steep stairway to the perms – a few times up and down these and my knees will hurt for the rest of the day. At least it’s got good handrails. Some of the stairways have old wooden handrails which throw off weapons-grade splinters – which, of course, renders said handrails useless.

I’d also like to apologize for the disappearing act – I’ve been having car problems.

Not normal car problems, but car problems so teeth-grindingly annoying that when the tow truck finally drops me off at home all I can manage to do is drop to my knees, shake my fist and scream a word so bad  I’m actually afraid to type it.

The problem is that they can’t figure out what, exactly, is wrong with my car.  It’s started dying for no reason and the mechanic determined that it was a bad fuel pump, which he replaced.  The car ran fine for a couple of days and then died again – at a location 30 miles from my house. At 10 pm.

I had it towed to the mechanic (who was, of course, closed at 10 pm so I had to have the tow truck driver drop the car in a parking space in the street and push it in the next morning after they’d opened), who determined that they’d installed a bad fuel pump and put in another one.

The car ran fine for about a day, and then died again. At 2 am on the way home from work in the middle of a busy street. A kind policeman used the push bar on the front of his car to push me off to a side street and said pushbar tore off the rear bumper cover which might have really irritated me any other time but I was just too tired and beaten down to care.

Then, they decided that the aftermarket fuel pump was the problem and ordered one from the dealer.

The car went 20 miles before dying again, but at least this time it was during business hours. Okay, it died 40 minutes before the mechanic closed for the night, so I had to beg the auto club to get a tow truck there quickly and we barely made it.

At this point the mechanic sighed heavily and admitted that he hadn’t a clue what was wrong and was planning on opening the hood and replacing damn near everything he saw.

To date, they’ve replaced the fuel pump relay, the oil pressure sending something-or-other, a couple of other doodads and have scraped a shitload of carbon out of something called the EGR valve. At this point, he thinks he’s got it fixed, but he’s going to keep it and use it as his daily driver while I’m out of town in an effort to put this whole nasty mess behind us. For now.  He’s a nice guy and he’s trying his best, so I really do hope that he doesn’t get stranded in bumfuck in the middle of the night.

My friends and co-workers have been well-meaning but spectacularly unhelpful in informing me that I need a new car.

Tell me something I don’t know.

I know with every fiber of my being that I need to buy another car. I know it every time I cross my fingers and hope I’m going to get home. I know it every time I get stranded in some gas station parking lot in the middle of the night. I know it when I walk into the rental car place and the guys that work there greet me by name.

The problem is that until our friends at SAG get this strike business resolved, I can’t afford to buy anything more involved than groceries.

If the actors walk and I’m out of work for another four months, I’m going to be so broke I’m going to have to put McNuggets on layaway, so buying a car right now is completely out of the question.

I have to work tomorrow and the rental places are all out of cars (fucking holidays), so I’ve got to hitch a ride with a co-worker, which I hate because I always feel like I’m putting someone out.

The lack of car has foiled my plans to overeat at a few holiday parties Sunday, but on the bright side it gave me an excuse to turn down an invite to a screening of a truly dreadful movie.

Filed under: Non-Work, , , , , , , ,

8 Responses

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve had such a brutal run of bad luck. There isn’t much worse that slogging through a 12 hour+ work day (on location, far from home), then having the goddamned car go belly-up. To have this happen three times in a row, with undiagnosable mechanical maladies, is truly a plague of biblical proportions.

    They say it’s always darkest just before the dawn, and since tomorrow is the longest night of the year, maybe things will turn around for you soon. Maybe your mechanic will find the problem, work will come, and the actors won’t be stupid enough to go on strike after all.

    Hey, it’s the season of miracles, isn’t it?

    I hope so.

    Merry Christmas…

  2. Floyd says:

    I say potato.

    Back in the days before gas caps had locks, one of the sneakier tricks on could play was to toss a small potato down into the gas tank. It made no noise and would eventually move over to cover the outlet, stopping the car randomly; then roll away until the next time.

    You would have to cut open the gas tank to find it. Drove mechanics nuts and resulted in many expensive cars being sold cheap.

    Thank goodness we are all far too mature for that sort of thing any more.

    I hope your problem is something else and fixable and that you have good holidays.

  3. Charli says:

    I feel your pain, girl. Our car got a flat tire after my son left for the holidays at Thanksgiving, thank God it was in the garage when it happened, got to love AAA service.

    Now our car makes a grinding noise in the cd player (which we never use) and this uh….ughuuuuuh….uhhhhhhgggg sound. That can’t be good.

    I hate cars.

  4. David H. says:

    Man, that really sucks! Great to have a mechanic who actually cares, though. Hope you get this resolved soon.

    And do your best to have a Merry Christmas!

    P.S. What was the movie you turned down?

  5. JCW says:

    Well, what would the holidays be without trauma? I hear you ’bout the work situation… I don’t know how much it’s affected by the season, but work in the Bay Area has certainly dried up – and the strike threat is a part, I’m sure.

    Wishing you wonderful Christmas, Peggy, and praying that 2009 is a much brighter year for all of us.

  6. Larry says:

    It is a sad state of affairs. I think you know my opinion.

  7. geekhiker says:

    As someone who forced an ’88 Corolla a year past the point where it could have legally been declared dead (including a period where I literally couldn’t take my foot off the gas or it would shut off), I feel for ya. Hopefully everybody gets off their collective arses and gets the contract disputes out of the way quickly after the new year.

    Will keep my fingers crossed for you!

  8. diane says:

    ..Sorry about the car hassles. Have you tried googling the problem?.. There are lots of sites that answer questions, give advice, and gripe about common problems with certain models.. At least you wouldn’t feel alone and you might end up feeling lucky all you have is fuel problems.

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