Monday, August 08, 2005

Oz Day 033.

It has been an eventful weekend. A quiet peaceful but eventful weekend - apart for a small incident which my family managed to irk me and shake my new-found calm from across the Indian Ocean by demonstrating the ability to miscommunicate the simplest of messages. However I refuse to stay vexed for long. I am reminded of that parking attendent I was exchanging pleasantries with. He highlighted that it was good day because he chose to have a good day - or else it would not be his life anymore. It is strange how little fragments get stuck and stay lodged in the small reccesses of the mind, only to float to the surface at times.


The main news over the weekend is: I bought a car.

A manual 1992 Ford Festiva with about 220,000km on it.

The entire process from my initial sighting of the advertisement, to the mailing off the paperwork to the relevant authority took under 24 hours. The vehicle registration is not legally mine yet until I get the notice and pay the stamp duties and transfer fees. I have returned the rental car. The lifting of the onerous weekly cost of the rental would hopefully easier to achieve a stable financial situation. On the other hand, this large purchase has effectively drained most of the liquid cash reserves, leaving a very marginal buffer. It effectively ups the stakes in the gamble to stay here in WA. If I get about four months' worth of transport from it, it would have worked out cheaper than renting.

Had a mechanic to check out the car thoroughly, short of stripping apart the engine. The car should run okay for a few months, but it definitely needs work if I plan to keep it longer. Which should be quite a challenge for a mechnically-ignorant klutz pretending to understand the mechanical terms. Throughout the entire process I was surreptitiously scribbling notes for my further research later..

From the most critical (mechanical) issues to the minor (cosmetic) issues:

  • CV joint needs replacing (creaks in a hard right lock)
  • Checking condition of timing belt (possibly overdue for replacement)
  • Cleaning engine to check top gasket seal (possible small oil leak)
  • The oil and fuel filters need to be changed
  • Rear wheel nuts needs to repacked grease
  • Front left rim damage
  • Rear seatbelts do not retract
  • Small chip and scratches on windscreen
  • Rear windscreen washer non-functional
  • Rear left door and window handle missing
  • Interior courtesy lights non-functional
  • Needs a good vacuum and wash

The car looks like something that I can park in the middle of Perth and leave unlocked with no valuables in sight. It looks roadworthy enough that I should be able to avoid the police pulling me over. The good thing is that is also looks crappy enough that nobody would want to mess with it.

It used to belong to this lady just finished her nursing contract with Perth hospital. She is leaving for a few years to see Europe and wanted to dispose of the car that she bought about a year ago. In the last year, she has put in new brakes, replaced the clutch, put in a new muffler, replaced with used gearbox when the original broke, installed electronic immobolizers, and has been sending the car for regular servicing.

Hopefully the car would not give me too much problems. If it breaks, I have no idea how to fix it. Short of kicking it and threatening to have it towed to a scrapyard..


The pizza job has also taken a new twist. After about 6 days (over two weekends) of working there as a pizza delivery driver, and cleaning the kitchen and preparing pizza ingredients during the lull periods.. the owner unexpectedly rotated me in the last two nights to work the phones taking orders, manning the front counter and closely-supervised responsibility for the cash payment collections. The owner also hinted that he was looking for somebody to help him independently run the place one or two of the quiet weekday evenings so that he could have time off for his other activities.

I am a little skeptical but pleasantly surprised. About the only function of the operations I have not had hands-on is the actual pizza-assembly (and the stock-reorder process, which the owner handles personally). We shall see what happens during the next weekend, if I get rotated to making pizzas as well. Should this end up being a field promotion, I would at least get a chance to ask for more hours per week. Asking for a higher pay rate is out of the question since the pizza joint is losing money anyway, and all the employees are being paid the same rate (how communist!). On the other hand, after my previous employment experiences I am leery of the heavier responsiblities involved in running a team. Especially at the same pay rates.

In any case (as D. wisely commented), it is an education in itself. Who knows? My forte may end up running a pizza shop. Quite the far stretch from the city-hopping, datacomm-troubleshooting, upset-customer-pacifying engineer-type geek persona.

The universe has certainly been throwing a lot of curveballs at me recently...


Blogger blackship said...

hi good day,

Wish you happuy national day in Perth!

August 08, 2005 6:20 PM  
Blogger C said...

Oh man that's what my other half does... *shakes head* It's a good first job to have though. Because reliable drivers/hands are so hard to find, you can count on it working for you until you decide to leave.

Plus, free food i imagine ;)

Your mechanical issues make my eyebrows shoot up in alarm.

August 08, 2005 8:44 PM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...


Not till January 26 anyway. I look forward to the annual fireworks over the Swan.


If only I can get more hours at the pizza joint, I may actually be able to make a living (survival) wage out of it.

However we do get to eat our mistakes. The boss obviously gets annoyed when too many mistakes are made. However, there is always that employee discount.

I hope that car purchase works out as well. The cost of the car is under 4 months' rental. It is cheap enough to be a write-off if I can get a couple months of good service out of it.

August 08, 2005 10:28 PM  
Blogger bohemianlisa said...

Things are certainly looking great there! :-)

August 08, 2005 10:56 PM  
Blogger Singapore Calamari said...

Hmm.. I am think the car cost under A$4k ?

Ok, I haven't seen it, but if those notes that you wrote are what the mechanic told you to look into, then all you need is to fix the first thing.. CV Joint.

I don't know how many is faulty and what the fault is. Commonly it is the protection cover that brakes and the fluid escapes. If detected early, just a simple change of cover and refill will be ok. If not, just change it and it should not cost more than $200-$300.

CV joint can cause your little new mechanical slave to stop rolling.

Oil and Fuel filters might not need to be replaced if previous owner has been regularly servicing it.

Enjoy your ownership of a vehicle, finally !

August 08, 2005 11:00 PM  
Blogger elin said...

CONGRATULATIONS !! Best news yet re prospect of manning pizza joint - always an experience being responsible for a small business. And also for vehicle. Press on with the job hunting !

August 10, 2005 10:19 AM  
Blogger fortycalibernap said...


Re the car: I'd concentrate on the timing belt. That CV joint is important, but if it goes out it just means a tow and a replacement.

If that timing belt goes, it's a tow and then a whole series of related mechanical issues that will arise consequent to its failure.

man, i'm too wordy even when i give mechanical advice.

August 11, 2005 11:52 AM  
Blogger Amazonian said...

call my sister, lah. her hubby is mechanic whiz... it's foc just provide him with milk for his coffee.... banana

August 11, 2005 8:26 PM  
Blogger Wenjie said...

Currently in Perth. Saw an ad for delivery drivers for Domino's Pizza leaflet that came with my pizzas. They said they offer the highest rates for pizza deliveries and it seems even the car is being provided by Domino's. Might consider checking it out.

August 12, 2005 2:58 PM  
Blogger expat@large said...

Could I have, umm, one large chicken pizza with TRIPLE anchovies, you get that? - TRIPLE anchovies. And umm, a meat-lovers with extra onions and mushrooms. Large. And .. hang on... (what? with egg? Yuck!) And an Hawaian with, um, egg for the little lady. Can you do that? And a diet-coke and a sprite...

How long will that take to get to Singapore?

August 13, 2005 10:16 AM  
Blogger KnightofPentacles said...

Steady well-paying work would make the looking-great situation just that little bit more perfect!

More like under half that price. For around A$4000 you could pick up a reliable thing with nice bodywork that probably requires no more than an oil change.

Thanks. Read the next entry. The pizza shop has gone belly-up.

Agreed. According the service history from the receipts, the belts were last replaced at around 120k. No record of any work at 200k. Given that the belts are good for about 100k, it would be time for a change.

I hope Singapore is treating you kindly, and that the reverse culture-shock is not too bad.

Thanks for the information.


Sir, I am just the delivery driver. You would have to call the store to place your order. Please note there is a surcharge for additional toppings.

As Singapore is outside our regular delivery area, there will be a slight delivery surcharge. Your order should arrive by sometime tomorrow.

Thank you for calling Panuccis Pizza, and have a good day!

August 14, 2005 4:09 PM  

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