Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This Weeks' Chapter In The Car Saga...

Ever had one of those days?

Here was yesterday for my husband J.:

Thankfully, other than being banged up and sore, he seems OK so far. The truck, on the other hand, seems totaled. We'll know more when they drag the poor thing off to the repair shop. This is what happened when some guy driving in the far right lane suddenly realizes that he's going to miss the left hand turn lane he needs, and cuts off people in order to get there, rather than continue on past it and turn around. I swear some people think the road only runs in one direction. So after this guy--who was, by the way, driving a transport service van full of handicapped kids--cut off my husband, my husband broadsided a woman in a car. He blacked out for a moment and came to with an airbag in his face. That's all he knows right now, but the woman unfortunately had to go to the hospital. We'll have to try and find out what her condition is, if she is in the hospital I would very much like to send her some flowers...being in there at all is bad, being in there for Thanksgiving is gonna suck.

The truck has a nice 'S' wave to it when you look at it head-on, but heck, at least the diamond-plate toolbox in the back still closes...of course, the capper is that the truck didn't have a dent or ding on it, and we'd just gotten it paid off. I had to prepare N. a bit before we got home from school yesterday, she was very sad that the truck was ruined (but very glad her daddy was OK) and seemed to gain a bit of appreciation for how much damage cars can do.

As I look across the dinner table this Thursday at my family safe and sound, I know what I'LL be thankful for.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

She's Coming Into Focus!

 NOW--! Here she is with the new top!

After 6 days at the shop, Ruby is home with a beautiful new top! Since nothing is ever simple--especially with old cars--once my mechanic had taken the old top off, a new set of hitherto unknown problems surfaced. The wooden (yeeeeees, wooden) tack strip that the top attaches to above the back window was crumbling and needed to be repaired, the top pads that protect the top from rubbing against the metal frame were shot, and the metal frame for the top was rusting in spots and needed scraping and repainting. Since I don't intend to do this anytime again soon, NOW was the time to get it all done in one fell swoop.

My mechanic said he hadn't done a convertible top in many years but he was game if I was, so I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, crossed my fingers and said, "Go ahead...". He and his three other guys swarmed all over the thing for 6 days and did a beautiful job. He did call me down to show me the newly discovered problems partway through, and it is really disconcerting to see your car taken so completely apart--no seats, no top, no convertible frame.

It was also discovered that the hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the top needed possible rebuilding. We were unsure of it's condition because it had sat for so long without hydraulic fluid in it and the seals had dried out. Once he got it back together and refilled, I discovered that it was working perfectly, and I got to drive around with THE TOP DOWN! The car was turning heads again, this time for all the right reasons.

For about a week.

Then...well, things started to get hiccupy and reluctant. The last time we put the top down we very nearly didn't get it raised again, and then only with J. manhandling it into position while I held down the control button. So for now the top is up to stay, until I can save the money to have the top motor rebuilt. *sigh* It's always something...at least we found a place up in San Gabriel to rebuild the motor.

N. loves to ride in it and is constantly asking for the top down, and to her the best part was when we went for a drive just after dark one warm evening...the breeze, the lights--it was just magic for her. She has also taken a liking to my George Harrison tape and keeps asking to hear 'Blow Away' over and over again.

So next will be the top motor rebuild, then paint--I'm pretty sure Ruby will return to her original Marine blue color--then upholstery and carpet. This is going to stretch out for a while, since all of these cost serious money, except for the carpet which curiously enough is only going to run about $135.00 and is readily available. Plus the carpet is easy to install and can be done by us in an hour or two without major disassembly of the car.

I can't beleive what a boost being able to put the top down on the car again has given me. It reminded me once again of why I bought the car in the first place, that instant falling-in-love feeling. I know it's dorky but I can't help it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Here's a couple of pics from yesterday:

My costume--

I walked slowly alongside my daughter as she trick-or-treated in her costume ('Dash' from The Incredibles) and waited until people noticed me--always with a big, creeped-out jump backwards and a yell--then I'd ask if they had any Visine. It always got a laugh, but towards the end of the evening N. chided me because she was tired or hearing the same lame joke. Or I'd tell people I was just along to keep an 'eye' on my kid...

Here's part of the house, pity the nighttime pictures didn't come out, there were black lights, spooky music and a fog machine going--

 The eyeballs and my mask, by the way, are plastic bowls from the party store. The ones on the roof were lit from behind with two small mismatched table lamps I picked up at the thrift store for a couple of dollars each. So the lighted eyeballs on the roof worked out really well for such a cheap prop!

Here is the guy we sat on the front lawn at a table--

I'm not sure how many people got the joke that he had expired trying to complete 'The World's Most Difficult Jigsaw Puzzle', but oh, well! I used J.'s clothing stuffed with newspaper and several other thrift store finds; a rubber skull mask, blue fright wig and rubber rats.

I also found at the thrift store a creepy battery operated doll that was supposed to 'walk', but when hung by a noose around her neck from the porch she became 'Twitching Tina', kicking legs and all! I told the kids that she was a trick-or-treater from last year that hadn't come in costume, which got a laugh.

A few kids refused to come up the driveway, so we had to go to them to give them their candy. Once we let them play with a rubber rat or two they were fine. N. had a grand time, especially with setting up the yard.

It reminded me vividly of when we were kids, setting up various fun things in OUR yard. We had a ghost on a rope hidden in a tree which Fingle dropped on people, homemade recorded wails, howls, cackles, etc., one of my other sisters hid under a dark gray blanket in the corner of the porch and leaped out at people and strands of black thread hanging from the darkened porch so they would brush against people's faces.

I do so LOVE Halloween. :)