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Another Single Woman Win!


I think I’ve just experienced my greatest “Single Woman” win thus far! (Side note: I capitalize “Single Woman” as a half-joke. One of my good grad school buddies just went through a tough divorce and bought her first house as a single woman. She sent a picture of a portion of the house contract. The contract listed her as a “Single Woman” in caps, and she was a bit offended by it. So I’m seizing the term “Single Woman” – with caps – as my own and making it into a good thing instead of a perceived negative).

I fixed my driver’s side-view mirror that has been broken for literally 6+ months! I first wrote about it back in the summer and it had already been broken for a couple months at that point. I’d intended to get it fixed over the summer, but then our A/C went out and cost $$$, then hubs and I decided to separate, then I moved out (which cost $$$), and I mean it’s just been one thing after the next this whole time.

After fixing my electrical dash/MyTouch system, by myself (something I never thought I’d do), I decided to conquer the side-view mirror. I bought the part on E-Bay and the exact day it came in I determined, “I’m going to put this mirror on today.” Period. That was it. My resolve was strong (I can also perhaps be a bit stubborn sometimes???)

THANK YOU to the commenter who told me to check out this YouTube video for guidance. It could not have been more perfect!

It showed me how to remove the mirror coverings, how to use a plastic ziplock bag to save the bolts from falling into the door (genius trick!), and what to do.

In full disclosure……It did take me nearly a full 3 hours. I got most of it done in about 15 minutes. It was that easy!

But there’s one bolt that’s down low/covered by another plastic piece. I had a REALLY hard time accessing it. I worked and worked trying to unscrew that bolt, but I just couldn’t get a good “grip” on it with the pliers (or wrench? Whatever. I don’t know this stuff…lol) I owned. I went to Ace Hardware and bought smaller pair that would more easily be able to fit into the small crevice of a crack to access the bolt. But it STILL didn’t work. I couldn’t grip the bolt tight enough to actually loosen it. It wasn’t working.

After a long time, I was feeling defeated. I had this mirror 99% removed and only one single bolt stood in my way of replacing it. How could the video make it look so easy?

I watched the video again and again. I must’ve watched it near 50 times that day. Finally, it hit me. As I watched the guy effortlessly loosening the bolt I realized…..he’s accessing it from above!!!


I was standing, so I was more-or-less the same height as the bolt (it was about chest-level with me). I ran inside and grabbed a chair. Ran back out to the garage and used the chair to elevate my position. Now, I was looking down at the bolt from above. I was much more easily able to slip in and I FINALLY made the concrete connection that was needed. I jimmied it a bit and finally the bolt started to loosen. Once it was off, the entire mirror was able to easily detach. I slipped the new mirror into place and it could NOT have been any easier! There was a plug I just plugged in, lined the bolts up in place, and then re-tightened them all. It worked like a charm!

Bye bye, old & busted mirror held together by tape for far too long:

Hello, shiny new mirror that only cost $250 and a few hours of time (as opposed to the $800-$1,000 quotes I’d received from a couple places around town):

Those are pliers, right? I’m telling you – it’s a miracle I was able to do this! lol

Friends, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt such an overwhelming sense of accomplishment! I mean, I was riding this wave of satisfaction and pride all weekend (I’m still pretty proud writing about it now, too)!

Another “win” for the Single Woman, and the frugal woman, too.


How To Reset 2011 Ford Explorer MyTouch System


Let me tell you a little story….

Remember how a couple weeks ago I was near-death-status with kidney stones? Well what I didn’t mention in that last post was that the SAME WEEK where I was single-mommin’ it while simultaneously puking my guts out and writhing around in horrific kidney stone-induced pain, my car’s entire Sync system went out. It was like a cruel joke from the universe.

What does that mean? No clock, no radio, no backup camera, no control over HEAT AND A/C!!! The day it went out I had to be on campus to submit grades for a class. I was in POOR shape, guys. Like, I couldn’t get dressed in real clothes (anything that put pressure on my kidneys KILLED ME so I had to wear stretchy yoga pants – basically workout clothes to my job. UGH). So I just snuck in to submit my grades and snuck right back out. Get into my car and – BAM – for no reason the entire Sync system just went out. This has happened once before, when it was still under warranty. I remember the total bill being about $1500 and being SO GRATEFUL it was covered by our extended warranty. Well…..warranty is now long gone, folks.

I swear, had I not needed to get home IMMEDIATELY (because of the pukes and all), I would have driven straight to a car dealership and traded in the car. In Arizona, you cannot LIVE without having control over your heat and A/C. It’s just not happening. Plus the side-view mirror is still taped on (yes. still. life has been a bit hectic over here as my marriage has disintegrated, I moved out, life happenings, etc. Give me a break). So basically it felt like my car (and entire life, really) was falling apart. I wanted the path of least resistance. TIME FOR MOMMA TO GET A NEW CAR.

Well, I’m glad my near-death-status forced me to go straight home instead of to the car dealership. I spent about another week weighing my options. But in looking at information (my car’s trade-in value, the blue book value if I were to buy a similar car, etc. etc.) I realized I could NOT buy a new car. I can’t afford a payment, and if I were to trade in my car for another car (without a payment), I’d be taking a step DOWN in vehicle no matter where I looked. My car may be high mileage, but it’s a newer (7 year old), still very high quality car. It was top-of-the-line for Ford Explorers the year it was made. Originally a $30,000 vehicle! I was not going to be able to find something comparable without a payment.

Solving My Own Problem…

So then I set to the interwebs in trying to solve my problem. I stumbled across THIS youtube video titled: How to Reset/Fix Ford MyTouch System.” I watched it a couple times. Seemed easy enough. Basically, you unplug the fuse and plug it back in again. I could do that.

But no. No, I could not. The vehicle shown in the video is an Edge (mine is an Explorer). The fuse box looks very different. I couldn’t identify the right part. I started just trying to pull out random fuse boxes (there look to be several in my car) and couldn’t get anything to snap out as easily as shown in the video. Not wanting to break anything and not even being sure what I was doing, I didn’t apply too much pressure. I was hoping something would just pop out easily. But nothing happened.

Hail Mary

A week went by. More and more I was coming to terms with the fact that I was going to have to pay (likely $1500+) to have my electrical system all reset. A one time $1500-2000 charge is still cheaper than a recurring $500/month car payment for the next 5 years. This was happening. I’m keeping my car and paying someone to fix it.

In a Hail Mary attempt, I went back to Google. I tried a more thorough search for how to reset my MyTouch system at home. Nothing helpful came back (a lot of resetting to factory settings, but mine wouldn’t even turn on so I needed something more). I went back to that same YouTube video. This time, I read the comments under the video. And right there, written in black and white, someone spelled out my problem for me:

Clifford Shack (post from one week ago, so the comment wasn’t even present the first time I saw then video):

Touchscreen blacked out on my 2018 Explorer. Fix: Press seek up button and Volume button simultaneously and it will come back with nothing lost (Hold for 2-3 seconds for reset).

Well, thank you to Mr. Shack. I tried it out and Glory Hallelujah it worked!!! My radio is back in action! Mine was reset to factory settings (so it wasn’t true for me that “nothing was lost” because all my presets are gone, the blue tooth settings were wiped out, etc.) BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE AT LEAST IT’S BACK!!! FOR FREE!!!!

Given that hubs always did our car maintenance, this is a pretty proud moment for me as a newly Single Woman. Excuse me while I go pat myself on the back and count all the money I saved by NOT having to go to the dealership to have this problem fixed.

And because I’d budgeted $500 for car repairs this month (thinking that wouldn’t be enough to cover the electrical, but I wanted to put some aside)….I ended up going onto Ebay and found the side-view mirror I need for just a couple hundred dollars! I have a friend from work who offered to install it for me if I got the part so I pulled the trigger and the side-view mirror should be at my home by next Friday (whyyyyyyyy is Ebay soooooo slow?? I’m an Amazon Prime girl over here. Waiting over a week for an order feels like eternity!) At any rate, the MyTouch is fixed and with any luck the side-view mirror will be fixed within another couple of weeks. I need to go wash and clean it really well and hopefully the beauty will be back to new(-ish…. with 150,000 miles. But you know what I mean) 😉

Boom! Any other stories of saving serious money by DIY and/or female empowerment/DIY that you’d like to share?