Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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How Often Do You Check Your Tire Pressure?

Under Pressure by ThenAndAgain.

One of the fancy pants things that my new car came with was a “Tire Pressure Monitoring System” – that is, an indicator light on the dashboard when the pressure in one of your tires is low1.  Now, I’m sure that most new cars probably come with such a thing, but the last car that I owned was a 1989 Honda Civic, so this feature, to me, constitutes “fancy pants.”  And yesterday, said fancy pants TPMS alerted me to the fact a tire – or tires – was a little low on the old pressurino.  So off I went to yee old Canadian Tire to buy me a tire pressure gauge.  Now, I realize that when you go to the gas station to fill up your tires, the air hose thingy has a tire pressure gauge attached.  But I decided that I really should be more pro-active and actually test my tires regularly, as I have some vague recollection of reading in the owner’s manual2 that you are supposed to not wait until the TPMS alerts you, as by then the tire pressure is already too low!

Long story short, I managed to lose two of my four tire valve caps inside my hubcaps3 and the digital tire pressure gauge I bought doesn’t work.  It will only give me readings of “0.0,” and my tires certainly contained *some* air.  Also, it was freezing and rainy and miserable as I tried to do all this.  Anyhoo, I went to a gas station first thing this morning and used their gauge and filled the tires up and all was right with the world.  Other than that I have to go back to Canadian Tire to return the crappy tire pressure gauge I bought and pick up two tire valve caps.

But all this got me thinking – how often do people check their tire pressure?  My owner’s manual says you should do so once a month or once every two weeks, depending on where in the manual you are reading.  So readers – how often do you check your tire pressure?

And for bonus points – how often do you check your oil, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, etc.? My owner’s manual says you are supposed to check those every time you fill up your car with gas (!), but seriously, I don’t think I’ve *ever* seen anyone checking their oil at a gas station.

Image Credit: Posted by Then and Again on Flickr.

  1. someone, I believe it may have been Kalev, said that if my car was so “smart,” why doesn’t the indicator tell me *which* tire is low.  To which I said, “touché‘ []
  2. yes, I read the owner’s manual []
  3. seriously, I have tiny hands and I still found it nearly impossible to get the tire valve caps off and then even more nearly impossible to get the tire valve caps back on, because the hubcaps are designed in such a way that the valve is sort of inset in the hubcap such that there is almost no room to put your fingers in to unscrew the cap []

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To See or Not to See

Photo by Jorge

So, for a long, long time I’ve wanted laser eye surgery. And since I made a little bit of extra cash by working way too many jobs over the past few months, I figure I deserve a reward and what better reward than vision, right?I know a fair number of people who have had it done and every single one of them¹ has described it the same way: It’s a life changing experience. You can wake up in the morning and see the alarm clock across the room. You can go swimming without worrying whether you will lose a contact lens. You don’t have to think about bringing your lens case and solution and glasses if you want to spend the night somewhere other than your home. You never again have to deal with fogged up glasses when coming in from the cold in the winter or the surprisingly excruciating pain of getting an eyelash caught under your contact lens or… well, the list goes on.
And make no mistake, my vision really is terrible. My prescription is -7.5 in one eye and -8.5 in the other. To translate that into laypeople terms, that means that when I walk into the optometrist’s office and they say “Read the smallest line you can read,” I say, “E.” Seriously. I can’t read the second line on the eye chart without my glasses or contacts. Having such terrible vision also means that my glasses are exorbitantly priced. So much so that I’m still wearing the pair I bought when I wen to the U of Guelph², 8 years ago. I haven’t had enough money to buy both glasses *and* contacts since then… even under my current benefits package, I only get enough to buy a year’s worth of contacts, or half a pair of glasses, every second year. And seeing as how I’m so vain and don’t like how I look in glasses, I always go for the contacts.

So now I’m going to go in for some consultations to see if I’m even a candidate for surgery, as apparently not everyone is. I’m not planning to get the surgery done until August, after the summer hockey season starts but before the winter hockey season begins, but I’d rather find out now if I not suitable for surgery rather than having my hopes up all summer.

The two places I’m considering are:

Photo credit: deqalb on Flickr

My own optometrist got her surgery done at Pacific and I’m thinking that if she trusts them with her eyes, they must be good! However, if I go there it will cost me $3900, plus post-surgery follow up visits. If I go to Coal Harbour, which I’ve also heard very good things about, it will only cost me $2400, including follow up visits. Now, I don’t want to cheap out when it comes to my vision, but I also don’t want to pay twice as much as I have to if it’s not actually a better service. My plan right now is to go to consultations at both and to ask the doctors at both places why there is such a price discrepancy. I’m especially curious as to why the former charges more if you have a higher prescription, while the later charges a flat fee regardless of your prescription. I can’t see why the cost should change depending on your ‘script… doesn’t the surgery take the same amount of time and effort regardless? I suppose I’ll know more once I talk to the docs.

In the meantime, does anyone out there have any thoughts on this? Does anyone know one or the other (or both) of these Centres? Any thoughts?

¹I have heard two stories of a friend-of-a-friend who had problems, but not about anyone in who is in Canada.
² where the student health plan covered glasses