I cut the grass. This required the use of three power implements, which is pretty awesome. (If only I'd had the gas-powered trimmer on Earth Day.)
Next I changed the oil in the Escort. The oil that came out (despite it having only 500 miles on it) was nearly black. Well, that's the break-in lube and microscopic metal particles from new rings getting used to freshly-honed cylinders. (Also new bearing babbits getting acquainted with various rotating parts.) None of this is unexpected or indication of anything wrong.
The first full tank of gas in the car after the new engine went in got me 30 MPG. The second got me 32 MPG, and none of that is beyond the pale. You expect a freshly-rebuilt and not yet run-in engine to get poorer fuel economy; nothing's beddded in yet. I expect now to start getting 33+ MPG since I've fixed the stumbling problem, and can use fifth gear at 35 MPH without the engine feeling like it's going to leap through the front bumper.
However, there's an oil leak somewhere. I'm thinking (HOPING) it's the oil pan gasket. *sigh* It's not a big one, and it only started recently, but there's enough of it that it's not going away.
While waiting for the crankcase to drain, I swapped the front and rear tires on the right side. Why? Because after hitting a pothole I had to swap the left-front tire for a tire from the old green Escort, and they're not the same size as the ones on the car.
The entry had a pic which is gone (thanks Geocities/Yahoo...jerks) so here it is again:
Yeah, I drove on that tire for a couple weeks before I got around to checking it for damage...and then I changed it immediately. Jesus.
Anyway, the handling of the car wasn't bad but it was just a little squirrely. Swapping the right side tires fixed it; now it's solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. I still want to get a couple of new tires of the same size and have a spare, but that can wait.
So, I'm pretty pleased that I got done what I wanted to do this weekend, and with a minimum of drama. For once.