Since the vet's office was open until 3 PM I didn't feel any need to rush. I lumbered about the apartment for a while, checking my e-mail and having a breakfast of Atkins Flakes with almonds. It was a nice chage of pace for me since for the last week or so I've been waking up with the Atkins breakfast bars. Once I finished my breakfast I changed into my exercise clothes and got ready to spend some time on the treadmill. Roho noticed that I was perusing the various DVDs in my collection, trying to find something to watch while I walked. He suggested that I drop in his copy of "The Terminator," that 1984 favorite with Arnold as a homicidal cyborg from the future. I was curious to see how the remastering process had done, and Roho mentioned that they'd even taken it from monoaural and put a 5.1 soundtrack on there. So in went the disc, and I jumped on the treadmill, reworking the program so that I walked or an hour today instead of my usual 30 minutes. It was sort of confusing to my body because instead of working off three-minute intervals the treadmill's computer shifted to six-minute increments to handle the increase in exercise time. By the time the hour was over I was sweaty and quite ready to dismount, along with feeling very queasy in the stomach from the exertion on the incline. I suppose that's payback for my foolishness; I know from past experiences that too much physical work too soon after a meal (no matter if the meal was large or small) will leave me feeling violently sick. 3.1 miles, over 400 calories burned, and a stomach that was rolling dangerously was the end result of my effort since I stepped off the belt about 4 minutes early. I made a mental note of this, took a few minutes to cool off on the couch and then showered.
Once I was done cleansing myself I hopped online for a while longer and watched the remaining 30 minutes or so of Terminator, then decided I had better go down to the vet's office. A quick check of my pickup confirmed my suspicion that my exhaust patch was coming undone -- the y-pipe wasn't properly supported since I didn't have both sides done, the tape had torn loose and there was now a hole in my patch. Again, nobody to blame but myself on this one, so I decided to make a concentrated effort to put this problem to rest as soon as possible. If I have to buy more patch kits, I have to buy more patch kits. If I have to cut apart some soda cans and use them as retrofit splints then that's what I'll do. I'm not spending $700 for materials and labor on a vehicle that will be going away soon -- it just doesn't make good financial sense.
I asked Roho if he'd like to come along on the trip of the vet, and he agreed to keep me company. We took his Saab down, and I got the opportunity to drive. I think Roho rapidly began to question the sanity of such a decision since my drving was rather impaired... the Saab has very small petals that are all grouped together. I have big feet by nature (size twelve, wides) and my steel-toed workboots tend to accentuate that. I had a bit of trouble working the clutch and brake while trying not to stall his car, but I perservered and managed to get down to Schaumburg without any major mishaps. We stopped in the office, got Ra's prescription and even an eight-pound bag of his food. They weren't out of the food at all! The lady I had spoken to on the phone just didn't know where it was kept, so thought they didn't have any in stock. I got lucky, and it served as a reminder that I need to be more proactive in keeping Ra's supplies on hand.
On the drive home Roho and I stopped at Fruitful Yield to stock up on supplies. I grabbed a number of the Advantage bars, some Morning Start bars, a few cases of the Atkins shakes (vanilla flavor, mmmm!) and even some of the ice cream. When I walked out this week my bill was about $20 larger than it was last time, but I feel good about the purchase. I've been doing really well on the diet and want to make sure I continue to do so -- if that means spending a little more money then so be it. I'm more than happy to spend money on snacks that are not only safe on the diet and able to quell the occasional craving but are also really quite delicious. Roho remarked that he was jealous that we get such tasty snacks on this plan, which certainly made me laugh.
After we got back to the apartment I gathered up my toolbox and went outside to work on the pickup. My goal was to replace the air filter, the PCV filter and the PCV valve. While I was working Kestral got home, and she watched and listened as I worked for a while, explaining some of what I was doing on the vehicle's engine and why. I finished the filter replacement but skipped the valve replacement since Kes was hungry and wanted to get up to BD's quickly. I closed up the hood, put my tools away, scrubbed my hands clean of the filth they'd acquired and then darted out. On my way through the doorI grabbed the BD's fishing hat I'd bought earlier in the week. I was disappointed when one of the snaps broke and the side of the brim fell down. Yes, I looked rather amusing with it like that, but it was a bit disheartening that a brand new article of clothing had suffered damage already.
We were seated in Sara's area and enjoyed a lot of conversation with her. She brought my hat's problem to the attention of management, who sought to replace it but couldn't since they were out of the hats. They offered me a ball cap by way of apology, which I accepted with a lot of thanks. It's nice how they try to make things right.
I had one bowl of chicken with a lot of spices (Frank's hot sauce, a huge amount of Cayenne and quite a bit of crushed red pepper as well) and a beer to start, then nursed on diet cola for the rest of the meal. We talked with Sara some more, and when it was pointed out to me that Steve was at the bar I excused myself to talk with him. I was surprised to learn he'd just come back from a two-week engagement in London as part of a choir. He told me how much he had enjoyed his time there and how nice the people and the city were. For reasons I may reveal later this was quite interesting to me, so I spent quite awhile talking to him before wishing him a good evening and going back to my own table. It wasn't long after that we wished Sara a good night, paid our check and left.
Most of the remaining evening was spent quietly on the couch, the three of us watching my copy of Brazil. Kestral had never seen the movie, and Roho and I were in just the right mood to really appreciate how wickedly twisted and insightful the film can be. After the movie was over I walked down the street to CVS so that I could get a new tooth brush, a diet Cherry Coke, and some various cards. I need to send a card with my grandfather's birthday present, something I had not managed to do this week even though it's now almost a full week since he had his birthday. I procured a card for my father's birthday, which is about 6 months away, a card for Father's Day, which is rapidly approaching, and a birthday card for my mother. I think Mom will like her card -- it has a Blue Fronted Amazon on the cover in all his glory, something she'll appreciate since she still has one of the two Blue Fronts we've owned in my lifetime. I'm looking forward to hand-delivering her present and card this year. I hope that urocyon's discovery from the mining ruins proves to be a good gift. It's been years since my mom collected glass insulators, but I think this one should be unique enough (it's from a wholly different region) to make her smile. I know she's going to say that just my being there is enough to make her smile, but I would feel bad about coming home empty-handed at the same time as her birthday.
It's very odd... I pulled $100 from my checking account yesterday while I was at work. As of this very moment I have $37 of it remaining. What happened to it all? I spent some of it for yesterday's lunch at Coyote's Mexican with the coworkers, part of it at the Continental for last night's dinner with Kestral, some of it at Bumper's last night for drinks and part of it today at BD's, but I cannot imagine I've spent over sixty dollars in a little over 24 hours! This is why I hate carrying cash... if I've got it in my billfold I spend it. Must return to using my checking card wherever possible so I can do a better job of tracking my spending habits. This is getting way out of control, and represents a serious risk to my budgeting.
Tomorrow I'll practice on the bass, since I haven't picked it up in the last two days. I also plan to attempt a new repair on the pickup's exhaust system. If the weather remains clement I may even try to take on the PCV valve. If the weather doesn't cooperate... well, I'll just have to see how bad it gets and try to at least fix my Y-pipe. I hate having a noisy truck.
Alabama, you've got the weight on your shoulders