I had a rough start this morning just getting out of bed. My back has been bothering me, and my shoulder started giving me trouble this afternoon. I’m sitting here with coffee and my old friend the TENS unit right now.
I left the house at 7:00 and was on my way to being right on time to work when I took my second major turn, and the truck started shuddering. It didn’t want to pull, and my stomach just sank.
I left on time to be on time. And now, I was late.
We’re getting ready to go on our anniversary weekend trip soon. I do not need to put more money into Bruce right now.
Bruce is my truck. He’s green and temperamental. Marvel fans will get this.
Sometimes you need the right tools to fix a problem. But first, you need to define the problem.
My tool of choice for this situation is the OBDLink MX+. I have had it for a couple of years.
If you ever go to an auto parts store and have them figure out what’s making your check engine light come on, they are using a piece of equipment that does the same thing. This is a simplified version of that equipment that connects to my phone through Bluetooth.
I’ve deciphered more than a few problems with Bruce because of this piece of equipment. Today it was saying that the ignition coil had gone bad. But the ignition coil is only a couple of months old!
It turns out that wasn’t the problem.
It was too early in the morning for something complicated, so we always K.I.S.S.
KISS is an acronym; the letters stand for “Keep it simple, stupid.”.
And simple it was. On the ignition coil is a plug that carries the power to the ignition coil and allows God only knows what to happen in the engine. I can fix stuff on a simple level. I don’t even pretend to understand how the magic happens.
The plug has a small retention clip. This being a twenty-two-year-old truck, that clip had broken. This kept the magic from transferring to the ignition coil, which transforms the magic into something else. I know, pretty technical.
Now, I’m a terrible half mechanic. I don’t always have the right tools with me. My toolbox has work stuff in it. I don’t half mechanic for a living.
What I do, quite effectively, is troubleshoot at life. You can fix most anything just by getting your head to a place where you can think through the problem calmly.
Two fictitious characters from the 80s brought me to this, Hannibal Smith and MacGyver.
Troubleshooting is all about imagination. You have to be able to, and I actually hate this saying, think outside the box.
“Imagination is the most important thing the human mind has.” – MacGyver
I always have three things with me.
1. Duct Tape. Most of life’s problems can be solved by a liberal application of duct tape.
2. A Swiss Army Knife. (Thanks, MacGyver). Incredibly versatile tools that can be found in almost any configuration you want.
3. Zip Ties. I use these a lot at work. Fast and easy to secure a wide variety of things.
The simple fix was to use a zip tie to secure the plug to the ignition coil. Problem solved.
I had called Mags, and Dad had told her he’d come to me when she was dropping off the kids at his house for the day. I told her to have him call our guy with the flatbed before I got my head straight and figured what needed doing.
By the time he’d shown up, I was getting ready to fix it, but since he came, I let him get under the hood. And this was all about respect.
I’ve spent no small part of my life holding the flashlight, getting yelled at while he turned the wrench. But I’ve learned a lot from him. At 72, he’s still a formidable man. Arms like tree trunks and one of the best shade tree mechanics I know. He has forgotten more than I’ll ever learn about an engine.
All of this went down within forty-five minutes. And just like that, I was back on the road.
And that was this morning. It wasn’t the plan, but it was what happened.
A twenty-five-cent zip tie saved me a 150 dollar bill on a flatbed ride.
And at that point, Hannibal Smith steps in.
There’s a plan in everything, kid. And I love it when a plan comes together. – H. Smith
I got to work at 7:30 this morning. And I jumped right in.
I’m not going to let the attitude of the people around me get to me this week. I’m by myself. I’ve got a job to do, and I’m going to knock it out.
Attitude is everything.
Fun things happen during the day. If you aren’t having fun at work, there’s no reason to be in that line of work.
Unless you’re a mortician, no, that wouldn’t be proper. Although I always wondered how morticians keep from smiling, what with all the money they make.
I was in the freezer retrieving a product today and someone left a pallet in front of the door. Freezer doors are thick and the backroom is loud. I resorted to throwing small containers of Häagen-Dazs out the crack in the door until someone noticed them on the floor. It worked.
It wasn’t so bad. It’s extremely hot here.
So, my sick part-timer is going to be out for a while. And as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t do four stores alone, not with the distance between them.
My boss has reached out for help from another district, seeing as much of our district is short-handed as well and he has gotten me help for a day.
I’ll take it. A little help is better than none. I’m grateful.
I’m still going to shoulder most of the work though, slacking back ain’t my style.
Back at it tomorrow morning. Three stores, one hundred and fifty miles on the road.
This isn’t an easy day and if be lying if I said I was looking forward to it.
I always look for knife stores when we’re out anywhere, but especially in the mountains.
I’ve visited the Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Sevierville, TN (that’s pronounced SEVERE-ville, DO NOT get that wrong) and it was a lot to take in. I will most likely make my way there again.
Please don’t get me wrong; I was sufficiently impressed with the place. It was just so big, and good blades can get so expensive, I was a bit overwhelmed.
My favorite knife store in the mountains isn’t the same. The owner retired and sold the store to new proprietors, and I saw and felt the change in the store’s mood when I walked in.
I’ve already had my say with the wife about that. I won’t be bad-mouthing the new owners here. I wish them well.
One of the best places to find some good old steel is second-hand stores, and there are plenty of antique and “junk” stores in the mountains of North Carolina. I use the term junk affectionately. Those are some of my favorite places.
I found this little folder on a table in a new second-hand place that opened in Maggie Valley. A very nice older couple runs it.
I picked the knife up for ten bucks. It was made in the 80s, as far as I can search on the internet. It had a few small chips in the edge, which I figured I could fix on the stone (and I did).
Also, it’s a floral knife for people working with flowers and small plants.
I have never seen a Victorinox single-blade folder like this, so I grabbed it expecting to put it on my shelf.
Once I got it home and sharpened and cleaned up a bit, I decided to make it an EDC for a while. Nice little piece.
Mom and Dad are getting older and have decided to sell their place in the mountains. This has been our vacation place for the past six years.
Logan takes things as they come. It hasn’t bothered her much, although I know in the back of her mind she’ll miss it.
Sam is a bit upset. This is what he has known since he was four. I explained to him that now we’ll widen our travel area. We’ll make it a bigger adventure. And that piqued his interest.
We will still be mountain folk though the beach isn’t for us.
The wife and I aren’t looking forward to the hotel bills. But we’ve already found a small place in the same town that we love (see the post about Route 19 Inn), so you know there are other places out there for us.
Me? I’m wondering where I’m going to get my coffee.
I don’t do coffee shops. You’ll never find me in a Starbucks. I don’t do McCafés or frappés.
Nope. I’ve been going to the same gas station getting my coffee for my #CoffeeByTheCreek posts for the last six years.
I’ve made friends with the old fella that runs the place. He remembers me year after year. “Hello, my friend. It has been two years almost since I saw you last!”
I’ll bet we talked thirty minutes last Friday. I’ll miss that.