Friday, April 13, 2012

Dealing with Herbert

I have this aquaintance. He's been following me about lately. I mean really follwing me about, almost like a stalker. You see back around the end of october Lowes decided to close 20 stores nationwide. I just happened to be employed by one of those 20 stores. Right after the store closed in november my last surviving grandparent took severely ill. On my 30 mile treck to pay what was at the time possibly my last visit to her our car decided it was time to have the idler pulley on the serpentine belt sieze. Now here I was half way between home and my dying grandmother stranded. Stranded over a $40 part that GM in it's infinite wisdom decided it's dealerships should not keep in stock. Now to make it worse it was friday afternoon, so the part wouldn't arrive from ohio until monday. Well to make a long story a bit shorter, Pelenaka found a way to get to me and get me to a car rental place. Hours after starting my journey I arrived at grandmas bedside with Pelenaka beside me. Half an hour after getting there Pelenakas phone rang. It was our local police. My stepdaughter A.K.A. "the sidekick" was riding her bike home from her job right around dusk when an inatentive driver blew a stop sign and knocked her off her bike. She was at the hospital being checked out. Luckily a few scrapes and bruises was all she suffered. She managed to jump free of the bike just as the car hit. The bike didn't fare so well and was a total loss.

Jump ahead a few weeks. I'm cutting a few walnut trees for a friend in exchange for some free firewood for next winter. We had a very mild winter this year. Things never really froze up. Well except for the ignition switch on the tractor that was supposed to pull my utility trailer full of wood to the road. Not a problem says my friend. I look over my friends shoulder and see what I've now come to know as Herberts shadow. All I say to my friend is don't do it, I got a bad feeling about this, we should hotwire the tractor instead. well we spent the next two days jacking up my friends truck, driving it to the end of the planks we had. Then jacking it up and doing it again. You see all was fine as long as the truck kept moving. When it stopped it sank axle deep. By the time we got it up on the planks it was afternnon and things were really soupy. About 3:00 am the following night things had gotten cold enough to freeze again and we drove it right out.

Then there was family movie night. We're all sitting watching a movie and I decide to get up and fix us all some dishes of ice cream. Walking into the kitchen I flip the switch and the lights flicker and go out. Along with almost half the light fixtures and outlets in the house. Lets just say there has been some strange things done to the wiring in this house over the years. I have never seen two circuits pigtailed to one breaker in a service panel before I encountered this one. Why they didn't remove a knockout and put in a second breaker I'll never know. Electricity isn't my favorite thing. I did plumbing for a living at one point. Something nasty leaks out of a pipe, it washed off. You can't wash off electricity. I'm pretty cautious. I got a good idea of two possible places for our problem. One of these days I'll find my tester that finds wire in walls. One of the possible places is a pigtail inside a box that somebody drywalled over. Pelenaka was here when they did it, she knows it's there. Just not exactly where. I'd rather not tear out the whole kitchen ceiling and find out that's not where the problem is.

A couple months ago Grandma finally passed. She like grandpa had donated her body to the local medical school. So, many things that are a problem for many people in this situation were taken care of. However such times can reveal the worst in people. I was unlucky enough to find out about a betrayal of me by my own parents. It has really put me in a funk the past month and a half. I can't blame this one on Herbert. My parents had the free will to do this on thier own.

Two weeks ago I go to a saturday gun show with a friend. (Same friend with the muddy truck) When I get home Pelenaka asks me to go pick up submarine sandwiches for dinner. (Yes we are pretty frugal, but, when funds are there we treat ourselves every few weeks) I go to leave and the car is dead. I mean dead not even a click. That's a first. Well, the battery is 8 years old and it's due. Have I mentioned I hate electricity? I think Herbert has two cousins one named Mayhem, he's in TV commercials and another named Shorty, he's an electrician. Sunday I charge the battery and drive over to a local auto parts place to get the battery and alternator tested. The battery had a bad cell. No big deal you say just replace the battery. Normally I would, except a week before I thought the amplifier had died in the cars radio. One at a time the cars speakers buzzed and died. No big deal I can live without radio in a car. Well on the way to get the battery tested I noticed something. When I put the car in reverse the speaker in the back seat buzzed even though the radio was turned off. When I hit the brakes same thing. Put on the turn signal and same speaker makes a popping noise. I took half the interior out of this car and still couldn't find the damaged wires. I ended up pulling the fuses for the radio and clock. The new battery hasn't gone dead yet. Now the car gives me shocks when I touch it. Last vehicle I owned that gave shocks like this was a 74 dodge that had had a fire in it's dash board.

On my way to grandmas memorial service a few weeks ago the car was making a clicking sound in slow right hand turns. Well most people with automotive experience would look at the CV joint on the left front wheel. A couple days later I stopped in at the garage and had them take a look. Wasn't the CV joint. Bad wheel bearing instead. I also already knew the tie rod end on that side was getting loose. I figured the tax returns were do any time, no big deal we'd get them done in a week or so. $400 repair just wasn't in the budget without the tax returns. Yesterday I took the old girl in. The mechanic started taking things apart and I kinda watched from the waiting area. All of a sudden I see a large piece of metal fall from his hands and hit the floor. It turns out the hub just fell away from the bearing when removed from the car. Now the hub and wheel bearing are supposed to be pressed together and be a tight fit. The hub was so worn and scored it no longer pressed tigh to the wheel bearing. Another $135 part. And knowing about the idler pulley you know exactly what was going through my head. I kinda lucked out. The hub was only 50 miles away at a Chevy dealership in NY's souther tier. Thankfully they didn't charge me an hours labor for the guy they sent to get it.

It was a cloudy day yesterday. As I left the garage I turned to my mechanic and said, "See that really dark cloud over there? It's been following me around lately. I think I'll name it Herbert!"

It's a clear day out there today.

I need to go back to the garage and get my utility trailer inspected.

I think I'll call ahead and make sure Herbert isn't there waiting for me!



Gorges Smythe said...

Sounds like "if it weren't for bad luck, you'd have no luck at all!" Hope things improve.

woodsrunner said...

It could always get worse! The good lord sees us through no matter what.