I’m Back! Did You Miss Me? I Did!

I have been slightly busy lately. I did get a job for a bit. I worked two weeks before I was fired. I can’t get anyone to hire me so I am considering the fact that, eventually, I may need to move. I dread this idea because Montana is perfect for me. I spent time thinking about it and deciding where to go but I am just not sure yet. 

I traveled to southern California to get away from the smoke of the wildfires raging in Montana. The trip was nice but made me realize how much I really love it in Montana. When I go back, I am going to double down on either making my own money or getting a job. I’m not really holding my breath on either though. In five years, I have not had any luck with either except for a spurt of income here or there.

I was thinking of starting YouTube back up but, I am working on the motivation… I figured, if I started blogging again, I would get motivated to do YouTube. Is it working? We’ll see.

The CV Axle, The Drive, and Why Does No One Listen To Me?

Ever since I started therapy years ago, my big complaint is that no one listens to me. I am not taken seriously. Let’s take this trip as an example.

No to CV – Part 1

Before we left, like a month or so before, my son took the car to a mechanic. He’s a good mechanic and I needed the CV axle changed out. We had the part and everything. He dropped the car off and left for So Cal. I got a call that it wasn’t the CV axle and it was the (forgot which part) instead. I asked if they could change the CV axle anyway and they insisted it didn’t need changed. It was fine. So they got the part, fixed it, even drove it to my apartment. But, they didn’t change the CV axle. Meh. Fine. Whatever.

I drive the car to a few out of town places and I can still hear the occasional sound of my car wanting the CV axle changed. It sounds… off. The wildfires start, the smoke rolls in, and we debate on leaving and heading south. The smoke was pretty thick. I mean, the state was on fire, it was bad.

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Screenshot of the map before we left… or the day we left… or something.

I have asthma but my youngest son has worse asthma than I do. I was starting to feel dizzy just walking through the apartment to use the bathroom. I forgot to screenshot the air quality map but it was pretty bad. It wasn’t the worst level, but it was really close.

We finally decided we did need to leave because we had the doors and windows shut and it was still hard to breathe. Plus, with the doors and windows shut, it was hot as hell in my apartment. So, we finally packed up and left.  I snapped this picture at one of our stops.

Smoke at a rest area
Smoke masks the mountains at a Montana rest stop.

There was so much smoke filtering the sun that I could walk around with no sleeves on and we could stare directly at the sun without solar viewing glasses. Each stop was a quick, “Get out, go pee, get back in, and let’s go.”

Starting to worry

I was starting to worry about the car around Missoula. I could really hear the metal on metal sound. I didn’t say anything to my ex or my older son in Cali because I didn’t want to worry them.

We slept at a rest area near Billings where the sky was clear. It was so nice to breathe again without feeling like I was snorkeling through Jell-O. We were still coughing up crap (and we still are to this day) but it was easier to breathe, we could stop for longer rest breaks, and Jack-Jack was able to run around a bit at the stops. 

We made it to Buffalo, Wyoming for a gas stop. When we were pulling into the gas station, I heard a sound that I am not sure what the hell it was but it wasn’t good. I pumped gas and then tried to drive off. It was horrible. The car was shaking when I tried to move. The only blessing is that we broke down right in front of a mechanic shop. 

No to CV – Part 2

I went over and they said it was the power steering pump, ordered the part, and let us hang out in their parking lot (because, like, where were we going to go?). One of the ladies came to the car and offered to buy us a hotel room for the night and watch our cat. I was really happy about that but we were fine car camping. They were great! I mean, they really went above and beyond… except they wouldn’t change out the CV axle.

At that point, I was just happy they changed out the power steering pump and still happy that they worked to get us in the day the part came in (usually it takes a week to get your car worked on. They were booked.) The next morning, they got the power steering pump changed out, and we got on our way.

We can still make it!

And that is when I really started to worry about the car. I was consistently hearing a clicking sound (for lack of a better description) and feeling the grinding every time I turned. I started having issues with it vibrating when I hit 65 mph so I started driving anything below that. 

We made it out of Wyoming and into Utah. I HAD to drive highway speed through Salt Lake City area (it was a little south of it, I think) because I didn’t feel like being run over. We made it out of the heavy traffic and by then, I was a nervous wreck. The car felt like shit, it was vibrating so bad I half expected to watch a tire run off from my car, and the grinding was worse.

I still didn’t say anything because I thought we’d be able to make it to the Lancaster area without having someone come rescue us. (I was wrong)

I can’t drive 55! No really. I can’t.

So, after Salt Lake City, I found a private/public rest area to take a nap in because my adrenaline rush wore off. They have nice rest areas! It’s at a Chevron station that has a HUGE parking lot. We parked in the back and I slept for a bit. Then we headed off to the next rest area once it was cooler outside. 

The ride there was slow. I could do about 55 mph without it shaking to pieces while I drove. So, to everyone in Utah driving on I-15 southbound… I am so sorry. I know I held up traffic and I apologize profusely… and thank you for not running me off the road.

After rest area #2 in Utah, we headed on with our trip and I knew I was going to have a hard time. I could only go 50 mph without it shaking to death.

We made it to the Moapa exit in Nevada. I slept for a bit because it’s really draining to drive a car that you aren’t sure is going to fall apart while you are driving it down the interstate. I was seriously worried I was going to end up killing someone when the car fell apart.

Then we headed out again. I was dreading driving through Las Vegas but we made it through. I drove at about 65 mph with the car shaking horribly the whole way. I white knuckled the steering wheel. I won’t lie… I was terrified. My chest hurt from the stress.

Once out of Las Vegas, I slowed back down to 50 mph. Then we hit the mountains coming into California.

You shall not pass!

Driving up the mountain pass this time was like trying to bike uphill. I was happy when I hit 35 mph. We made it almost up the mountain when the car overheated and I had to take an exit to let it cool down. We sat there for about an hour… maybe. And then headed to the rest area the was not too far from there. It had overheated by the time we got there.

By then, it was getting hot, we were miserable, and the car sounded like it chewing metal while we drove. We couldn’t go very fast at all. I was updating the guys in So Cal to how bad it really was at this point. I figured it was close enough for a rescue if I needed it.

Eff this! Come get me!

Back on the road, we made it to Barstow where we stopped in a park and parked under a tree for shade. I needed Benadryl from the extreme heat and I was starting to get a headache. I took my medicine and sent messages of how we were staying right there until it cooled down.

After chatting through text about how bad the car was doing, my older son decided to come get me with his friend… and I was totally cool with this idea because I didn’t feel like getting stranded in the desert with no cell signal!  I also mentioned that, oh yea, by the way, no one will change out the CV axle. He wasn’t happy.

They stopped to get some parts to help fix the car and then headed there. I slept for a bit enjoying the shade while we waited. 

And my car is toast

When they showed up, first thing they did was check the fluids. I had already checked all the fluids (except the transmission fluid) and they were good. When they checked, the coolant was low. WHAT?! I was so mad.

Then, I was like, “Hey, let me drive this so you can hear the grind.” Only when I drove it… no noise. I was so pissed at my car I could have spit fire. After a little bit of inspecting, they decided to test drive it. They didn’t make it out of the parking lot before stopping and saying, “Oh hell no! This is getting fixed here!”

We found a parking lot that was flat so they could fix it. They started taking it apart and saw how bad it was and decided to call for a tow. Only, the AAA that we have, only covers seven miles for towing. You gotta be fucking kidding me. Who the hell needs a seven mile tow??? It was going to cost $780 something to tow it back to my ex’s place.

So we debate amongst ourselves on what to do. The meds were all fine by then and my headache was gone, so I said I could just drive the car while they followed. I mean, I drove it this far, right! Right? Hehe.

It’s like slowly driving the car into the ground

We started driving and Oh. My. GAWD. We could safely do about 40 mph… if you want to call it safe. The car was shaking to death. We would pull over to let people pass then pull back onto the highway. And then I hit a railroad track… I could feel the wheel shaking and it sounded like the car was coming apart at the seems. 

My older son had to take over after that. We were safely doing 25 to 35 mph the rest of the way back to his place. The front driver side tire looked slanted and you could see the shaking from the follow car at times.

My car is now parked in a garage awaiting repair. And guess what needs to be replaced…

The CV Axle! It’s the CV axle! It needs changed. Who’d of thunk it!? It was like a huge mystery that no one would have guessed! 

I am not mad at the second mechanic. They fixed the main problem of the moment and went out of their way to get us in ASAP to fix it. I thank them.

But the first mechanic… why didn’t you just change it out? We had the part! I was willing to pay for it.

I am over being pissed off but THIS is what I keep saying. No one will listen to me. It’s like I am yelling into a void. Is it because I am a woman? Cuz I will totally have a sex change if it means someone will finally fucking listen to me! 

Why won’t people listen to me? I want to know. 

Anyway, we are here now. I am making pizza today. I will be working on a YouTube video for my gluten-free flour recipe. We’ll be here for a least a couple of weeks. I’ll keep you updated. we’ll probably be here a couple of weeks. I miss home but this is okay for now because at least my CV axle will be changed out (and everything else we ruined by driving with a bad CV axle)

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas. If you aren’t celebrating Christmas, then I hope your day is the best ever. Today I am probably doing what I do every year. Having Christmas at my parents house!

I don’t look forward to much, but we have been doing this every year since 2008 and it’s the one thing I can’t for each year. Don’t you just love it when a tradition gets rolling?

We go to my parents, exchange gifts, and then spend time with each other. What could be better than family time? NOTHING! This is what I live for!

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Bad picture, I know. But isn’t that the cutest tree!?

While I enjoy my day, I hope you enjoy yours also. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

A Trip 11 Years & 11 Months In The Making – Mount Rushmore

Back in 2005, when we took a trip around the country. At one part of the trip, we were heading to Java’s house for a wonderful, Fluxx-filled visit. 

On that leg of the trip, we wanted to stop and see Mount Rushmore. We ended up missing it because of the snow storm that was heading for us.

SO, this trip, we made a plan to stop and see it come hell or high water! We made it to South Dakota.

And then we ended up driving back into Wyoming… oops. But once we figured out where we were, we had a nice scenic drive.

Once we’re back in South Dakota, we finally got to see it! After 11 years and 11 months… we saw this

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s impressive but, all the ads make it seem like it’s four times larger than what it is. We still snapped photos of each of us in front of it. Here is a picture of Miles in front of it.

He is the photogenic one of the group. 

But the best part of the whole trip? That was when I was done snapping a ton of pictures, I turned back around to see what the boys wanted to do next.

That is when I snapped a picture of my kids that sums up the entire trip.

The best part is, random dude in the background has about the same expression.

Was it worth it? Hell yes! 

Will I do it again, probably not. But it was still cool to see.

Flintstone’s Meal!

Today I slow cooked some ribs. I am planning on making bone broth since I read it’s good for a lot of things, especially malnutrition. I figured I could take the bones and make it over the next day or two (or however long it’s supposed to cook).

I also have a lot of thinking left to do. I am still exhausted a lot. I have a service dog now too! But that means I have to walk and potty him which means I am in more pain and more exhausted. I thought about working on the blog right after morning walk and breakfast (which is actually noon for me).

So I will be trying that this next week (starting tomorrow). I’ll get a picture of Jack-Jack up also. I am really excited about having him as part of our family.

Someone Misses People

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The big secret from a couple weeks ago, in case I forgot to post it, is that the kids all went to California for the summer. That means it is me and three cats.

Garfield had a bad day one day. He is used to people being in and out, getting smothered with loves, and having people feet to chase down the hallway.

With not a lot of people around, the other day he crawled up on me and snuggled for a good hour while kneading my belly. He got tons of love… and T-u-n-a. Don’t you dare say it out loud unless you are going to feed that cats!

He’s doing much better today.