21 July 2008


Oh gosh, Evie-fans!! I am so terribly sorry to have kept you in the dark about the goings-on with my sweetheart of a truck. Let me get you up to speed, as it were. I and the fellows down at Auto Zone have gotten to be quite close, and Tom said last time I walked in, in his very northern accent, "Wee're gonna have to either chaaarge yoo rent or give yoo a jahb." These guys are great, and so helpful and patient in times such as yesterday when I left with a 36 inch belt for the power steering wheel thing-y and came back, moments later (and I mean moments) to switch it out for a 36.5 (and 37 and a 37.5, just in case). These men are Steve, David (a.k.a. "Bear"), Asa, Tom, and Joe. What wondrous characters and great new friends. Anyways, on to the recent progress...

Some time has passed since Stage Two. A few days were spent dealing with minutiae. No one told me about all of the finger numbing solvent applying, scouring, scrubbing, sweating, suffering that went into changing out an engine. But I suppose it wouldn't have changed anything. Really, I don't mind the work. I actually like the gritty nature of the task and I enjoy having nothing to do but cleaning the solitary piece of machinery in front of me, listening to music, and taking the occasional swig from the coffee cup. We've been removing and cleaning extraneous componentry. (It just told me to spell-check "componentry" and I think that's ridiculous.) We unbolted everything we could possibly use from the old engine (which was everything), cleaned it all meticulously and prepped it for painting. That was a big night -- lots accomplished. Good thing we had a hearty dinner of Swedish meatballs.

That was one of our grandpa's favorite dishes when he used to visit us here in Nashville, and I think last time I made them, it was for him. That was a long time ago. So alongside his usual stack of sandwich bread and the saucer of soft butter, the pickled cucumbers and simple sliced tomatoes that he always had on the dinner table, we saluted and toasted our grandpa as we savored our food and issued our resulting belches (and threw our heads back and laughed). Sorry, but it's just a part of who I am. I can unleash some powerful ones, my family will tell you. Philip would be proud. He'd also be asking us why we were bothering with painting all of the engine parts, but that's a whole 'nother story.

As we removed the oil pan, after draining the block of as much liquid matter as we could (which, it turns out, there wasn't much of), Jason exclaimed as he finally saw the culprit, no longer shrouded. I feel like I've killed a living thing, like I ran over a dog or something. Jason never fails to take opportunities for giving me a good jab for running my motor out of oil. I stand accused...and guilty as charged, regardless of my many lines of self-defense. "But the Jiffy-Lube sticker said I still had 250 miles to go!" "Mark said that the metal can weaken after 37 years and then, SNAP!" "The oil stains on the driveway were there before I even moved in so how could I have known that they were mine?" I know that any family members reading this are now laughing and shaking their heads, "Oh Evie. Stupid, stupid." It's okay, family, I know. Now I know. I maintain that if I had not stopped the heart of the great beast, I would never have gotten to know what I have learned in this miraculous process. I maintain that it was meant to happen.

Stage Four, upcoming. Stay tuned.