( Jun. 21st, 2015 10:45 am)
Starting back in early spring, I'd noticed that Bridget was starting to run a little bit too warm whenever I was in too much stop-and-go traffic or I'd idled her too long, even in the relatively still cool spring weather. This was odd, but J figured it was the thermostat letting go--which is wont to do on a 14-year-old car...

Come the first weekend in May, J changed out the thermostat, which meant he had to basically drain and refill the coolant system. If one doesn't have access to a pressurization device to re-pressurize the system, air bubbles end up in the works, leading to low coolant readings in the system, which means the coolant level in the works drops and more coolant needs to be added to compensate for the air bubbles' space.

J figured we'd go through the system purging out air bubbles for about a week or two based on how little I drive her. A month and change later, into last week, I was still adding coolant to the system because it was still coming up low. I swear I was about to start taking stock in Prestone's Dex-Cool, it seemed like I was going through enough of the stuff. Thing was, there was no obvious leak in my system--no puddles on the ground wherever I parked, and rarely ever a smell of burning coolant in the cabin to signal I was burning coolant somehow. This was getting ridiculous and untenable. Time for the mechanic...

Took her over on Friday morning. Told them what was going on, they put her up on the lift, added pressure to the coolant system and BLAM!! They call me into the garage and there was an orange waterfall of coolant coming from under my car...The radiator's got a big leak near the bottom and at least one of the hoses is totally boned and leaking as well. All the other coolant system hoses are in various stages of dry rot as well. Sigh...She needs a new radiator and all new coolant system hoses. $$$ Happy birthday!!

That would explain the occasional hot coolant smell in the cabin when I drove her when I was almost entirely sure I hadn't spilled any coolant when I'd filled the reservoir. That would explain the random droplets in the driveway as I drove in as well small bits of droplets wherever I parked. Otherwise, we were none the wiser, and probably couldn't have been much wiser without a serious visual inspection of the radiator somehow with Bridget up on our little car floor jack thingus and I doubt J would've been able to see anything amiss in those conditions. Excellent choice that I got frustrated enough to bring her into the mechanic for a looksee.

J probably could've done the work for half the money I paid the mechanic, but he wouldn't have been able to get the parts as quickly, didn't have the means to re-pressurize the system after the repair, and doing a big job like replacing the radiator on our driveway in the dicey rainy half the time weather? Not a good scene, so it was best to just pony up the coin and have the mechanic do it. They got 'er done in about 2 1/2 hours--not too shabby.

So, yeah. Shiny new radiator in my Bridget. She better be good for awhile...
This Something Positive strip is from Father's Day a handful of years ago--I wish I would've documented exactly when, dammit. Anyway, it's about dads who dote on their adult daughters. I had one of those dads, a curmudgeonly sort of doting, but doting none-the-less. I miss that so much...

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I'll never stop wishing that there were more photos of Dad and me with me as a "grown up". This is one of the few I have, and the only one I have scanned to my PC right now. Regardless of how things ended up with that marriage, that particular day in my life will always remain a Special Day because my Daddy helped Make It So. He talked softly to me as we walked down that long church sanctuary aisle, him calming my rattled bride-to-be nerves. Later, we danced our Daddy/Daughter dance to "Daddy's Little Girl", him singing every word softly and gruffly into my ear. After the song was done, he told me "And I meant every word of it, honey." To this day I can't listen to that song without shedding tears...of happiness, love, and sadness that he's no longer with us...

Dad walking me down the aisle, first marriage, 10 September 1994

Happy Father's Day in Heaven, Dad. I love you and miss you dearly.

I'm still proud to call myself your little girl...


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