It's 3:30 fucking AM and I am not asleep. Instead, I am sitting up in bed with my companion - some dude who never speaks but carries this big old-fashioned sickle and wears a smelly old robe with a hood that hides his/her/its face.
I can't sleep because I can't breath. I can't breath because all of the normally open parts of my head are now full of green slime that insists on leaking out whenever I am just about to drop off. And, we are out of Kleenex. Fuck. Paper towels are just not the same.
I am a lousy patient. I grumble and am crabby with those around me - especially the ones who passed this lovely little piece of biological warfare along. I want to climb into a hole and drink hot toddies until it is all over. But since there are only two humans involved in this domestic equation and only one of them is an adult with a drivers license, I have to shamble through the day leaking and mumbling and saying "fuck" a lot. Fuck.
I knew this was going to happen last week when my son, who was cleaning up after dinner, said "I think I'm getting sick." Fuck. He then proceeded to sniffle, snort, sneeze, and the next day complained every which way from Sunday that he should not have to go to school in this condition. I was sympathetic but told him that he was going to school and that was that. He said, "Fuck."
Once he was out the door, I did some cleaning of my own, walked the Wonder Dawg (who appears to be feeling much better, BTW, and has stopped trying to amputate her front legs at the shoulder using her hide feet to scrape holes in her arm pits - yea) one last time, and hopped in the car for my weekly jaunt to the unsold southern estate.
This last weekend was an unusually busy time for me as I uncharacteristically had two lunches scheduled and two evening dates on my calendar which left precious little time for wandering around the house naked, scratching all of the parts that itched, and saying "fuck" a lot as I looked at all of the stuff left that I have not yet packed and moved into storage, which is mostly everything. Fuck.
The first evening date was a fundraiser for an organization that I have supported for most of my adult life. I took place in the huge and very nice house of a well known business person and philanthropist right on the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. I decided to drive the White Whale down to the event because it mostly sits these days and needs to get out on the road on a semi regular basis to get the battery charged back up and to move the fluids around so the seals don't dry up. Plus it was still clean from the previous weeks jaunt up to the car show in Osceola. See below.
Fuck. When I stuck this picture in, all of the text above turned into some kind of link and now I can't get rid of the underlined format. Fuck.
So anyway, I decided to drive the wagon down to the event even though the Prius would have been more politically correct because it was that kind of group, but the Prius was covered in detonated bugs and I needed a change of pace. So off I went on a beautiful Friday night to see how some of the rich and famous live, give them a check for a good cause, drink a bit of red wine and nosh on fancy finger food served by not so rich and famous out of work actors in white shirts and black pants. The whole thing went smashingly. I didn't dump my wine down my front or anyone elses, I didn't knock any old ladies over, I managed to not get in conversations with any old girlfriends whom I didn't recall in the slightest thereby leading to an uncomfortable and awkward evening. And the event was capped off by the appearance of a local celebrity who is known for his weekly radio shows about a little town on the prairie where "All the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."
By the end of his comments, I was ready to go. The temperatures inside the house had been steadily rising as the pace of the rhetoric increased and I was now feeling small rivers of sweat streaming down my sides and was thinking that this was going to shortly ruin my facade as a sort of blue jeaned bon vivant and I therefore edged my way through the crowd and out the door at the earliest opportunity.
The night was still beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky. The streets full of people having a good time. The walks along the river crowded with bikers, skaters, joggers, doggers, and probably a few muggers as well. I ambled along up the street to where I had left the Whale and as it hove into view around a curve in the road, I was suddenly struck with chilled blade that went straight to my heart - for emanating from under the Whale was a slick of fluid in the street about two car lengths long. Fuck.
Of course, it could be overflow from a recent lawn sprinkling, but I didn't think so. My worst fears were confirmed upon reaching the car and crouching down to peer underneath. It appeared that the Whale had moved its fluids a bit more that I would have wished. Fuck.
I unlocked the car, tossed in my sport coat, popped open the hood and looked for the culprit. It took me all of ten seconds to find it.
I think I wrote a bit ago about going down to the southwest corner of the metro area to meet up with some old friends from my previous employment. No sooner had I arrived at the corner of the street where we were to meet when all hell broke loose. My dash warning lights all lit up and I noticed steam emanating from under the hood accompanied by the strong smell of hot anti-freeze.
That night, I wound up flat bedding the car home to the tune of a couple hundred bucks only to find that nothing was broken but rather one of the cooling hoses had slipped off of a plastic T-connector on the back side of the engine block. A bit of work with a screw driver and a hose clamp and all was good to go.
Fast forward to the present and you would have seen me peering into the dark recesses behind the still very hot engine just barely able to make out the black plastic T-fitting and the two black rubber hoses that connect to it in the dark recess behind the engine. One of the hoses had come off. Fuck.
Now, this is an easy problem to fix if you happen to have a long screw driver or a quarter inch ratchet drive, a 5/16" inch socket (the hose clamps were from NAPA), and about 14 inches of extensions. And a cold engine because in order to get your hands on these hoses you need to contort yourself in a serious way to reach down between the engine and the firewall in the midst of a very crowded area full of wires, hoses, fittings, and other delicate things that shouldn't be nudged or stretched, or disrupted in any way. Because of the location of the T-fitting, this operation proves to be almost impossible without resting your forearms on top of the engine valve cover at its rearmost end. Did I mention that the engine was still quite hot? Fuck.
Well, I didn't have much choice in this unless I wanted to drop another couple of bills (not) and flatbed the pig home. So, in my chic finery (clean blue jeans and a black long-sleeved T) I proceeded to attempt to reconnect the errant hose to its proper place without either falling forward into the engine compartment or giving myself third degree burns on each forearm.
I could just 'manage to get my hands on both the T-fitting and the bad boy hose, but I had no leverage to jam them together. In any event, I had to be careful that my efforts to reconnect one hose did not dislodge its partner in crime or disrupt any of a hundred other sensitive connections that could render four thousand pounds of roaring fury into a completely inert lump of useless metal.
After several minutes of this where passers by (the same crowd I had been hobnobbing with just minutes ago) saw only the butt of my jeans extending out from under the hood accompanied by lots of "fuck," "gawd damn it," and "shit that's hot," I eased myself out from under the hood, tried to regain an upright posture, looked down at my now grease covered forearms with a couple of red stripes branded into them and realized that I needed to go back to the party and attempt to beg a screwdriver and a pitcher of water off the host. Fuck.
Well, that's just what I did. It's amazing how fast the upper crust sea will part when confronted by a pair of black and bleeding arms. The host was very nice and immediately supplied me with a large pitcher of water and two different screw drivers. I went back to the car and repeated all of the previously described maneuvers only this time I was able to loosen the hose clamp before attempting to reinsert it over the T-fitting. It took several attempts before things again appeared secure. I then proceeded to fill the now empty coolant reservoir with regular tap water thereby disobeying generations of automotive mechanic's advice to only use the proper mixture of DISTILLED water and anti-freeze when topping off the coolant reservoir. Fuck that.
There were a couple of test engine starts to see if all held together and to get the fluids circulating again to see if more BAD water was required (it was and this time I took it straight from the outside hose). Finally, I trudged back to the mansion more grease stained and burned than before and before anyone could stop me, I made a bee-line for the kitchen sink and the dish soap which took care of the greasy part. Once somewhat clean, I went in search of the host to return the screw drivers. He was very gracious and insisted that I have another glass of wine to help me regain my composure. I can see why everyone likes to have him and his wife host events like these.
I then made my way gingerly home with one eye glued to the temperature gauge and the other on the road. The Whale made it without rupturing another artery and I let out a large sigh of relief when I was in my own garage and was able to turn the ignition off.