Thursday, March 14, 2024

Breakdowns in March

March 2: Driver's side windshield wiper blade falls apart. Replaced. (This had been breaking since January, and I had bought a replacement a few weeks earlier.)

March 4: Car battery dies after nearly three years. Replaced March 5.

March 12 (12:45 AM): Upon leaving work, discovered that both low beam headlight bulbs had burned out. Drove home with high beams on. My mom got this car in 2014 and I've never replaced the headlight bulbs, so I guess it was time.

(UPDATE, 3/17/24: The 2009 Toyota Camry has two "headlight" bulbs. If you look the information up online, you will be told that the replacement bulb is a 9005. This is the replacement for the running light bulb. This apparently only comes on when you switch on the high beams. The headlight bulb itself is an X11, which is increasingly difficult to get. They are not interchangeable. I ordered two 9005s, when I actually need two X11s. Turns out I have one X11 that I believe was left in the glove compartment in its package by the previous owner, so I need one more.)

March 13: Television dies. This TV was about twelve years old, so I guess that was due, too.

UPDATE, 3/28/24: Water heater dies, March 26. My mom had subscribed to one of those home warranty companies, which I always saw as a ripoff - anything you actually need done never seems to be covered. Turns out the subscription was left on auto-renewal. It first renewed a week or two after she died, and then again a year later. I had it transferred into my name. They sent someone out yesterday to check the water heater - a covered system - and he confirmed that it needs to be replaced, something that is not covered. I saw some stickers on the water heater itself, which was installed in June 2018, and called the number to see if it is still under the manufacturer's warranty. It is! So now I just have to arrange to have someone remove the old heater, take it to a specific retailer, get a replacement heater, and install it. Still going to cost a lot of money.

Sigh. Life is expensive.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

The crocuses of 2024

After paying for my new car battery yesterday I took a trip to the cemetery. The crocuses had been breaking the soil on my visit on Sunday but were not yet in bloom. As of Wednesday, March 6 they are just starting to unfurl.

The yellow crocus continues to appear after seventeen years.

I don't know if these crocuses were planted long ago or just appeared on their own, but they are spreading from year to year. I never saw a crocus near my father's flat marker until last year. This one is very nearly centered over the marker.

(I checked the post from 2007 linked above and it notes that my mom had planted a few purple crocuses several years earlier. It also pointed out that we were surprised to see crocuses already in bloom on March 28. Now the crocuses are pretty much spent by the end of March.)

UPDATE, 3/17/2024: The crocuses are almost all gone. When I stopped at the cemetery last weekend I could see that the flowers were wilting, apparently damaged by the cold nights we've been having. I was surprised today to see the flowers on the sunny side had been cropped off, perhaps by rabbits or deer. The ones on the shady side (seen in the top image) were there,but the flower heads were wilted. I saw what appeared to be a white plastic shopping bag twisted around the base of the vigil light, but when I tried to pull it off I realized that this was actually the remains of three elongated white crocuses. The crocus at the top of my father's marker shown in the fourth photo was also wilted, but another one had sprouted up to its left, closer to the center of the marker.

Monday, March 04, 2024

Dead battery, again

And so this "new year" begins on a familiar note.

I needed to go grocery shopping this weekend. This used to be a weekly thing, but lately I've been shopping once every two weeks. I meant to go on Saturday, or maybe early Sunday. But after my trip to the cemetery on the anniversary of my mom's burial - capped with a graveside changing a windshield wiper in the rain - I didn't feel much like shopping for groceries. Sunday, for various reasons, I was not able to get out as early as I would have liked, and wound up leaving around 8:00 PM.

The shopping trip was uneventful. I found everything I needed except lettuce - the section for iceberg lettuce was empty. I jammed my purchases into the trunk, pulled out of the parking lot, and drove home the long way around, crossing the Nanticoke-West Nanticoke bridge, which may be torn down and replaced in a few years. I got home, pulled into the driveway, shut off the car, sat for a minute to listen to the radio, and watched the dome light get dimmer and dimmer.

I tried to restart the car. The starter clicked and buzzed.

OK. Don't panic, I thought. We've been here before. The battery just needs to rest a few hours and then it will be able to start the car again. I contemplated driving in to work Monday afternoon, walking out of work in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, and finding that the car would not start.

I got ready for work today. Made my goodbyes to the cats. Made my way to the car with my computer satchel, a Zone bar for my lunch, my drink, and a raincoat for the rain expected tonight. Loaded everything in the car. Put the key in the ignition and turned it. Heard a click and a buzz.

Tried again, several times. No good.

I called my supervisor to see if I could take today as a work-from-home day. She looked into it. Called me back to tell me no, that option wasn't available today, but I could take "annual leave" - basically a day off. I'm not hoarding my time off to spend with my mom in the event of her contracting COVID-19 or some other medical emergency, not anymore.

It's been almost three years since the last time I needed to replace the car battery, on March 20, 2021. The time before that was October 30, 2018.

I've made arrangements to get the battery replaced tomorrow. We'll see how long this one lasts.

NOTE TO SELF, March 6, 2024: This new battery has a 42 month full replacement warranty. Considering that the last battery lasted 36 months and the one before lasted 29 months, this is long as all parties involved are still in existence in 42 months.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

One year after the funeral

My mom took her last breath at 8:44 PM on Friday, February 24, 2023. For various reasons, she was not buried until Thursday, March 2. I've told the story of the funeral and the events that led to it here, and I don't feel like rehashing all that. It's a really good post, you should check it out.

Many of my friends came from near and far to be with us at the wake and the funeral. I was blown away. I will be forever grateful to them, and to all the friends who couldn't make it but kept us in their hearts.

The crocuses were just starting to poke up through the soil on that day. They would be in full bloom three weeks later, and completely spent by the end of the month. Crocuses like full sun, so I may plant some shade-loving perennials - bleeding hearts and lily-of-the-valley - on the shady side of the tombstone.

Aside from the crocuses, March was not a month of much natural growth. My mom's grave remained a patch of dirt showing where she had been buried throughout the month and well into April. A few grape hyacinths eventually popped up around the tombstone and near the nearby tree, the first time I had ever noticed them at the cemetery.

I've kept a vigil candle burning almost continuously since late October. When I was a kid I remember setting out the vigil lights once a year, maybe replacing the candles once. Each candle burns for a week at most. I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep the vigil light going. I'll definitely put it back before All Souls Day, less than eight months from now.

Year One of mourning has come to an end. 

March 3, 2023

March 2, 2024