Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jeepers, Batman, I made a blog!

I've spent the last two days bloggity-blog-blog-blogging. That's what I call the random clicking from link to link, from blog to blog, until you've gone so far that you can't get back to the original article/blog/video/whatever the reason you got on the web in the first place. After two days of reading blogs--and I mean TWO days, I had to make myself get up and do other things like shower and eat--I thought, I can do this! This will be fun! And with the price of postage going up, I can still contact my friends with all the witty quotes and crazy stories they've come to love (or at least not marked 'Return to sender').
At first I was skeptical. Who wants to read about a twentymmfffmmf year old married woman with two cats and mad spelling skills? But, dear Nettie, I have found the home of all nerds, where geeks go to die (or at least post regularly), where any dork with an obsession can share it with the WORLD (said in maniacal cackle worthy of an evil villain with a super weapon)! Bwahhahahahah!

Ok, for today's thrilling adventure. Backstory: I drive a 1994 Ford F-150. It's big, it's brown, it's loud, and it's in really good shape, mechanically. Physically, it's got a few dents and dings. One of my old roommates backed into it, I hit a parking garage column the day I got it, you know. It's a fourteen years old, dammit! Show me ANY fourteen year old that doesn't have issues. Anyway, my husband HATES it. He drives a 1999 Honda Passport. Guess who was still paying on their car when we got married? I have never had a car payment (insert smug, superior smile here). I paid cash for both vehicles I've ever owned. Yes, I've owned TWO cars in the over ten years I've been driving.

Gah, see, I have this issue with sticking to a storyline--mine are more 'story webs' as I physically cannot leave a detail out, unless I forget. But I'm going to try to do better for the sake of my dear readers.

Back on track! I don't love the truck or anything. It's really reliable and safe and until the gas gods started demanding bigger sacrifices, it was cheap to drive. When we moved to a new city, I drove the Honda to work and DH drove the Ford. His job was way close, and mine was farther out, so the gas mileage was the deciding factor. Then we bought our house (yay) and it switched, so we switched cars. For some reason, he's been driving the Ford for the past month, but I wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth. Last night he tells me, really earnestly, that he's got to have the Honda back, that the gas is killing him and he can't drive the Ford anymore. Mmmkay, why'd you start driving it in the first place, dingus?

In the past month, he's broken the shifty-thingy (it's an automatic, so is it the 'gearshift' if it's on the column and not on the floor?) so that it dangles at an alarming angle (dangles at an angle, dodah dodah dum....) and you have to start it in Neutral and use the emergency brake to park it. Great. (We have an awesome mechanic, but we have to really plan our visits because he's all the way across town and we both work evenings, but at different times.) So he's been dealing with the dangling thingy. And he mentions it will probably need some power steering fluid. Oh, look a the manly mechanical man, with his under-the-hood terminology! That's like windshield wiper fluid, it's not gonna tear anything up if we put off replenishing it, right?

So I get in the car to go to work, figure out that Neutral is between Reverse and Drive, the two gears I'm going to need most, and go merrily on my way. By the end of our street, something is wrong. Either the caribou migration is passing through and its sickliest members are following me, or there's an amorous walrus in my truck bed. At the stop sign, I check. Nope, neither. I try to turn left and pinpoint the problem.

Have any of you ever driven a 1953 Allis-Chalmers tractor? Much like that.

For my non-agrarian friends, it's like trying to physically push the wheels into alignment with my bare hands. And something to do with the engine reallyreallyreally hates me for doing it, and is voicing its displeasure. I have to throw myself onto the steering wheel to make any turn. There are twelve turns from my house to work. I counted. I had the time, while trying to wrestle a ton of Detroit steel.

Because tact has never been my strong point, I immediately call my husband and demand that he get his ass of the couch and go buy some power steering fluid. I pointed out that just because he didn't like my truck didn't mean that he could murder it. Which is what it sounded like, all the way to work. Then I have to park on a hill. Great.

I got out of work, manhandle the groaning truck through our labyrinthine parking lot (in full view of a group of my Mexican coworkers, who are all carheads, have nicer cars than me, and think it is hi-fucking-larious that this blonde American girl drives this giant, loud truck) and make it home. My DH is not there, but there IS a bottle of power steering fluid actually sitting on the counter. I was happier than if it were a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Not that I've ever actually called and demanded that he go buy me champagne, but now I know it will work.

I get up first thing this morning (my 'first thing' is never before 10, just a note to those who like to call at 8 and ask 'whatcha doin?' because the answer is usually 'contemplating your murder' if you call that early). Overcoming my inherent laziness, I marched straight to the garage for my maintenance manual. (Lest this give you the idea that I actually do this kind of thing often--the only reason I know that I HAVE a maintenance manual is because I got tired of stabbing my fingers on the fishhooks my brother left behind when he sold me the truck, and I cleaned out the glove box. Lo and behold, there was the maintenace manual! With an alphabetical index and everything!)

I look up 'power steering fluid' and there it is! Page 354! That must mean it's something hard, if it's that close to the end. That's how crafting instruction manuals are laid out, so it follows, right? Undaunted, I find the picture (love pictures of mechanical thingies, even better if they are multi-colored and have numbers corresponding to step-by-step instructions and clarifying arrows).

It's a really straightforward drawing. I try to orient myself. There's the box with the three arms growing out of it. There's the belt and all its pulleys. There's the power steering reservoir, right on top! And the book says that its cap is yellow! Hallelujah, I can do this. I'll show my husband how it was so EASY, and why didn't he just do it in the first place? I am the Maintenance Master!

Then I open the hood. Which involved opening the garage door and backing the truck halfway out into the driveway, because our garage is compact car length, not Ford F-150 Long bed body style length. (I am still in my pajamas, by the way. Lime green cheerleading shorts and a turquoise tank top. Luckily my across-neighbors are uber-religious and go to church every Sunday morning. Oh, well, they've known me for six months, they probably pray for my soul anyway.) I pop the hood and jump up on the lip of the engine compartment. I have to sit side-saddle, like some ladylike Victorian equestrian. I look for a yellow cap. There's the metal box with the arms...there's the yellow loop! Wait. Yellow LOOP? I need a yellow CAP. There is a cap to every damn kind of fluid except power steering. Windshield wiper, brake, power steering. After the incident with the chainsaw gas in the tank of my Grand Am, I am really leery of pouring things into my car. I don't even like to pump my own gas, and I KNOW where that goes.

Well, shit. Have you ever noticed how the more detailed an instruction manual is, the less likely it is to match your equipment? I mean, every little knob and doohickey of my engine is laid out exactly in porportion and to scale, and NO YELLOW CAP. It's the only thing that's NOT on the damn diagram. So now I have that oilydustycarick all over my hands, a full bottle of power steering fluid, and a severe drop in self-esteem. How can I not figure this out?!? The internet will save me! It always knows the answer! I'll come inside and google 'Ford F150 power steering fluid diagram'.

Hmmm. Have you also noticed that the more specfic you are with google, the less accurate the answer is? GAHHHHHH. Ok, I tried to resist the internet, but I can't. Then I get to the bloggity part, and accidentally hit the big X in the red box, instead of the back arrow. I am logged out completely, and I don't know the address of the last page I was onnnnnnn.........AAARGHH. Shit.

But there's this 'create your own blog' button. What's the worst that could happen? I'm already on the computer for sickening amounts of time checking other people's blogs, why not my own? Because I REALLy need another never-ending project...(why doesn't Microsoft come up with a 'sarcasm' button that changes the text so that everyone knows you're being all ironical, like when you're yelling in ALL CAPS? That's an innovation I could actually use.)

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