Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Exactly how long can I hold a grudge?

I wouldn't say I was mechanically inclined overall, but I do enjoy DIY projects. For instance, I decided to extend the patio with paving stones several years ago, and did most of it myself while Bill looked on (slightly bewilderedly, I think - especially when I started digging an enormous hole in his backyard). I love putting things together from kits. This may have started when my brother and I got build-it-yourself crystal radio sets for Christmas one year. Only one station came in clearly, but I would lie awake at night listening to Houston Aeros Hockey (Go Gordie Howe! (Oh, wait. Does that date it?)), and the CBS Radio Mystery Theater with E. G. Marshall (Until next time,....Pleasant....dreams?). I wasn't allowed to have my light on to read (which I would have done all night if allowed), but I could listen to my radio without my parents knowing.

I also like messing around with cars. I once replaced the brakes and brake rotors on my Saturn (with minor help from my brother) and then spent the next eight years mildly surprised that the wheels hadn't fallen off yet.

Soon after he got his driver's license, my son got a 1988 Jeep Wrangler and he and I spent hours tinkering with the engine, trying to keep it running, during which time I think we taught each other some new swear words and spent way more money on parts than I could really afford. We actually managed to replace the head gasket on it at one point. After a few months, we gave up and got him a Honda Civic instead.

Just before William was born, David and I started having trouble with our Dodge Colt. It turned out to be a fusible link, and all we needed to do was twist the wires back together to keep it working for another couple of weeks, until it would burn through again (probably not the safest thing to do). When William was about a month old, it finally got so short the wires barely reached, so I went to Kragen Auto Parts, parked the car, unclipped the fusible link, carried it in, and told the guy I wanted a new one (I'm sure I said please, actually. I used to be extremely polite). He had absolutely no idea what it was.

While I was looking around to see if I could find one myself, William suddenly spat up - all over the floor. Fairly embarrassed, I bent down and started to wipe it up with William's blanket, and the guy suddenly loomed over me and said, "Does your husband know you're messing around with the car?"

Excuse me??? Today, I would probably tell him exactly what I thought of him, but at the time, I was only 24, and still had a lot of trouble talking to strangers (even after working with the general public for years). I couldn't think of anything to say to that. I didn't want to tell him that I knew WAY more about cars than my husband, because that would have been insulting to David. I mumbled something, finished wiping the floor, stood up, and carried William out. And refused to go back to Kragen Auto - any Kragen Auto - for about 16 years. I plugged the fusible link back into the engine and drove down the street to Grand Auto where they actually knew what it was and were able to help me.

12 comments:

Barry Leiba said...

«I wasn't allowed to have my light on to read»

What, you didn't use a flashlight under the covers?

Laurie said...

Of course I did! The batteries just didn't last long enough, though...

Maureen said...

I think you should be working for Toyota. It sounds like they need someone over there who knows what they're doing!

Laurie said...

Hi Mo! I'm OK if its old enough to have a carburetor, but these durn newfangled vee-hickles are too much for me. I can't even get to half the spark plugs on my Taurus... :-)

Brother Phil said...

Ah yes, remember before the internet? Staying up late in our rooms included activities such as eating an orange, reading a library book, and fighting to stay awake until the end of that stupid radio show. The whole family used to listen to the same music in the car. Movies were in the theater except for a seemingly endless supply of very bad Japanese monster movies on our small black and white television. The big upgrade in 1977 was from rabbit ears to something called an "aerial" that allowed the television to get maybe three or four channels. And then in 1979, the black and white tv finally died and we got a very small color TV. Shame really. I think it probably dated back to the Taft administration. Suddenly I realized that there was a color code to the shirts in Star Trek reruns. You know, for years I had watched the NBC peacock spread it's multi-grey tail feathers as a voice said "In living color." Sad, but true, I never really understood why they said that until I was in my teens.

According to Wikipedia, the original peacock logo dates back to 1956. It is 11 years older than I am.

Remember when saving your game involved picking up the board and carefully carrying it to your room?

Anyone up for a nostalgic game of Monopoly on a real board? I'll make some greasy popcorn popped in a pan on the stove.

Good times man. Good times.

Speaking of good times, I just paid a mechanic $600 to replace the spark plugs in my Mitsubishi. I remember when you didn't have to remove the intake manifold on a car to reach half the plugs.

Fortune cookie I got recently:
你喜欢吃中国饭。

Laurie said...

Gamera! Friend of All Children. Who can resist a giant flying turtle with flames shooting out of his leg holes? He only occasionally destroyed Tokyo.

I'm pretty sure we got the color TV in the mid-70s, but you know I have a memory like a snake (yes, that is a family joke. But unfortunately true)...

The Mitsubishi Eclipse, that when you bought it both Bill and our dad completely independently said, "That's a chick car!" Named after an 18th century racehorse, by the way.

Brother Phil said...

First, Bill and Dad's opinions about any car are like aged cheese.

Remember, if Thomas Jefferson were alive today and you asked him his opinion about the healthcare debate, he would be such an exceedingly old person that his opinions about anything would be worthless.

And you? You drive a station wagon and love it. So much for your opinion about cool cars.

If the Eclipse is such a chick car, then why do I only see young Asian and white guys driving them?

And that car appears in Fast and Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Tokyo Drift, and numerous other movies, driven by the male hero characters. No chicks.

Oddly, a quick search of the internet reveals that some people think a "chick car" is what others would call a "chick magnet." One person said "Not a chick car. Mustangs, Camaros, Dodge Challengers are all chick cars." I don't think he meant what he thought he meant.

What would you call a guys car? A pickup truck? I see more women than guys driving pickup trucks and SUVs.

Laurie said...

Oooooh. It appears I've struck a nerve! And I think that if Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he would have lived through so much that, assuming his faculties were still intact at 267, his opinions would be worth a lot!

I wouldn't say I "love" the station wagon. It has come in fairly handy over the last few years. You missed a great opportunity - it is the EXACT same station wagon as the one owned by our mother. Well, except that MINE has the more powerful engine and leather seats... I really do miss having a manual shift.

Lloyd said...

Forgiveness, that is the key to joy and happyness. I really enjoyed your blog. God bless, Lloyd

Brother Phil said...

Yes. God Bless Lloyd! He has an extra L in his name. Some of us are only born with one L.

Fortune cookie: Brother Phil. Your boss thinks you are lazy. Get back to work. -Abbot Bob. P.S. Why do you only have one L in your name? Novitiate Lloyd has two.

Brother Phil said...

What I really want to know is how did Gamera steer? He was spinning around like a Frisbee and had his head in his shell!

Oh, and we got the color television on the day Karl Wallenda died. March 22, 1978.

Brother Phil said...

我不喜欢看电视。 我喜欢吃中国饭。