I had the pleasure of enjoying a great dinner and meeting some new people last night. Roger, a friend of Ed Dale's invited me, my sweetie and our minion Lindsey to his very cool home on the East side for an annual Chinese feast. Apparently he enjoys cooking for groups of 10 or so over the course of several weekends. It was a superb meal and I left stuffed with Chinese goodness.
We depart soon for a SCA event in Phoenix called Estrella. Never done it before and a fly-in show presents all kinds of logistical problems. We have shipped out three boxes of stock, we ordered stock from another supplier, we have four suitcases with our displays, tent, sales gear and two carry on bags with minimal garb. Any one of these things not arriving will be a large pile of suck. The cool thing is that I put in a request for a ride to the site from the airport on Tribes and got three offers of help. SCA people really are some of the coolest folks around.
Things got fairly hairy three days ago when the power steering went out on our minivan. In a panic I contacted Grimm, the Jedi master of all trades. He agreed to take alook but suggested I pick up a few things at the auto parts place. When I went to start the cargo van there was a terrible screeching and smoke. I looked under the hood and saw a completely shredded serpentine belt. Awesome.
When Grimm arrived he looked at the engine and poked at it a little.
"Your alternator isn't moving at all"
"Fuck. What's that gonna cost?"
"You might get one for about $130 plus a new belt for $35."
I poked my head into the guts of the engine and noticed that there was a large ice flow that seemed to have developed during the rain/freeze cycles of the past weeks. It resembled a small frozen waterfall. I pointed it out to Grim.
"Holy crap, I think your alternator is physically filled with ice."
"Blow torch?" I suggested.
"Uhm, maybe a hair dryer, you don't want to go waving a blow torch around your engine compartment. Lots of wire and tubes that do stuff."
So with the help of my wife's hairdryer and two trips to the auto parts store to get the right size belt, we were able to get the van started again. Cost? $38 and some numb fingers. The minivan? That didn't go as well. Grimm did what he could, but power steering systems are not an easy fix. Expensive parts and lots of serious underside gutting. We sent the vehicle to a local shop that got the job done in one day. Cost? I don't really want to talk about it. Let's just hope that this show in Arizona is a good one.