Rusty crusty rainy day…


Mornin’ all.

Speaking of mornings, this one has dawned loudly here at the House of Bethie. We’ve got two sets of birds that have decided the best place for their roosts are in the eaves on either side of my bedroom window. On the left are the mourning doves.

Are you familiar with mourning doves?

I mean, I’m sure you know they exist and all, but have you ever heard them? They say, “Who who whoooooooo whooo whoooooooo,” in a sad, soulful way. I like them. At least, I thought I did.

When we were kids, we had this enormous maple tree in the yard with branches that grew to a stop just outside my sister’s bedroom window. There was a nest of mourning doves out there, and she would complain about them almost daily one summer. On the other side of the house, I had no doves, so I just thought she was being a twit. Who doesn’t like doves? They’re symbols of peace, for pete’s sake.

Oh how naive I was. My innocence has officially been lost. My eyes are open, folks, and I’d like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to my sister. She was right all along. Mourning doves begin their cooing at about 3 am and they




Symbols of peace? Pfft. Damn uppity pigeons, that’s all they are.

So the mourning doves would be enough on their own. However, I mentioned two nests of pests. Not to be outdone, the birdies to the right try their best to out-coo the doves. I say “coo”, but that’s really too pleasant of a sound for what the other birds make. They sing.

“Oooh! I like singing birdies, Bethie!”

Well let me see if I can accurately ruin that notion for you, too. They don’t sing so much as warble, really. I don’t know what kind of birds they are, but they sound Swedish.

For real. You should hear these little tweeters. Remember the Swedish chef muppet? “Orgie bourgeh..” Okay, now that you’ve got that cadence and lilt in your head, think of the same words, only pitched about four octaves higher and coming out of a bird instead of a muppet. You can keep the chef hat on the bird in your mind if you so choose.

From this moment forward, they will forever be known as “Ikea warblers.” I’ll contact Audubon and let them know to add the name to the national bird index.

These Ikea warblers are as peppy as the mourning doves are depressed. I suppose if it was daylight and I only heard the Ikea Warblers for a bit at a time, their song would sound pretty. I’d hold my finger out to offer them a perch so they could sing me a happy little tune while I swept a cabin in the forest and made pies and shit for seven miners of sub-average height.

But it’s not the middle of the day, and I don’t need happy woodland creatures to help me snore.

Now add to all that one kitty who a) desperately wants to get to said birdies, and b) can’t push her way through the glass to get them no matter how hard she tries, and it’s clear why I really need this coffee.

*slurp* Ahhh…nap in a cup, how I need your chemical enhancement. It’s going to be a busy day. I’ve got a lot of body work to do today.

“New fitness regimen, Bethie?”

*pppfffttthhhhbt* *choke* *gak*

Dude. Warn me before you crack a joke! Now I’ve got coffee dripping off my monitor.

*wipe* *squeegie* *squeak*

No, not MY body. Auto body. We actually have an offer on one of the rusty putt-putts but only if we can spruce up the doors enough so they don’t have, you know, GAPING HOLES in them. Remember I said someone in my life partnership that was not me loaned out one of our cars over the winter to a tool who did as tools do in such situations? Yeah. Someone actually wants that car. Like, paying us actual MONEY for it.

…now wait. That’s not fair to the car. The engine’s great, transmission’s awesome, and frame is solid. It’s not surprising that someone would want to buy it. The bones are good. The rest…needs work.

On second thought, I guess it kind of *is* like me. Outer packaging not indicative of inner beast.

It’s a quick job, though. He just wants it to pass inspection for now, and then he said he’d even pay us to keep restoring it down the road. If you’ve never sold a car, let me tell you that this is both a dream and a nightmare situation. On the one hand, we’ve got someone who is not picky at time of purchase. On the other, he’s leaving the door open for YEARS of pickiness to come. The ideal car sale goes like this:

1. Agree on price.

2. Get cash.

3. Watch new driver take the car away into the sunset, never to be heard from again.

You don’t really want people to be able to keep harping on you about the car you sold them. Every little thing that goes wrong with the 35 year old car WILL be a reason for the dude to call me. Now, if he’s going to keep sliding me some cash for the upkeep and future repairs, I’m okay with that. However, I think you can see the potential for this to come back and bite me in the ass.

I’m doing the deal, though, no matter how great the possibility of annoyance is down the line. We need the cash, and this is a way I can make us some. Time to put the automotive crafting skills to the test.

Now I just need to get energized to do it.

Hard to get pepped up to work out in the rain. Hang on a sec. I want to make it clear I am in NO WAY complaining about the rain. Whoo baby do we need it. The Smokey the Bear sign downtown that tells of the fire danger has been in the red for weeks. In fact, we’ve had such a high danger of fire that someone added red flags to the sign. You know shit just got real when flags get involved.

So no, I’m not griping about the rain. I want the rain. I welcome the rain. Maybe it’ll tamp down the great dust bowl that is my front “lawn”. I just don’t want to work in it.

“Then give it a day, Bethie.”

Ah, but I can’t. See, the magical little car fairy sent my other half a vision, a dream of autos to come.

…okay, maybe it was less “magical fairy” and more “dude at the scrap yard.”

Around here, we are “those Mercedes people.” We have recently found out that our house is now a landmark by which other townsfolk give directions. “Go about a mile up from the lights. If you pass those Mercedes people, you went to far.” I suppose it’s better than being the “rusty lawnmower guy” landmark.

My point is that folks know us, even if they don’t actually know us. And we get offers/questions about Mercedes from complete strangers with some regularity…and that’s only growing. Well, when said other half brought my car in for an inspection, his buddy there told him that he saw an old Mercedes diesel at a local junkyard the day before and was going to call him about but remembered he’d be in for the inspection. Other half hopped in the now legal wagon (thanks, hon!) and came home to get me to go see the car.

Of course he wants it. To be honest, I do, too, but we both figured the cost would be insane. No rust. There’s no rust. No rot. Interior is beautiful. It is having shifting issues, but we’ve already got a good idea how to take care of from our experience with past vehicles. Other than that, it looks like an incredible find. We thought there would be no way to afford it. We’re always juuuuust this side of ending up living under a bridge somewhere.

The guys that run that scrap yard don’t like foreign cars. In any other market because of what it is and the condition of the body alone, it would be at least $1500, and if you just parted out the bits that are in good shape, you could get upwards of $2500 or so (good original interior parts go for insane money).

They are asking $500.

…and it’s a junkyard, which actually likes trade as much as cash. And what do you know? We happen to have a junker! So my other half worked a deal. We’re getting the parts car that has donated its all out of here and getting a spiffy new project with way more potential, and he even managed to get them to throw in some old 70’s wheels off a different wagon, all for only a few hundred bucks.

I love junkyards. Junkyards are the ultimate hoard. Not only can you acquire all the crap you want, but you’re SUPPOSED to. No one’s going to bitch. No one’s going to yell. Instead of turning their noses up and wondering how in the hell you managed to fit so much crap into one pile, people who show up at a junkyard and see the space crammed are impressed with your business prowess. Same issue. Same problem. Hell, same junk. It’s all just a matter of context.

People at my house: “Wow. The amount of stuff she fit in her house…wow. I’m…speechless.”

People at a junkyard: “Wow! The amount of stuff she fit in the yard…wow! I’m…speechless!”

Those exclamation points really make a difference.

Anyway, back on track. We’re getting rid of the parts wagon. The carcass has given all he had to give and it’s time to let him go to the scrap yard in the sky. We’re getting another project, but one with an incredibly solid start. And to finance it, we’re selling the car we never thought we’d be able to sell. THAT’S why I have to rush. That’s why I will be working in the rain.

One more cup. One more cup of coffee to fortify my resolve, then I’ll get on it. I swear. One more cup and I’ll be rarin’ to go.

Hey, at least it’s not snow.

Thus concludes a loud and soggy Musing for Monday, June 1, 2015. Fun fact: It’s the 1st of June, and Boston STILL has snow piles that haven’t melted yet. Think the piles will stick around until next winter?