Re: Dealing with the parents in law
The rest of the story:
The Subaru is back in action with a new camshaft position sensor. Elapsed time nine days (including a three-day delay searching for a dealer and ordering the part over a weekend plus a four-day shipping delay). Of that nine days there's at least 10 hours of his personal troubleshooting labor (and fixing what he broke) plus two more days of phoning/driving from one Subaru parts dealer to another.
Total cost: $265
$25 NAPA parts guy troubleshooting with his laptop,
$140 retail camshaft sensor from Subaru dealer,
$100 mechanic's diagnosis fee when the car still didn't work
$0 mechanic hooking up airflow hose that came loose from the air cleaner
$0 personal labor (ER time is worthless, right?)
Elapsed time if he'd taken the car to the mechanic the day after it broke: four or five days (depending on the part's shipping time). Personal time: an hour of dropping off & picking up.
Cost if he'd taken the car to the mechanic the day after it broke: $220
$100 troubleshooting fee
$60 mechanic's discounted parts cost
$60 mechanic's "hour" of installation labor.
Not having to expend any personal labor: priceless.
During the drive down to the shop he seemed to be having an exceptionally incoherent time discussing the whole incident-- chronology, engine vocabulary, where they went, prices, delivery times, and even the name of the highway we were driving on. When he got in the Subaru he asked us how to retrace the two blocks back to the main road, insisted that he knew a better way, and drove off in the exact wrong direction. What the hell, the island is only 30x40 miles, he has a full tank of gas, and MIL will call us if he doesn't come home.
As spouse and I went on our way to run other errands I tactfully brought up the possibility of mild cognitive impairment. She acknowledged the diagnosis but said that he's been that way for five decades, so today's behavior didn't necessarily indicate a trend.
Next time she takes her mother shopping, spouse is going to quietly bring up the car's repair time/cost issues. (At least he got treated very well at the shop, so maybe next time he'll just call the mechanic.) We're also going to suggest that while they're on their cruise we take their Subaru to the dealer for its 60K checkup-- plugs, wires, a new starter motor, maybe even the timing belt* that he mentioned. The persuader will be that putting the Subaru in the shop means we'll have their house's entire garage available for us to lay out & cut new kitchen sheet vinyl.
MIL's basal cancer was malignant. The dermatologist excised it and applied a skin graft from another part of her ear. It started bleeding the next day (another emergency trip to the doctor) but after three more visits her stitches & bandages will be removed next Monday.
I hope the drama is over for at least another week or two but I'm not very optimistic. I'm looking forward to tonight's tae kwon do sparring and a weekend of 6-8 foot father-daughter surf...
* I sure hope that a '96 Subaru Legacy doesn't have a timing belt because if it does, it's over a decade old and could go at any minute...
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