I bought a car

Sal and I left the islands early yesterday and went south to Comox where I bought a car. I purchased a 1990 Toyota 4×4 for $400.00. It’s dirty. It needs some work. But it only had 180,000 kms on the running gear and it is definitely ‘recoverable’. I will never try to ‘restore’ it because it is more than good enough for the time I have left and the use I intend. This vehicle will be a ‘used-once-a-month’ vehicle and I doubt that I could put ten thousand more kms on it before I run out of life-time, myself. This may never see 200,000 kms. But this model is renowned for longevity and figures of 500,000 kms are usually cited by owners and reviewers. It should see me out.

The frame is good, the tires are good, the running gear took me up to a top speed of 100 kms/hr on an 80 km-speed limit road without any problem and the heater/AC even blew hot and cool (not cold but definitely cool). All the windows work. In fact, everything works except……

…I have to replace the CV joints. The unit has two axles up front that need to be somewhat precise to transfer power to the wheels (they worked well for that in a straight line) but they need to perform that task even if the car is turning (and they can still do that but there is a lot of chatter and clunking when turning sharply so they won’t be able to do that for much longer). And it needs a muffler. God! Does it need a muffler! I am sure that I will find a few more things to fix when I get to it. One thing is for sure – there is a whole day of two people going at it just to get it half-clean.

Usually when people say, “I have repairs to do”, they mean: I am going to pay a mechanic to fix it it up. But not this time. This time, I am going to do it with a mechanic friend standing over my shoulder with gentle words of wisdom spiced up with the occasional rude rebuke (always deserved) when I screw up. He figures he could do it in a couple of hours but that means I better plan on staying overnight in town for two days. “Why not just get him to do it?” My pal is willing, I am sure, but currently he long retired and is a smidge under the weather and sliding him under the car just isn’t right. In fact, boring and frustrating him for two days isn’t right either but he’ll likely find it fun heaping abuse on me so it’s a trade-off of sorts.

And anyone can replace a muffler (not the whole system – just the muffler and CC). So that’s easy. The CV joints, on the other hand will likely draw blood, cause some pain and frustration and make me crazy but that means I at least understand it all better when I am done.

“Why do you need a car on the island?”

I don’t. NOT really. But, but, but….when friends and family, guests and visitors come, they want to see the whole enchilada that we call our island. And that requires a vehicle. The island is somewhere around 25 kms long and five kms wide. We have friends and neighbours we rarely see. Plus the bookclub needs rides now and again. So does the doctor. And on and on and on…..in effect, this is a cross between an ATV, an ambulance and a limo (it seats 7 skinny people, 6 normal-sized people or five plus a dog). It will be useful for many things – just not too frequently.

I tell you all this because, as you know, we claim to be less inclined to comforts and luxuries and living OTG kind of implies being hardy and practical. I often refer to ol’ Sal as Cougar Sally. (Or even Tyrannosaurus Sally if she is angry.) I claim to be a bit mushy myself but it is Sal’s reputation that keeps the bears away. Still, the truth is we do stuff and doing stuff often means fixing and improving things. This is an intended ‘improvement’ and – let us be honest – it is a comfort, a treat, a fun-thing, something that will make life a bit easier (until the car breaks down) and we may even be able to do some community good now and then.

With the purchase, the repairs and the barge delivery, we will be into it for approximately $1500. Since I am always wrong about the cost of things, let’s budget $2,000. That is a reasonable sum for ‘fun and comfort’ and, to be blunt, I cannot buy a good ATV for that. This could be good. Stay tuned.

10 thoughts on “I bought a car

  1. Sounds like a fun project for you, Dave. It’s good to buy a car with old-fashioned wind up and down windows.
    PS. I did like the post on your personal history. I found it very interesting. There is much kindness and a fair amount of wisdom/experience beneath that grumpiness.


    • hopefully his friend the mechanic will see a lot of kindness and little grumpiness, but I guess that depends on how the repairs work out :-). I know that fixing an old car can be a b….like trying to get loose old and rusted bolts. But I don’t want to make David nervous.
      But I have to agree with you, there is much wisdom and kindness beneath that layer of grumpiness
      And good for you that you found a nice reasonably priced car! Hope to be an the passenger seat one day ;-)…though you can definitely NOT catalogue me under “skinny”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ya cant go wrong with a used Toyota.
    I owned my first Toyota 4WD truck for over 20 years, sold it to a kid back east and he’s still driving it. 35 year old truck, 350,000kms on it. No major repairs.
    My old boss had a company Toyota AWD truck with 450,000 kms on it.
    It was still running great when the company sold it after he retired.
    Its still running 4 years later. No major reairs.


  3. Thanks for that. I admit and claim to the experience but the wisdom is somewhat questionable. Or missing altogether. My personal history is a bit of a slog and I do not think people want to wade through too much of that. But there are some themes in the Dave-stew that could be interesting. I had to learn to street-fight and, as a result, have had more than my share of that. I was in social services for over 12 years with youth, drug addicts and refugees and that is some kind of statement – not a particularly good one. I was a real estate developer ‘cog’ in a system for more than a decade (consultant to big companies) altho I built KOM all on my own. I think money is evil but I understand that a certain amount is a necessary evil but I still struggle with the concept (I am looking for a better system). I am very conservative in so many ways and yet liberal and progressive in so many others. I was ‘at my best’ as a mediator and arbitrator – I truly found my calling – but I can’t do it anymore. Don’t even want to.
    Living afloat for 11 years was wonderful.
    Having a son and a daughter is fabulous.
    I have always traveled and always felt the wanderlust. I am attracted to different cultures.
    But that travel bug is pretty much over now. Maybe one more junket. Probably not. Despite being relatively unattractive (face like a potato and a body like a fridge), I had lots of girlfriends. Lived with two of ’em (separately) before Sal and I have always enjoyed women’s company and conversation – and yet, I haven’t got a clue what makes ’em tick. Total mystery most of the time. In sum? My life has been a wander through an amusement park fraught with danger, interest, culture, learning, mystery, risk and novelty but with the joy of having the world’s best partner to travel with.


  4. What we lack in wisdom, fortunately we make up in experience as years go by…fortunately….although the women probably would say differently. It is strange I admit, I also like the company of woman and also enjoy talking to them, but even after 54 years, a lot of the time I have no clue what makes them tick…or why they are upset at me! It is strange though that you liked some of the jobs you had, but wouldn’t want to go back to them. Or maybe it’s because you felt you couldn’t change the system? I also have the travel bug, but these times seem to minimise the effect of the bug, somehow travelling seems less attractive, maybe it’s because we have no view of what next year will bring, and therefore we make no plans whatsoever for a trip next year. Everything seems to be last minute decisions, as it’s impossible to plan. But a good travel companion does make a huge difference.
    Like to take a ride in that Toyota of yours as a backseater 😉


    • Yeah, I kinda figured you’d book a seat….drive around…look at trees…..see homes-in-the-woods…that kinda thing.
      I was really INTO social services and doing good work until I burned out. And now my skin is harder, my attitude more practical and I have so much LESS patience. I couldn’t go back if I wanted to. And, to a large extent, the same is true for my ‘calling’ of med/arb. I was INTO it. I was really INTO it. One of only a few chartered arbitrators AND a chartered mediator, sat on the board of the Arb-Med Association, part of the examination board to see who deserved the designation and all that. But it was like being a skilled something else….if you do not keep your hand in it, you start to lose the edge. I was really good at it but now I have been OUT for over 15 years. Just do not have the skillset anymore – at least not one that I can employ quickly and effectively.


      • Your wouldnt last one day in the new “politically correct” back stabbing world that is govt today.
        ANYTHING you say can ( and will ) be used against you.
        I have friends in local, Provincial and the Federal govt that spend MORE than half their day taking notes to cover their ass if anything comes back at them.
        A comment, a glance, a text…. all can ( and will) be used to hang you.

        I have one friend who has been dragged up in front of ‘Kangaroo Court” human Resources tribunals to fire him….. and his union lawyer gets him off every time because my friends work notes are impeccable…. the Lawyer said to him one day, “I love clients like you! You make me money and I always win!”

        Its a “brave” new politically correct world out there now Dave……funded by ever dwindling tax payer dollars


      • Very sad to hear. And I believe it. There was a creeping form of that in the last place I worked (I was four years with the Attorney General as their chief mediator). It was crazy-feminist-ville with a palpable huge chip-on-shoulder against males but it was getting even MORE PC-ish all the time as well. In paper-pushing jobs, women outnumber men ten to one in government – maybe 20 to one. Of those, the top positions are held by so-called ‘strong’ women (AKA horrible people) and the rules and procedures were wielded like an assortment of swords to ‘cut’ people and intimidate them. I was largely exempt because I was a ministerial appointment and ‘on the road’ traveling from dispute to dispute so I was rarely very long in the office-nest of vipers. But, when I was, it was a minefield. All humour and fun was shelved. All personal information was unshared. No inquiring questions save for ‘How are you?’ was ever uttered and, let there be no misunderstanding, if you had a disagreement with any of the top Nazis, you incurred an enemy who was out for you. It was also very double-standard. Our ADM once held a meeting and, of course, there were ten women at it and I was supposed to join them. As I was entering the meeting the ADM was telling a ‘penis joke’ and it was obvious and blatant and mean-spirited. I said, (just as I was entering and hearing that part) “Excuse me, ladies, I will just give you a minute”, and stepped outside the room. Two minutes later I re-entered. It was stupid dysfunctional and made life at work (for many) absolute hell. I suppose I should have reported the ADM for sexist crap and making the workplace toxic? Instead, I just laughed and shrugged it off. But you can imagine what would happen to me if I had been telling a similar off-colour joke (not my style, anyway). Four years was enough.
        Do I hate women? Absolutely NOT. But, it seems that most women I worked with who were in the least bit ambitious thought that being the bitch from hell was the best way to get to the top. And therefor, the top tier management were horrible people. Non ambitious, amiable women just-doing-their-job were fine. But they also had to play it careful. They were targets, too. It was a tense place for everyone. It did not need to be that way. But it was like that in the government office I worked at. I can only imagine what it is like these days.


  5. Makes a good point for circumspect speech. Think it but don’t express it in print. Any written word can and will be used against you. Without a doubt. Be prudent.


  6. A friend (who’s municipal dept shall remain anonymous) lost an excellent Manage a few years back. The replacement was a gay woman from Human Resources.
    All gender related comments buy men are immediately reported, scrutinized, chastised, documented and a letter of expectation placed in their files.
    Women in the dept are rarely if ever place on report.
    So the bullies take advantage.
    Toxic toxic toxic.
    I cant wait to see what happens in 2021 when the forced layoffs (due to lack of funding) start and the newer staff ( mostly women) start getting cut


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