Monday, April 30, 2007
Tales Outside The School
Here's an update on that darn car. When we last left HH, he had overheated at #1 son's school, and had to leave his precious Mercedes there overnight, safely parked under a camera in the superintendent's parking spot. The next morning, HH and #1 went back to school, towing a trailer to retrieve the Mercedes.
First of all, you must realize that the trailer was an HH trailer. Oh, it's the kind you haul cars on...not a cut-off bed from an ancient pickup truck. We have three of those. Not that I'm braggin' or anything. But this trailer is one HH bought about 13 years ago for $250. Which tells you right there, it's not exactly top-of-the-line. It's a long, black metal thingy. HH welded two ramps that he carries with him, to drive a car onto the trailer. But according to #1, the tires barely fit the ramps. "The tires squish in, Mom. They're probably going to blow up."
The Veteran met them at the school, which was a good thing, because he had to jump the battery for them to drive the Mercedes onto the trailer. Without the jump, I think HH planned to hook a cable on the car, and hand-crank it or some such thing. They stopped by The Devil's Playground to get some yellow paint to paint some rubber parts on the back of the Mercedes. "You know, Mom, where it's rotted out," #1 tells me. HH has come into a bounty of engine parts, in fact a whole motor, FREE, of course, from a worker at his plant. The worker has a diesel, and needed other parts on one he was junking. But no, the parts that needed paint were not included in the free deal, so HH bought them with insurance money from hail damage on his truck. He's such a Hillbilly! After that little side trip, they brought the Mercedes home. I hope not to sit in the barn for another nine months.
I did not hear the rest of the story until Saturday night, when #1 decided he was going to re-teach himself to play the piano, which he took lessons on from the age of 4 to 9, when he decided he really did not want to practice for 30 minutes each day, even though he loved the glory of recitals. So we made a trip to town to pick up a book of music from my mom's house, where there is a piano, even though she can't play it, because she had always wanted a piano, and when we moved from a trailer into a real house when I was in 7th grade, she got one, and I taught myself how to play it, but nobody else except my brother-in-law the mayor ever plays it now. On the trip to get the piano music so #1 could play it on the fancy-schmancy keyboard my grandma gave him for Christmas one year when he was taking piano lessons, the boy told me the rest of the Mercedes Rescue story.
After they got the Mercedes on the trailer to the barn, HH got in it to back it off the trailer. It wouldn't start. Without the Veteran to assist, HH decided to put it in neutral and roll it off the trailer. That worked for a few feet, until the tires hit a big crack in the metal of the trailer bed. You will hear more about the magnitude of the crack in a moment. HH started to get out of the car, but his door would not open. There are short sides on the edge of the trailer, and the door hit the side. HH told #1 to get on the trailer, in front of the car, and give him a push. #1 is pretty strong for a 12-year-old who's the size of a 14-year-old. He gave it a good shove, but HH is no lightweight, and the car remained stuck.
Being a problem-solver, #1 got a board and used it as a lever to try to dislodge the disabled auto. "I know how a simple machine multiplies the force, Mom," he said like the true junior nerd that he is. When this didn't work, HH climbed out the window. Perhaps 'climbed' makes him sound a bit more athletic than he really is. According to #1, HH went headfirst out the window, put his hands on the little side thingy of the trailer, got one leg out, put it on the side, and then extracted his other leg. He told the boy to climb into the car, and he would push. Again, according to #1, "I jumped into the car like a Duke of Hazard, and Dad pushed me off the ramps onto the ground." "Oh," I said, "so your dad was stronger, and you were lighter, and he pushed the tires out of the crack?" The boy shook his head. "Not exactly. Dad cheated. He pushed from the ground. You know that crack? It's so big that Dad stepped down in it. He had better traction on the gravel than I had on the wet metal."
I'm confident that more chapters on the Mercedes will write themselves.