Thursday, February 18, 2010

... and That's Why I Didn't Grow Up To Be a Mechanic...

After being pregnant all of last summer my Harley had fallen by the wayside and has been sitting in the shop since mid-July. (July is when I took my last ride...people were starting to look at me funny and I couldn't zip my chaps anymore.) Anyway, the time has come to take it to the shop for some routine maintainance and to repair the major oil leak it has developed. It's headed in next Friday and I thought this past long weekend was the perfect opportunity to fire it up. I had to make sure it would run long enough to get it to the shop.

So, Saturday I tried to start it. No luck. Dead battery. It spent all night on the trickle charger and I tried to start it Sunday. No luck. The battery was charged, but it just kept dying. It would turn over fine, but never fire up. I'm no dummy (I say that now...wait until the end of the story...), so I figure it's a little stiff from sitting so long, so I pull of the air filter and grab the only aerosol spray I can find: carburator cleaner. (Side note: I'm sure you all know that a clogged air filter impedes air flow and makes it hard to start an engine. So, if you take the air filter off you can spray starter fluid in the hole and it helps the engine start. It is, however, extremely flammable and should be used with caution.)

Anyhow, I go about spraying this stuff into the engine and try choking it heavily, then starting, then not so much choke, then starting it - and NO LUCK! I ended up flooding the engine and after letting it sit for two hours I was back at it with the cleaner. Todd arrives with some helpful advice. "Why don't you try using the starting fluid?" He takes away the carburator cleaner and replaces it with the starting fluid. Again, exteremely flammable and should be used with caution. So, I try that for a while and still nothing. It started to do this weird clicking noise which I instinctively knew was the starter going out. Great. Oil leak, new oil filter, new air filter, new spark plugs AND now a new starter? Really? Come on....

So, I let it rest for a bit, then start in again with the starting fluid. By this time Todd has joined in on the fun and recommends letting him spray it into the engine while I crank it over. Again, I'm no dummy (I say that now...wait until the end of the story...), so I put the kibosh on that. I know (and have seen on occasion) an engine shoot fire from it after you start it with starting fluid. No way am I shooting fire from the engine. He gives it a good spray of fluid and I pump the throttle, pull the choke and start cranking it over. KABAM!!! It fires off, begins to run, shoots a HUGE puff of black smoke about 10 feet and then blasts a flame about two feet long out of the side of the engine. The flamethrower then catches the residual fluid on the outside of the engine on fire and the side of the motorcycle goes up in flames. I, not being on good terms with fire, sprint from the garage as Todd (very bravely) stays behind and puts the fire out.

I muster the courage to return to the scene of the "accident" and take a good look over the bike. We're definately going to need more than just a gasket worked on. Sounds expensive. So, Todd says, "Well, we're going to have to trailer it to the shop, don't you think?" ...and about that time as I'm surveying the damage I have a moment of clarity and realize: The fricking gas isn't turned on. IDIOT!!! So, I turn the gas on, crank it over, and it starts right up. Todd just walks away shaking his head, probably reeling from his near-death experience. I, on the other hand, spent a while putting it back together and firmly decided I will never be a certified mechanic. DUH.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Can This Guy Tell Time?!

I mean, really? Is a 4-month-old capable of telling what day of the week it is? Really?

This is how our week played out:

Sunday night: Up two times. Feed, back to bed. Feed, back to bed. Slightly tired when I arrive to work Monday.

Monday night: Up two times. Feed, back to bed. Feed, back to bed. Moderately rested -I don't work Tuesday.

Tuesday night: Up three times. Feed, back to bed. Feed, back to bed. Feed, back to bed. Dog pukes everywere. Up four times letting him out. Exhausted when I arrive to work Wednesday.

Wednesday night: Up three times. Screaming fit during mid-night diaper change. Feed, back to bed. Feed, back to bed. Feed, back to bed. Colt sleeps duration of night in our bed. I don't sleep well at all. Obviously his toenails need clipping. My legs are shredded. Borderline narcoleptic when I arrive to work Thursday.

Thursday night:  Up three times. Screaming fit during mid-night diaper change. Screaming fit continues for nearly one hour. I relocate to couch in feeble attempt to muster 2 1/2 hours of sleep. Couch is uncomfortable, sleep very little. Feed, toss and turn. Feed, toss and turn. Feed, off to work! Sleep deficient, angry at the world, un-showered and fidgety (do to massive caffeine overload) I arrive at work. Co-workers ask if I'm alright. Offer kind words of advice and recommend moving baby to cereal or solid foods to maybe increase hours slept at night. I consider selling baby on craigslist.

Friday night: Up once. Slept in own bed nearly all night. Dammit anyway.

So, this leaves me wondering if he can tell time. Perhaps it's some subtle way of telling me he doesn't like me going to work? Whatever it is: here's to hoping next week is better. Ugh.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

..and the Results Are In!!

Good news:
  1. The pigs lived
  2. The husband is OK
  3. The dog took a huge turd, stopped barfing and seems to be OK
  4. The horse didn't get hit by a car
  5. Colt was only up once last night
Bad news:
  1. The pigs lived
  2. I'm STILL locked out of my email
  3. Colt was only up once last night - and it consisted of 1 hour of non-stop screaming, very little sleep, me promising I'd sell him to the gypsies, and him ending up in our bed from 1am on. And he slept great then! I didn't...but that doesn't really matter, does it?!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Things Happen in Threes. Or Fours. Or, All at Once!

I arrived at work today thinking, "The only other thing that could have gone wrong would have been the horse getting hit by a car." So, let me bring you up to speed on just what has gone miserably wrong in my sad little life the last few days:

  1. My email was hacked after some (bogus) correspondences on craigslist. Apparantly all emails headed my way are answered with "unknown recipient" and sent back to the sender. When I try to log in I get "You violated our terms of agreement. Account closed." MSN is "working on it." Right. So, hang in there. I'll be emailing in no time....
  2. My dog is sick.
  3. My husband is sick.
  4. The baby woke up 3x last night.
  5. The coyotes were so loud last night - I fear they've savaged the pigs.
Scene: My house, last night, 6:00pm.

After feeding the horse, the dog and preparing dinner, the dog won't eat his dinner. He never misses a meal.

Me: "Hmm. Griz won't eat his dinner."
Todd: "That's weird."
Then, upon discovering his stomach is distended and rigid,
Me: "His stomach is full and hard."
Todd: "Oh yeah, he was eating some flax fines when I fed the pigs."
Me: "How much did he eat?"
Todd: "Uh. I don't know. A bit, I guess."
Me: "Great."

That was followed by four bouts of *arfing* (you know, that noise they make when they're going to barf?), followed by four bouts of me bolting from bed to let him out to barf, followed by four bouts of getting back up to let him in the house after repeated scratching at the door. The final answer was to put his dog bed outside at 2am this morning. Not before he barfed all over our bedroom floor. Luckily enough he ate all the barf and Todd only stepped in a wet post-barf spot. Eating the barf might be what made him sick too.

Then, it seemed like everytime I was just about asleep after the dog episodes, I had a five-alarm baby episode. Five alarm being how many lights light up on the monitor when he screams. Usually only 2 or 3 light up for medium screaming, but we were all-out last night and had three five-alarm screaming fits. Those were treated with 6 trips by me to his bedside. (One trip to go get him and return to my bed to feed him, and then one trip to take him back to his crib after he was back asleep.) Let me say that wears a person pretty ragged.

Sometime around, oh, I'm guessing 11:00 last night, was the loudest, scariest coyote howling fit. That woke us both up and left us wondering how our pigs faired now that they're living in the woods. More on that later.... Hopefully we don't discover their ravaged carcasses today.

Then, at 5:00 this morning (I was awake feeding the baby) I realized Todd was still in bed. Not good since he reports to work at 4:00am.

Me: "Are you OK?"
Todd: "No. I don't feel good. It feels like my jaw is clenched shut."
Me: "Are you calling in?"
Todd: "Will you do it for me?"
No. I did it last time.

So, let's recap: We have a sick husband (possibly with lockjaw), a baby who suddenly decided he doesn't require sleep, a dog who is probably compacted with flax cereal and won't stop barfing, and possibly three dead pigs. Really, what else is there?

Oh yeah, when I got to work (because, yes, I still had to go today after only about 2 hours of sleep...) there were emails upon emails upon notes regarding a broken instrument I oversee. And my boss breathing down my neck wondering "how long we'll be down for?" I didn't have the balls to tell him probably longer than he wants considering I'm probably calling in sick tomorrow. But then, why ruin the surprise?!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Herding Pigs 101

...because that's the kind of thing we do for fun around our house. Herd pigs. Herding pigs is kinda what I picture herding cats to be like.

So let me rewind a little for you all....

 Remember when we got the pigs? I was about 10 months pregnant (at least if felt like I was 10 months pregnant), 2 days away from giving birth, the size of a house, angry at the world, and, after we'd come to the agreement that two pigs would be nice, he comes home with three. Three wonderful, cute, amusing little piglets that grew into hell-raising hogs.
 They have all but destroyed the area behind the barn. Destroyed not like "Hey - it'd be nice to have pigs in there to till up that weedy soil." Destroyed more like, "Wow. Those mountains and valleys of mud and pig poo make it look like the Himalays in our back yard." No doubt we'll be spending most of the summer trying painstakingly to rake it flat again.
 Anyway, the time has definately come to move those monsters to the lower part of the field: the part furthest from the house and completely wooded - which is helpful in two ways.
     1. It will provide them with endless roots to root at and,
     2. From the road you can't even tell we have pigs. Or smell them.

Todd decided arbitrarily to single-handedly move the pigs down field. Kinda like the Pig Whisperer - only different. I watched from the kitchen as he carefully shut all gates leading outside the pasture, donned his mud boots, filled his bucket with hog feed and went at 'em. Opening their gate and releasing the electric fence was not enough to coax them out. He shook and shook and shook that bucket of grain and was only able to get one to follow him anywhere. About 15 minutes later (and one very timid pig) they managed the 100 yard bridge from pasture to woods. However, both other pigs were having nothing to do with leaving their pen. I let him chase them around for a little while, then strapped the baby in the backpack and headed out to help. The neigbor, Gordy, obviously realizing we were in WAY over our heads, offered to help too. So, half an hour later we managed to get the pigs out. Todd shook the grain and Gordy and I chased them with pitch forks and brooms countless times around that pen until we managed to corner them and force them from the pen. Fun, huh? Not as fun as the 100 meter dash from the pen to the woods....

The rest of the herding went off without a hitch but it retrospect it left me wondering (and appreciating!) a few things:

  1. Helpful, understanding, non-judgemental neighbors are hard to come by. We are certainly blessed by the fact that we moved in next door to the Harris'. It seems no matter what kind of crazy, mid-night-animal-chasing routine we're up to it doesn't faze them.  In fact, they usually have kind words of advise, or, like we witnessed with the pigs: jump in and help. (I don't know if I blogged about the time Todd had to borrow their animal thermometer to take one of the cow's temperature. Rectally. And Gordy offered to help then too...)

  2. No matter how hard one tries you CANNOT rope a pig around the neck and lead it. They are barrel shaped and it will always slide off their head. Even in our 30's we are still learning...

  3. Despite popular belief pigs do not respond well to "Here piggy, piggy, piggy. Sue-ey. Sue-ey." TV can be so misleading.

  4. It is neither easy nor appropriate to perform aforementioned activities with a 4 month old baby strapped to your back. I should have been the one shaking the grain can.