Monday, August 10, 2009

Just Doing It

Wow, talk about getting it done. I managed to actually do some of the things I'd set out to do, and the very thought of doing them made me not want to do them. Dare I say, I was ready to chicken out and put it off for another day, which basically meant walking away. First off, I managed to get the deck done, with a lot of help from my kids, and then I went and changed the oil on the car. I have to confess, that one wasn't easy, and whenever I venture into new territory and fiddle with something that's as important as a car, it makes me worry, but I went for it. As usual, it wasn't that bad.

The problem with our car is that it's incredibly low to the ground. I can't get under it to drain the oil, so I had to jack it up. First problem, and it embarrasses me to no end to admit this, but I had no idea where the jack was having never used it before. For that matter, I'd never known where the spare tire was, either. They were easy enough to find, and the jack, having never been used for nine years, was a little rusty, but it worked. It may need to be replaced.

Since the oil plug was off to the side and so low, I had to take a two-stage approach. I blocked off the wheels, jacked up the left side and put two logs underneath in case the car fell off the jack, my biggest fear, and crawled under and drained the oil. There was some concern that I might open the wrong drain, but it was the cleanest bolt under there, and it was attached to the main block, so it made sense. The plug is on the right side of the engine, so I had to lift the left side to get the oil to drain completely.

The problem was that the oil filter was on the right side, as well, so if the left side was jacked, it would be hard to reach up on the right side. Because of this, I had to switch the jack over, along with all the safety measures, and jack up the right side to get to the filter. This was, of course, after I'd emptied the engine and replaced the plug. The filter is the hardest part and the one that gave me the most anxiety. The dumb owner's manual tried to instill me with the typical consumer fear that I was incapable of doing this by saying in the manual that I needed a special tool and shouldn't try this at home. What was that all about?

In all fairness, replacing the filter is the hardest part because it's wedged up in there, but it was surprisingly doable. I got it out, greased the seal on the new on, and put it on. This gave me a bit of trouble, but after a few minutes, I managed. I would also like to point out that during this time I was being devoured by mosquitoes.

Also, my fearless helper, N, was by my side the whole time, handing me tools, keeping me company, and inundating me with questions. You gotta love parenthood.

Then I finished. I took the car for a spin to pick up my bike at the park and ride, and it didn't explode. I checked the oil level when I got home, and all was well. So far so good, but I'll still keep my fingers crossed.

Oh yeah, after about two weeks, I finally mowed the lawn. I'm developing a lawn recovery plan, but more on that later.

Thanks to nancynator for the pic, and thanks for reading.

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