Saturday, July 26, 2008


Well, actually a few changes.

Some of you that have been following my blog for the past year or so probably know how in love with my Volkswagen Jetta I was. Yup, I said was. When I bought the Jetta brand spankin' new in February 2005, I actually looked at a few Passats. They were just a bit out of my price range at the time. I had wanted another Passat ever since I had one for a year back in 2001. But that had been a company car that was only mine for use for a year. The lease car policy with that company was 3 years or 50,000 miles and you got a new car. Well, covering the geographic area that I covered then required quite a bit of driving so after 12 months it was time for a new car.


For probably the past year I've been scanning the car ads for the perfect Passat. Not too old, not too many miles, had to be black and have all the creature comforts that my Jetta had and maybe a few more.
Well, I finally found it.ain't she purty? And my oh my, does she drive nice. Just enough bigger than the Jetta so when people need to ride in the back seat they don't have to fold their legs up into their chests to fit. Plenty of room in this back seat.

Shortly after I'd bought it, I took it in for an oil change since I didn't know how long it had been since it's last one. I was shocked when the mechanic presented me with a bill for $70.00 for an oil change! The same place had always charged me about $30.00 for the Jetta. Well, as I found out, not quite the same thing. The Passat has a turbo charged engine. Because of the high heat generated by the turbo charger, it requires fully synthetic motor oil. I had no idea that synthetic motor oil was so expensive. Now, I've changed the oil in my cars before. In fact up until about 10 years ago, I'd always changed my own oil. But then when I started driving leased cars because of the job I had, the maintenance was taken care of at no charge to me. I kinda liked that and got used to it. Since then I kinda like the idea of just paying someone else to do it.
That is, until I was handed the $70.00 oil change bill.

This time I decided to save a little money and do it myself. Heck, I'm perfectly capable and I know what I'm doing. Plus, the air filter and cabin filter were both due for a change too and that would have added another $30-$40 to the oil change.
So, I bought the filters, oil and oil filter, drove the car up onto the ramps and went to work. The first thing I tackled was the air filter.
Took one look under the hood and headed inside to check the internet for where the heck the air filter is on a 2005 Passat with a 1.8L turbo engine.
As it turns out, it's hiding under this mass of hoses and plastic that you see here. Right there, left side of the picture....see it? No? Neither did I.
After removing several clips, a couple of screws and a flexible air hose thingy, I found it.
Here it is peeking out from under something that has a bunch of hoses connected to it.
Ok, there. That's replaced. Now to get all this put back together the way I found it.
Now it's time to tackle the cabin air filter. This is the filter that purifies the air that enters the inside of the car through the heater and air conditioning. Here is where that is supposed to be:
After pulling apart a few more plastic pieces, I found it. There it is! Ha! That was easier than I thought!
New filter. Now I'll be breathing easier and maybe I won't have to smell the dead animals I pass on the road anymore! Yay!Now time to change the oil.

Got my stuff!Who knew you had to take an entire piece of the underside of the car off just change the oil?? Jeesh!First, I had to drain the old oil. Locate the drain plug. Check. Find the proper size wrench. Check. Now, loosen the plug. Che...ummm. Wow, I can't get this thing loose. Where is my hammer? Check. Drain plug is out and oil is running into the bucket. Ok, now what am I going to do with 5 quarts of used motor oil?
Next, locate the oil filter. Look up from the underside of the car. Hmmm. Stand up, look down from the top. Ok, there it is. Not sure how I'm going to reach it, but at least I found it.
See the round, white thing with the red print on it? That's the oil filter.Here's the new filter all installed. The new one is orange.Fast forward another hour. Got the filter off and the new filter on. scratched up my arms trying to reach down into the engine compartment to change the oil filter, burnt my fingers on the hot oil draining from the oil plug but it's finally done. The new oil is in and I don't have any leaks. Now, re-attach the panel from under the car and put all the tools away.

After suffering painful scratches to my arms, covered with grease from my finger tips to my elbows, about 2 hours of my precious Saturday off work, I've decided that it will be MUCH easier to part with that $70.00 next time my oil needs changing.

But, I still LOVE my Passat.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Can you guess what I can cook by the ingredients you see here? Hey, no scrolling!

Every once in a while I get the urge to make something amazingly decadent. The mood struck on Sunday.

We had spent Friday and Saturday at my friend Mary Jean's house in Lincoln, Nebraska, celebrating the 4th. It was a great party at her house on Capitol Beach Lake in Lincoln, complete with jet skiing, good food, great people, amazing fireworks and plenty of beverages. (if you catch my drift)

After eating out all weekend, I felt like making something really good at home. This urge usually hits while I'm watching a cooking show of some sort. I watched and it did.

Quatro fromage lasagna.
("Four Cheese" if I must translate) If I were going to make something that called for $70.00 worth of ingredients and most of my afternoon to prepare, we HAD to invite guests. After a few text messages, Sue agreed to make the 1 hour drive to dinner. Kyle declined. (see what you missed, Kyle!?)

Sue and Andrew stood by indulging in their beverages while I slaved over a hot oven creating my masterpiece. I apologize if I sound a bit smug when it comes to my creation here, but all I have to say is, ya shoulda' been here to try it! I think everyone orgasmed a little as they took the first bite.
I served it with the traditional garlic bread that you must have with lasagna and a simple salad of assorted greens with a red wine vinegar and shallot dressing.Rather purty if I do say so, myself.