Oh, what a week we had.
My In Laws (God Bless 'Em) GAVE us their old car. This is good, because the Tracker finally went from Junker status straight to WRECK status. The tracker lost its tailpipe, and finally dropped its muffler; so it is no longer drive-able. We have reached the cusp where the repair bill to make the car 100% now exceeds its total book value. I could still fix it up on the cheap, with minimal parts and mucho labor; but I don't see the point of that really. One thing I could try is to find a Tracker/Sidekick/Sunrunner wreck for CHEAP and try to mix 'n match the two wrecks into one working vehicle. What a hobby I would have!
The Die-Nasty suffered a bum ignition switch, a corroded fusible link, and a crispy-fried starter solenoid; all in the space of TWO DAYS! It went from starting with difficulty, to starting with GREAT difficulty, to not starting, to DEAD.
It Died while Laurie was out visiting Don and Magaly Cronin. The Cronins are moving to Europe for a few years and my parents are going to be renting their house. YAY! FREE BABYSITTING! It will be nice to have Mom and Dad close. It will be even nicer for Mom and Dad to get all the stuff they've left in storage for the past seven years out into the open air again. We WILL be helping them move, of course.
SO: I loaded up a compact (but comprehensive) tool kit on my bike and rode over there. I got the starter out, and cracked it open to have a look. Sure enough, the solenoid was nice and toasty, but I figured there was nothing to lose in scraping the contacts down to clean metal and trying to see if I could get it home. After putting the starter back in, I tried it and was pleased to hear the solenoid engage and the starter motor spool up.
But the bendix was stuck; the engine wouldn't turn over.
This is the embarrasing part...I really should turn in my Real Guy license.
It was getting late, so I packed up all the tools and headed home. I rode my bike to work on friday, and got a ride home from Don Holburn. I was fully expecting to ride out to Cronin's and remove that starter again, and then call Father-In-Law Bob and see if he could get me a good deal on the starter; or whether I should just take the starter a few blocks to Moben Motor Clinic and have them do an on-the-spot rebuild (seriously, they do them, it's like one-hour photo developing...).
Instead, I came home to find the car in OUR driveway, up on my ramps, with Bob (feeling his 58 years!) under the car, installing a new starter. He apparently WAS able to get a good deal on a new starter. I took over for him, and he graciously took my wife and kids out for ice cream.
I can hear the reader ask...HOW did he get the car home? Why does this make me any less of a Real Guy?
Bob did the one thing I didn't think of...
The one INSTINCTIVE thing every real guy knows to do when a car starter won't turn...or the bendix or the solenoid or whatever is stuck...
...He had Laurie turn the ignition over while he hit the starter with a hammer!!!
Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers of NPR fame, recommend using a Louisville Slugger for this task; "and go for a bunt single, not a home run...". However, a gentle tap with a hammer works just as well. Oh well, best laid plans and all that. For now, our automotive woes have been set aside and we are once again a one car family. I have never really appreciated LARGE cars. I put this down to too many bad memories of the car I first learned to drive in: my Parents' station wagon. I could never get behind the wheel of that beast without feeling like I was following General Patton into Belgium.
But THIS large car is starting to grow on me...difficulties aside.
Sunday, June 1st 2003. I baptized my eight-year-old daughter Coral. Co-incedentally, that sunday marks the one-year anniversary of my wife's (and myself's) return to church attendance and renewal of church membership. BOY, was I nervous! I haven't been called upon to exercise my Priesthood to that extent since the 'ol mission days. We had also talked of presenting Colin for a Name and Blessing; and since we were there with family and friends from all over (Chad came down from Calgary! But Karen and the kids could not, alas...), we did the Name and Blessing right after Coral's confirmation. My In Laws and Danielle showed up; which was both surprising AND welcome, and Trudy and Danielle both made it a point to let me know they are "UN-convertible". If they are not convertible, are they both hardtops? I was nervous enough to blurt this silly question out loud; fortunately, they both saw the humor and laughed instead of being offended. That's TWO church functions in a YEAR...If they're not careful, people will start to talk.
I am reminded of the poem about the long and winding road. We often arrive where we want to be, but the path we took to get there bears NO resemblance to the path we chose. Trust in God, son...everything will work out in the end.
Speaking of paths...
Don Holburn has resolved to get more exercise. He acquired a decent bicycle (about as good as my schwinn) for 60$ from a friend of his. He wants to ride to work and asked me for advice about a good route. I started to describe the route I take when I cycle-commute...then said, half joking; "You know, it would be far easier to SHOW you the route than try to describe it. Do you want to ride out with me tomorrow?"
He said yes.
So I told him to be at my place at 5:30am.
True to his word, he showed up.
I had told him not to have any breakfast that morning. If you're not used to doing a climb like the Alex Fraser Bridge, you'll probably feel like tossing your cookies by the time you reach the top. To his credit, Don stayed with me most of the way up. He also RODE home, arriving at my place about the same time I did. I ususally ride out to Annacis Island and catch the #340 bus; it doesn't get me home any faster (unless I'm lucky enough to catch the connecting #319), but it saves a WHOLE lot of hill-climbing. I basically trade off 3$ in bus fare for about an hour's worth of exhaustion and aggravation. Someday I will be in condition enough to do the ride home without feeling it later. I personally believe I will have to get my time to work down around 40 minutes before I try the two-way commute. Currently my best time to work is 51 minutes, down from 73 minutes two seasons ago. I expect some good results this year, owing as how I started the season (intermittedly) back in February.