Living with one car; the tire story revisited

As promised, I will share the saga of our recent car drama. If you have been reading my blog for awhile then you know that Luke and I are currently sharing my little red Honda CRV. A few months ago, on a very chilly day in January the front tire went flat. To read the whole story click here:  A lesson in Independence .


Jump ahead to St. Patrick’s Day

Luke and I decide to take a Sunday drive into the hilly neighborhoods of Corning. As we worked are way up  the hills  we noticed the car fighting to change gears. When we drove home we noticed a burning smell. I decided this was a sign to finally have the transmission looked at.

Wednesday March 13th:

I took the car into a transmission place. While testing they noticed (as Luke and I had) the car struggled initially getting into drive and shifting between 3/4 gear. They asked if the check engine light had come on and I said no. So we set up an appointment for the next week for them to replace the fuel filter and engine mounts. As they were finishing up, one of the mechanics commented on the tires.

He said that the front tires were an inch bigger than the back ones which were almost bare! This is a big problem because my car is all wheel drive. I had been putting strain on the engine and transmission for 6 weeks, dragging around small worn out back tires! I always get upset at myself for such mistakes, but everyone put blame on the un-named tire company. So I showed myself a little grace-I know it may seem a small step but it’s a big deal for me! (see my self-judgement transcend topic).

That night as we pull into the parking lot or our budget class the check engine light turned on!

My car this winter in the snow

My car this winter in the snow

Thursday March 20th:

I call a different tire store and set up an appointment to have the back tires replaced.

Friday March 21rst:

The tire store replaces the tires and tell me surprise, surprise, that the check engine light was a transmission issue. So I call back the transmission place and they tell me the car should be fine ,but no guarantees, until our appointment next Tuesday.

Tuesday March 26th:

After only an hour at the transmission shop one of the mechanics drives me home.  A few hours later I get a call that they are going to need more time to figure out the problem. So Luke calls Enterprise to pick me up from home. I go to their office, sign paper work and drive to the grocery store in a little rented grey KIA.

Wednesday March 27th:

We hear back from the transmission place. They needed to take out the transmission, figure out what the problem is, fix it, and put it back together. They estimated it would take five business days and they would have it fixed by Monday.

Monday: April 1st

I call the transmission place. They tell me they are putting the transmission back together and it will be another day. I call Enterprise and tell them we need the KIA another day.

Tuesday: April 2nd

I call the transmission place, they tell me they are test-running the car and need another day. I call Enterprise.

Wednesday April 3rd

The transmission place calls me, they tell me they discovered it was the solenoids causing problems with the 4th gear burning. They need another day . I call  .  . .  you get the idea.

Thursday April 4th:

Three days later than I thought I finally get the good news call: the car is ready! I go to pick it up, pay them a good chunk of change and leave in my own car!! When Luke gets off work we take the rental KIA back to Enterprise.


Thus endeth the saga of the car drama ( I hope).

I write all of this not to complain or to make my reader’s feel discouraged. Instead I am honestly sharing because this car saga challenged me to learn patience, independence, to show myself grace, and how to deal with what is out of my control. In the end stayed safe, the car was fixed, and the only set back was financial. But don’t worry we’ll recover. 😉

How has life challenged you recently? What are you learning from it?

A story definition of self-judgement

A few weeks ago I had one of those days that sent me into a stressed, frustrated fit.

Luke and I had taken time to relax most of the weekend and now it was time to get some business done.

Unfortunately nothing seemed to go right. We both had our independent  “tasks” to accomplish. But due-to elements I have no control over I ended up needing Luke’s help on my “independent” tasks and he needed my help for his.

Also, I am one of those “work first play later” types. I’d rather get work done during the day so there is time to relax in the evening.

But at 10pm I was still doing prep-work for the coming week and Luke was working on banking paperwork. At this point my tolerance for what was out of my control disappeared. When I saw the clock I got angry. Thinking about what was still left  to do, my hope for a few minutes to relax before going to sleep was gone.

It took me a long time (and some help from Luke) before I calmed down. When I did I recognize  I was mostly upset with myself.   It did not matter that the pattern of how events occurred during day were out of my control-I somehow still found a way to accuse myself for the day’s problems. I felt as though I had failed.

Why? Because that is what I do: I judge myself. I determine my worth and evaluate my success by my own internal and flawed standards. And once this introvert succumbs to those feelings of failure/inadequacy all self-confidence deflates. I find myself paralyzed; kicking myself while I am down. I point a finger and ask “how could you?” or “you should know better” or “you should have/could have done better”.

This is just one story definition of how self-judgment prevents me from having a proper perspective of myself and events around me. I find myself feeling the need to apologize for what is not my fault. Then it takes conscious effort to recognize it is not my fault, that the day was a success, and that my self-worth is not based in my accomplishments/or lack there-of.

Like I said before, I am my harshest critic.

Are you seeing a better picture of why it is important for me to become judgment-free?

Do you also suffer from put-yourself-down-itis?

My new hometown

Luke and I love to explore but sometimes for cost sake it’s better to stay local. Yet in this still very winter weather, no matter how tempting, we don’t want to get stuck inside. Fortunately we live in Corning.

Spending more time close to home, I realized I haven’t blogged about my new hometown.

(As I have written before click on any picture or word/phrase in orange to see more!)


Corning is probably known best for Corningware or Corelle. You know, all those plates and baking dishes you buy for wedding registries? (maybe even bought for mine). This is where it all got started.

Corning was first known as a lumber town because the Chemung river runs through it. When the industrial revolution hit the city became a center for the railroad. By 1868 it had become the new home for Corning Glass Works. This is why Corning’s nicknamed “Crystal City”.  Tourist come in the summer to the Corning Museum of Glass featuring modern glass art, the science behind glass, glass uses, live glass blowing demonstrations, and an extensive collection on the history of glass.

Unknown F-The Corning Museum of Glass

On the same property is their glass making studio where you can sign up to make a featured item.

Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December

Ornaments Luke and I made in the glass studio in December

Or you can take one of many glass shaping/art classes at the glass making studio.  You may remember my 2300 degrees blog; that event was hosted at the museum. Corning Inc.’s offices and one their research and development facilities, which test glass products for industry, science and technology, are also in Corning.

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As much as I love history, what you will probably hear me talk most about is our historic downtown called the Gaffer District (a gaffer =a glass blower/maker). This area encompasses several blocks of glass art studios, museums, eclectic speciality shops, antique stores, bars, bakeries, and restaurants.  Many events and festivals are held here annually (some of which I  will attend in the future and share with all of you ).

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If you are a history buff and want to know about Corning’s history: Click Here!

Want to know more about the historic downtown Gaffer District? : Check it out here!

or take a look at the Gaffer District’s Facebook page: Click here!

So that is a short tour of my new hometown. What do you think?

A lesson in Independence

I was anxious already about this past Wednesday, had trouble sleeping, I wasn’t looking forward to venturing out in the single digit temperature cold. I hated Luke’s work alarm as it went off and I put on my long johns under my jeans for the first day this winter.

Today I would take the initiative to accomplish goals that have been on the fridge list for the past two months: register my car, get a NY drivers license, get a new phone/phone plan, and then to Wegmans for my weekly trip to the grocery store. This may seem like normal life tasks. But for an introvert, who detests change or new challenges well, it creates stress. I knew I had to be independent, risk change and failure, and face new challenges head on.

And that is what I did. Just in a very different way then I expected.

After dropping Luke off at work, I got coffee and dolled up for my new license picture. Then I started my outings with the AT&T store.  After telling the salesman what I had rehearsed in my mind all morning he informed me that without Luke’s authorization as the person with the AT&T plan, I could not sign us up for a new contract.

Failure number one.

So I put gas in the CRV and turned to the 86 West toward the DMV. Suddenly I hear a deafening thumping sound, hollow it echoed through the car like a bad bass system. I could feel the car struggle to gain speed. Thinking quickly, I turned left instead of onto the freeway, cars passing me as I went half the speed limit. As I drove towards the Wegmans parking lot my mind ran through the million things that could be wrong with my car.

Listening to the sound I asked: Is it a belt? It doesn’t smoke or sound like the radiator when it cracked. Is it the transmission?, No, the RPM’s and all engine lights are normal. Is there a problem with the anti-freeze because it’s so cold? No, the engine shows normal temps. . .

I finally breathe a sigh as I park in a remote corner of the massive grocery store parking lot. As I get out of the car I prayed oh please let it be something easy to fix/something I can see, not some major internal problem. As I round the front of the car I see the front left tire is shredded to pieces and completely flat.

A flat tire:

I am relieved beyond belief. With anxiety gone, I call my parents (I know not very independent of me-remember baby steps) to double check I am still have AAA service. Once I had reassurance help was on the way, I left the cold car and put my ancient cell phone with a dead battery in my pocket, praying it would not die until AAA comes. Then I did the only thing I could do: I went grocery shopping. As I shopped I realized the time and recognized I wouldn’t make it to the DMV:

Failure number two

I trekked back out to the deserted corner of the parking lot, put the groceries away, and returned to the warmth of the Wegmans café. I ordered a raspberry tea (I know shocker, don’t worry coffee is still near and dear to my heart) and settled in the café to wait.

It didn’t take long for Mr. AAA man to call and come to my rescue. He had my spare tire on in minutes in spite of the snowy temp. of 9 degrees. Grateful I got back on the road and headed home.

As I left, I realized I wasn’t upset at myself for not accomplishing my big anxiety-producing goals. Instead I was proud of myself, for taking the initiative, thinking on my feet, and being independent. Once I realized the problem, I calmly jumped into action. I know it may seem insignificant to some. This is not a heroic feminist story of how in the freezing snow on the side of the highway I changed the flat with no assistance. But this is a story of risking change: learning how to deal with conflict and the unplanned on my own. And I think I it’s ok to be proud of the little things when you’re learning to transition to a new life so far from “home”.


my poor torn up tire


The raspberry tea that kept me company as I waited for AAA