Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Alternator Belt is not a Team Player.

Picture the scene. It's 1am. We have to go to work for a job that starts way too damn early. It's 25 degree's outside. I have already fed and watered the ungrateful hungry mouths. We grab our thermoses and some healthy fruit snacks and pile in the car. We scrape the frost off the windows, hop in, turn up the heat and drive off into the cold morning, on our way to work.

Except we never even made it to the main road because our alternator belt blew.

Do you know what it looks like when you loose an alternator belt?

The first clue is when the battery light comes on. The second clue is when the headlights start to dim. The third clue is when the care stops running.

Well, the first clue hit and we immediately turned around chanting our war chant. Which goes something like “oh, shit oh fuck oh shit oh fuck...” Then the second clue kicked in. Do you know what it's like to be traveling in a car, in the middle of goddamn nowhere, all the while the headlights are getting progressively dimmer and dimmer?

Basically it's like every horror movie ever.

Just thought I'd clear that up.

Luckily we made it home before the third clue hit us. Then it was excitement of calling people to inform work people that it didn't appear that we would be making worky work time. Then came the super fun time of searching the sheds in the hope that we had a spare belt. It was kinda of a useless act, because our car takes a very specific belt.

Let me put it this way. We didn't think to buy two belts the last time this happened and my late father did not own a compatible vehicle. So unless the dog had purchased a belt for our car, and put it somewhere that we could be able to find it in the shed, we didn't have one.

There wasn't much to be done at this point. I drank a cup of tea and ate a banana. I went and confirmed that the not being very helpful at this point dog was still sleeping peacefully in the bed. Under the covers. Asshole non parts buying dog.

Finally we just gave up and went back to bed to wait for an auto parts store to be open. Only to be woken up like three hours later when everyone started calling us back.


Well after making a few calls later we found a local auto parts store that had the belt. Of which we only bought one because learning from our mistakes is stupid.

Installing the belt however, was a whole new level of awful. Like, okay, you know how Greek mythology has a lot of stories where the hero has to pass a bunch of really unpleasant and hard tasks to get whatever it is he wants? Yeah this was pretty much just like that. Except I think I would have rather had to face down a minotaur rather then change this belt again.

First off, it was 34 degrees outside. Which gets points for being 2 degrees above freezing, but you know what? My hands can't tell the difference. First off we had to take off the other belt, the one that was working fine, to get to the broken belt. Then we had to loosen the bolt that keeps tension on the belt. In a kind world that is all you would need to do to slip the new belt in place.

This is not a kind world.

We had to loosen almost every bolt going to the alternator. Loosen but not remove, otherwise the whole thing would have just fallen out of the car. Also, since our car is tiny and poorly designed, this involved me laying underneath the car. Under the alternator. Now I'm not really claustrophobic, but I do not like lying under a car when it is jacked up. For one, when you jack it up it always makes weird moaning sounds like the car itself hates this but can't move away because you won't let it. Two, every little bit of dirt and metal crap and filth is falling into your face. Pro tip: Keep your mouth shut. Oh and you know what's really cold in the middle of November? It's the ground. The ground I was laying on.

It seemed to take forever to wriggle, pry, curse, loosen and cajole the alternator forward, wrestle the damn belt on, and then put the second belt back on. While tiny, tiny metal bits hit me in that face and every so often a socket would fall into the car, just to spice things up. It was one of those times that you can't even be bothered to notice your hands hurt from the cold, you just pray that they keep working because you kind of need them.

Okay really a lot need them.

Anyway, before we got like, I dunno, hand frostbite or some shit we reassembled the car, tested the belts, and felt the sweet, sweet relief of everything working again. I am pretty sure that when the car started and the belts went around smoothly a beam of the purest sunshine shot down from the heavens upon us.

Or at least that's how I remember it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Storm Tales The Final Installment

This was, I'm sad to say, the last entry in the my written by hand storm dairy.

Loosing the will to go on. No lights. No internet, no Skyrim. Upon waking I turned to Scott and told him that I had lost the will to go on and the should go, and live for both of us. Then he tickled me until I got up.

He fights dirty, that man.

Deprived of my usual pursuits of struggling to survive, I drifted from activity to activity -doing the dishes taking the dog for a walk and reading a few books while the terrible sense that life was futile kept drifting through my head.

I pretty much drug myself though the day.

The next day I went out and bought a bunch of high powered battery operated work lights to stave off the terrible darkness. The day after that, I realized that staving off the terrible darkness was not enough, and I went to Walmart and bought a bunch of cat puzzles.

Look the selection was kinda shitty. Okay?

Although the tiger puzzle glowed in the dark, so there was that.

So after a brief argument we finally decided on cat-with-miracle-whip-on-it's-nose-in-kitchen puzzle, turned on our super LED work lights and started in. And we were terrible at this. I think the last time I had sat down to work a puzzle was oh- middle school. So then we were all like border pieces first, but then we got confused about whose side what colors went on and then we were all like “Wait my side is like, super long here” and I'm all “If the top is here then I don't have enough pieces.” Plus the back ground was out of focus on the adorable kitten picture so I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out if the round blurs in the back ground were strawberries or tangerines.

About that point the power came back on.

So then I had to run around like a crazy person while Scott tried to find that one piece that went to the can of whipped cream that didn't have any writing on it, and I threw on shoes and ran around the yard screaming.

Oh, and I think they were tangerines.

Then I got to do all of those things that I had been wanting to do for a week. Those things that had been slowly fading out of my memories as things that Holly gets to take for granted every day. Those things.

Which is why I would like to sit out the zombie apocalypse thank you very much.

Then I got to take a shower and microwave things and there was much rejoicing.

Much, much rejoicing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Storm Journeys and the Refusal of Acceptance.

Authors note:

To remind you, my most beloved readers, this is still excerpts from the on going dairy I kept (by hand) during the terrible snow storm that knocked out power to my house for a week and fucked up New Jersey but they aren't really important because they are not me and that's not what you read this blog for.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programing.

After the past few days of panic followed by swearing and breaking shit we decided it was time for a little socialization time. Or as I call it, going to interact with others in a non work setting so that I don't loose all sense of dignity and social relations. It's an uphill battle really.

So, we headed on down to my grandmas where we hung out with my aunt and uncle and bitched about the fact that none of us had power.

It's sort of weird to be at another persons  house who also does not have power since you would think that ingrained habit of flipping on light switches wouldn't happen at others peoples houses, but let me assure you it totally does.

We also used our car time to recharge our cell phones and then had to answer a bunch of calls and assure people that we were not, in fact, dead.

I also need to point out that coming home to a pitch black house is not fun. Also I have no idea how old timey people did things by candle light.

At all.

I mean shit. Candles don't illuminate worth a crap. I started going to bed at like nine thirty at night because the alternative was walking around with a headlamp strapped to my head looking at all the appliances that no longer worked.

Mocking me with their blank screens.



I'm fine

Want more sadness Storm Tales? Here's The Final Installment.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Storm, and Hangover Aftermath.

You know what sucks? Wrestling propane tanks into the back of a truck. You know what really sucks? Wrestling propane tanks into the back of a truck with a hangover.

So we had figured we had better, you know, refill our propane tanks before they run out, so we can continue to enjoy things like, heat and the ability to cook. Using a handcart we wheeled the tanks to the truck which would have gone better had the wheels not been deflating. Which of course we couldn't fix because we didn't have any power.

Ha ha. Fun.

After heaving the tanks into the truck and swearing and strapping them down we loaded up our empty gas cans and headed for town. Of course town, being in the valley had no snow and all the power ever. Assholes. So we get the feed store which also sells propane because small town here people and tell them we need to fill our tanks.

And then they are all, those tanks look old. And then I'm all yeah they probably are. And they are all like, well if they are over twelve years old we can't fill legally fill them. And then they're all like, have you checked the date on the tanks? An I'm all like there's a date on it? And then he went ahead and climbed up in the back of our truck and was all yes they do. An I'm all like okay what does it say?

An he's all 1954. And 1975.

Well, fuck.

So then I ended up buying new tanks. Let's just say for what that cost I could have bought another PS3. And some games. So me and Scott wouldn't have to share even though he doesn't play video games at all. So I could have hypothetically bought the dog a PS3.


Anywho, we get them filled up. And I'm standing around listening to the filler guy talk about how he's not feeling well while my brain is trying to dry up and crawl out of my skull because hangovers suck and there should be a limit on how many vodka coco's I should be allowed to drink in one night. But there's not.

Unfortunately I also felt kinda bad for Mr. Propane Filler Guy because he had been outside all of yesterday too, which meant that I helped load the tanks into the my truck while my gray matter yelled stuff like “FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER” at me.

Then we had to drive the four tanks home and unload them and sled them to where they were going because the hand truck had given up on life and was laying face down in the bed of truck. Which is really what I felt like doing at the time. Except replace 'truck bed' with 'floor.'

Then we went inside and moped around for the rest of the day while while wishing the power would come back on. Which it didn't because that would have made my life easier and life is dick like that.

Motherfucking life ass motherfuckers.

Want more sadness Storm Tales? Here's Day 5.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Storm Time, the Reckoning

Just so we're clear, sleeping on the floor was the worst idea I ever had. Even worse then the time I drank all that Southern Comfort and then thought it would be cool to get on the bus.*

By the time morning had reared it's grim head we both looked like clockwork zombies** that had just recently risen from the grave. Scott was yelling shit about how his legs felt broken and he might never walk again and I felt like somebody had just punched me between the shoulder blades and then tried to sever my right arm. Possibly also by punching.

I mean, it's not like we had anything to do that day, like oh I don't know, take the propane tanks off my other mobile home cut more of the trees blocking the drive and desperately try to replace the blower motor on the wood stove before the propane runs out and we were fucked. I mean, it's not like we had that to do or anything.

Well the first order of the day was to dig out the cars and replace the blower motor on the wood stove. So while Scott went to replace the motor I went to shovel out the car and the truck. I will say right now that shoveling wet snow that weighs a shit ton after sleeping on the floor all night in the cold was the most painful thing ever, or at least it was until chunks of ice started falling off the trees and hitting me.

You ever been hit with a chunk of ice in the boob? Wouldn't recommend it.

After I had removed most of the snow Scott comes around and tells me he needs a hand with the stove. Now what you have to understand is that my dad built the surround for the current blower motor. A surround which, as we learned, was impossible to remove. Or at least it was before I got the motherfucking tin snips. The good news is I only cut myself five times!

Let me just say that it was an adventure.

Once I had vanquished the evil duct work surround monster it was merely a game of wrestling the new one in place and wiring it up.

Luckily while we were busy getting cut the fuck up our neighbors had taken a tractor our and were busy clearing the rest of the trees off the road. They were then followed by the road crew who got all the ones we couldn't get, including part of that fucker at the end of the drive. They were in turn followed by the plow.

At the end of the day the road looked like this:

 WV at it's finest.

However, instead of revealing in our new found road we had to immediately turn about and prepare to drag the propane tanks over. The propane tanks that hate us. Deeply. First off each one had to be disconnected and hauled onto a sled. Then I would pull the sled and and Scott would fight to keep the bastard upright as we fought our way up and down slopes and over ditches. I did learn something by the second one though. Namely that my arms would never forgive me. At last we hooked up the tanks to our backup propane heater, fired up the wood stove and proceeded to make it 75 inside.

We promptly rewarded ourselves by melting snow over the stove and taking sponge baths while joking about making Little House on the Prairie style Ma Ingall porn. We're not right, really. Then I drank like five vodka cocos (possibly to wash the aforementioned image out of my mind) and started making all kinds of weird statements like “In soviet Russia, vodka coco drink you” and “In old country it used to snow, all the time, but we were never sad, for we had vodka. And coco. Together.”

And then I went to bed and slept like the dead and woke up with a motherfucking hangover. There is a lesson in here somewhere.

And I think that lesson is, don't sleep in the floor.

*Yeah. Never do that by the way.

**Best band name ever.

Want more sadness Storm Tales? Here's Day 4.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Premature Digging Out

Also known as the day where Holly's optimism about being prepared is shattered like a cheap china mug on a tile floor. Upon waking from what I can only describe as terror sleep we staggard outside when we heard the generator die out to discover two things.

1. We had almost two feet of heavy ass snow that was as wet as the goddamn ocean.

2. Every branch ever had fallen down. There were two large branches on top of one of our sheds, a branch on the deck, and our yard looked like what I would picture happening if the trees had a world war against each other and forgot to tell us it was happening.

However the real fun began when we hiked to the end of the driveway and saw this.

 Pictured: The end of our driveway and the death of optimism about life.
Also we discovered that the road, you know, the road that we live on that takes us to work and town and stuff was completely blocked by trees. Here is what it is supposed to look like:


And here is the horrible aftermath.


Super Fuck.

It was about then that we discovered that the road was sort of a moot point anyway because the cell tower was down and no one was coming to help in an emergency anyway. At this point we may have become a little concerned. Just a smidgen. A tad.

Well the first point of business was to start clearing the road. Except that we needed to save every last bit of gas for the generator, so that meant using hand tools. Specifically, an ax, clippers and the two man saw. I would like to sum up that experience with the following picture.

Yeah. Never again.

But we goddamned did it. We hacked and cut and drug the branches to the side of the road and cursed and struggled to pull them out of the deep heavy snow while the snow soaked into our clothes and made us wet and cold and raw until at last the road before our own place was clear and we could at least have gotten the truck out of the damn driveway. Flushed with victory we returned home only to discover that the blowers on the wood stove had stopped working.

Oh shit.

Which meant we had to shut down the wood stove RIGHT NOW or it would overheat and possibly set fire to all of our shit. Our only other option other then freezing to death was to turn on backup propane heater in the living room. You know, the heater that we may not have had enough propane for that we had never quite figured out how to work. Yeah. That heater. Let's just say that we figured it out right quick. With the propane heater going and the trailer at a balmy 55 degrees it was time to make some food, drink Holly's traditional winter drink (vodka coco) and sleep the sleep of the bitter and tired.

Did I say sleep?

Ha ha. What I really meant was to lie awake on the floor in front of the propane heater in our sleeping bags and pray we had enough propane to last the night. The fun. It just never stops.

At this junction I have to point out that I thoroughly believe that mankind was never meant to sleep on the floor because oh my god sweet Jesus. It felt like someone was trying to disassemble my body with gravity.

It was terrible is what I am trying to say.

On the plus side, we didn't die, so there's that.

There is at least that.



Want more sadness Storm Tales? Here's Day 3.

Confused? Here's Day 1 of Power OutageFun Time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Frankinstorm Day 1

So I had pretty much just returned home from spending the entire month of October traveling for work. I had just gotten home Sunday morning at 9am after working all damn night. I had just done all the laundry ever, and spent most of my time prepping for the monster storm that was headed our way. Finally I got to end of the day. The rain had turned to snow and we had built a fire in the wood stove and were settling in for the night. Foolishly I had decided to listen to my favorite music and screw around on the Internet. Waves of contentment must have been seeping out from my office, because after almost on hour of enjoyment time the power went out.


Of course it was after dark. Immediately I went ahead and called the power company because somehow I have faith in that system. Outside heavy, heavy ass wet snow was coming down like gangbusters. This was not good. Fortunately I did not have long to dwell on this because I had to help Scott get the generator.

Stepping outside was like entering another world. What the happy sounds of appliances and the radio had masked was the creepy sound of the wind and the stomach dropping sound of branches being ripped off trees and flung into the dark.

Let me tell you something right now.

There is nothing quite like walking through a bad snow storm in the complete darkness with only the beam of a cheap Wal mart headlamp cutting a path through the snow, while tree branches are breaking around you like splintery gunshots that you can't see because the mesmerizing flakes of snow are coming down too damn hard.

It was at that point that I realized that we were fucked. And not just regular fucked.

After fighting with the generator we retreated back inside where I came to conclusion that we weren't any safer really. You know, since mobile homes are so good at stopping trees from crushing the people inside of them. I had though naively that getting back inside would be better, but that's only because I am a moron. Since the power was out and mobile home walls are as think as cardboard I could still hear the branches falling. Except now every once in while one would hit the trailer and scrap down the side like the hand of death himself. For variety a branch would hit the propane tanks with a musical ping that would have been quite cherry if it wasn't so damn terrifying.

It was at this point the thunder and lighting started.

Of course the dog had to freak out at this point so to comfort him I took him off to bed with me and put him under the covers. This would have been a great plan except all we did was end of freaking each other out and ended up clutching each other for dear life. I am fairly sure we both thought it was the end of the world, just for different reasons.

It was one of those nights where you greet the morning with grim puffy eyes because you haven't slept a wink and both you and the dog kept shaking each other awake during the worst of the storm convinced you were both about to die.

So it was a fun night.

So. Much. Fucking. Fun.

Want more sadness Storm Tales? Here's Day 2. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Power has Been Out.

So you guys remember that hurricane/storm/thing that hit us on Monday? You know that storm that hit the east coast and dumped crap shit tons of moisture on us? Yeah that hit us hard.

Ballshit hard.

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't been online, responding to your posts, reading your blogs, or doing any of those internet things. Because my power has been out since Monday. Last Monday. The 29th.

It's the 5th now.

Ha ha.

I have actually written you blog entries during this time. On a note pad with a pencil. You know analog style. And it sucked. It really really sucked. So as soon as I get pictures into my computer and type these up I will be posting them on my regular schedule and keeping you, as always my most beloved readers, up to date on cleaning all the trees and shit that have fallen down on my property cause this storm was a goddamn bitch.

Damn it feels really weird to type now. It's like I just think and words appear on the screen, no writing and having my hand cramp up or anything. 

Never doubt that I love you, dear readers.

Now I am going to take a motherfucking shower. And use my microwave. Because I can.