Friday, January 16 2004
Both Gretchen and I had errands and housecalls to make today, but the rear driver's side tire on the Honda Civic was too flat to drive on, but I couldn't inflate it because its stem was all gummed up from a failed Fix-A-Flat attempt I'd made last night. So I decided to take the wheel off and take it somewhere to have it professionally repaired. Luckily for us, there just happened to be an additional car in our driveway. Mary Purdy had bought a car during her attempt at Upstate living this summer, and she'd given it to us to sell for her (asking price: $500). All its paperwork had lapsed, but that's never stopped me before.
So I ran all my errands in that car today. Surprisingly, despite the ten degree cold and its having languished undriven for the past six weeks, it started right up.
Taking the flat tire off the Honda was more difficult than expected. Even with the car's weight bearing down on the tire, the wheel would spin in the ice when I'd try to turn the lug nuts. I had to jack the car up, slide a piece of wood under the tire, and then let it down on it so it would hold still. But then, even with all the lug nuts removed, the wheel refused to come off the hub. Evidently it had been "soldered" in place with frozen water. To "unsolder" the wheel, I used a MAPP gas torch.
Getting the wheel repaired was much less of a hassle than I'd mentally prepared myself for. After being turned down by one very busy tire shop, I went to Mavis Discount Tire. Having dealt with the Sears Auto Center, I was pleasantly astounded by the Germanic efficiency of Mavis. They fixed the tire in only a half hour while I ran other errands, and they only charged me $16. It had been punctured by a nail.
I spent most of the afternoon installing an ethernet wire for a couple in Woodstock. Actually, it would be fairer to say that all three of us installed that wire, because they were both with me most of the time, tugging on the wire or handing me the flashlight. The house had been built 100 years ago, but we managed to completely conceal the wire except for where it climbed between floors inside a closet. Such concealment wouldn't have been possible were it not for the dropped ceiling in the kitchen.
It's a interesting that the sort of work I do can see me, in a single housecall, covered with dirt wriggling through a small hole in a stone wall and then, a half hour later, sitting at a keyboard configuring a router. My job lies somewhere on the cusp between virtual and real, one moment in the cool bluish light of the Matrix and the next in the Desert of the Real.
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