The New Saga Of Helga

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Post  Celia Eriksson on Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:53 pm

So, I took Helga in for service and MOT Thursday last. I know it sounds very silly to you, but perhaps if the old tgboards were around you would know when her MOT date was, coz every year I suffer the anxiety and heartbreak of losing Helga for a week or so it really throws me out, I like her lots and we are like ham and cheese, we just belong to each other.

Let me explain, she is an old Volvo 940 that is 25 years old and in England we have to have a roadworthy test certificate. Well, this year it has been brittle hoses on the breaking system, now that is good, coz braking is important to me I kinda reckon.... and to be fair I really like my garage they are great, this is not a story of complaint, it's a story of how much I miss her.

Well, it's also her alternator thingy, sorry the thing that makes it go round, strap? Can't think of the word right now, but also her breathing box is clogged and one of her calipers has a problem too. It's really getting to me coz she failed the test on Thursday and now she has it again tomorrow. Anyway the guys fixed all the other bits, oh they also found the coolant leak!!! That will save me some.... they reckon the much slower oil leak will go when the breather thingy is changed.

I wrote this stuff down and looked up on youtube and all the problems with old redbox Volvos are from these things, Helga is not alone!!!! (BTW I don't know what redbox means, as if!!!!)

The hire car is some brute that revs too easily and is a modern thintin that shakes and tinkles on corners, in other words a modern car that manufacturers can palm off to idiots for tens of thousands, but what does liccle 'ol me know!

I want my Helga back!!!!

Celia xx


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Post  MichaelaSJ on Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:30 am

Oh, aging car problems. I share your anguish, or at least my 2003 Audi A4 owning Wife does.

In California, we have what is called a "Smog Test". The smog test is straight forward - you drive your car to a local Smog 'A' Test Station. In my Wife's case, it has to be an 'A' station which has a much more rigorous testing regime than a regular Smog Test Station

The first thing they check is if there is a 'Check Engine' light on in the dashboard - well shit, that 'Check Engine' light is on in the dashboard. As long as there is a "Check Engine light on, they won't do the Smog Test. Well, what my Wife did when the light first came on is have her mechanic determine what the cause is. The mechanic said is likely the catalytic converter having lived its life and needs replacement.

This might be okay if we lived in say, Wyoming - but we don't. We live in California which has a much more stringent requirement for catalytic converters. What this means is that a catalytic converter that can be sold in Wyoming might only cost $300; in California, it might cost $800. Shit.

Shit, as a term of exasperation doesn't do the situation justice. It seems no one stocks California approved catalytic converters that will fit my Wife's Audi - anywhere in the state. Audi, the part desk at the dealership can get one shipped in from Germany at the outrageous cost of $1,800. My Wife's Audi has two catalytic converters and changing only one might not solve the problem. $3,600 plus 10% sales tax plus shipping costs from das Deutschland - shit!

Oh, these numbers I am giving above don't include remove and replacement labor cost.

Oh, if you are thinking 'well, just buy the catalytic converter in Wyoming and have them ship it to California' - California law prohibits that cheaper workaround. Remember, I live in California.

So, my dear Wife is driving around a car, a 2003 Audi A4 Quattro that she paid $42,000 16 years ago and is now worth about $3,000 that can't be legally registered to drive in California. She has paid the yearly registration fee, but until she gets that Smog Test OK, she can't get the little green sticker that goes on her license plate. She drives her car in fear that she will be pulled over and the police officer will have had an argument with his wife that morning and the cop has her Audi towed off to the very expensive police storage lot.

Shit, shit, shit!

So, Celia, love your Helga dearly and do your very best to keep her off the useless car heap.


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If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it is all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag.
Fahrenheit 451
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Post  Celia Eriksson on Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:01 pm

Hi Miki!!!

Well, if the mountain won't come to Mohammed..... why don't she, or a driver, drive to Wyoming, (or Arizona), and have it fitted there? She can say it blew up and had to be repaired? Or is that no good either?

Anyway Miki that is ridicybubble. $4,000 for a catalistic thingy...… swoon. I'lll get more in a tiz as the day goes on waiting for the call whether she has passed or if the MOT station, (my garage don't do it themselves), passes her.... so I'll stay in today, I'll do shopping after I know. I'm gonna write some stuff I'm doing to take my mind off it. I'll post tonight the result, fingers and everything else crossed!!!!!!!

Celia xx




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Post  mariehart1 on Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:07 pm

Don't talk to me about old cars. We have a 2007 Mazda. Last year the engine light came on. Anyway I looked up various reasons for it and then hoped it would go away. Anyway I convinced the wife to look at a new car and perhaps trade in the Mazda as a scrappage deal. Ironically as we were coming out of the Audi dealer the passenger door refused to open, locked solid. Well the car had previous with that problem when it came to locking doors because the driver's door did the same last year. This only reinforced my case but alas it was not to be. No new car even though she did rather like the Renault Kadjar or Celia a new Volvo. She loves Volvos.


So even though the car is effectively worthless it had to be made roadworthy because what we have here in Ireland is the NCT, National Car Test and it was due. So I brought it to a local garage run by Poles. I used them before and they're good and honest. Well they had a look and I overhead some agitated Polish which needed no translation. I was gloomily informed of various faults which included a Lambda sensor and the door issue. Long story short I was 600 Euros lighter and that was only because they made a special effort to get used parts. It sailed through the NCT including the dreaded emissions test which is obviously like the smog test in California.
It ran like a dream for awhile thanks to my Polish friends but now developed a mysterious rattle. Old cars!


Michaela, my sister had a problem with her Volkswagen Golf in that the catalytic converter was no longer connected. It still passed the emissions test much to the confusion of her mechanic. Maybe that's the trick. Disconnect the thing!


If you think California is bad look what they're doing in London at the moment. Racking up the congestion charges for older cars.


I think sometimes you have to bite the bullet and replace the car. They become a money pit eventually. Not much use if you love your old car.

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Post  Celia Eriksson on Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:50 pm

Hi Marie and Miki!!!!

Well, no bullet biting in leafy Surrey today!!! Helga passed!!!! I just picked her up and have done my shopping!!!! I am now ok, breathe in.... breathe out....

I had a long talk with her about stuff as we drove to the supermarket. She drives so much better, no rattles with my Helga!!! Oh, it came to over £800, that's over a thousand dollars... but! I had enough and they did a great job, even fixing a window that did not go back up. I'll batten down the hatches of my purse for a few months, whatever lovely things I may espy!!!

So happy now in that regard, but a little worried about my Mother who is unwell again, I shall visit her tomorrow. April has started a bit of a horribubble month for me with lots of unfortunate stuff happening, but I am sure things are gonna get better.

Celia xx

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Post  MichaelaSJ on Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:27 pm

Celia Eriksson wrote:April has started a bit of a horribubble month for me with lots of unfortunate stuff happening, but I am sure things are gonna get better.
April showers, bring May flowers.

I hope everything, and most importantly your Mother is going to be much better coming this May.

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If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it is all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag.
Fahrenheit 451
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Post  Celia Eriksson on Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:18 pm

Thank you Miki,

I shall report tomorrow, after seeing her. They give her lithium, which I have argued endlessly she should not have. She has about a dozen medications but whenever I get the lithium stopped, (that they keep reintroducing), she is fine.

They seem to reintroduce it for reasons unbeknown and unfathomable to me. I am going to look at her med list tomorrow and if lithium is still on it, as I suspect it may well be, I am thinking that I just might get a little bit angry, something that I rarely actually do.

Celia xx

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Post  Celia Eriksson on Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:26 pm

So Mother is in her local hospital again. I went today and yes Lithium was being given to her, I made a point of expressing my annoyance that it is still on her prescription to a very pleasant young Doctor I have never met before.

She may have listened to me simply because I know that Lithium is often substituted as the cheap option, but it is an old drug that has been superceded by far superior expensive alternatives. It may well work for some, but it is a nasty drug that accumulates in the system. Care homes have no means of testing how much is in one's body at any given time. I kept my cool when I went to the home to collect nightshirts and underwear for my Mother, for it is not they that prescribe it, it is the home's company GP, who probably covers many homes. I will be setting up a meeting with him and then I shall open fire.


As for Helga..... she is driving beautifully, as never before! This with her declogged breather box thingy, I have been so very happy with her.... until about an hour ago when driving home from seeing my Mother! The radio gave out and the SRS light went on! I had no idea what the SRS light was, but being in the middle of nowhere I carried on. First thing I did getting home was look it up online and the combined symptoms of those failures on the Volvo 940 is a wobbly internal part in the ignition.....!?!?!? One owner I read of found he had to start wiggling it in a certain way to start soon after! Oh my, how complicated. I will have a look tomorrow and feel if there is play in the ignition, if not I shall take her down the garage and have them check the seat belt restraints, for that is the most likely cause if it 'aint a wiggly ignition key, though airbag is also part of the system, apparently. Oh Helga, my poor purse!

Celia xx

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Post  mariehart1 on Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:48 pm

My former Golf had the SRS light. Turns out it was a false indication caused by the movement of the passenger seat. Which caused an intermittent disconnect blah blah blah. Anyway it didn't mean the airbag didn't work but the computer thought it was wasn't.

As for your Mother well you are a medical professional and that gives you knowledge other don't have. That's something that worries me because all too often Doctors and others get it radically wrong. We had a similar problem with my Mother who died of cancer. My oldest sister is a strong woman but we got very little input from the Doctors. I remember me and her confronting a young Doctor to be fair to her she was new to this. I prevented her from leaving while my sister got the answers. We were politely aggressive. Another time we asked a Doctor about a timescale when she would die. 'Why does everyone ask that' was the appallingly rude reply.

What worries me is that so many people don't have that. Celia I'm glad you can stand up for your Mother. Do not let them off the hook.

I mentioned it before but previously when my Mother was badly injured when hit by a car two of my hard ass sisters convened a meeting of the medical 'professionals' and discussed the case and made decisions about going forward. Both were people used to being in charge and frankly they were shocked at the disorganisation they came across. What bothers me is that most people don't have hard ass daughters and I'm glad your Mother has you.


You tell them girl.

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Post  Celia Eriksson on Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:29 pm

Thanks Marie,

Cancer is a blight and I am so sorry about your Mother. If only they got rid of nuclear weapons and spent the money on cancer research, we'd have had the cure like thirty years ago!

Mother will be 80 next week and has nobody else to stand up for her but me. We lost contact for quite some time and it was purely because my Father was quite the bigot. I don't even like writing that, coz he was my Father and I was once a favourite son. Unfortunately, for him that is, I was gay and the conflicts started when I started going with someone he knew. But, my Mother is, like myself, a submissive soul and she followed him to the hilt.

We now have a great relationship and I love her very much, she is bipolar, (which many a hospital Doctor has misdiagnosed as dementia recently, I am certain that she does not have dementia!), and has other medical problems. She appreciates me for who I am and I am much closer to her now than anyone in my family, we talk of just about anything and our missing years. On her very bad days, when we do argue she has told me several times that I must be on. That occured once in my Brother's house at the dining table, all his family and my best friend Yvette was there too. Everyone found it most amusing, including myself....

I suppose I oughta add before I get jumped on by menstrual tg women, I accept cycles occur, I do get very skittish and grumpy and frit and ultra-vulnerable now and then, but there is no lunar or other pattern to those episodes, more likely I could be mild bipolar.

Celia xx

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Post  mariehart1 on Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:48 pm

I don't even like writing that, coz he was my Father and I was once a favourite son.
I see that and feel so sad. I know it's tough to write that. Luckily I was never my Dad's favourite anything and my contempt for him is shared by my younger brother but he was lovely to my oldest sister.

As for your Mother, the Docs thought mine might have dementia at one point but no, if she has it so do we all. It was just her. We are all like that. Stay on top of it. They know nothing.

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Post  Celia Eriksson on Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:57 pm

Hi Marie!

Yes, I'll fight her corner!!! Thanks again Marie, I'll go see her tomorrow too, but I'm on shift Saturday then Monday until Thursday So after SundayI have to hand the reins over to my Brother. I'll pick up the pieces next Friday, though I hope beyond hope, that she will be weaned off Lithium and be back in her cozy room in the care home by then.. it takes about two weeks to totally flush it when levels are high, but only a few days to feel well again.

Celia xx

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Post  MichaelaSJ on Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:42 am

Can your Mother give you power of attorney over her health concerns so you can be more proactive when dealing with her doctors?

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If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the Government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it is all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag.
Fahrenheit 451
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Post  Celia Eriksson on Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:09 pm

Hi Miki,

Quite a good idea. It may sound sloppy of me, but I don't know whether the care home claims that as requisite for their residents, but if I don't not get any joy from the Doctor there about his prescriptions, I may look into it. I saw her again today and she had no Lithium yesterday, guess what, she has made some improvement already and was much more herself, I think good enough to go home.

So I waited for the Doctor and discussed her likely discharge, and at first the Doctor said it could happen today, but then she suddenly said that she realised she wanted to continue with a pyschotherapist's opinion tomorrow. So she will most likely be ok to go home tomorrow which is no good to me as I am on shift. They have promised to arrange transport for her. As I took my Mother's hand and led her back to her bed, she thought I was going to take her home, it was heartbreak to tell her she had to spend another night there. I stayed a little while and painted her nails for her and reassured her many times, for she worries so about pretty well everything, when she has little to worry of apart from her heath, bless her.

Celia xx


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