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I'm sitting here looking at my hand and I can see al the lines. not just the bigger palm lines but all the little palm print and finger print lines as well. Why can I see them so well. Because they are stained with a good amount of non-specific automotive grease. Non-specific because I couldn't tell you if it came from the transmission or the CV joints or the wheel bearings or the oil pressure sending units. If all that sounds scary, it is. Friday night on my way down to the farm, I'd gotten past all the flood zones and went to downshift into a curve and found my transmission had locked in 4th gear. I was about 10 miles from home so I was hoping it would hold together long enough to get me to Rushville at least. From there I could walk the rest of the 2.5 miles or get a ride from a friend. The transmission was making a terrible noise and I could smell it as well. Well luck was not with me apparently because I passed a State cop who was parked in the weeds alongside the road. I wasn't going over the speed limit but he found something to pull me for anyway. The blue lights came on and I tried to pull off as far as I could without going in the ditch which was flooded as well. I shut off the engine and figured that was it. 7 miles from home and I'll be walking the rest of the way to town. He asked me if I knew why he'd pulled me over.

That always kills me. Like I'd have been doing whatever it was I was doing if I thought getting pulled over was even a remote possibility. Rather than copping an attitude though I acted all innocent which for once was not really an act. "No sir" I said quite honestly.

Well apparently the tranny getting jammed caused the reverse light to come on and stay on. He said it looked like I had headlights mounted on the rear of the car. I guess I was convincing enough in my ignorance and he didn't write me a ticket, just a warning. Of course now I had to try to get a very high geared car going in 4th gear from a dead stop. Not a fun thing. On a high geared 5 speed transmission, 3rd is about the highest gear you can hope to start out in and that is pushing it. But I figured I was pretty well screwed anyway so a little burnt clutch was not going to kill me, seeing as I'd put a brand new clutch in not 1.5 months ago. I revved it up high and rode the clutch for all it was worth and managed to get it in motion but not only could I smell the clutch burning, I could see the smoke.

Luckily the cop did not follow me and I managed to make Rushville and cruise through all the stop signs. Of course then a city cop nailed me just the other side of town and pulled me over into the parking lot of the Shell station. Thankfully, I was now only 2 miles from the farm. You'd have thought all the cops would have been listening on the scanners and know I was coming so they didn't pull me over. I guess this one was busy getting a donut at the Quick Stop or something when the call came through.

He doesn't even make my door before I cut him short by telling him one of his brother officers already got me. Then he goes "Can you smell that smell? What the hell is that?" I about got smart and said "That's my clutch burning up Sherlock!" but decided caution was the better option and just told him my transmission was about to fall out of the car. He was actually pretty nice and asked me if I thought I would make it home and I told him as close as I was it didn't matter because I could walk from there if needs be. Miraculously, I was able to get the tranny out of 4th and into 2nd at that point and had to drive 2 miles at 30 mph in 2nd but at least I didn't need a tow.

My folks were there, having just got in from a trip to Minneapolis for the week. They were only passing through for the weekend rather than their usual 1 month visit. I knew Dad and I would have tow days of mowing and trimming to do since it was supposed to be nice Sat and Sunday for the first weekend in five weeks. You could lose a small child in my front yard, the grass was so tall.

Dad wasn't happy to hear about my car dilemma but there was nothing to be done at 11 pm so we just sat around and visited for a couple hours and went to bed. Next day I had dad run me up to NAPA to get some gear oil because I was pretty sure I had none left in the tranny, I figured if I could get some oil in it and get it out of gear I could at least let it idle and listen to it to determine the problem. That part worked at least. In idle and neutral there was a pretty ugly clattering sound going on in the general area of the clutch assembly. Not wanting to waste a day pulling a transmission out of the car, we parked it out of the way and worked on the yard and barnyard until late afternoon. Deb showed up, having driven herself down. She and Mom went to a baby shower for Gwen. Around 6:30 we drove over to Beardstown and met My uncles Frank and Lee and aunts Kay and Donna and went to dinner at the Elk's lodge. It was nice because my cousins Mike and Marty showed up and I'd not seen them since they moved back here from Phoenix this winter. Mike was living in town temporarily since his house in the country is right next to one of the Meredosia levees on the Illinois River which they expect to break when the river crests tomorrow. Levees on the Spoon and Sangamon rivers have already broken last week and they are calling for people all over my part of the state to go fill sand bags. It could be as bad as the floods of 93 and 95 if we don't get a break in the weather soon.

After dinner we went home and dad showed off his new gun get got at Cabellas. It's a black powder replica of a 50 caliber buffalo gun. Not a rifle but a very long barreled pistol. You wouldn't want to have to try and draw this thing out of a holster with any speed. It weighs 10 pounds and has a 12 inch barrel. Still it's a nice display piece even if he never fires it.

Sunday, Deb left just after breakfast to head back to Peoria and work. Dad and I decided I should pull the transmission out to see if the clutch was damaged. It only took me 4 greasy hours to get it all apart. The clutch was burned some but still usable. So now we know it is the transmission. I won't even try to repair it myself so I'm looking at options now. Just too many parts in a transmission to get damaged while trying to repair something else. A good used one or reconditioned model will cost me $600. I don't even want to know what a new one will cost. In any event $600 is about what the whole car is worth so I may be SOL all the way around. I'm checking junkyards for used ones now and looking into possibly having it rebuilt by a mechanic friend. Or it may just be time for a new car. I really wanted to get 300,000 miles out of this car but it may just have to stay dead at 258,000 miles. Still that's a lot of mile to get out of one transmission so I'm not all that unhappy about it.

Sunday night the folks and I went over to Dad's sister's house in Camp Point for dinner. Hamburgers and butterfly chops on the grill. Fresh salad and green beans and fruit salad and chocolate pie and home made oatmeal raisin cookies. Mmmmmmm. Dad's other sister from California made it in with her hubby so may dad had both his remaining sisters with him. He was happy, you could tell.

My cousin Pam and her husband John and I slipped out early to watch the Survivor finale on TV. Right afterward, me and the folks took off for the farm. Then I took the truck and drove back to the city late. The folks left this morning but they'll be back for a long visit at the end of June. Dad and I actually got along very well this time. It's the long visits that are a strain on our ability to be nice to one another but we are getting better over time I guess.

Back to the grind here at work this week. I've got until June 14 to finish this project then when cuddles and the lovely miss purrrgatori come out, I'm going to take some time off. I'll need it by then.




( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2002 04:33 pm (UTC)
Yikes. I hope my car never does that to me or I really will be SOL. My car repair skillz are limited to put gas in tank and air in tires. I'd like to add change oil to that repertoire but that depends on when my dad figures it's been six months since my last oil change.

I was not aware butterflys had any chops. They don't look like they'd be big enough to be worthwhile. *ducks and runs*
May. 20th, 2002 04:38 pm (UTC)
"throws a wad of paper and tape that sticks in your hair and makes a mess*

Everyone should know how to change oil. It's not hard and saves lots of money. Truth is, I probably could reapir my own transmission but at his point I don't know if I'm getting something new or not. If I do, I may chance trying to fix it myself. But the prospect of fucking something up worse than it already is, ain't too comforting right now.


May. 20th, 2002 04:52 pm (UTC)
I figure all I need is an oil pan and a jack and I'll be set once I get the basic knowledge. I already have the blatant disregard for personal safety, so getting under a two-ton or so car shouldn't be too much of a problem. Oh, and a wrench.

I will also disregard your sticky tapey paper. Ha-HA! Unbeknownst to you but knownst to me I was going to get my hair cut tomorrow anyway!
May. 20th, 2002 05:00 pm (UTC)
Oil pan, jack, oil filter wrench. Let car run for a bit to heat oil so it's nice and viscous (like that word). Shut car off. Jack it up slightly. Lay on your back and loosen oil plug on oil pan while trying to avoid getting oil all over yourself. Slide collection pan underneath and remove plug, again avoiding getting stream of warm oild all over yourself. While oil is draining, take filter wrench and remove filter. Get out new filter and apply thin ring of oil to rubber gasket so it makes a good seal. Screw in filter finger tight and use filter wrench to tighten it 1/4 turn past finger tight. After all oil is drained out, replace oil plug and tighten. Let car down off jack. Open oil cap and dump in reccomended amount of oil for you car. Drive it around a bit. Park it and let it cool and check oil level. Add more if needed. Takes no more than a half hour.

Wander who is plotting some way of throwing something sticky at you new hairstyle

May. 20th, 2002 05:04 pm (UTC)
Same hairstyle just trimmed. It's time for my yearly trimmin'. And yes, I do forget about getting a haircut for that long.
May. 20th, 2002 05:06 pm (UTC)
I can't. My bangs get really wavy after two month or so. The back I just let grow though.


May. 20th, 2002 05:10 pm (UTC)
I cut my bangs myself every month. It's not that I can't see, it's that they start rubbing my cheekbones and that tickles.

*throws something sticky at your hair*
May. 20th, 2002 05:16 pm (UTC)
All I need is something stick in my hair. It's curly enough it gets tangled all on it's own. Good thin I regenerate quickly.


May. 20th, 2002 05:19 pm (UTC)
With the humidity rising and falling like it's been lately I've been in perma-frizz mode. Like I need the extra thickness. Fortunately I have ultra-strength conditioner for Just Such an Occasion.

*throws sticky things at random objects*
May. 20th, 2002 05:27 pm (UTC)
Deb, my mom and my aunt all felt the need to remove my pony tail holder and play with my hair at dinner the other night. I'm like "What am I some little kid whose hair you have to play with. leave it well enough alone." No idea why people feel the need to touch my hair constantly.


May. 20th, 2002 05:32 pm (UTC)
I had a six-month old attached to my hair Saturday. Kid's got a good grip. That'll larn me.

I lost my ponytail holders (I thought) during the move so I got some El Cheapo holders from the $1 store. So far only one has snapped on me.
May. 20th, 2002 05:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's not like ponytail holder making is brain surgery or anything. They should be cheap. We lose all ours to the cats. No need for cat toys with pony rings about.


May. 21st, 2002 09:23 am (UTC)
Or grow a spider plant. The new plants make great toys for cats. I've been picking up shredded leaves all day to prove it.
May. 20th, 2002 07:02 pm (UTC)
We are both very much looking forward to this trip! Please feel free to e-mail us pictures of the farm for which to tease us!!

May. 21st, 2002 07:55 am (UTC)
I'll post them so I can tease everyone.


May. 20th, 2002 08:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah and if there's anything you want us to bring up just let us know.


May. 21st, 2002 07:54 am (UTC)
A mistress? Not The Mystrys...not that she would be a bad thing. No for right now all I can think of is bring yourselves and ahve a good time.

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
Bear Dancer Studios

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