My Tuesday

I took my car in today for its regular service appointment at the dealership, because I have an extended warranty that covers oil changes and such so I've really already paid for the service. The last time I was there, it took them about two and a half hours to change my oil, and they didn't even let me know as soon as my car was finished, so I spent an extra half hour there before I went up to the cashier and asked how long it would be before they finished. Imagine my surprise when she called the maintenance team and they said my car was out front! I vowed that evening that I would never wait around for an oil change again, because even though I took homework with me, it was impossible to get much done because of the noise levels of the television, radio feed, and children whose parents worked at the dealership. Besides that, it's ridiculous to have to wait that long, but as long as my car is under warranty, I'm not going to pay extra to have somebody else change my oil, especially since the Saturn people can check other things that might be wrong or take care of any recalls that apply to my car.

I needed to take it in this week, rather than waiting until Saturday, because my steering had been making some funny noises over the weekend, and adding power steering fluid didn't seem to eradicate the problem completely. Since I took it in today and the dealership is a good thirty minutes from our house (on a good traffic day), Jack had to take his lunch break early and meet me at the dealership. After I explained to the service guy about the steering problem and a brake "shimmy" I'd been hearing/feeling lately, he told me it would probably take them until late in the afternoon to finish, so I decided it would be better for Jack to take me home instead of back to work with him. The service guy called me a couple of times in the afternoon to check in with progress reports, which was nice. They fixed the brake problem (rotors), but they couldn't find anything wrong with the steering, nor could they make it produce the noise we had heard this weekend, so I told him I'd bring the car back in if it continued to happen. While they were looking at all those things, though, they noticed several other things that needed cleaning/replacing, so after the guy talked me through the possible repairs and I made my best guess at what was and wasn't necessary (with his guidance, which I basically trusted because it's Saturn), I was left with a $270 bill. I was told when I bought the car and paid extra for the extended warranty that it would cover, in the words of the salesman, "basically everything except wiper blades." Well, he really needs to amend his pitch. It's entirely possible that people who know more about cars than I do would know that rotors, filters, and serpentine belts that wear down before their time all fall under the category of wear and tear, and are therefore not covered, but I certainly thought that as long as I had the extended warranty, I'd be covered for major repairs through the end of my mileage/time limit. Ferder ferder fer. They had replaced the serpentine belt at 36,000 miles, and he said the car care plan covered an additional replacement at 60,000, so he thought it was strange that I already needed another one at 45,000. Of course, today was the first time I had even heard the words "serpentine" and "belt" next to each other in a sentence, so I didn't really have any prior experience on which to draw. Anyway, I hate unexpected expenses, so this kind of threw a wrench into my day, which could then be saved only by making yummy soft tacos with beans and my homemade guacamole, which both get better every time I make them.


I've gotten some good work done on my thesis this week. My advisor urged me to work on an outline and write a sizable chunk of stuff to give him this week, so I've made a rough outline and begun to write another section I hadn't started on before. Microsoft Word and I exchanged heated words over the formatting of an outline, and in the end, the only thing I couldn't convince it to do was to single-space the outline. Word doesn't think that it's double-spacing it, but really, it is on the page. I have no idea why it tries at every turn to outsmart me, and if it weren't for the easy editing that working on a computer allows, I'd be writing this outline by hand. Anyway, it's AMAZING how outlining the paper helps me feel that I can conquer it, and it makes that Masters of Music degree lurking in the distance seem not so far off. I sat down a little while ago to continue the writing I had been doing this afternoon. However, I suddenly had the urge to rearrange the living room furniture, so I did that by myself while Jack was in the office and made him say, "Oh my!" when he walked out and saw my handiwork. We don't know if it's our favorite layout, but it maximizes space much better than the previous layout (we had to watch a few minutes of television just to be sure). I then scooped out the cat boxes and started a load of laundry. With no chores left that I wanted to do, I sat down again to write, and I got a whole sentence out before I began writing on my blog instead. Therefore, I must stop blogging and resume being a graduate student. Arrivederci, and goodnight.




Hey! I hate that Microsoft Word doesn't have any styles built in for classic outlines (the ones in which capital letters automatically follow Roman numerals, etc.), so I made a template for our students to use. It saves lots and lots of time, and you (as in "y'all -- anyone") may use it for free. Here's the link:

Classic Outline


(If it opens in the browser's Word plug-in, rather than a real Word window, back up and save it first, then open it outside your browser or from inside Word.)

You should just replace the mumbo-jumbo text in the document; it's just there to illustrate the hierarchy.

The key to making this work is to use the left- and right-indentation buttons, as well as the styles (in the drop-down list) whose names are something like Classic Outline 1, Classic Outline 2, etc. (The relationships between the styles are built in, so that as you use the buttons to increase or decrease the indentation, the style will automatically change, too.)


Awesome. Thanks, Mom!!
TO Erica's mom:

That's TOTALLY something my husband would do!!! E.g., he designed his own personal finance software because he couldn't find one with every little thing just the way he wanted to do it. haha!
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