Monday, January 29, 2007

Frozen fingers

It has finally decided to be winter here in Winona Lake. I was beginning to think we'd make it all the way to spring without significant snow or cold temperatures. But, alas...

I selected the last two weeks of January to be my weeks to shovel snow at work, and mother nature decided that I shouldn't get off easy. I've been sweeping and shoveling just about every morning for the last week. I actually brought my own broom this morning (a spiffy sidewalk-width one) so that I wouldn't have to use the pitiful little broom they've got in the entryway. It's amazing the difference a good set of tools make.

Speaking of tools, I've also been working on the car. Now, if I could have picked better weather to do this, I would — but it looks like I'm going to have to use this car on Thursday to go pick up May from the airport, and it would be a lot nicer if it ran properly. May has never liked this car much (it rattles, smells funny, and has spiders, she says) so I'd hate to give her further fodder for complaint by having it break down on the road.

So, I hope I have this right. The place the coolant was leaking from looks consistent with the location of the overflow tube, and I don't see any evidence of leaks elsewhere. Since the overflow container was empty, and the radiator was full, and I had experienced dieseling, I figure something's getting pretty hot under the hood, and the first thing to try would be a new thermostat.

A heart of gold, set among the blackened remains of greatness...

Replacing a thermostat is normally pretty easy. I helped Paul replace the thermostat on his car last week (back when it was warm) and the whole thing took 30 minutes, 15 of which were spent trying to find my neighbor to ask if he had a set of metric deep sockets. What I had not contended with, however, was the cold. There are some bits that you can do with thick gloves on, but when things aren't fitting together, the way they should, and the RTV sealant is drying, and the gasket doesn't fit quite right, off come the gloves. And at fifteen below freezing... I cannot describe how bad your hands hurt to handle car parts.

I didn't get the car done, but I did do the dishes. All that nice, warm water to soak your hands in...

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