October 2010


The check engine light has been off and on in the van, the diagnosis is a vacuum leak-the fuel mixture is too lean.
I have taken it to 2 different places and 4 different mechanics plus me have crawled around the engine looking at all the lines from above and below and have been unable to find anything.

It's been 1500 miles since it first came on, it has gone off twice for a total of about 500 miles of that.
There is no difference in the sound, smell or feel of it running.
My gas mileage is running the same as always, if not a little better.

After calling around, I have been told it will be fine to drive, but I am a little stressed about it. It seems like fair warning or something-like I should KNOW something is about to go kablooey, even if no one so far has been able to find the potential time bomb.

So, after taking it yesterday to have a full brake, fluid, tire tread and pressure and belt check-being pronounced all clear, I stuck a self-destruct button over the check engine light so I can't see it and the trip is a go. Matt's Volvo has had a check engine light on since we bought it 30,000 miles ago.

I have our reservations made at Tellico Plains.
W e have fully stocked water and food hoppers for the pets with a person coming in at the half-way point to check on everyone as a just-in-case.

We spent today getting the kitchen and laundry all cleaned and the bathrooms scrubbed down. We always come in with so much laundry and all kinds of odds and ends from every trip, I don't like to leave the house messy.

My mother was briefly married to a guy-this story always pops into my head before a trip-who would leave a $20 tucked under a book on the coffee table, 3/4 of it clearly showing from the front entryway. He thought if a thief came in while he was off, he could spot the $20 missing right off and back out and call the police without disturbing the scene. Because theives are hot for neurotic teacup poodles and...well, I can't think of anything else he had in his house.

I have a similar ritual. It's called 'did I turn that off' and requires I go around making sure nothing is on and pushing the fridge and freezer doors several times to ensure a good seal. I think I would caulk them if it were not so messy. Then shutting off the hot water tank and turning the central unit to where it will barely run while we are away-or in case of mild weather, just shut it off. Then I have everyone turn off their power strips, leaving any electronics either unplugged or at least plugged into a surge protector. Then I check the back door, all the windows and lock the front door as I leave.
I can TOTALLY ruin a trip for myself by thinking the freezer door was a little open or that I forgot to turn the eye off under the teapot. I would have said it was OCD, but having watched a few episodes about people who had OCD, I think of it more as a quirk now. A little calming ritual that sets me up for a good trip during which I don't have to worry about the house.