Keepin’ On Keepin’ With My Wealthy Mechanic


Like most parents of school-aged children here in Albuquerque, my primary summer activity can be described as follows: driving. To and from camps, classes, lessons, sleep-overs and swim parties in addition to the usual routines, and, if we’re lucky, a weekend trip somewhere. It’s shocking how many summer choices are now available for kids. When I was growing up, not so very long ago, our summer activity was “go out and play.” And that was fine. But now, my daughter has a choice of classes ranging from Circus Arts to Advanced Math, Tennis to Theater to Digital Filmmaking. And I’m sure she’ll come out a better person for all of this summer enrichment. But by the time August rolls around, I’m seriously missing the focused studio time of the luxurious 8am-3pm school day and longing for the real Mother’s Day: the blessed first day of school.

Today was spent mostly NOT driving because I found myself, once again, at Affordable Tires at Menaul & 3rd for another truck repair. (The delicacies and charms of my ’98 Toyota Rav4 are documented in more detail here.) Since it seems that Adrian and his business will be a regular feature in my life, and perhaps this blog, I thought I’d add a few visuals so you can all share in the experience with me.

Here's Adrian, isn't he cute? Yes, I've paid for his teeth to be that white.


Today’s repair was at least expected. I was told about a month ago that the CV axle (original) was beginning to leak and one day soon I would hear a “rattle,” and then I should think about having it replaced with a new, $166 CV axle. And that day was today. The most frustrating thing about vehicle repairs in an (unfortunately) car-dependent city like ours is that they gobble up precious time away from work, home, errands, appointments. It’s hard not to dwell on what I could/should have done today instead of watching bad TV game shows and learning about CV axles; like painting these things that have grown lonesome and dusty in my studio because I’ve been so busy driving around I haven’t had much time there. Things like planting the rest of the garden, walking dogs, buying groceries, or rescheduling the appointment I missed yesterday. I’m starting to feel like one of those people — people whose unreliable vehicles interfere with their responsibilities and seem somehow reflective of their character. “Her car is always breaking down… you know the type…”

But today, rather than resenting my time at Affordable Tires on Menaul & 3rd, I’ve decided to list 5 good things that happened because of it:

1) I got to know Adrian a little better. For example, his 7-yr-old son recently scored 123 on an IQ test. (Einstein scored 127.) He was tested because his teachers thought he might have ADD because he can’t sit still in class and often appears to have his mind on other things, such as building walls.

2) I visited Valley Pawn next door and saw some real promise in used digital cameras for Isabella so she can upgrade and improve the quality of her doll movies.

3) The ’98 Toyota Rav4 is now safe with no other repairs “in the queue.” Plus, I got to photograph its leaky underparts… aren’t they kind of gorgeous and sexy in the morning light?

4) Because the entire morning was spent in a tire store, I rewarded myself by meeting a friend for lunch at the museum, where we drank lattes and discussed our strangely overlapping interests of dating men in their 50s and the subtle but important distinction between purchasing a “fixer-upper” property vs. “a dump”.

5) Since there wasn’t enough time to launch into studio work before picking up Isabella from opera camp, I was able to write this post and remind myself that as much as we plan, schedule, predict & perform, we’re really not in control of anything. And it’s such a relief.

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Talk to me! I spend too much time alone in the studio.

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