Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Domestic life

One thing you want to do at sunset here in Arizona, is wash the car. We have ridiculously hard water, and my hygrometer is currently reading 33% relative humidity (though that's rising fast with both pressure and temperature dropping, so who knows maybe washing the car DOES bring rain).

This means that unless you wash your car with distilled water (and some folks do), you need to worry about water spots. And not those wimpy new england water spots that you can wipe off with a damp rag; no I'm talking about "permanent paint damage requiring color wet sanding" type water spots. I DO plan on repainting my car in the future (it's a 15 year old BMW, the paint looks great but it's still 15 years old); but I'd like to put it off for a while yet.

The car washes around here come in three types. Rubber scrubber automatic, touchless automatic, and handwash. The automatic car washes arent good for anything but getting the top coat of grime off; but since we get a lot of grime around here (just sitting still in covered parking for a couple days means you need a wash - dust and polluiton. Pollen season is even worse), and they run like $4 with a fillup, they aren't that bad a deal. They'll get you through a week anyway.

Of course the non-touchless ones also beat the hell out of your paint; and both DO leave some water spots (although they arent supposed to), and don't touch the existing ones.

The hand washing runs about $30 for a basic wash and dry around here, up to about $60 for a full hand wash with a hand wax (add another $40 for basic glaze buffing or total of $200 for full detail job) and interior cleaning.

For a long time I used a detailing service. I'd get the basic gas station touchless watch every week, and eveyr other week I'd get a quick detail (takes about 90 minutes), including a hand wash and wax, and a quick buff for $40 along with a full detail every 2 months ($160 including full buff job etc...). Even better they come to wherever you are. All in all a great service; but I havent bothered since last summer, because I wasn't driving much (car pooling to work). SInce then all I've had were gas station washes, and my paints been suffering for it.

A few weeks back I was in Costco picking up stuff for the new house; and they had some really decent car washing supplies. Neglected car, cheap washing supplies... sure why not.

Anyway, I picked up a high pressure washing nozzle, a 100 foot hose, a 2 gallon bottle of Meguiars gold car wash (2-4 oz per gallon of water), a dozen terrycloth mits, and a bulk pack of terry towels.

Total cost: about $40, or just a bit more than a decent hand wash. Of course I've now got enough wash supplies for at least a year.

I just finished washing the car, as the sun went down. It was like 74 when I started, all in all gorgeous.

You start with a close in pressure blast to get ALL the grit off the car; then a low pressure rinse to flow everything else off. Pay special attention to the wheels, wheel wells, tires, headlight surrounds, and grill work.

Next you hand wash the car using the car wash solution and HOT water, with small circular motions with the mitt.

Finally you give a double rinse. First a flow off, then a close high pressure rinse to blast everythgin out of the crevices.

The whole thing takes about 20 minutes.

Finally the PITA time; drying the car. You dry in a two step process. First you wipe off most of the excess water until there is nothign but small light beads of water left, then you come back with a completely dry towell and dry and buff the paint with small circular motions.

This takes as long as doing the entire rest of the car; but it's both necessary (to avoid more water spots), and worth it, because it really gets the car ready for waxing.

Ahhh waxing. yeah that's not fun either.

Personally I like to both wax and polish the car, but I'm going to wait til tomorrow evening to do so; because I can't find my car polish. I'll give it a VERY quick rinse wash, then I'll polish and buff it with my random orbit sander on low. A big buffer will do the job a lot quicker, but you cant buff in the little spaces; a random orbit sander works great.

I've already got like 16 coats of wax on there, and I don't really need to strip them ALL off, jsut cut them down and polish them up with the polish. At least right now. That's what I tell myself anyway.

Yeah ok, I REALLY dont feel like compound buffing and stripping all the wax off right now. It doesnt look bad, and once I polish it up it'll be just fine. After all I'm not looking to show the car, I just want it to look nice.

On to other things...

I've been sick off and on ever since some time last year. I seem to get every bug that goes by lately; and the kids... oi. The best way to get sick all the time is to have kids let me tell ya.

THis latest one follows the typical pattern. I get a cold or flu, which becomes a sinus infection, whic drains into my chest and becomes bronchitis.

Ever since I moved back to the valley, I've been getting them about 4 times a year, and they last for weeks as each stage progresses through. It's because the dry air and dust kill my sinuses. Anyway I've been going through that the last few weeks; while moving at the same time. Even better, I managed to bang myself up pretty badly, in my ack, and my left knee, both of which are still bugging me.

So here I am, sick, tired, and sore; with a half unpacked house. Always fun.

At elast I'm not working at the moment right?

Oh yeah that...

I'm reaching the point after a month now that I'm starting to get irritated with not working. I am feeling the need to do stuff. Theres stuff that needs to be done around the hosue, and I'm working through that, but it's not exactly the same thing.

Even better though, the "Absolutely, it will start no later than mid March" new job? Yeah it's been delayed.

Of course I scheduled and budgeted our move based on our available savings, and the time expected for the new gig, withsome wiggle room.

But we've of course gone well over the budgeted amount, in shorter time (unexpected bills, bigger bills than expected, needing to replace things etc...), and now I won't be starting work yet.

Just frikken great.

Mel is going to go back to working part time weekends while the kids are at their grandmothers, and now I'm going to start looking for other work.

The new gig is STILL SUPPOSED to start in the next few weeks, but I'm not longer counting on it. It may not happen until the middle of next quarter, and we'll be broke the middle of next month.

In the mean time Mel or I are going to have to find some temp work to keep the bills getting paid.

Also I didn't bother trying to get unemployment because it was only going to be a few weeks. Obviously that went out the window, and I registered for unemplyment a few days back. It's only $240 a week, but it's better than nothing.

Mel is going to hit the temp agencies while I take care of the kids, get unemployment and look for new work basically.

The problem with me getting temp employment? No-one wants to hire someone whos ridiculously overwqualified. Even temp agencies. The best I can do is a job that pays me no more than unemployment, or findig a real new job. Might as well collect unemoployment for a few weeks until either the other job finally gets approved, or I find something else right.

Anyway, things are going to be a bit tight around here for a while. What joy.