Friday, September 4, 2009

Rainy Days and Car Fires

I should be outside working on the van, or mowing the lawn. But it's raining outside. It always rains when I plan to mow. It's so reliable I should advertise my services as a Rainmaker. I cannot announce plans to get the mower out and mow. Does not matter if we have been in longest drought in 15 years, if I say the words "mow the lawn" clouds will gather and a torrential downpour will ensue. I remember once I made the announcement that I was going to mow the lawn and out of a clear blue sky thunder rumbled. I stayed away from the garage all day and it never rained. But I knew that before I even got the garage door up, hail would have been falling from the sky. So I have to keep my plans to myself and sneak up on it. Even then it sometimes does not work and it will start raining before I am done.

Right now my van is broke down (again, insert heavy sigh here). I will probably go out and work on it. I can replace the spark plugs without getting wet. Will have to extract the spark plug socket from the engine first. Stupid thing wouldn't let it go yesterday. I had to stop at that point, or I would have put a wrench through the windshield. If the van were insured I would have probably set it on fire. Actually probably not. Car fires stink. I have lost a vehicle to fire, not once, but twice. The first time it was a 1977 Ford Truck in real nice shape. I went into the hardware store to get a sliding bolt for the back door at home. When I came out I saw a pillar of smoke in the parking lot. My eyes followed the smoke down to the source and you guessed it, my truck.

A few years later I was cleaning out our van, a 1990 Chevy Lumina APV. I went inside to answer the phone. Of course it was a phone solicitor. When I got back there was smoke coming out of the van. I ran inside to get the fire extinguisher in the basement. Tripped and fell down the stairs on the way. Ran back upstairs, not as fast as I came down though, and out to the van. I aimed the fire extinguisher at the flames that were by that time pouring out the open sliding door. Pulled the trigger and nothing happened. Of course I called 911, but by the time they got there it was too late. They asked me if I was alright and to tell them what happened. Of course I had to complain about the stupid fire extinguisher. And to complete the comedic effect of the whole scene the fire extinguisher worked perfectly when I was demonstrating it. All over the fireman's boots. Some of them were still laughing as their truck left. The neighborhood smelled like smoke for about a week after the insurance company finally came out and inspected the van.

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