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Mpls, MN, United States

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Friday, August 29, 2008

DI (not-quite) Y

I was down to one half of one headlight on the Bruise, so I finally bought a couple of bulbs* and intended to pop those suckers in myself, having been assured something like a year ago (when I first noticed the problem, though at that point I was only down maybe half a headlight) that it was not difficult. A quick Google reinforced my confidence: find the black plug behind the headlights, and then it's just pull, remove, replace, reconnect, done.

Given my mechanical aptitude (which is like unto my directional aptitude), it should come as no surprise that after popping the hood and locating and pulling the black plug, I immediately headed back upstairs for my trusty Haynes manual.** Armed with my Haynes manual, I was able to remove the bulb assembly, and to try to begin installing the new bulb, which is where I ran into a bit of trouble.

To be fair, my bulb holder was missing a flange or two. And due to an unfortunate incident involving Chicago construction/traffic, the Bruise, and a woman stopping on the freeway (in front of me), it's a bit extra-tricky getting to the other one. Given enough time, though, I'm still sure I could have gotten both bulbs in.

But at that point, my downstairs neighbor, who is working his way toward sainthood (specifically after doing most of the lifting involved in moving my swell new*** filing cabinet out of the Bruise and into my apartment on Wednesday), came out with his bike and stopped to help me. Mostly, it was nice to have the company, but together we managed to get both bulbs changed and working in just a few minutes. I told him I wouldn't blame him if he started avoiding coming outside when he saw me out there, but he was very friendly and said he didn't mind. That's a good neighbor.

And that's the thing with DIY. Sometimes I know I can do it by myself: I have, for example, changed my own tire on the side of the road (glaring, admittedly, at the few cars that did pass me). And I've also worked the "Confused Female" angle Leah mentions here, for things I could have done alone eventually--like when the nice stranger installed my wiper blades for me in the parts-store parking lot. Other times, like hauling my filing cabinet, I'm forced to ask for others' help. That's why it's good to have good neighbors.

Also, that's one more reason why I'm excited about Barack Obama.**** Last night a friend and I went to a party at a local coffee shop to watch his acceptance speech. Before it started, she whispered to me, "I hope he brings the fire!" I hoped so, too, and although I felt like he missed a few opportunities to really give it to us, his speech was still emphatic, sincere, and moving. One of the things he emphasized was that what makes the U.S. great is a fundamental belief that "I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper." (I tried to google a transcript of the speech for the precise quote, but ran into so many frighteningly hateful conservative blogs that I actually had to stop before I got too worked up.) Crowded into Muddy Waters with a diverse group of fellow supporters (who cried, "It's not our fault!" when Obama said, "Next week, in Minnesota..."), I was thrilled about the possibilities for a country that's been embarrassing and disappointing too many of us for far too long. I realize Obama is neither perfect, nor the answer to all the world's problems. But it seems to me that he (and the us he catalyzes) is a pretty good start.

*I went to Checker because I had a 25% off coupon... although I'd left it at home. The guy took pity, though, and let me mail the coupon in when I got home.
** Trusty in that I own it, and that it has helped far more mechanically gifted friends and family members do important things to my car. Also, I used it once for something. (One of the many maintenance tasks, of course, which, as you're gathering, I routinely perform on my vehicle. And thus can't recall.)
***It's new to me, but probably pushing 50. Years, that is. I think it's pushing 150 (or 200) pounds.
****For some reason, recently when I think of his name, it's to the tune of that phrase in "Wooly Bully" that goes, "Matty told Hatty..." (I had to look up what the actual lyrics are there. Doesn't "BAH-rack O-BAH-ma" fit nicely?)


Ern said...

So is the neighbor cute?

(And YES, I too am so excited for what Obama could mean for our country. And simultaneously terrified that we won't give him the chance.)

Mom said...

My sentiments exactly. . .excited and terrified. Well said.

Cer, HAPPY BIRTHDAY eve. Did the card arrive?


Curly Sue said...

Ditto on the terrified and excited.

And good work on the bulbs. I'm highly in favor of not paying mechanics for doing work that we can do ourselves (although sometimes it takes us longer).

I Hope So said...

way to go diy girl.

what's this about a birthday? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

and to echo ern's tweet (you need to get on twitter by the way): jesus would have voted for barack.

David said...

Anything interesting to report about the Republican convention? I hear there are already crackdowns on protesters and it hasn't even officially started yet.

Oh and unless it's an elaborate prank by the other commenters, it sounds like you just had a birthday. Hope it was a great one.

David said...

Stuff like this.

april said...

so no one else noticed the coffee ho? tee hee. ;) i think that's the girl who flirts with my husband when he stops for a mocha on his way into work every morning.

lorin said...

Someone visiting me recently told me that Obama changed his name from Barry to Barack Hussein, which is "really, really scary."

I refrained from saying "that's by far the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life," but just barely.

So, happy birthday one day late. I apologize for being late, but I am comforted by the fact that for several years there I was right on the exact day, and plus, at least I can remember the exact day. :P

strovska said...

congratulations on the car-related DIY (car-related DIY is just slightly above plumbing-related DIY on my list).

and yes, is the neighbor cute?

CëRïSë said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

As far as the RNC, I do wish I'd protested more and had more to report; I'll blame being in the thick of prospectus-writing...

And as far as the neighbor, yeah, he's a bit of a cutie.