Car troubles: How to fix a Hyundai that won’t move out of park and why you’ll probably keep seeing me wondering if I should just buy a new car

Just last week I was congratulating myself on the decision not to buy a new car after my last irritating repair session.  The car had been driving nicely to and from work and daycare and I was attached to it.  I made the right decision, I thought.

Just like letting the universe know that you are done with referee reports, it sent me a warning not to get too cocky.  As I started up the car and tried to go in reverse, I failed to be able to move the shift thingy out of park.

I googled “can’t move out of park hyundai”, and came up with a couple of useful pages– the first said to remove the cap on the shift lock override button, which I could not do.  So I called DH and he brought a flat-head screwdriver while I took his car to get DC2 from daycare.  He used the screwdriver as a lever to pop off the cap and then stuck a pencil down into the recesses to press a white button, and then was able to move the shift into reverse and drive without problem.  Before I’d made it out of the parking lot, he was reversing the car and driving it home.

Once home, he used the second useful page  and probably some pages after that to diagnose what the problem was.  Generally when a Hyundai won’t get out of park that indicates a problem with the break lights.  And, in this case, the break lights definitely weren’t working.  Since DH is an engineer who works from home, he has various meters that allow him to check cables and things to make sure they’re ok.  All the fuses were fine, the cable itself was fine.  However, the cable connection was loose, and when DH pushed it back together more tightly, the break lights started working again.  It’s been fine for ~a week at this point.  So DH canceled the service appointment he’d made with the dealer and we’re assuming the connection got too loose and it should be fine.  Just in case, I’m driving around with the shift lock override cap off in case I need to stick a pencil down there.

DH’s company still hasn’t gotten their contract signed and it’s unpaid summer for me, so we’re living off savings.  We have enough in the emergency fund to buy a new car, but I’d really rather not.  I like my little car and feel comfortable with it.  But I don’t like the way my life is disrupted whenever there’s a service problem, even a cheap one.  If I could just predict how many technical problems we’ll be having and when then I’d better be able to decide when to get a new car.  But, sadly, I don’t have a crystal ball and even if I did I’m not clairvoyant.  Given that with DH (temporarily?) unemployed we’re no longer wondering what to do with extra cash, I think I’ll continue holding onto my car for a while.  Maybe I’ll feel differently when the school year starts and it’s more important that I get places on time.  But the longer I wait, the more likely one of those sleek new Civics will be affordable, or maybe a low-range Tesla, or perhaps another technology will have improved.  Most likely we’ll just get a Prius, but the longer I put the shopping off, the better my options will be for the next car that I will drive for (hopefully) more than a decade.

So most likely you’ll be seeing more posts in the near future asking, “Should I replace my car?”  Hopefully not, though!

 

Link Love

Not much this week– #1 is traveling and #2 has had company.  We’ve had some good news on the not destroying health insurance front, but it’s still not over, so we can’t get complacent.  Republicans are also pushing a narrative that regular people just don’t care about Trump’s ties to Russia.  And, as always, there’s a ton of different horrible stuff that you can act on.  Give 5calls a whirl if you haven’t lately.  Or get connected locally (we like indivisible— but there are a lot of options!).  Campaigns for midterms are getting started across the country, and they need your help and donations.

This scientist was punished by the Trump administration for speaking up about climate change.

Trump’s border wall is already being built and it is destroying a wildlife refuge

Trump’s twitter bots are a fake news army taking over facts

https://newrepublic.com/article/143984/were-brink-authoritarian-crisis

How libertarianism means that the bullies are in charge.

financial samurai discusses 529 plan details

Why is the scariest student loan number less than $5000?  (tl:dr– those are low income folks who didn’t finish their degree)

How to trick people into saving money

Ask the grumpies: What were your childhood career aspirations?

Leah asks:

As kids, what were your career aspirations and why?

#1:  I wanted to be a biologist because I liked science and water and so on.  Then I saw a NOVA episode on Nancy Wexler and Huntington’s Chorea and wanted to be a genetic engineer.  Then I did an internship in genetics in high school and realized it was insanely boring.

#2:  I thought I might like chemistry, and I also thought that I’d like to be an astronaut and a rock star.  (I did not become those things.)

What about you, grumpy nation?

A remembered kindness

Trigger warning:  Middle school bullying

It is 3am and I just woke up from a nightmare about middle school.  Well, it was sort of about middle school and sort of about graduate school in the way that dreams are.  I was fumbling for money for the light rail and shades from middle school showed up to make fun of how I was in PE…

Middle school was extremely traumatic.  It has taken me decades to (I thought) mostly get over it.  But apparently I can still have anxiety dreams about it.

One of the worst bits (that #2 is tired of hearing about because the girl in question went to our boarding school too) was when a girl at my lunch table who I went to church and choir and Sunday school with and had all my classes with invited all the other girls at the lunch table (and in the G/T track) to her house for an overnight party and deliberately excluded me, complete with whispered not talking about it around me the next day.  The “don’t let her know” part was the worst, I think.  Really drove home that the exclusion was deliberate.  Later her mother was a teacher at boarding school– I should have asked how she let that happen (that’s an insight from 3am).

Once I was invited to an overnight party in middle school.  A very nice girl who wasn’t in my classes but was good friends from elementary school of someone at my lunch table (who both went to my church and occasionally invited me to her house in a “don’t let other people know I invited you” sort of way) and current friends with another girl in my neighborhood who was generally kind to me, invited me to a come as you are party.  A mini-van driven by her mother with a few girls in it showed up to my house, bundled me in, and we went around driving to pick more people up until we landed at her house.  People treated me normally, not like a social pariah.  It was fun.  They feathered my bangs.  We watched a Steve Martin movie on VHS.  We played games like twister.  I listened about boy crushes.  Everyone was nice.  In the morning we had fruit pizza with custard (which became my favorite dessert as of that morning).  She didn’t need to include me, but I was included, and I cherish that memory.

And I suppose I shouldn’t completely blame the girl who excluded me… In 6th grade the math/science teacher was a huge bully and the excluding girl and her best friend were his favorites while I was one of his victims (not an easy mark of a victim though– we had an exam where the instructions explicitly said to always round up in this situation, and he was berating the class as stupid for not rounding down despite what the instructions said.  That led to him saying if I was so smart why didn’t I teach the class and I said I’d be happy to, and then he asked how many people wanted me to teach the class.  I cherish the sole kid in the class brave enough to raise his hand.  I am still grateful to John K.  Sadly, 6th grade was the last year he was tracked into GT math/science so the only time I really came across him again was as a young adult when he was a cashier at Walmart.  Also my parents had complained earlier that year when that teacher gave me a B one quarter even though I’d never earned lower than an A- on an assignment and he switched the grade to an A after he could show no basis for the grade other than some blustering about how my lines weren’t completely straight in my graphs and I needed to better use a straight-edge.  He retired the next year.)  Prior to that year, the first girl had been nice to most people, even including the developmentally disabled girl who was the only person in school equally reviled to me (incidentally, said developmentally disabled girl saw me as lower on the pecking order and would call me names, but I never blamed her for that).  That’s a 3:30am mental connection.  Adults set the tone of school in ways that can have lasting effects.

So… thank you Emily, even though I can’t remember your last name.  I have remembered your kindness throughout my life and have tried to emulate it.  In high school and college and beyond, I have always tried to be inclusive and to never leave anybody out.  The more the merrier.  And I’ve encouraged my children to do the same.  Bullying sucks.  Exclusion sucks.  Small acts of kindness and inclusion can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Another email from indivisible: Stop ACA repeal and replace

The following is excerpted from an Indivisible email.

News just broke that two Republican Senators—Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah—will oppose TrumpCare. That means that Republicans DO NOT HAVE THE VOTES to pass the bill.

But let’s be clear: this fight isn’t over. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will pull out all the stops to pass an ACA repeal bill. In fact, after failing to get enough votes to pass this most recent version of TrumpCare, McConnell has now indicated he will try to ram through a straight repeal bill. This is a last-ditch effort—and the only thing that will finish TrumpCare off for good is a wave of constituent power.

Mitch McConnell will keep trying to gut the Affordable Care Act because he would rather cut taxes for billionaires than let 32 million people keep their health insurance—the number that would lose insurance with a full repeal. But every day we stop him is a victory. Stay in this fight with us.

Call your senators today to tell them not to repeal and replace.  5calls doesn’t have a script up yet (I will update later today), but you can just say:

“Hi, I’m calling from [your town and your zipcode], and I would like to request that Senator [name] vote NO on repealing and replacing the affordable care act.”

Here’s a link with phone numbers:  http://myreps.datamade.us/ and you can also google your senator’s name to find phone numbers for regional offices if you can’t get through to the DC office.

Adventures in OMG are we going to have to pay huge amounts of taxes on our slightly under a year in paradise?

Back when we went to Paradise for my leave, we spent hours and hours researching the tax situation.  We read lots of stuff online.  We read articles published in tax journals available from the uni library.  We talked to friends and colleagues who had taken out-of-state leave recently, including one who had both gone to Paradise for leave and who had used a professional accountant.  We called up the tax board in Paradise and asked.

Everything was unanimous (well, except a couple of random internet Q/A things that didn’t really look legit)– if we lived there less than a year, kept our residence here, didn’t register to vote or get a driver’s license etc., then we would only have to pay taxes on income directly from places in Paradise.  We would be considered non-residents, and non-residents only have to pay taxes from Paradise-sources, not from, say, my University salary.

So, of course, the other day in the mail we got two scary tax documents from the Paradise tax board asking us for our 2015 Paradise state taxes.  Apparently the fact that we sent our federal taxes from a Paradise address meant that they expected us to file a return.

Which freaked us out, because our state taxes where we normally live are a pittance compared to state income taxes in Paradise.  We’re talking thousands of dollars if all of our income counted.

So we redid the internet searching and DH called the tax board in Paradise again.

Turns out we had a 1099 from an honorarium I got in Paradise, and although I normally don’t have to pay Paradise state-income taxes on honoraria from Paradise (which I tend to get once every few years), since I was living in Paradise at the time, I did need to pay state income taxes on that income.

So we just needed to file a non-resident tax form, which is a pain, but the only part we’re going to be taxed on is the honorarium plus a small penalty.

We’re talking maximum $100, not the thousands we’d been envisioning.

Whew.

That was a bit terrifying there, but we can handle $100.

Update:  After about 6 hours of dealing with Paradise non-resident state tax forms, we ended up owing $46 plus $48 in late penalties and interest, for a total sum of $94.  So I guess the penalty wasn’t so small after all!

Link Love

If you live in Colorado, you can become a “confidential voter” meaning that Colorado cannot share your voter information (not even with Trump).

Newest version of the Senate Republican healthcare bill is still a nightmare.  I know we sound like broken records, but we still need everyone to be making those phone calls to senators.  With this new bill they only have two Rs saying no.  It could pass.  We need to keep calling.

Phttp://www.dispatch.com/news/20170714/vp-pence-spreading-fake-news-about-ohio

Remember the little boy with the heart surgery?  His mom has been getting death threats for sharing their story.

A hero using his privilege for good.

This discussion of race and gender surrounding the bachelor in paradise scandal was really good.  (Trigger: discussions of sexual assault)

Meanwhile:  this season’s Bachelorette is prompting discussions about race and class. (Why racist Lee should never have been on the show in the first place.)

BLM puts out an ad

An interview with Roxanne Gay

Kid Rock is running for senate.

Redneck revolt

Douchebag is still pretty weak, but it is accurate.

Wow, Dr. Jen Gunter and GOOP’s misogynistic, mansplaining hit job.  Note:  GOOP is endangering its readers with pseudoscience in order to sell dangerous products.

For HER

#2 is saving the planet!

How pro writers deal with criticism

Ugh, I found out my SIL’s school district is being scammed by a terrible 403(b) provider.  I hope she takes DH’s advice (and my FIL’s advice) to stop contributing to it since it isn’t matched, and to open up a Vanguard IRA instead.  I will rant more about this at length sometime in August (you have to hear about all sorts of other personal money stuff, mostly stuff breaking down, first– sorry!)

Can’t fail with FIRE

Suck it up

I want to eat stuffed pizza

Fun Funny comfort reads for the SFF soul.

Wait for it

David Bowie hogwarts

Oops!  (Also I kinda want to read it…)