Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Should Really Know Better

My mom drove me crazy when I was growing up with what I call "stupidisms" - folklore, old wives tales, superstition, all woven together into a huge tapestry of gobbledegook.  Though I'd never have smacked the old girl, I must admit that there were times when I was tempted when a choice adage would come rolling out of her mouth and get splattered all over me as if I'd been standing in front of a feces flinging simian's cage at the zoo.  It stuck and it stunk so bad that I could hardly breathe.

"You can't go swimming for at least an hour after you eat."

Um, Ma...

We had a 1 foot deep wading pool.  Nobody was going to go swimming no matter how hard he tried.

"You can't go in the water until St. John 'blesses it.'"

This one meant that there was to be no swimming (nor 1 foot deep wading) before June 24, the day on which the Catholic church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist.

There were countless others.  About how to peel potatoes the only correct way.  About whether baths or showers were more water efficient (though we had no water meters back then.), about whether a flush of the old toilet was warranted just for a small pee.  Of course, poor Mom didn't have Snopes nor Google with which to verify the dumb things she shared and insisted upon - only that time honored tradition of believing whatever one heard, I guess from somebody older, as if Jesus had dictated it to Saul when he fell to the ground on his way to Damascus, and as if old Paul (whose name was changed right then and there) was transcribing the discourse verbatim.

There's one particular of these sayings of my Mom that burned me up perhaps faster and hotter than any other, though it comes close to the ones that claimed that if a breeze from an open car window hit you in the neck you'd get a "cold in your neck."

And, it is this:

"The sun is hot, but the air is cool."

That was Mom's inarguable way of saying, "You're wearing a sweater outside today even if all the other boys in the neighborhood are naked and call you names." 

I didn't much care about that cool air.  It was the hot sun with which I had the problem, and still do, till this very day, when I'm the one in the room turning down the air conditioner's thermostat while the poor blue-lipped others reach for blankets.

Well, I did it again this afternoon.  Looked at the read-out on the indoor/outdoor thermometer beside my desk and saw that it was 82 degrees Fahrenheit which would be perfect for tee shirt and shorts scooter riding.  Or, it should have been.  I live on the kind of ONE-WAY street that, once I get to the STOP sign at the end, does not make the thought of returning to the house to change clothes particularly inviting.  So, knowing full well that the sun was hot, but the air was cool, I hung the left at the corner and gave any thoughts of returning for a change of wardrobe the full boot.

For the record, I do keep a full rain suit (And not just the thin as a grocery store bag kind.) under the scooter's seat, but it's so cumbersome to put on, and like a parachute to refold, that I'd never pull it out unless I was in a deluge and needed to get somewhere.  So, on I went, suffering more with each passing mile.

Oh, I didn't get the blue lips or anything like that, but still I'd wished that I'd checked the temperature at the airport (Where George Carlin reminded us that nobody lives.) rather than just here by my own desk.  I did enjoy the ride, but admittedly a bit less than I would have had I realized that "the sun was hot, but the air was cool."

Pictures that don't necessarily accompany this post, but which I'd like to include anyway...

I was pleased to discover yesterday that two cases of beer cans fit easily into the scooter's crate!

And I'm not the only kid on the block who has a scooter.  This one is a neighbor's.

These are the kinds of vistas that I can't seem to get enough of when I take the scooter on a moderate ride.  Within a few miles it seems as if Pennsylvania is more farmland than anything else.

I'll keep hoping for these blue skies, and perhaps more days when the air is as hot as it seems to be.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Up on Blocks

My current "ride" - the love seat on the deck as I wait
for the scooter to come back from the shop.

I'm back for at least a moment to express my disgust with my scooter dealer/shop.

Near the beginning of May I noticed a seeming wet spot on the concrete on which I park the scooter when I'm at the house.  I thought it was just an errant drip from the deck above and didn't give it much heed until maybe a week or so later when I was grilling something for dinner and, on a lark, went over and ran a finger through the spot.  It was oil.  Upon running my finger under the left tine of the fork that was positioned right above the spot it became apparent that there was a leak, probably from the shock absorber.

I called the shop - the dealership from which I bought the scooter.  I told them about this problem and also that I wanted to get the oil changed because it had been a while since I'd had it done.  They told me to bring it in on Wednesday the 13th which I did.  When I got there I told them about another problem - one that I've had since I bought the bike from them.  It comes in two parts...

1)  Whenever I ride for a few hours on a hot day, the bike eventually begins to sputter and stutter, and  it wants to stall.  At that point I have to give it a little throttle even when I come to a stop sign or it will cut out completely and then not want to start again.

2) Also manifesting itself when I ride similarly on a hot day and come back before the coughing and stalling might begin, is a problem of the engine not wanting to restart if I go to take it out later in the day.

I told the guy at the shop that I was tired of them not taking this problem seriously; that it's been going on since I bought the scooter in spite of my having told them about this numerous times whenever I brought the bike in for an oil change or routine maintenance, and that I'd like it to be fixed.

Well, that, apparently was a huge mistake.

After over a week of waiting to hear from them I called.  The shop manager told me that they hadn't been expecting me.  Apparently whoever took my call didn't make note of having told me to bring it in on May 13th.  Then she said that they were trying to duplicate the problem - by idling the bike on hot days and waiting to see if it would stall.  I argued that they weren't going to duplicate the problem that way - that only after my riding it for a few good hours on a really hot day would it cut out on me.  See, what I'd assumed was that any decent mechanic who works on bikes all day, every day, for years, for a living, would have some good idea of what would need to be done to clear up these simple sounding  symptoms.  It just sounded like vapor lock by everything I'd read online.  (My model year was the last in which the BV250 was built with a carburetor rather than fuel injection.)

I called again on Monday of this week and explained that they've had the scooter there for three good weekends and that its stay was coming up on THREE WEEKS of me being without it.  The shop manager asked if I wanted them to go ahead and do the oil change and address the dripping shock even though they hadn't yet done anything about the engine problems.  I nearly spit out a few teeth stressing to her that I had no intention of just leaving it there till they thought they might, maybe, possibly, sort of get around to thinking about FIXING IT.  That's when she told me that she'd have to research what kind of shock it needs because Piaggio has three different styles and they'd need to get the right one for my make and model.  That was the last straw!  Why the hell hadn't they ordered that part while farting around and not really doing anything about the stalling issue?

I told her to do the oil change and replace the shock and that I wanted the bike back. Imagine my surprise when the next day she called back and told me that there were three parts that might be the likely culprits of the stalling issue and to see if I wanted them to replace them.  Whey couldn't they have done this within the first few days of my scooter being there?

Tomorrow will begin the FOURTH consecutive weekend that I've been without it.

It's time to look for a new shop around here that can and will service a Piaggio scooter.  I regret that because I like the family that runs the scooter dealership, but they really did me wrong and I don't intend to give them the opportunity to disappoint me again.  As soon as I can remember how to do it, I'm removing my endorsement  for their business from the bar at the right of this post.

UPDATE:  The shop called on Wednesday, June 10, exactly FOUR WEEKS from when I dropped it off.  $378 or so later I was on my way home.  I parked it under the deck and went for supper.  Thursday was spent on shopping and visiting my aunt in the nursing home.  I figured today, Friday, June 12th would be the perfect day to put it through some paces to see if they'd even touched the stalling problem.  No sooner did I get to the bottom of the stairs and see the scooter than I noticed that the oil dripping was worse than it was before I took it in, in the first place.  It's back at the shop now.  I'll be away till next Wednesday.  Let's see if they have it fixed by then, which will be FIVE WEEKS from when I took it in.