Oy. What a morning!
Things went south before I even woke up this morning. Or, should I say, things going south was what woke me up!
I still had a litter box in my office/bedroom, so our post surgical kitties wouldn’t have far to go, if they needed to.
I was awakened by the sound of Beep Beep vigorously trying to spread the litter all over my carpet.
And we still don’t have the replacement belts for our new vacuum, yet.
Then I went into the sun room to start my morning rounds, and found water on the floor.
Under the spare cat food bag.
Despite things cooling down, yesterday’s warmth has lead to water leaking in the sun room again, and it’s making its way through now.
And we still don’t know where the water is getting in, so we couldn’t patch it.
So I had to spend some time taking care of the bag of cat food which, thankfully, has an inner lining that kept the kibble from getting wet, and setting out a bucket to catch the drips.
Butterscotch and Nosencrantz were doing very well, and enjoyed their wet cat food treat. They are getting so spoiled these days! 😀
The kibble bowls outside had been picked clean of even the kibble from the brands they don’t like. I am pretty sure I know who ate it. Last night, on the security camera live feed, I saw a very large skunk, running back and forth on the driveway, and too and from one of the sheds. Skunks don’t fully hibernate in winter, and it can be pretty safe to assume a very hungry skunk visited the kibble house last night.
When I came outside, I “caught” a deer in the path to the compost pile, half way between the pile and the house. It froze and stared at me for a while, before walking away, then into the spruces. Even as I brought out the seeds to the feeding station, it stayed and watched me until I was almost clear of the lilac bushes. By the time I was heading to the garage, to take the van to the mechanic, two deer were at the feeding station. They watched me, but didn’t run away.
The van started well enough, and no warning light or message from the onboard computer about the brakes. I left it running to warm up while I went to unlock the gate.
The lock was frozen.
We don’t have lock de-icer.
It took me about 10 minutes to finally be able to get the key in and open the lock.
Which is when I discovered the slide bar that holds the two sides of the gate together, was also frozen.
This thing is about 2 feet long, and the ice had formed between the metal of the bar, and the metal of the gate it slides on.
After fighting with it for a while, I went to the garage, shut off the van, and grabbed a tool kit. I ended up having to remove one of the bolts that holds it in place, but also stops it from sliding too far over the other half of the gate. It allowed me to pull the slider upwards, pivoting on the opposite bolt, enough to break free of the ice. Much sliding back and forth was required to scrape the ice off. The ice had filled almost the entire length where the two pieces of metal where in contact.
That took another 20 minutes or so.
The gate is being left open, now.
Then it was back to the van and off to town, with a brief stop at the post office, along the way.
We’ve got high winds from the north right now, blowing across the road the entire trip. It wasn’t too bad at first, but the closer I drove towards the lake, the more snow there was, the more drifting, and worse visibility. When I reached the stop sign to cross the next highway, it was sheer ice and hadn’t been sanded!
Which is when a new warning light came on. The battery light, while my onboard computer flashed with “charging system failure.”
Thankfully, I was less than 5 minutes from the garage.
When I got there, his parking lot was full, so I pulled in behind his own vehicle and went in.
But not until after I shut off the van, then restarted it. The warning light did not come back on.
Once inside, I saw that not only did he have all three lifts full, but he managed to squeeze in another car in the middle, and a utility vehicle between a vehicle on a lift, and the bay door behind it.
At least he had another mechanic with him this time!
Clearly, he wasn’t going to be able to check the van, anytime soon. I did bring in the printout to show him and we talked about what was going on, as well as the road conditions. He thought I was going to be dropping the van off and coming back later, but that wasn’t an option. My daughter still has a limited license, so someone with a full license has to be with her, and my husband no longer has a valid licence, since they wanted him to do a legal name change when he tried to switch to this province’s license. And she can’t take the road test to get her full license, because of all the restrictions and mandates against organic humans.
I would have been willing to wait, or he could have called me later in the afternoon, when he could fit the van in, but with the road conditions, I didn’t want to chance it.
I’m now booked to come back at 10am on Friday.
It’s a good thing we did that, as conditions had worsened even in the short time I was in with him. It was slow going in places, and more than a few spots were down to almost zero visibility.
About half way home, that “charging system failure” warning came back on.
I was just coming up on the turn towards our driveway when the van kicked into battery saving mode and shutting things off.
After pulling into the garage, I checked, and the battery was down to 8.4 volts. It is normally at 14 volts.
Thankfully, we have a good charger.
Unfortunately, the battery is really hard to get at. The fuse box and a piece of frame support is basically on top of it.
But, it is charging, and I should at least be able to get it to the mechanic in a couple of days.
One of the things on the list of stuff to check that I got after changing the oil, was corrosion on the battery connectors. It was something I’d noticed myself. But would that be enough to prevent the batter from charging? The mechanic suggested it might be the alternator, but until he actually gets under the hood to check, it’s just guesswork.
So, there’s something wonky with the brakes. The battery is losing its charge. We have a loose wire in our manual headlights knob, so that if I want to turn them on manually (auto still works fine), I sometimes have to wiggle it just right for it to work. The ABS needs to be fixed, and on and on.
This van has done well by us, considering the problems we had when we first bought it, but it’s mileage is right up there; I’m actually hoping to catch the odometer at 456,789.0 km, but I might have missed it on the way home. It’s old and little things are giving out, all over. We’re keeping up on them as much as we can, but the budget is just not there to get it all done.
Meanwhile, there is basic maintenance needed on my mother’s car, we have other equipment that needs to be fixed, the roof is leaking, we’re on borrowed time for our well, and the whole house needs a top to bottom renovation.
A lottery win would really come in handy right now. Not even a particularly big win. Just enough to replace and fix the things that need to be done!