Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little things

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I have found that to be true on so many occasions. Drink a case of beer, fall down. :-) Smoke, get addicted to a nasty habbit (by the way, still not smoking). Ride my bike down a steep hill as fast as possible, well you get the picture. A week ago, I was in a god-almighty bad mood. (I wonder if this will be edited for content for using the word God?) You know the kind. The kind where just the sound of someones voice gives you ample reason to hate them. I couldn't figure it out. Dena and I hadn't fought in months (our fights are typically about 8-12 months apart), work was going... as well as it could, kids are healthy and happy... Don't know. Was just in a bad mood. Well, you know when you're in a really bad mood and then something happens to put the world into perspective and it takes that bad mood away? That happened. I was sitting at home after work. I had just settled into my chair and turned the TV on when my cell phone rang. I checked the Caller ID and it was my Dad.
My Dad doesn't call me. Not on Christmas, or my birthday or Father's day, or any other day unless there is bad news, or they are coming for a visit. Visiting season is gone. So I took a deep breath and I answered the phone fully knowing what was about to be said.
Dad called to let me know that my Grandma had passed away. It was peaceful, and to be completely honest was expected. She has been going down hill for quite some time and we've all be preparing for this day since around August (if memory serves). She is not suffering any longer and that was enough to put the world into perspective.
My Grandma was an amazing woman. She gave birth and raised 12 productive and self sustaining children. How they all lived I have no idea, but just for that one accomplishment (or 12 if you will) she should be made a Saint. She loved everyone like there would be no tomorrow, nor was there a yesterday. She understood even when she didn't understand. She was everything that we should all strive to be. The world is a little worse off without her. I'm glad for her that she is no longer suffering in any way. And I'm glad that her and my Grandfather (died in 1975) are together again. Most of all, I'm glad for the time that I had with her, and the ways in which she touched my life.
I am sad for the loss that we all feel because we will not see her for some time. As we all learn early in life, that's the way it goes. We love you Grandma. We'll meet again. Until then, thank you for pulling me out of my bad mood last Friday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New family members

If you have looked at my facebook you know that we have a new family member. As I'm writing this there is a vote going on to find his new name. He's a 1 year old Rottweiler/Lab cross. Here's a pic: He's such a cutie!
So far the votes are: Jethro: 2, Nico: 2, Jack: 2, Brick: 1. You can thank my Sister-in-law for Brick. She's pregnant, we'll let it slide... :-) Go to my facebook and vote. :-) He needs a name he can get used to.
As you may have also noticed the title of this post is new family memberS as it plural. This one may not be new, but it has recently returned from where I thought it would never return from.

Here is what it looked like when it left our house 4 years ago: A little beat up, and in need of some immediate engine work, but it was a running and driving car. It's a 1973 Plymouth Duster with a small block V8 and an automatic transmission. I got it from the original owners son in trade for my old 78 Ford 4x4. Here's the story as I remember it.

Dena and her ex had an agreement that he was to provide Jarrett (my step son) with a car when he was old enough. The ex is an Auto Body worker and is quite good, when he wants to be. So he was over at the house talking to Jarrett a few years back, about what kind of car he wanted. A newer car or an older muscle car. Jarrett chose an older muscle car. The ex wanted a little more specific but Jarrett doesn't know much about cars as to what kind it is and that kind of thing. So the ex asked me to help him look online and figure out what he wanted.

That night Jarrett and I got online and looked at Nova's, Camero's, Mustang's, Dart's, GTO's, Imapala's, Skylark's, Javlyn's... you name it, we looked at it. Even a few 32 Ford coupes. Hey, it's not my money... :-) Finally I remembered my first (legal) car. A 1974 Plymouth Duster. Not what I considered a muscle car, but then mine had the trusty 225cid slant 6. It wouldn't hardly get out of it's own way, but it was reliable and I thought it was a good looking car. So I found one, in Lemon Twist Yellow with factory Ralley wheels like mine had been. He liked it. I couldn't believe it. He actually found a car that he really liked. Well, that was easy. So I called the Ex and told him that Jarrett wants a Plymouth Duster. I told him all the others we looked at and everything. He kind of turned up his nose at the thought but said he'd see what he could find.

A very short couple of months later I bought my 1994 Jeep Cherokee to replace my 1978 Ford F-150. I was going to keep the truck because... well... who doesn't need a truck? :-) But then I was talking to a buddy of mine at work who was looking for that vintage truck. And guess what? He just happened to have 3 1973/1974 Plymouth Dusters. So I offered a trade for one and he accepted.

That night I called the ex and told him that I had found it and the car wasn't going to cost him a thing. I took pictures of all body damage and let him know that I would do all the required engine work (he's good at body work, no so much with the mechanical aspects though) and he could do the body work. He said he'd take a look at it. I said no problem, if you don't want to do it, I'll keep it for myself.

A couple of weeks later, Jarrett and the ex loaded it up on a car trailer and that was the last I had seen of it. Over the years there have been stories of some work being done. But to be honest I had washed my hands of it and figured the next time I saw the ex I'd just give him the title and be done with it. He had give Jarrett a "loaner" car. Obviously there is a little more to the story than that, but it's all irrelevant. I had figured the car was lost and gone forever and was done with it.

A couple of weeks ago, Dena called me from work and let me know that the ex was on his way up with (what was left) of the car. "Oh really?" Hmm. I wonder if it's even worth unloading. Remember, when he took the car it was running (had lifter knock from a bent push rod but it ran great) and drivable. I drove it across town to load on the trailer. When he pulled into the driveway this is what I saw on the back of the trailer:
Yep, that's right. Different doors (I had given them to him because of the large dents in the originals) all interior was out (they had brought all that back a few years ago), the wiring stripped out of the engine compartment for no apparent reason, the dash removed for no apparent reason, the trunk lid rusting from being sanded to bare metal years ago and never being primered.
The engine was also removed. In order to get the engine out, they CUT THE HEADER off the drivers side rather than doing the job right and removing it. It's tight, but it can be done. For gods sake, it had to go in there! It's not factory.
This next group of pictures is how the engine came to me. For those of you that are not mechanically inclined the block is the large thing with blue paint on it in the back corner that has rust on it. The internal components are in the boxes surrounding it all. It's mostly all there:
Here is what the engine looked like when it left:
Kind of a big change. Which reminds me... I still don't have the radiator. I guess I'll have to call the ex. Don't have the windshield either... damn it. I probably should just cut my losses and buy the parts I still don't have for completion. It's gonna be a LOOOONNNGGG project. I better sell the wheeling rig to pay for it. :-)
I hope you are all in good health and happy in life. I'll be in the shop if you need me. :-)