Tag Archives: cars

A Visit From Yard Guy

When I realized that Yard Guy (Tom) was outside this morning, it made me sad.  Because it’s October 15th, which means I won’t see him again for probably 5 months.  Which is sad in itself, but worse, it’s a harbinger of winter. It by no means is winter yet, and won’t be for another 2 months, but stuff has mostly stopped growing.  I so dread it.  I’m like the poster child for Seasonal Affective Disorder.  If I could just find something I LIKE about winter, or could look forward to, to balance it out. ..then.  But I can’t think of a thing.  About the only good thing is that about two weeks after it really gets cold, the days will already be getting longer.  Which will make me think of spring, and cheer me up considerably.

One of the best things about Yard Guy’s visit was that I finally remembered to get an update on the Camaro.  Turns out, it didn’t need a new engine after all, dammit.  It had a blown head gasket, and needed a new water pump, and a few other things I forgot.  Then it turned out the AC didn’t work, and he didn’t want to spend the money to fix that, so he sold it to an auto AC guy.  Then that guy sold it to a young couple with a new baby, who were in desperate need, for that reason, of transportation.  Yard Guy said he kind of got the impression that AC guy may have just given it to this young couple.  Sometimes you come across surprising examples of goodness and compassion in the most unexpected people and places. 

Yard Guy said he told AC Guy, “Are you crazy?  You sold a CAMARO to a young couple with a new baby?”  He said that once he got the engine fixed up, he took it out a couple of times to see what it could do, and his comment:  “Man, that thing would FLY!”  Um, I said, I know 🙂

It turns out the young couple live somewhere near Yard Guy, because he sees them driving down Highway 20 a couple of times a week.  The young man is driving, and he is always driving cautiously. 

I can’t lie, I felt a little pang to know that the Camaro was working now, and I don’t have it.  On the other hand, if I’d been able to shell out the money to repair it, and been able to wait while it was repaired, I would still have a car that is now 17 years old.  So I decided to be glad it’s still doing good work for new people in its second incarnation. 

My old boss in Iowa used to call the Camaro The Rocket, which makes me think of this song.  Now the song is about an Oldsmobile, and has some unkind things to say about Chevrolets, but still–the spirit is there!

Jeff the Mechanic

My personal answer to Joe the Plumber. 

I have had the week from hell, so this morning when the 13-year old car began overheating on the way back from a work-related errand it was the last straw.  I was ready to pull over, jump out of the car, and run down the street screaming gibberish.  Except it was pouring down rain. 

So instead I limped to a destination which shall remain nameless, where Jeff the Mechanic plies his trade. 

He and I have met a couple of times before under similar emergency circumstances.  Today was a repeat of one of those previous occasions:  another freeze plug had rusted out.  My brother-in-law previously informed me that officially these things are called “core plugs”.  Whatever.  Here in 13-year-old car world, we call stuff whatever our mechanic calls them.  We don’t have the luxury of being elitists. 

So while we were waiting for the parts store to deliver the correctly sized plug thingie, Jeff struck up a conversation, which began with:

“Your car is a disaster waiting to happen.” (I kind of already figured that out, Jeff, based on the first time I was here and you kicked my ass for neglecting the cooling system, and the 90,000 miles it has on it.)

We talked about replacing the engine.  New or rebuilt?  Take mine out and rebuild it?  New car?  What kind?  I told him I was holding out for the GM Volt…the electric car that goes 40 miles before it ever uses gasoline.  He said it will be $50,000.  I was like, never mind.  I said, OK, maybe a Prius.  He said, the best hybrid is the Camry…but it’s $40,000.  Never mind again, I said.  He said, you’re going to have to do something in between, but as long as you’re holding out, hold out for a hydrogen car. 

He then launched into a description of hydrogen cars, how they work, why we don’t have them in the U.S., what it will take to get them, using ocean waves to generate power (which he had just watched a one-hour special about on TV), the evils of pollution, and so on.  And suddenly he said, “Have you voted?”

I said, “Yes, yesterday.”

He said, “Well I hope it was for Barack Obama!” 

Jeff is white and 50-ish more or less, and male and “blue-collar” but he’s a professional and he’s a thinker, and in spite of the continuing incessant rain, I felt like the sun had just come out.  Eat dirt, Joe Plumber.