Saturday, January 24, 2009

Car Troubles

To add to my luck with life, as of a week ago I no longer have a car to drive. No accidents, no poor maintenance or neglect to my car caused what turned out to be an expensive fix. I am not writing to complain about the struggles of not having a car, although I will discuss the inconveniences that came with.

So good the ol 99 Chrysler Concorde is no longer with me. It turns out the build of the engine in my car uses a timing chain, rather than a belt. The reason for this, from my researching, was to allow for those who own such a vehicle (it also occurred in a few other models) to worry less about maintenance. Take not that having a belt requires it to be replaced in a given period of time, and Chrysler (as well as Dodge) decided most people would be too neglectful to perform such maintenance. Anyway, the chain is not supposed to break making it better for such neglectful owners to keep their car.

Well no one is perfect, and from what I have seen the Chrysler engine is not that great. In fact, it is a common issue for this timing chain to break. Often the break occurs in cold weather, which is clearly inevitable seeing as I reside in the Midwest. Well my battery had died due to my transmission being faulty to begin with. I had issues with the key not turning all the way off, as well as the fact that I could remove it while my car is running. Moving on, I found a parking services truck to help jump my car. It didn't work. I heard a weird noise the first time I turned the key, almost as though it was about to turn over but I prematurely let go. I then retried repetitively and it was just not going. Even if my battery wasn't dead, it wasn't going to start. Unfortunately I did not know that and I went out and purchased a new battery. I soon found out my car has a difficult placement of its battery. I could not do it myself...

So a few hours later I had AAA come over to tow my car somewhere that would be able to replace my battery. The tow truck driver also tried to jump my car, he said that my car should be able to jump and I might have more problems than I thought. I eventually got it towed to a nearby garage. Unfortunately because of the time of day it was already closed (most were already). The next day I went into the garage and asked for them to perform a diagnostics check to make sure as well as put the battery in. I then waited.

On Wednesday I received a call from the garage. It turns out the previously noted timing chain was a potentially broken. The mechanic at the garage had spoken to his friend at the Chrysler dealer. This is where I found out that the problem was common to my particular engine. It later motivated me to find more about the problem. The repairs for the car were estimated to be about $5000. As soon as I heard that I knew it was over. With such money spent on essentially overhauling the engine, one could simply purchase a used car that would not be at risk of such critical failure once again.

With phone calls, emails, and text messages to my parents. We are trying to figure out what to do about this situation. Clearly we are now done with the Concorde, so I have removed every little piece of property from the car as one step. It is unclear whether I will sell the car to a salvage yard or donate it to charity. The charity one would yield a tax write-off for the KBB value of the car regardless of working condition. One solution that has been discussed and may be most likely is for my dad to drive out here and give me his 99 Audi A4. This would be a reasonable replacement with the exception that it is quite compact so its storage capacity is limited (which would make moving difficult). Other options include using a special discount my mother has through her company to possibly buy a new car. My family is very tight on money so I would not think this would happen.

Now here comes the question, do I really need a car right now?
The answer is, YES. It may seem that I am acting spoiled, but bear with me. You see my job, I have not worked at it once this semester. Having income is important for me to purchase groceries and other necessities that I use daily. Now, the first week I was attempting to gather myself and understand my schedule. I was planning on getting back into it this past week. Unfortunately without my car I am unable to take myself into work. This makes me unable to earn money. I also have certain needs for a car to pick up groceries as well (if I was making money). Aside from that I have been needing to bum rides from friends and even borrowing the twins' van.

Well as things get sorted out and my professor hopefully responds to my email regarding my lack of car, I shall write an update to what happens and what solutions come about. So for now, wish me luck.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Can't make song

Here I am
watching Star Wars with Marla. Can't Make song... new inside joke.

Anyway, I am back in the EL.
I am now using a cane as a safety device to prevent myself from hurting my recently operated on knee. I can walk but with a limp and my knee is the size and shape (but not color) of a grapefruit.
My travels today included waking up at 5 am and then heading to the airport as a cripple. With some gimping I made it to the gate just in time. Once in Detroit I was thankfully wheeled to my connection way across on the other part of the airport. Only to, of course, make it on the plane and sit on the plane for 2 hours (for a 22 min flight!). But I did make it back and that's what counts I suppose. Ate some delicious Olga's for a late lunch. The waiter stamped the shit out of my smoothie card.. oh yeah I'm excited.

Anyway I feel guilty. What about eh? I promised my professor that I would work on the research project over break. My reasoning was that I would actually have time for myself and could get something done without school getting in the way. Good idea, but it didn't work out. Aside from the first week of having a million appts and the second being on a cruise, I ended up getting caught up in some issues (one of which included my knee). Now I am back I have yet one day until school begins again and I have not accomplished anything. I am seriously not motivated. I don't know what to do because I feel bad for blowing it off, but at the same time I feel like I've put all the effort I personally care for into this project and sort of just want to quit. Quitting would fuck me over though, means no money and I don't think I have the energy or time (esp with my knee) to find another part-time job during school. It's a predicament, aside from the fact that I want a more involved and applicable internship this summer and haven't made any progress on that (except a few dead interviews).

Moving on, the sweats I designed for the MSU diving team turned out great and I feel cool that my lil digital creation has been rendered as something a sports team will be wearing. It's a cool feeling; makes me kind of wish I could just do that sort of thing for a living. Unfortunately the money is not so great in that so it shall remain a hobby.

I think that'll be all for now. For all those millions of readers out there, take care of yourself and watch out for the blizzard that hit us today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


So I had the surgery yesterday. All went well. In fact I am actually able to walk but not perfectly. For the most part I am painless and will probably not need the vicodin they prescribed me. Anyway I have some pictures to show!

As you can see they scoped around my knee and noted that every other aspect (aside from the chip and defect) are quite healthy. The piece they removed was mostly cartilage and had some bone in it as well. If the bone was thicker it would have been reattached. Also the defect was on the part of my femur that is not load bearing, as they put it, so it shouldn't cause me troubles in the near future.

Well that is all for my medical journal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Frank Says Hello

Here's a real life video of Frank. Today may be his last day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My right knee

The good ol blogosphere... I have not been a part of it since - well since before it was dubbed so.

This entry will be short.. and sweet (just for you Marla)

I entitled it "my right knee".. because I am going to talk about my right knee! To avoid a long entry about its history, I shall at first be brief.

I had aches in pain in my right knee as a child growing up. I eventually 'grew' out of it. Come my first years of high school I had begun track. Low and behold my right knee acts up again. It is somewhat achy again, yet occasionally during high jump I would get sharp pain in it. It appeared to the trainer to be unstable and simply needed physical therapy to strengthen the area. I eventually moved on from that and thought little of it (with minor aches but no sharp pain). This is necessary because it was proven to be the cause of my current condition.

As of a few months ago (uncertain of the date but sometime in November of 08). I was resting on the couch and my knee suddenly locks up. From here I experience more troubles. Instability, pain (sharp and dull), as well as a fear that my knee was falling apart. I at first thought it a mere injury and 'walked it off'. Unfortunately one day it happened again and I realized it was not to be ignored. I informed my parents of my condition and set up an appointment with an orthopedic doctor back home (my dad's). Anyway with time I eventually was diagnosed with OCD.

Yes, I have OCD. Who knew? Well it's not what you think, quite an interesting name though. In fact OCD stands for osteochondritis dissecans. What is that you ask? Fucking bad news man that's what. (What's with my rhetorical questions? ignore the irony of the additional question) Anyway, OCD is a sort of degenerative condition (see below). I have effectively chipped off a part of my femur at the knee. It has slowly sat there in pain and as of the recent even escaped. It hasn't gotten far but is now a floating body. This is stage IV of OCD and means surgery is inevitable. So I go in this Wednesday for arthroscopic surgery to either remove or reattach this floating body (I call him Frank). It will cause me a great inconvenience for these first few weeks of the upcoming semester, but it shall undoubtedly be worth it once healed. I will feel grand to, at least for a while, have 'healthy' knee to frolick about on.

As for now I await the surgery. I dread using crutches so I plan on finding a cane to strut campus with. Oh yes, a cane... just like Dr. House (love that show).

Well this turned out to be much longer than anticipated. With that I leave you.