Two weeks ago I took my car to the dealer because steam was pouring out of the front of my car after my 20 minute commute. The radiator had split, and had to be replaced, to the tune of around $400. It ran well for the next few weeks, but would suddenly jump heat from medium to high near the end of journeys. I'd been informed for the last year or more that I had a leaky head gasket, so I figured it was time for replacement (not wanting to have an overheating emergency in the middle of a snowy pass or something). Replacing a head gasket is apparently an involved operation, as it took two and a half days and $1,500 of labor. (Can I get an "amen" for comprehensive coverage? Finally I have a repair which is over my $500 deductible. I'd previously been the master of $450 repairs.)
On Monday morning I walked from the dealership to work (close to 2 miles), finding a few leaf piles to trudge through. I set my alarm on beep for 7 so I could catch the bus in the morning. On Tuesday morning, my clock dutifully beeped and I turned it off so Tam could sleep in. She then wrapped an arm around me and I figured "I've got some time, I'll lie in an embrace for a while." Half an hour later, I woke up again and realized I wouldn't make my Utah meeting (which I like to miss anyway). I walked across the mall parking lot and caught the 100. This bus goes up Kipling to Cold Spring and on to Westminster Park-n-Ride. The 125 then runs from Cold Spring past my office building. I'd like take the bus to work on a regular basis, but there are two problems. First, it takes me 20 minutes to drive 14 miles to work, but the bus takes an hour. Second, the 100 stops running at about six, which is quite inconvenient for people who like to work later and people who want to hang out with a friend in one suburb and live in a different suburb.
This morning I successfully got out of bed at 7 and again walked across the parking lot. Thanks to the wonders of Daylight Saving Time, I got to watch the sun rise, take pictures of nice lighting, and walk through more piles of leaves. I also got to read some Wicked, something I certainly can't do while driving. This evening I made the two mile return walk to pick up the car.
With all this walking and reading, I've been pretty effective at work. I'd love to drive only to the grocery store and far away places, and the next time I have a good opportunity to choose employment and housing, I'll endeavor to make sure they're closer together. At least when I pay $2,300, I'd get a fabulous new bike.