Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Fix

I've been fixing things: the bird house, almost beyond my repair, the roof worn into sky, the perch disintegrating somewhere in garden soil. More air than wood, really, but I forced some screws to join what remained, instantly handy with the cordless drill. 

The back gate (again, the wood given way to more air than tree fiber). Now it doesn't hang askew, doesn't droop on one side into a frown. Mossed, lichened, host to any number of microscopic organisms; if only I could see them all, could record their names (in Latin!) in a tiny notebook in precise handwriting, to remember.

The old grape vines support the fence; the old fence supports the grape vines. All of it, a system that holds together enough to go another year, and hopefully one, two more beyond that. The lattice that sufficed for fence boards now re-imagined into a structure on which my sweet peas will, hopefully, climb.

But my car, well, that reliable cordless drill is not good when it comes to that kind of machinery. Dark smoke billowing from the exhaust, off and on, into the shop once and no results. Months passed, anxiety festered.  The smoke got bigger, lingered, billowed in my mind to the size of thunderheads. Googling "smoke from exhaust" only amped up the worry. Speculation from my sons. Worst-case-scenario became most-probable-explanation.


Finally, yesterday, I womanned-up and brought it back to the mechanic. Walked the two miles to work from the shop. Dithered, tossed around price tags in the thousands. What if the engine was shot? What could I sell to get a new (used) car? Could I get along without a car? (No.) Would it be worth it to rebuild the engine? How much was too much? On and on.

But a reprieve, from the revving engines of anxiety, in a repair for under a thousand $, and everything else checked out Just Fine. I can't remember when I did a jig for a $700 car repair bill, but yesterday afternoon I was high-stepping to some reggae. (Can one high-step to reggae?)

Next on the list is the listing house foundation, a nasty job under the deck of digging (and putting in drainage tiles) à la Welsh miners c. 1900. This — yes this! — makes those years of child-raising all the more worthwhile. I don't look forward to the mess, and my sons are in denial that this will be their summer occupation (incarceration?).

Ah, my dear sons. If only a Makita cordless drill was all you needed to bolster up the world.


  1. Black smoke usually means that oil is getting into somewhere it shouldn't be; but I suppose you know that. What about a scooter/moped/bike? For essential longer journeys a car can always be rented for the day/week; much cheaper than owning one. Good luck.

  2. Hate to be Debbie Downer, but we all know what happened when I resorted to a scooter: shatter leg and several surgeries. It's not YOU, it's the car drivers who don't watch out for you. Don't. Go. There.

    It's always something, isn't it? If it's not one thing it's another. Either you have spinach in your teeth or toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Oh. Wait. That's Roseannadanna.

    Anywhoo...good job keeping things together, as it were. The Cuban people would salute your industriousness.