Sunday, March 31, 2013

Replacing Wheel Struts is the Worst Thing Ever.

Or alternatively, replacing the struts in the cold is like that one scene in Star Wars where Luke learns that he has to go to the Dagobah system only I learned that the air compressor scares me because it's kind of a dick. So today we decided that we were going to replace the rear wheel struts on the car. This job was something that we had wanted to began yesterday, but then the auto shop gave us the wrong part and then we had to drive to town to get another one because ha ha ha life. Did I mention the high today was 37?

The high today was 37. Degrees. That was it.

Anyway, so we get the strut out of the box, optimistically, and then we jack up the car and get the tire off and then everything went to hell in a poop basket. Now what you have to understand, is the strut is that part with the giant-ass-holy-motherfuck-that's-huge spring on it. It is connected to the rotor which is the bit that makes the car stop. So the strut connects to the break. That's all you need to know.

Except there was one other piece. One other traitorous low down bitch faced part. And that part is the part I can never remember the name of. Scott told me it was the sway bar control link. I spent the day referring to it as the Patrick Swayze bar.

Because I am adult and no one can tell me to stop acting like a 10 year old.

So the first problem is some other fucking idiot mechanic had placed the bolts into the strut in such a way that we could not remove the strut from the car without taking out the break caliper- also known as that part I never want to touch again after that time we replaced the break pads. After we did that, we discover that the bolt on the Patrick Swayze bar was stuck. Like super really a lot stuck. Like it took 45 minutes, a broken allen key, and two broken sockets before we gave up and sawzalled the piece off.

Which pretty much meant that we were ordering more parts.

Because who doesn't love pouring additional money and time into a project you didn't feel like doing in the first place? Anyway, about that point we discovered that getting the new strut in was god awful.

One person had to lift the strut up, deep into the wheel well, keep everything perfectly lined up, fight the damn break system out of the way, while the second person had to lean way into the trunk and verbally guide the piece into the bolt hole and then bolt it in place. This took two attempts. Oh and clamps that we placed on the spring to allow us to work with it kept hitting the wheel well. Ha ha. Annddd also at this point it started snowing.

Because fuck spring that's why.

Anywho, we got the damn thing in place, lined up and bolted in place up top. Then all we had to do was bolt it at the bottom. Seeing that Scott, who had been doing the bulk of the lifting, was tired enough to turn into the undead at any moment, I sent him inside, saying that I would put the last two bolts in.

Childbirth probably would have been easier.

Also, I pulled an ass muscle.


So the problem now was that the break assembly was just sort of hanging there, so to get the bottom bolt in, I had to lift it. This was not so bad, and I was able to slide the bolt in rather painlessly. The only problem now was that I had turned the bottom into a fulcrum point, meaning that the top was still leaning out and down. Which would mean I was going to have to use my 145 pound ass to shove the break rotor up with one hand, while putting the bolt in with the other.

It took everything I had and then some. At one point, I had my right shoulder resting on my right hand, with only the palm on the rotor because I didn't want to put pressure on that rotor plate guard thingy, with my legs doing that thing where you shove them into the ground and push hard so it looks like you are trying to run in place while you are half laying down.

Which is how I pulled that ass muscle.

I remember sitting there, in my half mud, half ice driveway, breathing hard, thinking that I had given this fucking thing everything I had, and I still couldn't do it. Snow flakes, the light fluffy, lazy kind, the kind that zig zag to the ground, were falling around me, catching on my hat and landing soundlessly on my gloves. The sun was slipping behind our ridge, painting the sky with crazy blues and purples and leaving the heavens lit while the earth slipped into cold shadow. My hands were stinging and my feet, even through three socks and insulated boots, were throbbing to the beat of my heart. The wind whipped past making my cheeks sting, bringing me back from that tired fugue to the world where I was facing off against my car, kneeling on a wet soggy board.

And I summoned my anger.

I thought about everything that had ever pissed me off. Every single person that gave fuel to that terrible voice in my head that tells me that I am not good enough. That tells me I am weak and pathetic and stupid and makes fun of me for being afraid of the air compressor.

And I told that voice to go fuck itself. To go fuck itself so hard. And then I shoved that goddamned motherfucking, son of bitch break rotor up and crammed the bolt in place.

Because I am awesome. Then I walked the victory limp pulled ass muscle walk back to the house to tell Scott that I was the queen of the strut assembly.

At least until we have to do the other side.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We Fixed the Washer. Twice.

Twice. Okay. Here is how it went down. First off we didn't get the part, until oh about 5pm. So we had to do that thing where you panic and run around and gather tools because winter means the sun sets earlier then 9pm and it was going to snow overnight because of course it was. Because of course we have to pull the machine out onto the deck to drain it.

So we got the handcart and then we discovered that even with the clothes removed, the washer weighed a fuck ton because apparently water is heavy as shit. Anyway, we managed to wrestled the damn thing onto the deck and then let it's smelly ass water drain out under the deck like god intended.

Then we just had to fix it.

The first time we did this, there was a general air of can do spirit. We were pumped and ready for action. We were excited to see if we really could pull this off. Video's were watched, tools were assembled, high fives were given.

This attempt, none of those things happened.

We tore that washer apart and cursed and huffed and had to get flash lights and tools and then it started to rain freezing rain, and Scott's knee kept hurting him and we both fought about shit and how none of the sockets were the right socket until I fantasized about dragging the washer off into the woods and shooting it.

It might have been the merciful thing to do.

So anyway, we got the damn thing back together and fought it back inside the house, and turned it on. Just like the first time we replaced the direct drive coupler, everything went smoothly. Once again my house was filled with the smooth gentle chugging of a contented washing machine.

That is, until we got to spin cycle.

Spin cycle sounded like the washer was filled with all the demons from hell that ever were ever. You know, like they were all knocking to escape and squealing and grinding. Those demons. Grinding demons. At this point Scott decided to see if the washer was level. Which of course it wasn't because that would have made sense. It was, really, phenomenally not level. By like, a whole lot. So in our second washer based trust exercise, Scott lifted up the machine and I adjusted the front feet until they were level. I will mercifully leave out the part where we first attempted to shove card board under the feet like morons, until we realized the feet adjusted. Because clearly we know washers like, whoa.


Anywho, We turned it on again and of course that helped, but it did not completely remove the demons fix the problem. So I turned, yet again to the Internet. After spending what felt like the better part of the day asking inane questions like, 'does the drum stop when you open the lid in spin cycle?' I came up with an answer. The springs were bad. So in a fit of extravagance I ordered more springs and had them overnighted to my house. Which when you are poor, overnighting something is a big deal. Like a really big deal.

Really. Like I was chatting with my friend while doing this and had to keep asking her if overnight really meant overnight and she had to keep reassuring me that yes, yes it does, and I had to keep freaking out because what witchcraft is this? Parcels, that arrive the next day!? Truly THIS IS THE FUTURE.

And like the fucking rich people magic it was, when I got home from work the next day, lo there was the part in it's neat little bag. So the next morning we got our loins girded and took apart the washer in the heated hallway of not being outside and begun. And by begun I mean we took the washer front off and then couldn't find a spot for it and then we stuck it in the hallway and then I got stuck on the wrong side of it so I basically watched Scott take all the springs off while complaining that it was unpleasant. Then we discovered that part of the spinning noise was coming from the drum bumping a plastic piece on the inside and that it was in fact, not going to come flying apart during spin cycle. So there was that. So we shoved the damn thing back together and turned it on. It appeared to work. We put clothes in it. It appeared to work. We marveled at how quiet the spin cycle was now.

Until it got to high spin.

There is no good way to describe high spin. You know how the Large Hadron Collider was supposed to have destroyed the world? And then it didn't? Well this is what it would have sounded like if it did.* So I am still getting a lot of drum movement and shift, accompanied by the same squeaking sound that preluded it's death the last time. But only on high spin.
Sooooo I am just not using high spin.

You know, it might just be time to replace the washer. Or maybe the drum pads. Or maybe I don't give a fuck anymore because I am wearing clean pants.

Yeah, we'll go with that last one.

*This is a lie. A funny, funny lie.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Everything is Broken.

So last night, our shitty mobile home fuel oil furnace decided to die. It was having problems for weeks, it's just that we had bigger problems. Mainly it was refusing to come on unless we told it that it was the greatest furnace in the whole world, showered it with love and affection, bought it cookies and hit the reset button.

So today, we had the joy of figuring out what was wrong with it. Now, we had been trouble shooting it before this point. We had cleaned the inside, replaced the filters, and replaced the fuel nozzle thing that makes fire happen. And by we I mean Scott. So when we opened up the door and stared down at the dull gray exterior of the furnace, we were fresh out of ideas. That is, until Scott found out that there was no fuel oil reaching the pump. Which of course meant only one thing.

There was a clog in the line.

So I went off to the Internet and looked for a solution. The solution, after a few minutes of frantic Googleing and putting up with Yahoo Answers, was to blow air through the line to clear it. So I got up off my ass and walked back into the hallway, where Scott was sitting surrounded by tools and the smell of fuel oil. I explained the procedure. That you could blow back into the line with a can of compressed air, or a Co2 cartridge. He said okay, hopped up, and returned a few minutes later with an air compressor.

Well then.

So we blew out the line bled it a few times and then turned it on. It appeared to work. The house mobile home began to warm up. We relaxed. So now we wait for it to do it again because that is how life works.

It wouldn't be so bad, except that we were taking time away from working on the car, which needs new motor mounts and shocks, and the Blazer which still needs some work and never did get inspected, and also the toilet backed up last night just to make it extra special. Which is about the point that my Super Best Friend told me the toilet was probably just jealous of all the attention the furnace was getting and decided to act up. Which probably means that the furnace was jealous of the cars. Which probably means I am loosing my damn mind because that makes a terrible amount of sense.

Also, although it is supposed to be spring, or at least damn close to it, I woke up to it being 26 degrees and three inches of snow in the forecast.

Ha ha right.

Did I mention that this was the snowiest winter on record in the history of ever? Have you ever wondered what it is like to spend the snowiest winter on record ever living at the top of a mountain?

It's a lot like when the White Witch took over Narnia, and they had a hundred years of winter, and it was never Christmas, except we totally did have a Christmas but now I have the adult version where I have to buy gifts for other people and I can't even get away with the college version where you get everybody pottery from the Goodwill.

So pretty much just like that. Except I own a furnace and a toilet and vehicles instead of a dam. Otherwise, exactly the same.

Yup. Exactly the same.

Kill me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Photos of Wintertime.

So during the course of this winter, and a few before, I took a bunch of pictures. Of things. Lot's of things. Pretty beautiful things. Then I wondered what to do with them. So I have decided to put them up here for your pleasure. Also, if you click on each image, it will take you to my lovely Deviant Art account where there is a *cough-cough-buy-this-print-button-cough-cough-hack-wheeze*

Sorry, I think some capitalism was stuck in my throat there.

Anyway, enjoy these pictures I took out in the freezing fucking cold.

For you, dear readers. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Have Purchased Another Vehicle.

I have purchased another vehicle, because that is what you do in the country. Buy vehicles. I also think it's cursed. I knew it was cursed, because it was really cheap. They guy who sold it to us, told us that the breaks were bad. He also told us he bled the breaks.

He never bled the breaks. This became evident when we opened the break fluid reservoir and discovered that instead of the clear bluish green break fluid, it was filled with what looked like motor oil mixed with coffee.

And that's bad.

See our plan was to buy this cheap ass blazer, put about a thousand dollars of work into it and come out ahead. However there was one thing I hadn't taken into account.

It's winter.

The snowiest winter on record ever. Also, it's ball shitingly cold outside. Ball shitingly. Also, because this vehicle belonged to other poor people, it had never, ever been given a tune up. So we took it upon ourselves to do so. We replaced filters and fought off valves, and I learned that one way to ruin a coat is to remove a fuel filter and have it puke gasoline down my arm like a drunk frat boy. So that's one less coat for me. I also learned that my winter boots, while great for wearing while shoveling snow or taking the dog for a walk, do shit nothing to protect my feet while I am standing around or laying under a vehicle.

So by the third day of bleeding the breaks to clear out the bad fluid, replacing the spark plugs and wires, the air and fuel filters, and some valves and hey bleeding the damn breaks again, my feet were shot. I spent a whole evening hobbling around on my weird burning/itchy/pins and needles feet. Until I took a shower and they turned into painful swollen feet.

Ha ha fun.

However at the end of the third day there was the light at end of the tunnel. We put the tires back on, buttoned her up, and turned her on. The check engine light was off, meaning that we are freakin wizards. Unfortunately, the breaks were still bad. Which, although not surprising, was really, really depressing.

Oh did I mention that we only have ten days to get it inspected?

And those three days we spent working on it were not consecutive?

Ha ha right.

So we are going to miss our ten days because every time one of us suggests going back out there my brain starts screaming. Also, we made the decision to replace the master cylinder and the break booster. Because I am fairly certain that the breaks should not hiss like angry snakes when you hit the pedal. You know how much a new master cylinder runs?

Too damn much.

Oh and did I mention that the four wheel drive won't engage?

The four wheel drive won't engage.

Ha ha. Did I mention this blazer was pretty damn cheap? I did. Well then. You know, the next time I am all like, we should buy a cheap ass car and fix it up, it will totally be cheaper, just start slapping me. Even if you have to get on a plane or swim across an ocean or you have to smack your monitor and pretend.

Because this shit is wack.

Oh I'm saving money all right. Sanity, not so much.

So if you need me I will be drinking wine and yelling inarticulate things at the sky until I get too damn cold and have to come back inside. Which is how I deal with stress. Because in rural ass West Virgina nobody gives a shit which is why I love the country/it is the place for me.

(PS: Oh and does anybody know how to get gasoline out of a coat? I don't think I can Google that because, you know watch list.)

(PPS: Drinking fixes everything.*)

*No no it doesn't.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Washing Machine Died AGAIN.

Sweet god save me. We had just gotten home from work and I was off in my office playing Skyrim. When I heard this squeaking. I walk out into the kitchen. The squeaking continues. I ask Scott what the hell he is going on. It sounds like he has captured a giant rodent and is poking it with a stick. Repeatedly. Then he is all like, that's the washer. It's squeaking.


So I go back to playing Skyrim because those dragons are not going to kill themselves. After about two minutes, Scott returns and informs me that the washer has broken again. And it smells like burned rubber.

Which probably means the direct drive coupler has burned out AGAIN.

Which meant that I had to order a new one. So, you know when you have been up since three am and your brain doesn't want to work anymore and it feels like you are trying to think through a layer of sticky gooey honey? But you have to think because your washer is laying dead in your hallway with a belly full of clothes and you are an adult now so you have to fix it?

No, just me?

Anyway, the internet was not very helpful, and the only thing it would tell me was that I had probably bought a bad coupler from the Lowes. Which is, if anybody was keeping track, the exact same place I had just order one from again. Because ha ha ha. Learning is for suckers.

So now I have a washer that is full of water and clothes, because of course it died while it was agitating, which also really makes me wonder what the fuck. I would think that motherfucking spin cycle would be the thing to destroy the coupler, not agitating. Why agitating? Why sweet god won't my washer just stay working for a whole damn month?

It's cursed isn't it?

Anyway, this time, we just left the clothes in it because fuck it and proceeded to ignore it. Except I am running out of clean clothes. Like, really a lot running out of clean clothes. Like my bedroom is being taken over by a tide of clothes. I know I could just, go to laundromat, but I refuse.

Laundromats are like being forced to pay in change to get hit on by creepy older dues. Pretty much like a reverse strip club.


Now I'm “washing” my underthings in the dryer with those shitty at home dry cleaning things. Which is awkward because I don't really consider dry cleaned undergarments clean. They are just not dirty. Which leaves them in laundry limbo.

How do you even put away clothes left in laundry limbo? I don't feel right putting them back in the drawer with the real clean clothes. Hell, to I don't even feel really comfortable wearing chemical scoured fabric that close to my crotch.

But you know what they say, when life breaks your washing machine, make lemonade or some shit. Or maybe just use the damn dryer because you have an unreasonable dislike of laundromats.


So if anyone needs me, I'll be feeling unclean while I drown in a sea of my own dirty clothes. Or I'll be checking the mail box five times a day for the part that may or may not be what is wrong with with my washer.

You know what?

Fuck it. If anyone needs me I'll be playing Skyrim.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tamping and the Electric Pole.

(Okay I kinda wrote this post before the backhoe tire was fixed, but then I forgot about it, and then I was all like, shit, I never posted that!? So here you go. A story from when we didn't have 20in of snow.) 

So today, we reached the dizzying high crest of 42 degrees. Shocking I know. So we decided it was finally time to finish tamping the dirt down around the electric pole we put in so that we could get electric service to the house.

Because you kinda need electricity.

Unless you are one of them back to the land hippie backwoods type folks that shun our modern convinces like plumbing and electricity because jobs are for squares man. Except I can't live like that because I want to enjoy Internet and pooping from within the comfort and safety of my own house. That's just what houses are for right? I mean, that's what separates the noble house from the proud yet scary looking cabin.


So we get our giant metal pry bars with the blunt ends that we use for tamping and go at. Since you know, the backhoe has a flat tire, and also the ground is so wet that we couldn't even ride I bicycle over there without sinking like a doomed ship. So we grabbed our pry bars a shovel, and our foolish optimism and started in.

Everything seemed great at first, but it quickly dawned on us that we just spearing glory holes* in the earth, which is the consistency of burnt pudding. So then I come up with the super brilliant idea of using a board to even out the force. So I found a board and threw it into the mud and wailed on it.

Which promptly broke the board in half.

So then Scott comes up the idea to use a better board. Which worked great. All we did was pivot the board around the pole in the circle while we lifted our huge heavy ass pry bars and brought them down over and over again onto the board.

Which we only had to do, oh twice all the way around and then again by going across so that the area didn't look like a giant pie tin after all the pie pieces had been taken out.

But we did it!

Except now my arms feel like noodles and I am really aware that I am resting my wrists on the keyboard and that makes me keep missing certain letters because my arms have given up on life man.

So I think I am going to take some pain killers and go to bed drink alcohol and surf the Internet like a mindless worker bee until it's late enough to go to bed and not feel like a boring person.

So, good night dear readers, even though I shall not post till morning, never doubt that I love you. (In a totally platonic way of course.**)

*Yes I know what this means. Yes I went there. If you do not know what this means, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT Google it. No. Don't. Trust me.

** Please don't stalk and murder me.

Monday, March 4, 2013

We Paid Someone to Fix the Tire for us.

Yeah. It was not going to happen. We tried. And then we tried. And then we tried some more. We tried for two straight days. In weather that could best be described as winter apocalypse. You know, temperature hovering in the teens, wind gusts of up to forty miles an hour, sideways snow. I am nothing if not committed.

Or maybe I am really, really cheap.

Either way, Scott and I threw in the towel after making exactly zero progress removing that demon hell tire from the rim. We tried everything, we used every pry bar we owned. All our crowbars too. Even the tiny one that is like, six inches tall. We used every product the Internet recommended. We accused each other of doing it wrong. We cursed. We lost feeling in our limbs.

At one point we had every crowbar and pry bar we owned stuck in the thing at the same time. And I mean everyone. The bad part was that was we couldn't even get all of them back out. Anyway we gave up and started calling people. Of course by we I mean Scott because he is the only one capable of answering technical questions. The first place we called did not repair tires, apparently because as we have all learned by now, tires are the devil. However, they did give us the number of someone they knew that fixed this equipment and also made house calls. So Scott called him and explained that we had everything we needed, the tire, the rim and the inner tube, all we needed was to have someone install it.

He said he'd do it for sixty bucks.


He told us to meet him at the base of the mountain, around four thirty, with the tire, and we could follow to him to his garage and he would fix it. So we heaved that goddamned motherfucking tire into the truck and drove off at the appointed time. He said he would be driving a white service truck. Well we sat there for a few minutes freezing our asses off because the truck doesn't have any heat because it doesn't feel that the comfort of it's occupants is a concern and then his truck rolled past. Now my first thought was, he's kinda cute. My second thought was, he is going to murder us both.

When he pulled past, he gave no indication that he was the guy, such as waving or motioning us to follow, he just gave us one long look. It was a look that said something. I just don't know what that something was.

Well, we pulled out and followed him because that backhoe tire was not going to fix itself. Everything was going great we were tooling along, headed down the main road, when he slowed down and turned onto That Road.

That Road, we had previously discovered, was a horror movie. As in if you ever wanted to combine Wrong Turn and Deliverance with a dash of Blair Witch Project, this would be the road you would go down. It has creepy hundred year old abandoned barns, under the road culvert pipes big enough to hide an ATV in, permanently wet rocky cliff faces, and a lot of scraggly ill kept looking woodlands. Also, it is supposed to be a two lane road, although it is really a one in a half lane road. We were, at least superficially trying to stay on our side, but the vehicles in front of us were just driving in the center because this is the country and that is how we roll.

It also didn't help that the door seals on the truck were going to shit so that whenever the wind blew hard on the passenger side, it would start snowing in the cab.

All in all, I thought it was pretty likely we were going to die.

Then he turned into a driveway of a cute little white house, which turned out to be an easement because we kept driving up what I thought for sure was an access road to a lumber operation but instead turned out to be his driveway. It was almost entirely vertical, heavy wooded, and extremely washed out.

At that point I pretty much knew we were going to get murdered.*

You might be wondering, why at this point I didn't suggest turning around and fleeing for our lives. Well, for one thing, I really hated this tire and someone was going to have to fix it, and two it was almost time for my period and I just didn't give a fuck anymore. I figured that getting cut up and stuffed into trash bags in the woods might not be as bad as this cycle of depression/anger/acne/eating/rage/listlessness that comes with that special time of the month.

Well, Mr. I-don't-talk-much tells us to back on up into the garage and proceeds to hook up a chain hoist to the ceiling to remove the tire from the bed of the truck. Once we backed in we hop out and I think we must have been looking at him weird. To us, who had just women and manhandled the tire into the truck, his method was about as foreign as watching him wave a magic wand at it.

At this point Mr. Mostly Silent asks us how we got the tire into the truck. We told him. He gave us another one of his looks. I am also sure that he also judged us for the two crowbars that were still stuck in the tire. Whatever. Once the tire was up Scott pulled out and let the tire back down and disappeared back into the bowels of his garage.

The garage was, well, a garage, containing what I like to call the project vehicle,** which in this case was some sort of half taken apart skid steer dozer thing, a piles of tools and bolts and cans and of course a bunch of deer skulls.

So pretty much normal.

He returned with some sort of heater that looked like a jet engine. Which he turned on full bore and aimed at the tire. Then pulled the garage door shut behind us. Now, I have to say, at that point I figured we were pretty much doomed.

What followed next was the most efficient display of tire removal I have ever seen. He was always moving, one step flowing neatly into the next. I watched mesmerized as he popped the top of the tire over the rim like it ain't no thing. Scott leaned over to me and said. “Eight minutes.” He had done in what we could not accomplish in TWO DAYS in eight minutes.

At that point I didn't care if he killed me, it would have been an honor.

Also, at some point his son appeared in the process and lent him a hand. Both of them did not really talk. They worked well together, each one right there when the other needed something, ducking and working past each other like a well practiced team.

All in all it took about twenty minutes for Mr. I-have-all-the-right-tools-and-knowledge to install the tube, and reinflate the tire. Then we paid him his sixty bucks even though he said he only wanted fifty because holy crap man that was pretty fucking awesome and then we hopped back in the truck and booked it out of there before it got dark because our headlights only work when they feel like it.

Which is how we got the backhoe tire fixed, boys and girls.

And we didn't even get murdered.

* I wanted to clarify that I did not really think that anything bad was going to happen to us, it's just that this is never something I would do if I did not have a husband to go with me. Yeah, yeah I know, take back the night, whatever, but lets face it, shit happens. So you know. Life.

**Most men that have garages and also know enough to repair there own cars, has one of these. I cannot explain why. It just is.