For some time, my old faithful car has been making an odd sound; a grinding clunking sound. As my particular model of Pontiac is notorious for going through front brakes, and as it had been almost one year since the last set went in, I was blissfully untroubled.
Around the time of the great snowfall, and after I had been stuck in two different drifts and pushed out by complete strangers, the noise level escalated. As I was driving my dad out and about he lost patience and raised his normally placid voice to bark: "For God's sake get that noise checked before you kill us all." Okay, I heard that!
Two days later as I was breakfasting in the dub, my friends of friends who had been so helpful and hireable during my September move from hell appeared. They were looking lithe and lean and oh so tanned as they had been in the Philippines for the past 3 months. I mentioned my car dilemma as the gent is a retired mechanic. I asked him to recommend a garage that wouldn't take me to the cleaners. "Pop by the house and I will have a look. Then we can go from there."
Visiting these people is fraught with peril for me as the gent has a bit of a crush on me. I found that out in a bit of an awkward way, a big bit of an awkward way when we were painting my old condo. I no longer deem it wise to be alone with him but neither do I wish to offend as he was very good to both me and my father. I am well aware that we all can only be who we are. That is who he is. The middle way around this, I decided, would be to take Dad along. So - off we went.
Brakes and pads and rotors for old faithful vary in price HUGELY. Stock parts and after-market ones seem to wear pretty much alike. This insight came to me after set #4 went in 11 months after set #3. Set #3 was the time I spent big with the very best, the most heavy-duty, and of course the priciest installed. Set #4, the cheapest of the cheap, lasted almost 2 years. So for 350$ I got a year and a bit more than my $1700 bought. What I wanted from my mechanic advisor was an opinion on what would constitute a reasonable price for the work needed.
Our buddy went out for a ride with Dad in tow and returned in less than 3 minutes. He could not speak as he came in making for the telephone. He looked at me with a red face and dialed. After a 2 minute phone convo he turned to me to inform me the car was unsafe to drive. Anywhere. I was going to call a towtruck to move it to a garage and then rent a car when our buddy said:
" Arent you taking your dad out for dinner?"
Yes, yes I was.
"Do you have an hour or so?"
Yes, yes I do now.
So it was that Dad graced their couch for a wee nappie, the wife made coffee for herself and me, and we chatted about life in the tropics for a few hours.
My brakes remain undone but my wheel bearings have been replaced and in Spring when the sand salt and sludge is gone my brakes will be restored.
Our mechanical friend said that when he took the wheels off, the bearings broke in his hands. Dodged a bullet there.
I truly believe that all my angels guarded me. My flotilla can stand down for awhile now. And me - I am breathing: in out in out in out.
“These things I warmly wish for you Someone to love, some work to do, A bit o' sun, a bit o' cheer, And a guardian angel always near”