Sunday, September 25, 2005

92405 Saturday

9/24/05 Saturday
     This morning I will go to Dave’s to try again to get his van running. It is a potential wreck waiting to happen so it worries me. Still working to get him in another vehicle but he gets attached to whatever is familiar to him. I think he is convinced this van has to go but for now it is the only transportation he has other than his bike.
     It has been a long day. Dave’s van turned out to be the van from hell. I put four hours into it yesterday and another five today. It is greasy, nasty, and southern engineered. Nothing was easy to get to as is always true with vans. Because it is an 84 bolts were frozen and in some cases missing. I had already put on $50 of parts yesterday trying to get a spark with no success. Today there was one more part to try and if that didn’t do it I was going to give up. That one part was harder than all the others put together because of how Ford engineered it. It is called a TFI module and is connected to the distributor.
     It is attached with only two little screws that are about a half inch down in holes. I couldn’t see them because of the angle and depth but when I put the screw driver in it wouldn’t bite, just spin. I tried a Phillips head and then a regular screw driver with no success. Finally I had to remove the whole distributor just to see these screws. That turned into a chore that took over an hour. I pried, I twisted, I hammered but it wouldn’t come out. By now sweat was pouring off me from the exertion and I had to wipe it off my glasses to see. Even that was a chore as I searched for a part of my shirt that wasn’t greasy.
     Finally the distributor popped loose and I could see the offending screws. They were small little hex head machine screws and I didn’t have a deep well socket that could reach down that far. We went to several stores searching for a socket set that would do the job.
Right now it is 9:00 PM and I am exhausted and in so much pain it is hard to sit at this computer so I will complete this tomorrow.
     After looking in vain for a tool set that might supply the needed socket at a price Dave could handle my frustration level began to build. We drove back to Dave’s to get the distributor so we could be assured what we got something that worked. Going back to Lowe’s where I was confident we would be successful because of their large selection my frustration reached new heights. Nothing would get down this narrow hole and reach the screw. I went to Sears thinking that they would have the right socket though I didn’t want to pay for the higher quality. Nope, not going to happen.
     Now I’ve gone from frustrated to pissed. I tell Dave to get in the car and snap at his every attempt to be helpful with suggestions that would never work. I tear down the road at a few miles per hour over the limit. Seeing a NAPA auto parts store I make a u-turn, squealing the tires as Dave holds on. I figured that if anyone would have the right tool an auto parts store would. After they all looked at the distributor and tried everything they had the answer was no.
     By this time I have put four hours into this van on top of the four I put in yesterday. I told Dave that if I couldn’t figure it out I was done. We went back to his place and I tore the module off the distributor with a screwdriver, hoping I would not damage anything vital. I didn’t and after throwing the pieces of the old module away was happy when the new one fit right in. I went back to the auto parts store to find screws that would work. They didn’t have just the right one but I found a metric that I could southern engineer.
     Once I got the distributor in it was time to see if that was the cure. After giving Dave a jump he turned the motor over. It coughed which means there was finally spark but the distributor was not in right so I had to play with it. Finally I got it running and set the timing by ear. What a job.
     Dave’s neighbor, Bob, had come by while I worked on the van. He had been a cop and retired long ago. He drove up on his lawn mower as he has a hard time walking and is probably in his 80’s. The house I had bought with Barb, my second wife, is the one that adjoins Bob’s back yard. We had never even met for the seventeen years I lived there for several reasons. One was I didn’t get along with any of my neighbors because of my lifestyle. The other Bob told me about. Evidently Barb had pretty much chased him off and had been somewhat venomous with her words. He was a real nice guy and we had a good talk about Dave’s dad, Dave, and things in general. When I was leaving I told him that I regretted not getting to know him when I lived there.
     Dave wanted to give me some money for all the work I had done but I told him to put it away to buy another car. I told him he needed to tie up the brake line that was hanging down in the back of his van and he said he would do it later. I told him “No, you’ll do it now” cause it was a disaster waiting to happen. He tried to argue saying he I could trust him to do it later and he didn’t want to get dirty right now. I handed him a piece of wire and told him I wouldn’t leave till it was done because if he last his brakes he not only endangered his life but could kill who ever he hit. Having no choice he took care of it. He said I was being a prick about it and Bob, hearing him, told him I might be saving his life. Of course Dave was not really upset, just inconvenienced. He thanked me for the work and I was grateful to go home and rest.  

9/25/05 Sunday
     Right now I am at St Ann’s emergency room. Barb had called at about 2:45 and asked if I could take her to the hospital Monday. I asked “Why do you need to go to the hospital?” She told me that her face was swollen up and she couldn’t swallow. Hearing this I told her I would take her to the emergency room right now. I asked her why she wanted to wait till tomorrow and she said she didn’t think I would want to go today. I know I have toughened up on her and told her that I wouldn’t make what I call fluff trips like getting one bag of food unless I was already in the area. I told her to never hesitate to call for legitimate needs such as medical.
     This morning I woke up with a migraine. Even though the sun was just rising and the blinds were only raised twelve inches the light hurt. The sounds of traffic outside was loud through the closed window. I took my pill, a tramadol, two aspirin and told Cherie I may not  make it to church. I asked her to go so she could ask Bill about the black book value on the car. When it got close to her leaving I was feeling better and decided I would go also.
     The service was better and I was amazed that the sermon was on the very scripture I had been contemplating as we drove to church “You have left your first love”. We talked to Bill after the service and he told us what the car was worth to dealers. It will be a fight to get rid of her car and get another but it is a fight worth fighting.
     After church we went looking for an inexpensive place to eat and saw an auction sign for Mike Gaisser. Mike is an old friend of mine and I love auctions but I had just talked to Cherie about her love of garage sales. I had told her we didn’t have room for nick nacks in the apartment so suggested she avoid them till we had a permanent place of our own. Auctions are pretty much like a garage sale only bigger and quicker but I hoped to find a deal on a cheap car to help Dave out with. When we got there all the cars had already  been sold so we went to Reynolds Family Restaurant and ate.
     When we got home I started working on the piles of stuff on the desk and dining table, getting Cherie involved as much of it was stuff she needed to file or deal with. That’s when Barb called.
     I got home at 5:30. It is 7:00 now. The headache never left, just got tolerable. I was working on the website and the headache began to increase and I started having that ringing in my ears along with the loss of equilibrium. I can tell a slow down is coming, in fact it is happening now. This is getting harder to write and I must be deliberate as I type. Keep hitting the wrong keys.  

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