Thursday, February 23, 2017

It's A Ride!

So, for the last week or so, I've been sick.  Mostly it's been bronchitis, but there are a few other things going on also.  Mostly it's the pollen count aggravating my allergies.  It hasn't been much of a fun time actually.  Getting past it is pretty wonderful.

Late last year I did some serious allergy testing at a local clinic here in McKinney, to find out that I'm allergic to just about everything. I've got the pics to prove it, but I'm sure you don't want to see them.  It was a comprehensive test.  There were 65 things I was tested for. 

The categories of allergens were divided into eight different allergens per block.  Grasses covered two blocks, mold one block, etc.  Since my allergies were so bad I decided to go for the most comprehensive, which was eight blocks.  I also added bananas as a single test.  After the test, I'm pretty much allergic to everything except pets and most molds.  And not really allergic to bananas.I'm actually allergic to the birch family, which is, in a molecular sense similar to bananas.

That test taught me a lot about myself, such as why I was so sneezy and itchy during my years in carpentry.  I love woodwork, but the environment kicked my ass.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I'm off to allergy shots.  I spent a whole day getting it started just to get the immunity built up.  A once or twice a week visit to the clinic, and it's shots and a half hour to make sure there's no reaction, and then bam, off to work.

Early in January, I couldn't do it anymore.  My body was reacting.  I had an EpiPen but thankfully never had to use it.  The positive side was I wasn't having allergic reactions to anything.  The negative side was I was fighting myself and probably went into it too quickly.  I called the doc one morning in some discomfort and we agreed the shots had to end for the time being. 

It's amazing how the body works, enough of something gets attention. 

So there I was with two prescriptions to manage it, and that was all I needed to get back to a comfortable and normal state. 

Comfortable and normal are two things I can say I don't have much familiarity with.  Over the last several months I was in a high stress position at work, having to manage something larger than I had to manage before. I was also driving in a dangerous vehicle.  Normal didn't exist to me at all.  I was flying by with whatever life handed out. 

Work has gotten much more sane since about November.  It was then I noticed car problems.  I owned a 2005 Ford Escape with about 100k miles on it, much fewer than my '99 Ranger that i traded for the Escape back in '14. 

Last year, I had to replace the alternator in the Escape, because it started dying on me randomly while driving.  Not just at low speeds, but while doing 65-70 on the highway. So I got the alternator, but after reading the instructions on its replacement, I realized it was above my level.  It was all "remove your front axle" and stuff like that.  I was like HELL NO. Luckily we found a guy on Nextdoor that could hook that up.

That didn't fix it.  There was another part that could've been the culprit.  Bought it and put it in easy.  A week later, it was dying again.  I had to milk that for another month. It was like driving in a death trap.  For yet another month I kept going.  Somehow.  That on top of the work stress and changes got to me.  I started furiously researching vehicles on AutoTrader, in an attempt to find something affordable. 

I was way underwater on the Escape, and had to find a damn good deal on something new in order to make a trade that wouldn't break us financially.

One day it happened.  I saw a new '16 Colorado with ridiculous rebates and awesome financing.  I had to go to the dealer's website just to make sure it wasn't a typo.

It wasn't. 

That day I drove out to the dealership in Decatur, which was about 50 miles away from work and 65 away from home.  After a couple hours, it was done.  I was driving in something awesome and safe.

It's been about three weeks since, and there are some big payments in the future, but I'm thankful for the new ride.  It's safe, it's a truck, and it's just now dawning on me that I can relax a little bit and take control over so many things that not too long ago, I was just hoping made it so that I could survive. 


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