Taking Care of My Car -- Saturday, April 18, 2009
I feel like I accomplished a lot today. I didn't get up as early as I'd planned. But it's my weekend, after all, and I was up until about 2:00 a.m. last night, browsing Experience Project. Anyway, I compensated for getting up late by having a smaller breakfast and not shaving before heading out.
The first thing I planned was to get my car Air Cared. It's a little intimidating, as my red Chev Cavalier is eighteen years old. It's still in pretty good shape, though. Anyway, I went to the Air Care centre in Burnaby, where I found a sign at the entrance, saying the location closed permanently in Janurary 2007. Great.
Undeterred, I went looking for the next closest location, in East Vancouver. It was on Charles St., which I hadn't heard of before. I carry a map book of the Lower Mainland for such occurrances. I looked up Charles St., and found it wasn't too far away. I overshot the mark by miles, though. The Charles St. I found was a pretty long stretch of quiet residential road, with many traffic calming obstacles to help keep it that way. I kept going, but to no avail. The further up the road I travelled, the more residential things looked, not a place to find an Air Care centre. I decided, after many turns and attempts to stay my course, to turn around and go the other way. Rather than retrace my steps, I went back to the busier, urban streets for the return journey. On the way, I spotted a 7-Eleven with a telephone booth. There I did what many a man fails at: I stopped, called my insurance agency, and asked for directions. It turned out that the Air Care centre I was looking for was a lot closer to my home in Burnaby than I expected, just across Boundary road, which marks the border between Vancouver and Burnaby. I went south on Boundary, turned right when I reached Charles, and after driving two more blocks found the Air Care centre at the end of a cul-de-sac. I didn't have to wait more than one minute to drive in and have the inspection started. Nor did that take very long. And my car passed, which is a big relief.
I decided to return home before embarking on the next phase of my day, renewing my insurance. When I looked at where I had to go to get my insurance renewed, however, I knew it would be easier to take the Skytrain than my car. The agency I used to renew my ICBC insurance was in New Westminster, while the private insurance agency was in downtown Vancouver. I was nearly half-way between the two.
I stopped at Superstore in Metrotown first, where the night before, when I went grocery shopping, I saw a Fisher Price Little People rabbit and little girl Easter combo, plus a CSI card for Mother's Day card. I went back and bought both, then caught the Skytrain to New West.
Atkinson + Terry, the insurance agency I was going to, is on 6th St., which I knew was near Columbia station. What I didn't know is that I had to walk about eight or nine blocks up a steep hill to get there. I was hot and out of breath by the time I arrived, but I did it, at a pretty good pace, too. The woman behind the counter told me she did that a few times, too, during winter, when the road was icy, and knew the fatigue I was experiencing. I joked with her that afterward I was going to Vancouver to renew my private insurance, and it was all downhill from here.
I didn't mind the walk back to Columbia station, and was quite relaxed as I rode the Skytrain all the way to downtown Vancouver. I got off at Burrard station, and found I again had to walk a few blocks to reach the building where my private insurer was. When I got there, however, I found the whole building was locked up. A security guard came to the door, but explained that all businesses inside were closed. That would have been a bummer had I not accomplished as much as I had so far.
That was enough for one day, though. I'd dragged myself over hell's half-acre and done pretty well for my efforts. Plus, I did a lot of walking, which I'd neglected keeping up with for over a month now. So that felt good. And the weather was pleasant, too. I stopped at a gift shop on Hastings St. on the way back, too, browsed their small selection of cards, and picked up a few for my collection. That always feels nice, especially as I haven't bought cards for a very long time, since before Christmas, I think.
After coming home and having some very late lunch/very early dinner of bacon tomato sandwiches, I looked up my private insurer on the internet, and found out there's an insurance agency in Metrotown where I can renew my private insurance. Rather than getting flustered and upset with myself for not checking in the first place and wasting all that time, I just accepted all that had happened. All told, it was a good day. I got out, and got a lot done.