Sunday, August 2, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours

Yeah, so it's been a little while since we updated this thing. It's been a pretty full week, and somehow time got away from us and well here we are. As I said it was a full week, so this weekend we decided to try and have some fun and explore our nearby downtown area.

On Saturday night we found a local brewery. You'd think we would find tons of local breweries, since we live in the Brewery District, but actually there are tons of local bars but not as many breweries. But we found a cool one, called Elevator Brewing Co., so we headed there to check out their beers. It's about a 20 minute walk from our apartment. We thought it might rain, so we packed our raincoats in my backpack and headed over. It never rained. The bartenders were very cool, and we got ourselves a flight of all 13 of their beers (a bakers dozen of beer!). They came arranged from lightest to darkest, and we asked a bunch of questions to educate ourselves about the different styles, flavors, colors, textures, tastes, and names. We were so inspired that we finally committed to get ourselves over to the local homebrew store very soon to start our own brewing. In preparation for our upcoming sudsy entrepreneurship, we settled on a name: New Low Brewing. Then we went to GoDaddy and bought the url ( Then we reserved the blog name ( Big plans are afoot! Although nothing has actually happened yet, except for the "research" we did at the bar.

On Sunday morning we thought "Hey, what better way to treat ourselves than to walk down to our nearest Dunkin Donuts and get some good old fashioned Boston coffee!"

So we got up and headed out for another walk downtown, once again thinking that it would rain. So we packed our raincoats in my backpack and headed out to DD. It never rained. When we got there:

it was closed. I know right! Closed on a Sunday morning? What's up with that? Depressed and hungry, we headed back to our trusty standby, Cup O'Joe on 3rd Street for their massive breakfast sandwiches. Here I demonstrate the delicate dance involved in eating one.

Why the need for all this fun on the weekend? Well, as I said it was a long week, summed up by this picture.

That's my car. In the Volkswagen dealership. Because it stopped running.

Hmm, a trunk full of engine parts can't be a good sign.

Especially when coupled with an engine that is half apart. Lordy!

I was minding my business one day, on the way to work. Everything was going smoothly, until I heard an odd noise off to my right. It sounded like the right front tire blew out, and was leaking air. But I noticed that the car was driving too smoothly to have a flat tire at 70 mph, so I thought about what it could be. Could it be a coolant hose that blew? Well, maybe. But that would just be too wierd, right? Wouldn't a coolant leak cause some smoking in the engine area, and wouldn't I be able to see it? Yes, I thought so. As these thoughts were bouncing around in my head, the car lurched as if someone hit the brakes. But I didn't hit the brakes. Hmm, now I know something is pretty wrong. So I pull over to the side of the highway, and take a look. Sure enough, a coolant hose blew out. I could see a nice puddle of coolant on the road as I pulled over. Ok, so I am out of coolant. Let's see if the car will restart. Uh, no. Bad news. However, it was not raining.

In quick succession: panic and freak out, call Emma, make her freak out, have Emma get number for local VW dealer, call local VW dealer, panic, get number for towing company, call towing company, sit and wait for tow truck, panic, call boss, explain situation, freak out, get mad, continuously look at engine as if I can fix car with no tools on side of highway, watch as tow truck driver loads car onto flatbed, deal with tow truck driver's weak attempt to diagnose the problem ("Woah, is that a fuel leak?" "Um, no sir, it's antifreeze." "Oh."), hop into tow truck, freak out, head to VW dealer, deal with chatty tow truck driver tell me how he once towed a Lamborghini, drop car off at VW dealer, get VW rental car, head to work a few hours late. (panic a bit more)

The damage: Timing belt broke, which caused internal engine damage. Here you can see the damage to the pistons where the valves hit, highlighted by the thin red oval (this is cylinder 4, cylinder 1 was similar).

Cylinders 2 and 3 were not as bad:

Here's what happens to valves when they smash into the pistons at 3000 rpm; they bend.

So after a week of exploring options, freaking out, and getting mad at myself, I'm putting a used engine in the car (which comes with a 1 year warranty). I'll spare you the analysis of all the numbers and options, but it just seems like the best solution at this point.

Lesson learned.

But this is a good intro for our brewing tagline: "When your life reaches a new low, reach for a New Low beer..."

Because of that little fiasco, the apartment is still pretty much in the same shape it was a few weeks ago. Now we can move on from the car issue and get back to the other things we want to do with our lives, like get a cat and get brewing. And we can look forward to this for next weekend, complete with pit passes!

And hopefully, it won't rain.


  1. Damn! I can't believe your motor fell apart. That stinks. You should put a B16 in there. haha

    I'm glad there's a dunkin donuts out there, but yeah -- what the fuck? Closed on Sunday? That is officially horseshit. I'm glad you have better places to go anyway.

    Are you allowed to bring your VW to work and put the new engine in yourself? That'd be fun.

  2. So, one of the downsides of the job is that I can't just use all their facilities like I thought I might be able to. Something about confidentiality and blah blah blah. At some point I'm sure one person did something stupid with their personal car in the shop, and now the rest of us have to find other places to work on our cars. Boo! So I'm having the shop put the engine in for me. And in the meantime, I'm trying to find a space I can use for my own shop somewhere closer to home.

  3. Wow, you get like back stage passes to the Indy race? Do you think you could take one out for a spin? Like when the guys not looking.

    They don't even have keys, you can just hop in, I'm just saying is all....