Friday, October 18, 2013

Bought a Truck

Bought a “previously owned” we used to call em’ “used” vehicle the other day, a Ford 150 truck it is. I understand the term “previously owned”, but really it comes down to how the thing smells when you get in it and maybe a little bit about miles per gallon. A “previously owned” vehicle can tell you a lot about the previous owner. Did they smoke in it? Did they leave McDonalds’ wrappers and such in the floorboard? Did it ever haul large sweaty dogs? Stuff like that. We, the wife and I, took a ride in it with the salesman and it rode as smooth as Southern Comfort and she was smiling so I figured she’d loan me the money to buy it. When I get a loan from the wife I pay no interest, which is nice.

So I brought the thing home.  It smelled new, even though it was three years old, so I figured if the previous owner had hauled dogs they were small. Small dogs don’t stink up a vehicle like big dogs because they don’t sweat as much or drool. It is a white truck. My wife likes white because it doesn’t show dirt. She doesn’t like riding around in a dirty vehicle unless she’s been to a flea market on a rainy day. After a few weeks and a wash and wax I decided it was time to take it out for a spin. It came with Sirius radio and I liked that. It had hundreds of channels of crap to choose from, everything from girls talking dirty 24/7 (only listened to that for a few miles) to all manner of preachers telling me it was their way or the highway to hell way. I assumed they were driving Ascenders or maybe a Diablo if they “ministered” to the needy on television. 

Sirius went away after about a month and I guess that was a good thing. But, my phone still works! Used to, when my wife would call, the darn thing rang in the truck and shut off the 24/7 girls (only listened to that for a few miles) and that was, to say the least, distracting. So the truck and I took a drive.  We rode toward Dublin, Ga. because I knew the way and the thing had everything on it but a GPS. I don’t particularly care for that woman’s voice anyway, reminds me of Natasha on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. About ten miles outside town I looked at the dashboard and noticed a sign that said, “14 mpg”. I thought that’s about what my lawnmower must get circling the front yard.  Well, it’s darn near fifty miles to Dublin from where I was at, at the time and the gas gage said, “You’d better look for a gas station”.

I thought I might be able to make it to Irwinton, fifteen or so miles away so, with sweat trickling down my cheeks,  I paid more attention to the dashboard than the road and drove on with “14 mpg” and “look for a gas station” staring me in the face. It was then I decided I would “man up”, a term my dad would use whenever I refused to take the fish off the hook, and find out just how far this Ford truck could go at “14 mpg”. I put the thing on cruise control. I made it to Irwinton, but not without paying a price. I became obsessed with the “14 mpg” sign, determined to bring it up at least a few miles per gallon. For the next few months I mostly coasted in the thing and the “14 mpg” sign slowly came up to 15 and 16. Once a sign came on replacing my “14 mpg” sign saying, “You need oil change” and I panicked thinking I might not ever see my “14 mpg” sign again.

But, pushing another button while coasting somewhere near Macon, got rid of the oil change sign. Today I’m happy to report my “14 mpg” sign now reads 19.1 mpg. If I don’t drive anywhere I’m hopeful it will stay at that number, making it possible for me to brag to anyone who will listen about the fact that yes, my Ford truck gets 19.1 mpg…on coast and sitting in the driveway with the engine off.  

A Blessed Event

We are about to embark on a journey in this house that will be interesting, life altering and probably mind numbing.  A grandchild, the offspring of my daughter and the man she married and the first new person to enter the “fray” around here in almost thirty years will arrive near the end of February. We have some adjusting to do as the child will be born nearby and brought into this house shortly thereafter for a time. The length of “the visit” is known only to God, as is the knowledge as to whether or not the older people currently living here will survive the experience. This house is almost paid for and we could move to a retirement home if needs be but getting along with old people is about as difficult as placating a person who wakes up at three AM to eat.  

So we’re making tiny adjustments here and there to make things work. For instance, we’re in the process of making a small house larger without actually adding on. Something that by definition cannot be done but nevertheless will be done and something tells me that my space (not the web thing) is about to shrink. Furniture is leaving daily on the pickup truck, going who knows where, but hopefully there’s a tax write off in here somewhere. Things we never thought we could live without we’ve discovered…we can. There’s also the three dogs to consider and well, the poor things have no idea what’s soon to befall them. Months away from the event we’re hearing, “those dogs had better not wake the baby!” How can three dogs that sleep all day wake anything up? I’m worried about the baby waking them.  

We will not know the sex of the child for another few weeks so the painter, that would be me, has no idea what color to paint his former “man cave”. We could go with something neutral but I’m not taking any chances, if you get my drift. Life is hard enough. And what about the “man cave”?  That bastion of  solitude dedicated to me, and invented by my wife in an effort to get me out of the area of the house where so-called “respectable” people congregate. Designed with privacy in mind, I can wear what I want or nothing at all in the “man cave”. Towels and bathrobes are my favorites. It’s also understood that when I go to the “man cave” the dogs go with me. They like that because I do not require them to wear their doggie diapers. We can all have a great time scratching and doing what dogs do.

The “man cave” is a recent phenomenon. My grandfather didn’t have nor need one. He didn’t need one because the entire house was his “cave”. This included one bathroom, two bedrooms downstairs and two up and a living/dining room with one television and three channels. ” If you didn’t want to see Sugar Ray Robinson or Archie Moore beat the fool out of somebody on Friday Night Fights you could go to the kitchen and listen to “Gunsmoke” on the radio.  He smoked Fatima cigarettes, lit them with a long stem, sulphur, strike anywhere match and struck that match anywhere he pleased because the house was his, you know. And using the inside bathroom in his “cave” was a privilege so if you found yourself in there when he needed it you had about thirty seconds to take care of business. We all learned to “hold it” until he went to bed. I wonder how he would think of me now, grandfather to be, cowering in the back with three dogs and a towel. Best not think of that now.

Besides, that place will soon join the other things no longer in my life like combs, push mowers, motorcycles and red meat. Sterling Hayden (the actor) wrote a book years ago called “Wanderer”. It was an autobiography that included his love of the sea and his hatred of the Hollywood scene. I suppose I’ll just be the “wanderer” around the house, me and the dogs. Maybe I should take a picture of us and put it on the mantle entitled, “In Remembrance”.