Sunday Adventures in Vehicles and Bugs

We are still on the lookout for a church in the next town, so this morning I headed out to visit a new one I’d never been to before.  I almost didn’t make it, having been up until 3 am this morning (actually 2am, but then daylight savings time happened), but it worked out.

This time I went to an evangelical “free” church.  In all my years growing up here, I had no idea it even existed, as it’s in a residential part of town I’d never gone to before.  The only reason I knew where it was was because my daughter and I had found it while playing Pokemon Go a month or so ago, and all churches are Pokestops.

I honestly don’t know what to think of it.  The church itself has no online presence, but I was able to look up what an evangelical church is, and it’s a solidly grounded non-denominational church.  Like most churches in the area, there was a small core of regular congregants.  This being a resort town, the population basically doubles in the summer, and all the churches get fuller.  People were friendly in welcoming.  They have a pastoral couple, rather than just a pastor, which was not something I’ve encountered before, though I was aware of such things.  The sermon was good, though there were a few things about the service that I found a bit strange; little throwaway comments that were intended to be humorous, but were inadvertently sexist.

And no communion.

Which was a surprise, since from what I’d read online, I had expected it.  What is the point of having a service if you’re not going to share the Lord’s Supper?  It’s pretty much the only thing that’s Biblically mandated.

Still, of the three I’ve gone to since moving out here, this is the only one that I felt like I could come back to.

The last thing I expected to have trouble with after the move is finding a church.

Ah, well.

Since I was in town anyhow, I took advantage of it and went to a regular spot I can part in to play Pokemon Go.  It’s an area where I park in one spot long enough to turn off the engine, catch the dozen or so Pokemon that show up, the move the vehicle to the opposite end of the parking area (it’s more of a parking lot for fishing boats stored for the winter) to catch another half dozen or so Pokemon.

Except when I started the engine, the check engine light turned on and stayed on.

I shut it off and started it again.

The check engine light stayed on again.

Crud.  This is the LAST thing I need!!

I moved the vehicle, shut it off and turned it on again, caught a Pokemon…

The light stayed on.

I stopped playing the game and headed straight home.

Once parked in our garage, I shut off the engine and turned it on again.

The check engine light stayed on.

I shut it off then dug out the owners manual.

Turns out the “check engine light” on our vehicle is for emissions control.

Which was a bit of a relief, since I am used to it being a warning for potential mechanical failures of a more catastrophic sort.

There is also a difference between the light being on steady, or blinking.  With the steady light, the first thing on the manual’s check list was, “have you put gas in the tank recently.”  I hadn’t, but it said to make sure the gas cap was on right.  Since I’ve recently replaced our old gas cap with a new one of a different type – and the “check gas cap” warning has only recently stopped flashing on my onboard computer display – I now wonder if it’s related.

Gas cap was fine.

Next on the list; have I driven through any large puddles lately?  If the electrical got wet, that could trigger it, too.

Nope.  There haven’t been any large puddles to drive through, anyhow.

Then it asks if the brand of fuel has been changed lately.

Brand of fuel?  We’ve never been particularly loyal to any brand, though now that we’re out here, we’ve re-activated our gas co-op membership, so it’s basically the first time since we’ve had the vehicle (barely a year) that we’re buying the same brand on a regular basis.

It then suggested filling the tank and seeing if if the light would turn itself off after a while.

I ended up taking the manual into the house so I could sit down and read through it.  I’m relieved to know it doesn’t seem to be anything urgent.  It talked about things like how, if the gas cap isn’t sealing right, fumes might be escaping, which would cause the light to turn on and could affect the fuel efficiency.

Which, I have noticed, seems to be going down.


I’m going to have to get this thing safetied sooner rather than later.

*sigh*  Yet another expense we don’t need.

Meanwhile, I was able to get a few pictures of Mama and the twins coming in for a visit to the feed my daughter had put out after I’d left for church.


Something startled them, though, and they didn’t stay long.  Hungry Girl and Barbecue had come by in the morning.  There’s still lots of feed being left behind, though, so it looks like they’re finding more food elsewhere as the snow melts away.

Later, I went onto my computer to go through photos I’d picked for my mother, wanting to pick out a few of the best to print out after I’m at a medical appointment tomorrow.  I’m planning to hit the Walmart my sister works at, after my appointment, to print out photos – and might even be there after she starts her shift and be able to see her, too.

I didn’t get far going through the photos when it finally got to me.

The ladybugs.

They are everywhere.

Several crawling on my window, all sorts of them on the floor, both live and crushed, clicking sounds of them dropping onto the floor, my work table, my desk…  Last night, I lifted my mouse to move it and landed on one.

Our vacuum is just too big to drag around, unhook the hose and lift while trying to reach various corners with the crevice tool.

I’ve been wanting a hand held vacuum for a while, but couldn’t justify the expense.

I gave in.

I decided to drive back to town and see if the little Home Hardware had any handheld vacuums.  The bigger hardware store doesn’t carry those sorts of household goods.

Both daughters decided to come with me.  Off we go to the van and, as I start the engine, the first thing I notice is…

The check engine light is off.

Well, that’s a relief… I think?

Off we went to the little hardware store.  In the couple of hours since I’d been in the area, almost all the snow on the roads had melted, and there were huge puddles in almost all the intersections.

I’d told the girls about what I’d read in the manual about the check engine light, so we were all joking about splashing through puddles and that light turning on again.

The girls stayed in the van while I ran in to the hardware store.  I told an employee what I was looking for and she took me to the section.  They had only 1 type in stock and it was $90.

Okay, I was desperate, but not that desperate.

They usually had more, she explained, including a cheaper type, but they were out of stock.  Their delivery truck comes in on Tuesday, so if I come back on Tuesday or Wednesday, they should have more.  I noticed some other vacuums on display that were really tiny, so I thanked her and said I would look at what else there was.

While checking them out, I noticed a photo on one style of stick vacuum.  Was that…??

Yes, it was.

Turns out this model of stick vacuum converted to a hand held – and it was $60 instead of $90.

So I grabbed it, then took advantage of being there to look around the store a bit.  I was happy to find their cleaners section.  One of the things about living on such mineral rich well water is that there are rust stains on everything.  Our toilet bowl was pretty bad, but I’d found a cleaner under the sink of a type I’d never seen before and tried it, emptying the container in the process.  It didn’t take it off completely, but it worked MUCH better than the CLR I’d already used on it.  Another cleaning or two with this stuff, and the stains should be gone, so I hoped to find more of it.

I didn’t, but I did notice number of other cleaners that were specific to removing rust stains.

That’s one thing I very quickly noticed about living here.  While a lot of things are harder to find, simply because there is not enough of a population and stores are too small to warrant having them in stock, there are also many things we find easily that I’ve never seen in a big city store.  Even the larger franchise grocery store doesn’t have them, while the smaller one does.  For example, it was in the smaller grocery store’s cleaners section that I found the bacteria packets for improving septic tank efficiency, and toilet tabs specifically designed to reduce rust stains (which work quite well, I might add, even just to fade the remaining stains I couldn’t get out).

This little hardware store’s cleaner section was filled with specialty cleaners to fight rust stains and lime build up – including one specifically for coffee makers, kettles and steam irons.

I picked some up.  Because even after doing a massive CLR double cleaning, overnight soaking of our kettle and finally getting the last of the scale off the bottom, it immediately came back.

I look forward to trying it out.

That done, we took advantage of being in town to fill the gas tank (maybe that will help stave off the “check engine light” returning?) so I don’t have to worry about it tomorrow, and a couple other quick stops before coming home.

One of the first things I did was break out that vacuum, which turns out to not so much be a stick vacuum that converts to a handheld, but a handheld that converts to a stick vacuum! 😀

We tested it out first in my crochet corner, where I vacuumed up the lady bugs on the window sill.  My daughter climbed onto the couch so she could do the other side of the window for me, then used it on my husband’s keyboard.

I’m going to have to use that on my own keyboard, too!

I even used it on the carpet next to the cats’ cardboard scratching post.

Oh, it felt so good!

I was just unplugging it to move to the office when my husband came out.  He’d lain down before we left, so I left a note for him, but he has still asleep when we got back, so he never knew we’d even left!

He liked the state of his keyboard. 😀

Then it was into my office, where I discovered just how much more of those frikkin’ ladybugs I’d had that I didn’t even see.  Most of them squished or simply dropped dead from wherever they were holed up.   There were so many, the vacuum’s canister sounded like a child’s rattle when I moved it.

I feel so much better in my office, now.

That done I figured, what the heck; I broke out the extension cord, then started on the stairs.

This is the first time we’ve vacuumed the stairs since we moved in, and they clearly had not been vacuumed for a very long time before us.  We never tried because it was simply too dangerous to try and drag a full size vacuum – or even the little one the girls have upstairs (they vacuum the bugs up at least 2 or 3 times a day, when it’s warm like today).

There was so much crud on them, for some steps, I had to empty the canister before I could move on to the riser, never mind the next step.  It was mostly fuzz and fur – I think maybe even from the cat that was living in the house when my mom was still living here, which was probably 4 or 5 years ago – that would block the filter enough to reduce suction.

Those stairs look so great right now!  They even feel better to walk on.

It may not have been in budget and more spending than I really wanted to do, but that little thing is worth every penny.

Oh, the the unexpected things I’ve learned to appreciate since moving here!  Who knew I’d ever get so excited about being able to vacuum.

Between the girls vacuuming upstairs several times a day, and my now being able to do the same downstairs, we might finally be able to get the ladybug population in the house under control!

The Re-Farmer

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