How Scary Is It?

November 3, 2008 at 5:02 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  A belated Happy Halloweeny.
  Meanwhile, I had waited for the end of October to get that extra payday, the one that comes twice a year when you get paid bi-weekly.  You see, I haven’t paid the sales tax yet–or thusly licensed–my brand new ten year old car.  You have thirty days.  I bought it in June.
  I figured this extra pay check would more than cover it.  Besides, being extra, it’s not going to have medical insurance deducted from it.  I would still have money left over, right?  Right.
  Wrong.
  I had a flat in the Mercedes on Tuesday, ruining the tire.  I took it in to get one–and only one–tire, plus get the new inspections.  After deducting that from the total I was playing The Price Is Right:  I came within three dollars without going over…
  Fuck.  Going to have to put this off for another day.  Especially since the truck broke down the other day.  Wednesday Detroit and the Boy stopped at the grocery store, and Fred would not start again.
  I went through the five stages of car repair–Denial, bargaining, anger, acceptance, and going to the auto parts store.  Symptoms seems to indicate a fuel system problem; I was going to start with the basic–and cheapest–repair:  the fuel filter.  I also picked up the book on the truck.  I’ve had one of these for most cars I have owned.  In fact, when I was in the garage the other day (which I will get to in a minute) I saw two or three of the books for cars I had previously owned.
  The guy at the parts counter convinced me that it would more likely be the fuel pump than a simple thing like the filter, even though the filter was the original one, and the truck had about 170 thousand miles.  So I didn’t buy the book, or the filter.  This was Thursday.  Fred was still sitting in grocery store parking lot.

  Friday night I worked at Domino’s, and it is the busiest night of the year.  In fact, we set a record that day.  I know I worked MY ass off.  I just want to say that during dinner, me and Stan are on the line, and I’m doing dough.  This was the arrangement between Dina and I.  She wanted to keep Stan away from the computers, because he would stand there trying to control everything, and lock up, and be unable to return to the line to actually help, because he can only do one thing at a time. 
  So Dina was on phones and ovens, and I was on dough because I’m fastest, and Stan itemized.  Stan didn’t like how I was doing whatever the hell it was that I was doing, and recommended some changes to my system.  As politely as I could (meaning I didn’t say, "Listen, asshole–I’ve been doing this for over twenty years.  I know what the fuck I’m doing.  Piss off.") I explained that I don’t think his suggestions would be applicable in my circumstance, and interface would be difficult at this time–and when we’re busy as shit is not the time to try something new.
  For all of Stan’s mellow, laid-back attitude, he is remarkably unyielding.  He is completely unable to do things a different way from how he wished to do them.  In that I see an arrogance that his way is the best way, and nothing else should be considered.  But, even though I didn’t say, "Listen, asshole–I’ve been doing this for over twenty years.  I know what the fuck I’m doing.  Piss off."–I may as well have for the way he took it.  Besides–I have been doing this for a fucking long time, and I do what the fuck I’m doing.  I do know that I can still learn a thing or two, but I also know that Stan’s remarkable inefficiency is not what I want to learn.
  He gave me the silent treatment.  He pursed his lips, kept them buttoned, and communicated very little, only when absolutely necessary.  He also slammed things around a little at first, putting on this petty little act–
  Like I give a shit.  Does he really think he can out-passive-aggressive me?  I was married for 19 years.  I scoff.  I fart in your general direction.
  My usual tack in a situation like that is to talk to him *more*, smile and be cheerful and annoy him, draw him out–and eventually make him cry, quit, or stomp off.  I do this because I’m a giver.  But we were busy and I didn’t have time.  After about half an hour he was over his mad.  I’m sure he still feels he was right–and even he may well have been; however, his reaction was both stupid and inappropriate.

  Saturday morning I was beat.  In fact, I woke about 1pm.  I awoke in a lurch.  "Oh, shit!"  The only thing worse that waking up and not knowing where you are is waking up and *knowing* where you are.  I needed to be up a few hours ago, taking care of things.
  Eventually on Saturday I accomplished the task of getting the truck towed home.  In fact over to my dad’s house, which will eventually be home, I guess.  But the garage is there, tools and light is there, and the cherry picker is there.  After talking with a few people, I discovered the best way to get to the fuel pump was to lift up the bed of the truck.  There would be the gas tank, and on top of it would be the fuel pump.  I was starting to develop a plan.
  I was going to not necessarily clean up the garage, but rearrange it and move stuff around, giving me more room to work.  Sunday I would get up early…
  You know, except I didn’t.  I got up about 9am.  Then lazed around the house, then watched a movie.  Long about noonish, The Boy, The Woman, and I trundled over to the garage.  I had an idea where to start, and hoped that after that it would come naturally to me.  It worked.  We worked in the garage for not more than two hours, mostly restacking our stuff that was in storage there, eliminating some trash, and moving shit around and freeing up the cherry picker. 
  Then I brought them home, and went to auto parts store once again.  For you see, I had a Revelation.
  Wednesday the truck broke down.  It would not start back up.  Thursday, I went again, and it would not start still.  Friday we left it alone.  Saturday I had it towed.  I almost tried to start it, but at this point–with the tow truck here–I just did not want to know.  Sunday we cleared out the garage and prepared to push the truck in.  Alex got behind the wheel and said, "Let’s see if–"
  It starts.  Following the ancient Eastern meditation techniques, I slowly bang my head on the hood.  Good news:  it’s not the fuel pump.  Bad news:  what the hell was wrong?
  Cousin Joe to the rescue.  He had a neighbor who could work on it cheap, who he was trying to get me to use for the work.  I was trying to do it myself, because it was going to be expensive just for the part.  However, I did talk to the guy–and his name is Stan also.  He talked me through a few things on the phone. 
  The fact that it did start after several days indicated a couple of things:  probably not the fuel pump, because once it’s out, it’s out.  But a severally clogged fuel filter could cause a backlash of pressure build-up, that might night clear right away, but would after several days.  Add to that the fact that this summer when gas was high, Detroit was putting the bare minimum in–no more than four gallons in at a time, and always running close to empty.  Add to that the fact that this is the original filter, and you have what seems to be the solution.
  So–I changed the filter without much hassle, and bought the book on the truck.  It’s going to come in handy–there are a couple of things I need to do to it.  The truck seems to run a little…peppier now.  Just from a fuel filter?  It must have been bad.  Of course, the truck still runs rough, and I have a couple of ideas on what I need to do.  Later, later. 
  The whole point was, we need to truck to start effecting this move, and that’s exactly when the bastard breaks down.  I’ve had him for six years, and this is the first time he’s broken down on me. 
  But it was good to be in the garage.  Dad’s garage.
  My garage.  Mine.  I just felt like Dad wanted me to have it.  Whenever–
  After Dad died, that’ where we could "feel" him the most.  In the garage.  In the last year, it’s been fairly well abandoned.  I’m going to bring it back to life.

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