It has been a trying week.

Our car has been showing its age for a while. The symphony of squeaks, rattles, strange coughs and groans has been building, and last weekend it reached a point where we couldn’t ignore it. The power steering was starting to go. There’s a limit to how much good money a sensible person will throw after bad. It was time for a New (Old) Car.

We wanted a manual (stick shift) ute (pickup) with a good sized engine for caravan towing. The initial search was a bit depressing, but we found what we thought was a good deal. It was weatherbeaten and fairly basic, but would do the job. That was until the pre-purchase inspection (we’re not complete idiots). Algae in the brake fluid. Chicken feathers in the air filter. Ooze from every gasket. Blow-by (not good, Google it if you just have to know – I know what it is, but the explanation is long), and various other potentially terminal issues. I have a two page report and photos… The owner had given the engine a good going over with a power washer to hide as much of the evidence as possible, but he hadn’t changed out or topped up any of the fluids or checked the air filter.

We passed on that one, bit the bullet, scraped finance together and paid a good bit more for a Mitsubishi Triton dual-cab, a decent vehicle which should last us a long time. They took our old car as a trade in, so we have one less thing to worry about. It was stressful, but it’s done.

The sewing room is preying on my mind too. I can’t seem to get anything finished. My sewing table is totally covered with Too Much Stuff. A friend recently had a TIA and her medication is causing her to lose weight rapidly. She asked if I could take in a couple of dresses she’d only just bought which were now hanging on her. I have the backing of my Days Gone By quilt almost done. I need to make a few more Floribunda blocks and another Parterre block. I have the whole Anemone project to hand quilt. I have work pants to mend for the Husband. You get the picture…

So of course, rather than actually do any of this work, we decided to load Mr Mouse into the back of the new car and take him to the beach. We had a yummy lunch (chilli and coriander fishcakes with salad), and then took Mouse out onto the sand and let him off the leash. He loves to run on the beach, and it’s the only place we let him loose apart from fenced dog parks. He – and we – had the entire vast empty beach to ourselves, and many zoomies and figure-8 circuits were completed before he was finally exhausted. A quick hose down at the beach shower, and then home for a large snooze (for him, I did housework!).

It was a good day. A relief from the stress of the previous week, a chance to let Mouse do something he enjoys so much, and a bit of fun for us, putting the new vehicle through its paces. I hadn’t realised how anxious I’d been about the car until the anxiety went away.

All better now.

59 thoughts on “And…..relax.

  1. Any change is always stressful and I’m glad it’s all over and you can now relax.
    Nothing better for recharging the batteries than a good drive blue skies and a good meal. Love the pic of Mouse on the beach.
    Looking forward to seeing the new addition to the family in February 🤩

    • katechiconi says:

      You often don’t realise how something’s been preying on your mind… until it stops. And yes, blue skies and an empty beach are amazingly therapeutic. We’ll definitely take you for lunch there WHEN you finally get round to coming up here!

  2. jmcheney says:

    Such wise people to stop everything & go that beautiful beach, eat those divine looking fish cakes & give Mouse a wonderful Treat. So good for all your good bodies & minds.

    • katechiconi says:

      He had a great big grin on his doggy face and was so zorsted he had to have a huge sleep when we got home. I felt much the same way, but unfortunately was unable to flop onto the bed and go to sleep! Still, I loaded the dishwasher with a smile on my face too 🙂

  3. Dayphoto says:

    I think it is always a good idea to ‘take a break’…sometimes it takes a spell to get to the point where a break can be taken. But THEN I have learned one really needs to take a break!

  4. kymlucas says:

    Sometimes, your just have to give yourselves a break, and you were wise to recognize that fact. 👍

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s very true… and we both slept amazingly well last night after the relief, good food and fresh air.

      • kymlucas says:

        In the end, all the items on our to-do lists rarely are as time-sensitive as we tend to think they are. At least that’s how it is for me. I think it’s an issue of feeling in control for me.

      • katechiconi says:

        I am my own deadline setter, for the most part. It’s mainly to stay on top of the things I’m doing, but I do feel disappointed in myself when I don’t hit the target. Silly, I know, since so much else is more important! So it’s good to give myself permission to goof off!

      • kymlucas says:

        I’m the same. 😊

  5. Marty K says:

    So glad you were able to get to the beach. I find that watching and listening to waves brings my blood pressure down several notches. I’ll bet Mousiekins is very thankful too.

    Congrats on the new car. I’m partial to manual transmissions too. We’re on that cusp right now too and trying to hold out as long as we can before we take the plunge and replace my 1998 station wagon.

    • katechiconi says:

      Mouse seems to have learned that the beach is one of his ‘special’ places where he’s allowed off the leash to run. He trotted back quite happily once he was done and waited to be clipped back on. The car is a boon and a blessing, it’s great to feel certainty rather than always being slightly conscious of strange noises! We’ll both be much happier once we have a reversing camera installed, though – it’s much longer than our last one!

  6. Well done on avoiding the disaster ute…omg… chicken feathers! Wishing you many years of happy motoring in the newbie, a good start by going to the beach. Lovely pics 😀

    • katechiconi says:

      You have no idea, some of the photos are just scary! Mouse Dog says he likes the new one too, as the back seat is flatter and he doesn’t roll around so much on the corners.

  7. bearmkwa says:

    We had what I call our first post-warranty repair this past week,too. At almost 100k miles it’s almost expected. A coolant leak… 2hrs in shop…. A new reservoir and connector to engine block, new hoses… I may have to replace the thermostat soon, though. That repair I can do myself and save a few hundred. That said I’m glad you have a safe vehicle now.

    • katechiconi says:

      One of the interesting things about buying a used vehicle is that you don’t have that “warranty’s almost done, what’s going to go wrong?” moment that so often happens with a new one! The Husband takes care of the small routine items, and we have a trusted mechanic for the rest.

      • bearmkwa says:

        I’ve always purchased used. This one had 32k miles… Was a dealership courtesy car before I got it. First time ever purchasing from dealer… And will probably be the last if I can manage that.

      • katechiconi says:

        I’d love to think this would be our last car, but we travel such large distances on a regular basis that, despite regular servicing, the car odometer will probably click over to zero before we’re ready to stop travelling!

  8. cedar51 says:

    as I started to read your post, I felt just like the “ailing car” and then read on to a new2you and I thought may be I could “trade me in” on a better version. But then I remembered I’m not in charge of when/how but rather Therese the GP is and if she thinks that we shall try another treatment, who am I to suggest otherwise…Hoping that my “chicken feathers” are soon dislodged and my “head tubes” are running better…i.e. balance is restored.
    I’ve been hearing noises off and on for years, always put into “it’s nothing basket by others” and more recently the balance issues had become worse! And this morning I realised how much I rely on leaning on things in the house to do other things…possibly my “head-rings” are shot as well..
    Yep, time to trade it in!
    Thanks for showing what needs to be done…

    • katechiconi says:

      If not a trade-in, then certainly a full service!
      I realised I was getting ‘old’ when I started making noises to get out of my chair in the evening. Sometimes, wear and tear is beyond the power of even the most skilled mechanic 😦

      • cedar51 says:

        if the new treatment doesn’t dislodge the “feathers or fix the rings” – I’m off to a high and mighty mechanic: who apparently will look more deeply into my head/ear pistons and maybe re-oil or re-bore anything that will fix it…I don’t think a transplant is on the cards though!

      • katechiconi says:

        Good luck! I hope you find a highly trained and competent ‘mechanic’!

  9. anne54 says:

    Sorry, I got stuck on an EMPTY beach!! I am assuming the zombie apocalypse has not struck, so are you relying on southerners to lay out their towels and recharge their winter-ravaged bodies?
    Now that that is over….I am glad you have things sorted and that you dodged that chicken-feather-filled bullet. Pleased too that Mouse can have a more comfy ride 😉. Many hugs!

    • katechiconi says:

      Empty is the normal state of affairs at most of our beaches, for a number of reasons: 1) many beaches; 2) smaller population; 3) blistering hot weather (more people on the beaches in early morning and late evening), and north Queenslanders don’t lie out in that level of heat much. We are hoping some pale, post-confinement Victorians might venture this far north soon… We’re waiting for y’all, and there’s plenty of room!

  10. So glad your vehicle story has a happy ending 🙂 Wishing you many years of safe driving and more empty beaches than Mouse could ever wish for x

  11. cazinatutu says:

    I am just so jealous of your blue skies and endless beach … I’ve been cooped up in my flat in London for far too long

    • katechiconi says:

      Let me moderate your jealousy by pointing out that it was a stinkin’ hot 32°C out there, and that further out to sea there are salt water crocodiles, highly poisonous jellyfish, and sharks. That said, it *was* pretty gorgeous!

  12. i don’t think one ever realises how stressful / upsetting / unpleasant something is til one’s through it. Joy however, I think is much easier to recognise fully at the time. I think it must be a deep seated way of the mind protecting us. The same way mother’s say that the trauma of the birth fades, I guess. Your friend is very fortunate to have you to help with the clothing adjustments. Hugs.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s true. You don’t realise something’s hurting till it stops! I know I’ll remember the fun we had together longer than I’ll remember the angst of our failing car!

  13. Going Batty in Wales says:

    That sounds a lovely day and a really great pick-me-up or you all. The protestant work ethic has a lot to answer for!

  14. Zoomies fix so much. Thank you for the reminder. I’ve been stuck inside too much lately. Time for some zoomies with the dogs!

    • katechiconi says:

      Just be grateful they’ll take place in more moderate temperatures! We all had rather singed feet from the boiling hot sand… But it was such a joy to watch his delight in running.

  15. Emmely says:

    Relaxing is good, especially when things are stressful.

  16. tialys says:

    Cars and computers. Brilliant when they’re working, hell when they’re not.
    Lovely to see Mouse on his private beach. that dog is so spoilt.

    • katechiconi says:

      … and *expensive* when they’re not! Still, we’re all fixed up now, and loving the new car, marvelling at the lack of squeaks, rattles, groans and moans! Of course, we couldn’t possibly have bought it without the Mouse Seal of Approval… it’s an internationally recognised standard, you know!

  17. tinaor says:

    Sorry to hear of a trying week. What a lovely photo of Mouse on the beach. I regularly get moments when I don’t fancy doing the chores and head out elsewhere instead! Life’s too short to ‘just’ do ‘the boring stuff’.

  18. I was so happy to read that you quickly resolved the worn vehicle issue so well. We went through the same thing a year ago with the car my daughter bought from me in 2006. It was a 1995 and had sucked up a good portion of her income. We finally donated it to the Animal rescue and they made $1000 on it. She ended up buying her brother’s car and it has mostly sat in the driveway since the end of March. She is saving a lot of money and not having to pay her brother interest. Everyone wins. Taking care of yourself first and letting go of all the To-Do’s for a bit will make you more productive later. And of course that was an excellent excursion for Mr. Mouse himself. I can see him doing his zoomies with great joy. This has lifted my spirits so much. Hugs.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s a dilemma, isn’t it? Cars are so expensive yet so necessary, especially here where everything’s so spread out. But now, all is well, Mouse was delighted with his outing. He stood there with the biggest doggy grin on his needle-nosed face, his sides heaving and his tongue down to his knees!

      • I can see it now. It’s a three mile walk each way on a busy narrow road here to the nearest anything. It seems close when you are young and healthy. Oh well, I have a chauffeur. ;).

  19. knitnkwilt says:

    Thank goodness for the oversights in the engine cover up!

    • katechiconi says:

      And thank goodness for conscientious mechanics who spotted a whole bunch of other stuff I haven’t mentioned. We are good customers, so that pre-purchase check was free 🙂

  20. Terri says:

    What a beautiful beach. I can picture Mouse running circles around you while you relax and breath a sigh of relief to have the hectic week behind you. Those fishcakes look delicious!!!

    • katechiconi says:

      The fishcakes were fabulous. Mouse thought he’d like to try one, but I had to point out that chilli didn’t agree with his insides. There was a small amount of sulking… until we hit the beach!

  21. Susan Nixon says:

    I’d love to see the new vehicle!

    • katechiconi says:

      We’ll probably feature it in our – I mean Mouse’s – next travelogue, but for an idea of how it looks, if you click on the ‘a decent vehicle’ link in the paragraph starting “We passed…” you’ll get an idea. That’s for the GLX-R model, and we only have the GL-R, missing a few of the bells and whistles, but it’s the same colour and general functionality.

  22. nanacathy2 says:

    I hate having to get a replacement car- the salesmen and they are usually men are just so annoying- more interested in the finance package then telling you how much for cash- I put it off to the last minute. I reckon the day out was the best thing to do- seaside air and a nice fish dinner- perfect.

  23. katechiconi says:

    I think we were lucky with ours, not a young know-it-all, and the b-s output slowed dramatically when I told him I’d been in sales for a while. Also, we were paying cash and said so up front, so that would have helped. We’d done our homework, knew what we wanted and he gave us a choice of two options. It was all over in about 20 minutes. The paperwork took far longer!

  24. Sharon says:

    Great get away to restart your engine!

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