Vehicle maintenance and fall

Ah, fall. The season for fixing up things, like bikes and cars. I got a tune-up for my bike at the Sports Basement, because I get a discount there, and the local independent bike store in Mountain View is no longer in business. However, the chain on my bike still squeaks! Then we had to get a new battery for the Civic, because it was due for a new one. The car wouldn’t start if the air-conditioner was on. Fortunately, it was the regular battery we’re talking about, under the hood. Not the electric battery in the trunk, which would cost twenty times as much.

Then we also had to get new tires for the Mini, because it was due. Everyone is familiar with the new car smell; but I didn’t realize there was also such a thing as ‘new tire’ smell. For a few days right after we got the tires, I’d walk into the garage and be hit by the pungency of industrialized rubber.

Fall. We also notice a lot more squirrel, skunk and racoon activity: scurrying around if they’re alive; or pancaked on the road if they’re roadkill. I thought it was because they were busy gathering food for winter. Joe thought they were in heat. I’m not sure who’s right.

Fall. The sycamore trees in my neighborhood have started to shed their leaves in earnest. The other day when I walked out to get the mail, there was a little kid sitting in a pile of leaves, buried up to his neck. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” I said. His mom was watching over him indulgently. It made me happy to know that there are mothers around who would let their kids sit in a pile of autumn leaves, and not freak out about dirt and bugs, and having to wash afterwards.

Fall. Time change on the clocks. It usually takes me a week to get around to changing all the clocks and watches. During that week, I live in a pseudo-jet-lag haze, it’s 2 o’clock, and it’s 3 o’clock, and it’s not quite either. (Frankly, I don’t see why the time change thing is abolished already)

Fall. Is a gorgeous time for being outdoors. I had a beautiful drive up to Santa Rosa last week. The skies were crispy clear, you could see Mt. Diablo from the 101. There was some green on the hills (from the big storm in early October). Of course I got compensated by the cloggy traffic while coming back, due to the Bay Bridge closure.

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