Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Morning Rain Fall

A soft gentle spring rain falling making everything so green this morning. Driving Nell home across the smoky park bridge and there are a lot of police cars in the right lane. Traffic slowing way too much and I always worry about being hit from behind when that happens. Cops are looking through a little white economy car with gloves on, passenger door open. That part of the bridge is high above the land and road below. I hope somebody didn't jump. I change the subject in my mind and in conversation.

On the way home my mind returns to what might have happened. I decide to take the scenic route home on the road below the bridge. I often do this when going in that direction for some reason. It's a more pleasant drive than the expressway, there is much more to see and the slower pace is relaxing. To the right is a nice photo of the railroad bridge you pass under on this route. The photo is by one of my talented Flickr friends Mogmismo (aka Michael Tracey). I wonder if I really want to go this way today but knew they would have the road closed if someone had jumped.

Straight ahead, two police cars block the road going under the bridge. Shaken. Now typing and looking out on the fresh green leaves of Spring and the blooming dogwoods. Raindrops fall from so high and make the leaves twitch and bounce. It's so beautiful. We've got to stick around for the beauty. I know for some there is no beauty and nothing to live for. It makes me sad.

I always play these things out... what might have happened. It was just a matter of random timing that we passed when we did. I'm glad I didn't see someone jump, though an image of that event is in my mind anyway. Passing sooner maybe we could have done something. I guess that is a kind of normal thought. Nell might actually have been able to help someone since she works in the psychiatric treatment field. Witnesses told police the woman who jumped didn't hesitate at all so I guess her mind was made up.

Tragedy seems bountiful lately. Friends and parents of friends coming to unfortunate ends and having serious medical problems. Even old buildings I like seem to just collapse under their own weight. It's wearing on me in this beautiful Springtime.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Weekend Mishaps

I've taken a little bit ill, and that can make my brain not work so well. I noted that to myself, "self, be extra careful, your brain is not working top notch right now, you are susceptible to making mistakes." I only partly listened though.

It was a beautiful Saturday and I couldn't resist playing outside despite not feeling well. I worked on the luvwagen, fixing the parking brake even further than it was fixed before and played with the ignition timing a little bit. I poked around the yard. Neighbor elizabeth, a talented jewelry artist, gave me some tasty meatloaf that was a good lunch. A free-cycler had goat poo to give away, and I was interested in getting some of that good poo. That meant many opportunities for dangerous mistakes. Getting the little trailer ready to travel public roads, hooking it to the car, driving it on public roads, loading it, driving it back home when it is heavy, getting it into the driveway and then the yard near the garden. I'm sure there are other opportunities for disaster in there. Almost all of that went fine. The goat man was really nice and helped me load up the trailer. They have 85 goats in a dairy operation. The milk goes to cheese makers. I could have stayed there and learned about their goat operation all day, but didn't want to take up any more of his time. I made it all the way home safely. Decided not to put the trailer in the yard right then because I was tired.

I unhooked the trailer, now heavily laden with poo. Decided to air up the tires on the trailer since they were a little low. Right, I decide to do this *after* I drive the trailer full of poo across West Asheville. The little air compressor cord was not quite long enough so I went to roll the car back a foot or two. Foot on brake, release parking brake, rolling back... press brake to stop... nothing happens... bang! Foot not on brake. Foot on clutch. I wasn't really all the way in the car, just had my right foot in, so that's how I confused the pedals. It felt like quite a whack and I was worried about having messed up the car. Due to the wonders of the modern automobile with its plastic bumpers, just a scratch or two.

Nell and I had a quiet evening, both of us being sickly and watching NCAA basketball. Sunday was also a beautiful day and I again couldn't resist going out to play. I decided to put the trailer in the yard by the garden. I still had some of last year's manure in a small pile. It is so nicely decomposed and full of worms. I scooped it over in a pile. I found quite a few grubs in there, which is not a good thing in the garden. I chopped up a few, then started saving them. I put them on the sidewalk by the bird feeder. They were gone in about 10 minutes.

Next I set about hooking the trailer back up to the car and moving it to the yard. I angled a little off and the trailer went down a steep transitional area between the driveway and yard. The car bottomed out and was sitting on the cusp of that transition. Unhooked the trailer. Car no go, wheel spinny. I've been here before, or someplace like here. There was a famous incident when I got my parts van stuck in a tree. It actually was just on the grass in the yard, and it had bad tires and no traction. I kept inching forward to try to go backward and eventually ended up with the nose against a tree. In this situation I get another vehicle to use as an anchor and use a come-a-long to pull the stuck vehicle free. So I put the luvwagen in position and got my come-a-longs and chain collection. Due to the wonders of the modern automobile with its plastic bumpers, there is nothing to attach the chain to on the front of the car. There is a provision for this necessity though. You pop out a little cover on the bumper and there is a threaded hole into which you thread an eye. I got the special eye out of the trunk but couldn't get it to thread in. It has never been used before, so I thought the hole was all gunked up with undercoating and dead bugs. Did some cleaning and finally looked at the eye and saw that it had left hand threads. OK. That's odd. It's probably so people can't thread some cheap ass WalMart eye in there and get hurt. That conundrum solved I went to snatching the car out of its mire. The tension on the come-a-long seemed like quite a lot. I thought that I better be careful since I was sick and prone to mistakes. Checked and re-checked things frequently and thought about the modes of failure. I put blocks under the car wheels and moved them forward every few inches of pulling so that if something broke, the car would not lurch. I tried to stay out of the line of whippage that the cable might take, though that is hard to predict. I thought I had the car pretty far up onto the driveway so I decided to try driving it forward a bit. Nope, still spinny wheels. I wanted to re-extend the cable on the come-a-long, so I put the car in gear and set the parking brake. I loosened the cable and pulled it out and started pulling again. It got really tight and then the luvwagen started dragging its tires across the driveway at an angle. Oops, forgot the car was still in gear and parking brake on. That resolved, it pulled the rest of the way onto the driveway pretty easily.

All of that made me tired and so I came in to relax and write this instead of doing my taxes.