22 April 2011

A Road Trip, Then Car Trouble

Last Friday (15 April), I had a brief visit to Lola in downtown St. Louis for Stress Free Fridays. It's one of my favorite happy hour spots, and I enjoyed being there for the good times, including a nice band playing 70s and 80s r&b hits. I got home and got some sleep, for I was up just after 4 am the next morning.
Before dawn on Saturday, I got in my car and started driving to Kansas City for the IPMS West Central Missouri Model Fest show, which was held in the Gathering Place (multi-purpose hall) of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. It was a real nice show, with nearly 400 model contest entries, plus several vendors (including two from Metro St. Louis: Chris Merseal's CRM Hobbies, and Frank Ciccarella's Frank & Sons Tri State Hobbies). I had three entries in the contest. Neither were serious contenders, but that's not the point; the point is that I entered. Having bought six raffle tickets, I got lucky with two prizes (both model kits). I helped judge the armor entries in the contest, and there were some real fine models entered. While at the show, I also got to plug IPMS Gateway's Invitational on 10 Sept. in Eureka, Missouri. (Details at http://ipms-gateway.com.) I took a self portrait as the contest awards were handed out at the end of the show.
After the show, I made the drive home (just over four hours each way), and as I pulled the car into the driveway, the engine sputtered and stopped. I somehow got it restarted and pulled it into the driveway. The next day, I called AAA and -- after a mechanic looked at it and we gave the engine a test run -- a tow truck towed my car into a auto service place. I got it back late Monday afternoon, after having over $400 in repairs done to it. The service place mechanic told me I should think about getting a replacement car soon. After I told this to my parents, they said they would help me in getting a good used car. That's most appreciated.
The expense that will likely entail, combined with health insurance premiums (just been approved for a plan) and a lack of near term income forced me to cancel my further tae kwan do lessons, at least for now. I told the facility's grandmaster today of my decision, and he understood my circumstances. He immediately cancelled any further membership payments on my part, and hoped I would be able to rejoin when conditions improve. (He and the chief instructor both liked my efforts as a novice, and I told them I really enjoyed this and that my decision to withdraw had nothing to do with the facility, its instructors and with tae kwan do, but rather a case of bottom line economics.
Running last Tuesday's IPMS Gateway meeting, we weathered quite a storm outside (high winds and rain, and a possible tornado threat). Fortunately, the worst of the storm passed us by and we got through the meeting without incident.
To all my fellow Western Rite Christians, I wish you all a very Happy Easter this Sunday. Also, Happy Easter one week early for my fellow Eastern Rite Christians. Also, a belated Happy Passover to the Jews reading this.

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