This better not be some sick joke, Mother Nature…


Mornin’ all!

Yep, that was an exclamation point there. Here’s another.


“Why the extra pep this morning, Bethie?”

Because it’s spring! Finally! And not just because Hipparchus said it was. The snow has (mostly) melted, the birdies are singing in the the morning, and when that nuclear reactor in the sky is shining, it actually provides…

…get ready for it…


Like, legit warmth. I was outside in a t-shirt yesterday, and not just because I’m from NH and will don a tee in 30 degree weathah just to prove I’m tough as shit. No, it was about 65 degrees yesterday. And the day before. AND the day before! Today? Going to be about the same.


I got outside with my welder on Monday. I have been itching for six months to get going on a project, but you can’t weld on top of a mound of snow.

…hm, I suppose you probably technically *could*, but I don’t think it’s recommended.

Coincidentally, that 40 lb coil of wire I picked up in the free pile across the way IS weldable! Woot.

“Free pile across the way? You lost me.”

There’s an “antique” shop across the street from us.

Oh, wait. Hang on. Most of you aren’t from small New England towns, are you? Okay, so when you’re in a small, admittedly slightly seedy town in this area, there will be antique shops along the main highway. However, they will generally not really have antiques. They’re junk shops that pull in the fancy-pantsy people driving through.

“Ooh, an antique shop, Harold,” the woman says to her bored, zoned out husband as she waves a hand that jingles from all the jewelry towards a run-down shack just up the road. “Isn’t it quaint? We really *must* stop. It’s so New Englandy!”

Poor, beleaguered Harold will indeed stop, as he has stopped at every such purveyor of authentic New Englandiness along the way. He’ll do it to humor Eugenia, and he’ll buy her yet another rooster pepper shaker that she insists is a real antique and exactly what their Cape Cod cottage needs for “rustic authenticity”. Hell, maybe he’s such a pro that he’ll even scape off the “Made in China” sticker before she notices.

Way to take one for the team, Harold.

Now, I’m not knocking the Harolds and Eugenias of the world. There’s a lotta junk lying around, and if someone’s willing to gather it up from yard sales and estate auctions and put it all under the roof, they need Harolds and Eugenias to buy it.

I’m not at all knocking the shop across the way, either. I love them. I’m a hoarder, and they often put out items they don’t think will sell well in a free pile. I’ve mentioned before, so I won’t get into my pathetic, drooling, Pavlovian response to the word “free”. And we’re neighbors. Often they’ll give us a discount on their regular items for sale, too. They’re great for picking up cheap furniture. In fact, half my house is furnished with $6 tables and $1 lamps from over there. I like them. When I call them a “junk shop”, I mean it in the best way possible.

Anyway, last autumn, they had picked up an estate lot that had a bunch of construction materials. They never sell the construction materials they get in. Not sure why. Perhaps it’s a liability issue? When they come across stuff like that, it all immediately goes in the free pile. Oh, did we score! One of the things we picked up was a 40 lb. coil of very thick wire. However, before I got the chance to see if it was weldable, we got snow.

I was very happy to confirm that it is very much weldable. Also, if you’ve got a torch, metal shaping hammers, and cabin fever, the wire can be worked into a very respectable miniature sword.

“You can’t make wire into a…”


“Oh. Well, then. It really *was* a long winter, wasn’t it?”

You have no idea.

I can weld now. I can also start in on the meaty car repair list that seems to grow every day. I drive old diesels (er, for the most part. We’ve got a gas car in there, but the other diesels haven’t seemed to notice the difference, so if you could keep it to yourself and help me avoid driveway discrimination, I’d appreciate it) which is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the cars are almost completely mechanical.

“ALL cars are almost completely mechanical.”

Actually no, smarty pants, they aren’t. In terms of automotive mechanics, a “mechanical” system is one that’s controlled by the driver directly. Let me explain it by using the brake system.

When you push the brake pedal in an older car, that pedal is connected to a series of linkages and metal rods that push in a pin at the back of the master cylinder. When that pin is compressed, it squeezes brake fluid through the brake lines which in turn makes the calipers (or drums) clench, thus stopping your car.

Now, in modern cars, while the basics are the same, there is a third party involved between the time when you push the pedal and the time you stop: a computer. These computers help determine which calipers will squeeze, how hard they’ll compress, how long they should be depressed considering the ambient temperature and road conditions which another computer has already discussed with this RoboBrake2000 while you weren’t paying attention…

These computers are everywhere, too. You want to roll up your window? Hang on a sec and the vehicle will gather a caucus to discuss the best possible way to make that happen. You want your wipers on? No prob! Just let the Visibility Synod agree on what setting would be ideal for the conditions. Should you put the car in 4 wheel drive? Please submit your inquiry at the c:\ prompt and wait for the .exe order.

A driver of a modern vehicle has little actual say in the running of their car.

While it, admittedly, makes the driving experience easier and more comfortable for the average user, the computerized vehicles are harder and more expensive to work on.

The first rule of any type of mechanics is: more parts= more parts that can break.

So we drive the diesels here (and one renegade gas car) because they are simple machines that we can fix in almost ever circumstance without fancy diagnostic equipment.

On the other hand, they are old, which means they need a LOT of that aforementioned fixing.

I don’t particularly mind right now. It’s spring! And we’ll be out in the sunshine producing massive amounts of Vitamin D. How could I complain about that after the winter we’ve had? I’m sure I’ll get tired of it eventually. I’m bound to get sore and grubby and tired. No doubt after a few weeks, I’ll be right back to bitching and moaning about ANOTHER car repair. I’ll forget my winter of being confined and long for a lazy day on the couch. It’ll happen. I’m sure of it.

But not today.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Wednesday, April 15, 2015. See, folks? I *can* be short-winded and to the point. Now, I put up with new Neighbor’s pipe-freezing shenanigans all winter. Let’s fire up the side grinder and get our paybacks…


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