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November 13, 2005 - Sunday, 9:49 a.m.
What a beautiful morning. I was up by about 7:00. A friend of mine was down from Lafayette last night and today. She is here for a Toastmasters conference. She hadnít originally planned to come on Friday so only had hotel reservations for Saturday night. I picked her up at the conference last night about 9:30 and then we visited until nearly 1 am. This morning sheíll spend time at her conference and then Iíll pick her up before noon and we are off to Lynnís for the Holy Day today. Weíll be back in the early evening and I am going to go with her this evening for Humorous Speech presentations/speeches. It should be entertaining.
I was VERY industrious this morning; I changed the brake pads on my Saturn. That was the first time for this car. I am surprised by the fact that no matter what make of car you change the front brakes pads on, they are the same. I can not believe that anyone would pay $150 to have that done. Itís so easy, and only takes about a half hour. When the boys were young I had a car that had bad rotors. They would just grind up the brake pads in a very short time. I was delivering pizza, so I was really putting the miles on the car. I changed more brake pads on that car then all the rest of my cars put together. Sometimes it was every other month.
I officially started to learn to drive when I was 15 and Ĺ. We had a standard transmission in the car, so were expected to learn on that. It took a while to get use to the clutch and there were many embarrassing stalls at lights when I dropped the clutch unintentionally. Eventually I got the hang of it. My father felt that learning how to drive included learning how to take care of the car.
Our first lesson was changing tires. My father was very ingenious; I suppose it was that engineerís mind at work. He had five daughters and none of us would ever have the upper body strength to change a tire with brut strength. So he taught us to get the lug wrench on the lug nuts and stand on the end of it to loosen the bolts before we jacked up the car. He told us, the first thing to do was to slip that tire off the wheel and slide it under the axle of the car. This was to assure that the car would never get knocked off the jack and land on the rotor or us! When putting the tire back on weíd tighten the lug nuts as best we could and then take the car off the jack. Then again weíd stand on the lug wrench to tighten them. He was careful to explain just how we should go about a quarter turn after it was tight enough to hold us up.
He taught us to change the oil. Then as things went wrong on the car, we were expected to come and watch to see how he did everything. I learned how to do everything he could think of. Iím not sure how much my sisters really got into this, but it seemed important to me. He taught me how to drive a car if the clutch cable broke, who knew that you could shift a car without a clutch? I always drove Hondaís and the early Civic seemed to have a problem with the mechanical thermostats that mechanically open and close a path from the radar to the engine block to keep the engine at the right temperature. They work on a principle of contracting metal when the temperature got to a certain point. I learned how to remove that thermostat, how to drop it in a pan of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. If the thermostat didnít open, you knew it was bad. He told us that we could drive the car without the thermostat if the thermostat ceased up. I took many out on the road when weíd find that car overheating. My boys were young then. I learned that basically anything that I could figure out how to remove I could replace. Alternators, spark plugs, air filters, etc. I learned how to use my foot and leg muscles to loosen nuts on bolts. Iíve saved a considerable amount of money over the years, thanks to my Dad.
I was an inquisitive kid. I followed my father everywhere when I was young. He was always a fix-it guy and I always wanted to watch to see how he did stuff. As kids we always want to hammer nails to help. My dad got a four by four about 2 feet long. Heíd give us a handful of nails and told us that as soon as we could pound them in without bending them over we could help. I think that wood had a nail in every available spot by the time we grew up. Though I didnít get to help much, he would always explain what he was doing and what safety precautions to take. I sat at the peak of the roof when my dad re-shingled it. He taught me how to use a blow torch and I helped scrape paint off the clapboard siding on our house at 11. Over the years of my life I learned how to replace a light switch and a power outlet. I even did the wiring in my basement when we did a remodel on it about 15 years ago.
Heís always been there for me.
I thought a lot about my Dad yesterday when I started writing this. I really need to write down the story of his life, perhaps in the next few days.
In the last couple of weeks Iíve been digging through boxes looking for something for my mother. Iíve come across SO much stuff. I found the journal I kept on our trip to California when I was 15, correspondence, and tons of journaling Iíve done over the years. I donít know what to do with all of it, but keep it. I have all the correspondence between my parent and us for the years they lived in Israel. I have all the correspondence from when Justin was in India. I have all the journals from the time I was about 9 on!! Gah!! I keep too much stuff, but I canít part with any of it. Itís my life.
Homework is on the agenda for today. Ugh!! The house is cold. Itís 37 outside and I donít think the furnace is on andÖ oh yahÖ the window is open. :o) I just got up and closed THAT. A hot bath is sounding lovely.
Iím off to try to accomplish something today.