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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Extra Bummer to the Bummer Day

got up this morning, bright and nasty early, (remember i'm an insomniac that works the night shift in a restaurant) and went to the parts store to get a new battery.

50 bucks. got 4 bucks back with the trade-in.

Guy in the parts store told me to bring the truck by the store after i put the new battery in to test the alternator, and see if that might be the root of the problem.

one thing before the story continues...i have known this guy that works at the parts store for many years. he wouldn't try to screw me for parts i didn't need.

anyway, he hooked the doo-hickey up to the battery, measured the output, i started the motor, and he shook his head.

one hundred and sixty-four bucks later, i walked out with a brand-new remanufactured alternator. i'll get 44 bucks back when i bring the core back to the parts store.

i'll put it in tomorrow, or maybe the day after. i already replaced the original alternator about 5 years ago (with help!), was guaranteed for 3 years, and i found that left-handed people like myself are at a disadvantage when trying to repair anything on a small motor that wasn't built more than 30 years ago.

fortunately for me, my step-dad, who is a lot more knowledgeable about mechanics than i am, is right-handed, and can not only get to the one bolt that is necessary to remove the alternator, but has the strength with that right hand to break the bolt loose from the after-effects of the salt air that is a by-product of the beautiful place where i choose to live.

and you might ask, "why would somebody go through all this trouble to fix an ugly, rusty, beat-up little pickup truck that moehawk bought in '99 for 200 bucks?"

well, because it has never stranded me farther than i could walk to my home from, and everything that went wrong with it (besides a clutch rebuild that needed to be done before i bought it ) i could do myself, or at least with the help of a strong right-hand man.

(thanks again, Harold!)

and i have driven the heck out of it, to San Francisco and back for baseball games, to Santa Rosa and back to visit family, and Sacramento and back twice to visit a friend in the hospital that i thought i might never see alive again after a horrible car accident.

that last one, has something to do with my screen name.

maybe i'll tell y'all about it sometime, when i'm ready. (don't worry, it does have a happy ending)

on the way home from the second trip to Sac, the hydraulic clutch slave cylinder went south on me, but the faithful little truck got me home in 3rd and 4th gear, stop signs be damned, and me, the chef (not a mechanic, but also not a dipsh*t), was able to replace the broken part once i got home. only took me 7 hours...most of that time was trying to loosen a connection in the hydraulic system that just wouldn't let go....

so, anyways, a truck that has been that good to me (especially for 200 bucks 6 years ago) that needs a new battery and alternator, i'll pay the money, do the work and give kudos to the right-handed folks that help me, and drive that little ugly beat-up truck until it dies.

and when it does finally die, i will mourn. not as i would mourn a flesh-and-blood friend, but i will judge all other pickups in the future against the standard that my little truck created.