Monthly Archives: March 2018

Toothpicks

IMG_1103 The dog was barking at the window. From the sound of it I could tell she wasn’t looking at a squirrel. Or another dog. And she definitely wanted to go outside.

So I got up from my desk and took a step toward the door to let her out as I do a thousand times a day. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something through the window. That is what she’s barking at!

Unbelievable! Coming down my driveway, eating everything in its path was an honest to goodness monster. No, not Godzilla or Gamara. Nothing quite like that. It was a machine.

Rolling toward me, on four giant tires big enough to make any monster truck weep, was a yellow bodied machine with a buzz saw at the end of its single arm. Spinning and chewing with both delicate precision and shark like ferocity.

I ran to the door and was outside so fast that dog didn’t have a chance to follow. As I ran toward it the contraption was turning around to start back up the other side of the driveway. Still shredding trees and branches. There was a man inside. My God, its eaten him too I thought. But he was the operator. He could not see me or hear me, so I ran on to the truck that was still headed my way.

Looking more closely I noticed that the truck and the saw had a logo on them. I don’t remember what it said, something about power and trees. They were here to trim the trees along the power line right of way. At least I knew I wasn’t going to die.

Do trees have feelings? I don’t know. I do know that they bleed when you cut them. And I love my trees. But six months ago one of the big ones fell down in the yard, across the driveway, and took out all the power lines and phone lines. Internet that is. It was a real mess cleaning up the tree, part of which is still lying in the woods waiting to be cut up. And getting the power and internet back were a real nightmare.

So I understand why the power company wants to keep branches off of their lines. And it’s ok if they trim the branches. Neatly. Sometimes they just hack away and it looks like a giant rodent came through and gnawed away at everything. Sharp and jagged splinters of trees standing, or leaning, where healthy trees once towered.

My mother stood guard over a beloved purple beech tree every year when the power company came through. They would have to get to the tree through her. And every year they left the tree, and the crazy lady alone. It’s a gorgeous tree.

I talked to the man running the crew and he reassured me that they would clean everything up. And that they wouldn’t be back for several years. I thought about asking him to leave the ground up mulch for me, but that would be a lot of trouble and I already had enough tree issues to deal with.

There are lots of trees here. Some I fear will fall on the house. Or the barn. Or the cars. Or even me. But the power lines are safe for now.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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Sales Pitch

The sight of a twelve year old vehicle pulling into the lot makes a salesman drool. This guy has to be here to trade in that heap is the thought going through her mind. Let me at him!
I pull up to the service bay and notice her watching me. She’ll be waiting when I finish in there. When you bring the car in for service you can sit and wait or you can wander around and look at cars. Just be prepared for a sales pitch.
In another lifetime I sold cars. New and used. Luxury. And otherwise. I know the deal. Normally I don’t want to waste people’s time but I’ll at least let them try to do their job. You shut them down at the appropriate time.
Ok. Give it to me. I don’t have anything else to do for a little while. She asks what I brought the car in for. It’s been recalled I tell her. Nothing serious I hope she replies. I tell her it’s something about a shift lock mechanism. I don’t know if it’s serious or not. The manufacturer didn’t seem to be in a huge rush to fix it.
When I explain that the car is twelve years old she says the magic words. Have you thought about trading it in on a newer model?  Actually, I had.
What I have suits my needs well.  The right size. Easy to get in and out of .  Rides well. Looks like crap. But it’s always nice to think about a newer one.
I let her go through the spiel on new and certified used. We talk about what I’d be looking for. Oh, we have several of those she beams.  The idea is to get the customer into the car. To smell the new car aroma. To see all the features. Take it for s spin and get sucked in.  When she wants to get a key to show me the vehicle it’s time to shut it down.
She gives me her card and thanks me for speaking with her. If I can be of any service in the future please let me know. Car sales has a high turnover rate in salesmen. By the time I’m ready she may well have moved on. But someday I’ll have to get a newer model. And there will be a salesperson waiting for me.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours!

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Flat Tire

The sound was loud. Enough so that it could be heard trough the windows, coming from outside the car. Hissing, like a snake. The tire.

Crashing the wheel into the drain grate in the curbing, trying to parallel park, she had managed to pop the tire on my van. If it had just separated from the rim and lost its air it could be blown up. But no, it had a big hole in it.

I just happened to be there. But I wasn’t really of any use. My back is screwed up enough that I can’t change a tire, even though I sure would like to.

Fortunately I have roadside assistance coverage as part of my auto insurance. Call them up and they will send someone out to jump you off or change a tire. Even tow you away if need be. At this point I’ve used it for all three.

The towing was also because of a flat tire. I tried to change that one, but the lug nuts were on so tightly that I actually broke the bolts trying to get the nuts off. Three out of five. That vehicle is not driving anywhere!

So she called the roadside assistance folks. It would be a half hour. Since I didn’t have to work that day, I got to stay and wait.

He was early. Came from in front of me and drove by, giving me the eye. Then he turned around and pulled up behind me. I noticed he had a handicapped permit hanging on his rear view mirror. Oh boy, how’s he gonna change this tire I wondered. Turns out he had some special tools.

Not special really, just the right ones for the job. A power jack and an air wrench. So much easier with the right tools!

He was a very nice man, doing this work as an independent contractor. Works when he wants and enjoys meeting people. I told him I would have done the job myself, but he told me not to put him out of a job. I let him do it, but couldn’t resist helping just a little.

It only took about ten minutes to change the tire and put a little air in the spare. And off he went. Now I could go buy a new tire.

At the tire place we discovered that not only did I need one new tire, I needed two. And an alignment. A couple hours later I was all set. The van drives like a sports car now.

The next day as I was going to get into my truck, I noticed a tire was a little low. Nail. Dang! The universe seems to be trying to tell me something here. I hope it’s just that I need a new tire.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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