Thursday July 11, 2013
|Shock popped out|
Today started out pretty good. I didn't have to be at work until 12:30
in the afternoon so I had all morning to play around at the farm (FINALLY!). I
started with my normal routine
: watching YouTube vids from my favorite subscriptions while
eating scrambled eggs and oatmeal made on the old Munsey two burner
I followed breakfast with the (now traditional) bug SUCK-A-THON
. This is
the joyous part of my country-living morning where I turn on the old
shop vac and suck up all the critters that made it in the house since my
last cleaning. I don't know how these flipping beetles get in but they
are all over the house. The good news is that they are all dead...or at
least on their backs about to die. The bad news is that there are
usually a dozen or more and I haven't figured out how they're getting in
the house. Ten minutes later and the inside of the house is a critter-free zone.
A quick shower and I'm headed out the door to spray down the outside of
the house. Uncle J
left me a bottle that hooks onto the garden hose and he
claims it works wonders. The bottle touts that it kills one hundred
types of bugs. Guess we'll see. Out to the barn and back to fetch the
garden hose, I am now armed with a watery dose of bug killer.
The backside of the farm house is where the show really happens. Not
only does it start off with half a dozen grasshoppers, a handful of
black beetles and a good number of spiders all clinging to the back wall...it REALLY picks up when I
start hosing the ground where the house foundation meets the earth. Then
it's like a critter dash as they all start racing up the back wall of
|Spider # 1,284|
At one point, I count 10 spiders on the back wall at the same time. I'm
telling myself it is going to take a while to combat these things to
keep them from getting IN the house. The last thing I want is for one of
my little girls to get bit by a brown recluse or something and be in
extreme pain. Since this house (and it's critters) have been out here
for so long, it won't be something I can solve overnight. Turns out,
folks I'll meet later in the day tell me they spray their garden and
house every other day. EVERY OTHER DAY?!?
I'm not hip on spraying chemicals on the garden
but the point I'm making here is that the bug issue is THAT bad that you
have to fight them constantly out here.
Anyway, I'll post the video I made as I completed this bug suck-a-thon on my YouTube Channel.
If you know of any better way to fight these things...by all
means, let me know. I'll be adding guinea and chickens at some point so
that should help.
As I'm about to hop in the Orange Jeep to head to Walmart for a much
anticipated grocery run, I notice something that looks like a shock absorber hanging down from the bottom of my Jeep. I walk around to the
drive's side and there it is...my stabilizer shock had lost a locking
nut and bolt that attached it to the frame. We are T minus two hours and
counting before I have to be at work. "Figures...my only HALF day
I changed into my lay-on-the-ground shirt and mess with the shock for a
bit. It has expanded to the point where I can't snug it back up into
it's proper location. I had also not unpacked most of my tools yet
either. I would need to find an appropriate bolt to reattach the shock
and find the right size socket, socket wrench, ball ping hammer, etc.
After googling to see where the closest auto parts store is, I was delighted that it was only eight miles away. At the parts store in Arizona that I
frequented, they let you borrow tools if you need them. This was
certainly the case today. I hoped I would be able to limp the Jeep to
the store nice and slow.
Mr Parts Store Owner
called around and found that I needed a special
bolt...tapered on both ends. He didn't have it, of course, but
recommended I go visit Mr Alignment Shop
two blocks down the street. I
think the whole town is only about six blocks...
Off I go, limping the 'ol Jeep down Main Street, nice and easy. I pull
in to the alignment shop and hop out to find a young kid handing tools
to an older gentlemen half buried under a car. I popped inside the
front of the store to find three town folks relaxing and chatting about
local news. I began my good 'ol boy story: Mr Parts Store Owner
down here 'cause he doesn't have the right part. Said ya'll might be able
to fix me up?" Mrs Alignment Shop
announces that we need to find Mr
to answer that question.
|Local attire: boots n shorts|
Now we're back out front where I started. The following Ma and Pa banter begins.
"This boy's here for a shock bolt. Says Mr Parts Store
"Alright. Just a minute"
He inches out from under the car and waddles over to me. His overalls
are as dirty as you would expect a working man's clothes to be and he
inquires about my problem. Now, I'm bearing in mind that my two hours of
leisure time is slowing slipping away from me. Back in the big city, it
would take HOURS
to get a car problem fixed. Usually, when I would need
to buy new tires or get a brake job, I would plan AT LEAST
half my day around
the ordeal. I had established a route of mechanics and tire shops that were near
shopping centers that I could window shop at or
were across the street from an
iHop Pancake House where I could sit for hours eating some grub and
sipping ice cold fountain Dr. Peppers (with free refills, of course).
But I'm in the country now. Would you believe that Mr Alignment Shop
only had the hard to find bolt (because he saves them every time he
changes out an old one) but he shimmied up under my Jeep and had her
fixed within fifteen minutes! His 45 years of alignment experience,
which he informed me of, also led his keen eye to notice that the
steering shock on the other side was about to become unbolted too. In
fact, he pulled the "locking nut" off with his bare hands and showed it
to me. "Whoever put these on didn't know what they were a doin', " he says.
As he tightened the opposite side, I made small talk and watched him
work. It is amazing to me how graceful a man can do his work when he
knows his trade well. I mentioned who my cousins were in town that were
about his age (Cousin big D and Cousin little D, brothers). Sure enough,
he knew them. It is one of THOSE kind of small towns. Everybody knows
everybody else. That's when he said something that made me smile.
|Small town street traffic|
"I hate to tell you this" he says, as he's ratcheting up the last nut
"...but...we're related." "How's that?" I ask. "My momma was second
cousin to your cousins' daddy," he tells me. I can't explain the feeling that gave
me. I had lived 21 years in Arizona and not met a new family member (albeit a distant one but family nonetheless).
Here I am in week three of living back home and I've already met a new
cousin. I made sure to shake his hand when he was done and asked how
much I owed him. He whacked me on the back and said "Bah, that's an old
bolt. Stop by and chat some time and I'll tell you all you want to know
about your 'ol cousins." With a wink, he waddled back into the garage
and climbed up under the same car.
Was that a blessing? Am I just over-analyzing this
thing? Or is that just how small towns work? Either way, as I pulled
away and waved to Mrs Alignment Shop
, I had one big stupid grin on my
I made it to Walmart, ran back to the farm to change into my work scrubs
and got to work on time. There was a time in my life where it seemed
like every time I had a small mechanical problem, a hickup in our
finances, or any other of a dozen of life's little set backs and they
always turned into some big HUGE
fiasco. Lately...not so much.
Life is good.
18) when doing your cost analysis of how much cheaper it will be to live in the country...don't forget to add in the GALLONS of bug spray you'll be using each week.
Back Home Report
Today on July 11 (7-11), the corner stores named 7-eleven in Arizona gave away FREE Slurpees. Wifey and the girls enjoyed them tremendously.
My boss confirmed the days I needed off to go back to Arizona and pick everyone up. He is VERY understanding of the situation. Most bosses would choke if you dared ask them for time off during your first month of employment. Not at my hospital. I even have coworkers offering to donate PTO to me so that I'll get paid for the days I am gone. Amazing!