Last night I finally fixed the rear differential of the 4Runner. Thanks again to Neil, who picked up a new (used) rear end from a guy in north Phoenix. Dan, his friend Xerxes, and I went to it last night. The only snag we hit was that we couldn't swap the entire axle assembly out; the previous owner of the new rear end had apparently torched off the emergency brake cable hangers. Without those hangers, I'd have no e-brake, so we decided to leave my old axle housing in place and just change out the third member. Which still leaves me with a stripped and inoperative fill plug, but I can still fill the thing through the vent, which is what I did.
The operation was successful. No more knashing and whining; the truck is pretty smooth, even at freeway speeds.
Otherwise, things are pretty good. I have to do a Betta fish rescue on Saturday; the little tank that they were in leaked, and I found them on their sides in an empty tank. I thought that they were goners, but I added some water from the R.O., and to my amazement, they started swimming again! I guess Bettas have a "labyrinth organ," which is sort of like a primitive lung, and allows them to get some oxygen. So now they each have a 5 gallon tank to swim around in. I think it is a big change for them.
I'm thinking about taking on a roommate. I've got an extra room that I've been meaning to clean out for a while, and it'd be nice to have some extra rent coming in.