Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Most attractive jobs
100-school teacher, librarian, school administrator, university faculty
93-artist, coach, musician, reporter
82-community service manager, career counselor, clergy, social worker
72-pediatrician, dentist, physical therapist, lab technician
70-biologist, chemist, economist, psychologist
67-gardener, tree trimmer, housekeeping, lawn service supervisor
Moderately attractive jobs
59-bank teller, receptionist, clerical services, legal secretary (this is what I currently do)
56-lawyer, arbitrator, paralegal, court reporter
53-personal trainer, hairdresser, child care provider
51-farmer, agricultural inspector
44-chef, bartender, programmer, database administrator, mathematician
41-marketing, human resources, finance
39-veterinary assistant, nurse's aide
39-real estate agent, insurance agent
34-architect, mechanical engineer
Least attractive jobs
28-military (infantry member, air crew officer, radar operator)
24-cabinetmaker, power plant operator, machinist
22-carpenter, plumber, electrician, stonemason
20-pilot, air traffic controller
18-firefighter, police officer, mechanic
That's the end of the list. The very bottom. It doesn't go any lower than 18. This doesn't mean that I can't become a good mechanic. It simply means that if I truly want to be a mechanic, I'll have to put forth extra effort and work really hard to do it. The question becomes, how hard do I want to fight against my nature to achieve the results?
The answer is that I still don't know.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I admit I was quite excited to get my car up on the lift to get a good look at the underside and finally learn how to do something on my own car, even if it was something as simple as an oil change. But part of a proper oil change is an inspection of your vehicle and I was really more interested in getting to know the ins and outs of my particular car. The following should be checked during routine oil changes: air filter, cabin air filter, tires/tire pressure, rotation/balance of tires (and if off balance, check the brakes for reasons why), fluids (brake, transmission, power steering, antifreeze), lights, hoses, steering/suspension (bounce test), and a general visual inspection for leaks. It's also nice to know the past service history of the vehicle so you can determine when rotors, belts and other things were changed. The Amateur commented that the vast majority of people did not know any of these things and I believe he's right; I don't remember the last time my timing belt or rotors were changed/serviced. Apparently, I don't even know how many miles are on my car (see below).
Mr. Forrest is very pragmatic about the realities of working in a shop so he was sure to say that not every mechanic will inspect all of these, but a good mechanic will not only inspect these items, but also check service information to see what routine maintenance is recommended for the specific mileage of your vehicle (if only to upsale the oil change into additional work).
Before we headed out to lab, I was already learning stuff about my car. Or, rather, I was learning what I did not know about my car. Specifically, I had no idea my car had 120,000 miles on it (I guessed around 85,000), or that it was an Elantra GT instead of an Elantra GLS. Lesson one: These are things you need to know in order to look up accurate service information about the suggested manufacturer's maintenance schedule.
When I drove my car up to the lift machine, we started our inspection. Everyone was crowded around the car and Mr. Forrest was in front of the hood. "OK, Holly. Pop the hood." I popped it. People were talking and goofing off so a few seconds later, he said again, "You can pop the hood, Holly." I popped it again. Twice even. He still couldn't get it up. And then I hear The Amateur's voice coming from the back of the car: "Holly, you're popping the trunk!" followed by a lot of laughing and head-shaking from the whole group. I don't think I'll ever live that down. Lesson two: Know the difference between popping the hood and popping the trunk before you attempt to do anything in front of a dozen car-boys.
Visual inspection showed that I needed two lights (left rear brake and front left side blinker), power steering and antifreeze top-offs, and a hold down mechanism for my battery. My cabin air filter was missing entirely and my tires looked awesome but needed some air. And so began my oil change. Lesson three: Oil can be very hot when it comes out of the oil pan so care needs to be taken to avoid burns. It's also a very, very messy affair.
All-American toted me to the car store to purchase the extra stuff. I was glad to have experienced help in locating the items until I realized five seconds into the store that I was going it alone when All-American spoke to the guy behind the counter. "Hey, Eric. How's the Mustang coming along?" I politely interjected my questions around pictures of tires and engines and discussions of other car-related things that have no meaning to me but clearly enthralled All-American and Eric for quite a while. Eventually I learned lesson four: There are two types of antifreeze that you can buy: pure antifreeze and 50/50 blend. Always buy the pure antifreeze as the blend is simply 50% antifreeze and 50% water and you can mix it yourself at home. The price difference is staggering.
At the end of the night, I felt like I knew my way around my car much better than before and left with a renewed belief that the education I'm learning is beneficial in its own right.
But I admit I was quite wary driving down the interstate and half-way expected something I touched during the lab to pop off and cause a big accident with great bodily damage. Lesson five: I'm not extremely confident of my car-prowess just yet but hopefully it'll come with time and experience.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
This Spring Break marks a great turning point for my schooling. We've been instructed to register for the next two classes in our diploma program: Steering & Suspensions and Automatic Transmissions. Now is the time for me to decide whether or not I'll continue with the program. So, after a lot of thought and if I'm completely honest with myself (and you), here a few things I've learned in the past 8 weeks:
- I like the idea of getting my hands dirty, but haven't really had the chance to test this idea. We haven't done much car work. But let's face it: I've had many opportunities to go investigate my own tires after learning about them in class, but I never did. I'd rather stay inside reading or goofing off than look at my car.
- I don't understand it as well as I thought I would. That's not to say that I thought it wouldn't be difficult--I did. I just thought it would all make more sense in my head than it does. What I'm finding is that my brain doesn't work very well in the mechanical field. To say that invisible magnetic fields create electricity sounds easy enough, but my brain hears it, acknowledges it as truth, and then promptly forgets it. There's no flow of thought or reasoning behind it (at least to my brain). I'm much more of a persuasive thinker and not a factual thinker, if that makes sense.
- I enjoy my classmates. But I dislike them at times as well. Like when they start telling dirty jokes (and not dirty jokes that you might hear on The Tonight Show, but seriously dirty, nasty jokes), or like when Jiffy said a rhyme to help remember the colors on a fuse that talked about raping girls. Things that I really object to (and I don't object to much).
- I really enjoy writing about them, though. In fact, the blog has been a really nice result from my schooling. I enjoy writing and talking with everyone about it.
- I miss my family more than I thought I would, and Rain hasn't adjusted as well as I would have liked. I call her every night during my breaks, but I don't think it's enough for her. It's not that we did very much during the week before school started, but the simple fact that we're not able to do anything now upsets her.
- I still have moments when I get discouraged with my day job, but I don't see myself pursuing auto tech as a profession once I get my diploma. But at the same time, that doesn't affect my decision on whether I will continue in the program; I think it's time well-spent in itself.
- I desperately miss my free time. I haven't picked up knitting needles in weeks and I haven't checked out my forums on ravelry.com in even longer. I miss my Friday night knitting group!
- Things may become even more chaotic in our household. Nanook is waiting to hear about her acceptance into a Physician Assistant program and once that starts, she'll no longer be at home during the day to take care of homework and dinner before ThatGuy gets home.
Having said all of that, I have a few weeks before I have to register for next semester. I'm still on the fence about it. I've enjoyed my time, but should I move on? Should I stick with the program for another semester? Should I register for a different diploma program and start all over? Should I bow out and accept that the knowledge I've gained as enough?
I'll let us both know when I figure it out.
Monday, March 5, 2012
So, in the interest of moving on, I thought I would share a story that The Amateur (who's not really an amateur now since he got a job at a real shop) related to us the other night. He doesn't always have the best of luck (do you remember the story about his snapping off the door of a vehicle because he forgot to close the door before he backed it out of a garage?). It turns out that he has some history with the law. And with his luck being as it is, a good plan can turn south really quickly. For this story, his lawyer worked really hard to negotiate down his jail sentence to only a week. He knew beforehand which week he was going to the pokey so he simply took a week off work, told them he was going way out of town and wouldn't be available at all, and they all wished him a happy vacation.
Then the paper publishes the mug shots of the people going to jail and his job sees his happy mug staring at the camera (well, I'm sure he didn't actually smile for his mug shot but he did feel some measure of satisfaction in maneuvering to keep his jail time secret). Needless to say (given his luck), his job sees his mug and they fire him, which sucked. I feel bad for the guy. He did his time and still got fired.
This week we're continuing our discussion on starter motors and then have a mid-term exam Thursday night. Wish me luck! We're also getting a new roof on Thursday. Busy day!
Friday, March 2, 2012
The second speaker was more of an inspirational speaker without the inspiration. He went through his history and how he got to where he is and everything he's been through to get there. But it wasn't very inspiration or helpful. In fact, he was in the military at one point and worked on a tank/truck that The Mumbler also worked on in his stint in the military and The Mumbler really called the speaker out as an idiot when we got back into the classroom. Even Mr. Shado didn't have complimentary things to say about him. The man loved to hear himself talk. And talk he did. For entirely too long. At one point, the speaker was talking about Syria and a river in South America (I can't remember which one) and The Mumbler said afterwards, "I might not be a geographer. Or a topographer. Or even own a globe. But I know those two places are halfway around the world from each other." I thought the most revealing thing he said was that on Friday nights, he treats himself to five straight hours specifically to get lost on wikipedia, which allows me to deem him officially boring. Everyone knows you're supposed to get lost on wikipedia during working hours.
TGIF, everyone. My weekend is going to be spent interviewing roofing companies, helping Rain with her multiplication tables and division homework, reading my automotive textbook and doing chapter review questions, and sleeping. Hopefully a lot of sleeping.
This was one of the reasons I took up auto tech school in the beginning:
Have a good one.
P.S. The missing package is still missing.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
ThatGuy bought me some mechanic's tools! My friend Blondie at work thinks I need to paint it pink. In fact, she insists I do so and I probably will. The boys in my class would love it. Either that or they wouldn't care at all. It's impossible to tell with them. I tried to show Jiffy a picture that Rain drew and he did not oohh and aahh like the ladies at work. He did not show the proper respect for an 8-year-old's drawings. He actually showed more interest when I showed him a picture of my cat. I can't figure these boys out.
And speaking of cats, SciFi took hold of my comments yesterday about welcoming kitties with open arms and threatened to drop off a basket of kitties at my house one night while I'm sleeping. You see, SciFi has a problem. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" belongs on SciFi's front door instead of the Statue of Liberty. The neighborhood kitties have probably pissed a sign on her front stoop that announces that the hotel is open for business--SciFi just can't see it. Is it cold and rainy? SciFi will crack her garage door for you. Hungry? SciFi will not only feed you a can of kitty food, but will sprinkle little appetizer treats on it when it's especially cold or rainy and you need a little extra love. If you act real sick, she'll probably even take you to the vet and deny that you're her kitty, but if you look at her just right, before you know it, you have a new name and a new home. One set of my in-laws is like this, only with dogs. They're unable to walk away from a puppy in pain and since my father-in-law reads meters, he walks a lot of neighborhoods. Animals recognize a kindred spirit when they see him and he's unable to refuse.
But what would the world do without the SciFi's and In-Laws out there? My hope is that for every idiot ass who terrorizes or abandons or mistreats an animal, there's at least one SciFi or In-Lawa out there with hearts large enough to feed and pamper the rejected animals. Who knows what situations these little creatures escaped from? SciFi and In-Laws are far from those crazy hoarders who can't take of their animals; they keep them clean and healthy and fed and happy. So thank you, SciFi and In-Laws. You make the animal world a safer and happier place. Just don't bring any of them to my house in the middle of the night!
Finally, the missing package still hasn't shown up. I'm ignoring its entire existence and hope it has jumped off the roof of some tall building never to show its face again.