Wednesday, May 24, 2017

In the Lap of Luxury

The Chinese buffet I visited last week was different in that you select your fortune cookie from a big box near the exit.  Since no Chinese meal is complete without seeing one’s “fortune” spelled out on that small wisp of paper at the end, my hand dipped into the box to grab a cookie on my way out the door, and I tore open the plastic wrapper on my way to the car and didn’t crack open the crisp cookie until I was already seat belted in and nearly ready to roll.  There it was!  My “fortune!”  

 Well my first thought was, Yeah.  Right!, when I saw, “You will be surrounded by luxury," right there, blue on white.  With nowhere else to put it I dropped the paper into the small well on the car door that’s there for you to put your fingers in when you’re closing the door and without thinking exchanged it for one of the plastic toothpicks I keep handy there for picking, among other things, the remnants of large clams from my front teeth after a visit to the Chinese buffet.

When I got home I grabbed the small paper from the door handle well and brought it into the house, and as per my usual custom I laid it here on the computer desk.  To be certain, I have no idea why I do that with those little fortune slips, but I’ve been doing it since I can’t remember when.  They’ll sit here collecting dust with my eyes falling on them dozens of times before each one eventually gets tossed into the trash without ceremony.  I pay them no heed, never pretending that they have the least bit of magic, but now and then I do get one that gives me some cause to pause and take stock.

You will be surrounded by luxury.

I don’t know how many times I glanced at this one and scoffed, but it sat here collecting my derision like a dandelion collecting dewdrops in the morning haze for at least a week before I photographed it and tossed it away.  I suspect that in taking a picture of it I knew somewhere in the back of my mind I wasn’t quite done processing it yet, but no thoughts had coalesced before I got tired of looking at it.  It wasn’t until this morning that I gave the words any thought, and when I did I realized that they were at the very least some food for thought and blog post fodder.

My maternal grandfather is often my measuring stick in life.  He was my first hero and hardly a day goes by since I lost him to cancer when I was 11 that I don’t think of him in some way, usually with a large smile or a broad grin.  He was a “character” long before the USA Network touted the inclusivity of such folks with their, “Characters welcome,” slogan.  He had a sly and wry sense of humor, and I believe it was he who taught me by example the simple joy of embracing life and wringing from it every last bit of happiness and mirth that could be gotten from it.

I think of him in light of, “You will be surrounded by luxury,” and I find it hard to grasp that many of the luxuries I enjoy on a daily basis, my dear grandfather never knew.  The only style of telephone he ever knew was the old black bakelite rotary standard.  He never even dreamed of something coming like the computer.  And, although they existed at the time, my dear Gramps never rode a scooter.  He was the kind of guy who went to work in a dress shirt and tie and didn’t take them off till he went to bed.  How I’d love to be able to go back and get him on the back of the Piaggio to let his always perfectly combed hair fly in the breeze.  I think it would repay him at least in some small part for all the magic he gave to me in his simple lessons about life that weren’t lessons at all, but just the simple love of a man for his grandchild made manifest each day with the simple luxuries of the times that he had available to him.

I suppose, when we consider the past, we’re all surrounded by luxury.  Although sometimes I lament that I’ll be gone from this earth before even cooler and more amazing things come down the pike, all I really need to do to appreciate how far we’ve come is to look at my cell phone and imagine what my grandpop would have thought to see such a thing back when luxury to me meant a sip of his beer and a nibble of cheese while watching Lawrence Welk on a Saturday night and smelling the chicken soup simmering in the kitchen for the appetizer before Sunday dinner.

Surrounded by luxury?  I've always been.  I am.  No mansion, no yacht, but appreciative of all I have, which is the best luxury of all.

Monday, May 22, 2017

...And Into the Fire

“...And Into the Fire,” is this post’s title because the last was the terribly presumptuous, “Out of the Shop,” which was decidedly short lived.

To be certain, the troubles aren’t the fault of my mechanic.  When I picked the scooter up last week it seemed that everything was hunky dory, but before I got home I realized that things were neither hunky nor dory because the bike was running hot which was not one of the problems it had when I took it in.  Like THIS hot...

What neither of us realized, also, was that the radiator fan wasn’t coming on when the needle went into the red zone.  And, after it was parked under the deck for a while, the coolant leak was back with a vengeance in spite of having been as dry as a popcorn fart when I got it home.  My mechanic thought what he’d done might only be a temporary fix, and unfortunately, he was right. 

I took it back up last Thursday evening and hung around the shop for a few hours with the owner, and a few of his friendly cronies while they worked on various bikes and busted each others’ asses unmercifully to my general amusement.  What we decided in order to keep it simple was that he'd  put on a temporary bypass fan switch that I could toggle externally when needed.  It worked!  But, the fan didn’t do a thing running constantly once the needle went past the end of the red zone again  on my way home.

Tomorrow I’ll run it back up to the shop early in the morning while it’s still cool out to try to keep the engine cool while I get there.  After that God knows how long it’s going to be till the parts come in and he gets a chance to work on it.

It’s my usual luck.  When I first took the scooter into the shop four weeks ago, I told the mechanic about my horror story from last year when my old dealership’s shop kept it for five weeks during May into June.  He thought he’d have me done in a few days.  Here I am now looking at another shortened scootering season because it’ll likely be longer than those five weeks this year until it’s back and humming along.

Not quite the Look at how much fun I’m having on my scooter! kind of post that I’d hoped to have been sharing here at all.  I’ll try to stay upbeat and not let the aggravation get to me totally.  And I’ll try to put some things here for my two followers to read that maybe, kind of, perhaps I can relate even a little to the general scooter theme.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Out of the Shop

I finally got the BV back from the shop this afternoon!  New rear tire and left rear turn signal.  Oil change with new oil filter.  New belt and transmission rollers.  Coolant leak fixed.  And all for only slightly more than my old shop would have charged to replace the rollers alone!  All the years I remained loyal to the dealership where I bought the scooter by taking it there for servicing, only to find out when they closed up shop that they’d been sticking it to me for years with inflated parts prices and a hefty labor charge.  Live and learn. 

And, to boot, I got to bring the bike home in short sleeves!  Today was the first day that really would have been hot enough to wear just a tee shirt so I had to take advantage of the opportunity.

 I’ll need to run back up to the shop tomorrow because on the way home the heat needle pegged into the red zone without the fan coming on, NOT something I’d noticed when I took the scooter in, but then again I’d not been riding much because the oil light kept blinking for months and for most of April and till last week in May my left hip felt like I had broken glass in the joint or something.  My mechanic hopes it’ll be a quick fix without me having to leave the bike there again, so we’ll stay hopeful till he has a chance to take a look at it. 

Hopefully after that I’ll be back here to yak away about my summer rides.  We’ll see.  There’s still a monstrous piece of the overall puzzle of my life that I’m praying will fall into place the way we want it to.  Time will tell.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Waiting for the Thunder

“That’s just God and St. Peter bowling!” Grandpa chuckled as I cringed in horror on the front porch during a massive thunderstorm over 50 years ago.  I tried out a tentative chuckle of my own the next time a thunderclap felt like it was right on top of us, and after a few half-hearted attempts at pretending that the thunder was somehow of Divine origin, it wasn’t so bad.  That was only one of the ways that Gramps taught me a good number of things through the years, my favorite being when he got me to eat coffee grounds which I abhorred, but that’ll be for another time when I can’t think of a strictly scooter related post to write.

My paternal grandfather, ever the trickster,
got me to enjoy thunderstorms with some
clever fibbing.

I enjoy a good thunderstorm all these years later, the only horror being if it somehow affects my electricity and the internet cuts out.  Thus it was that I went to bed last evening thoroughly disappointed once again by the National Weather Service and the other forecasting agencies that promised all even long with crawls at the bottom of the TV screen a line of thunderstorms that were to have come through the area with even the possibility of a tornado or two.  At most I heard a small rumble of thunder in the distance and some gently falling rain.  We rarely get thunderstorms of the kind that seemed to come every evening when I was a kid.  Must be another manifestation of “climate change.”

In spite of skies that seemed to promise
a glorious show of nature's power,
we got a gentle rain at best.

Yes, the use of quotation marks in that last sentence is supposed to be derisive.  While I don’t not believe in climate change, I just don’t give a crap about it.  I enjoy using fossil fuels too much, and no, I wouldn’t want an electric scooter that I’d have to wait for a half an hour to charge if I felt like riding it.

The storm was a moot factor, though, when it might have come to whether or not I’d have done any scootering last evening because, finally (Praise and Halleluia!) it’s in the shop getting a good bit of work done so it’ll be ready for me to hop on it and ride off into the sunset if I so choose.  It’s getting a new rear tire, left rear turn signal, an oil change, and a new belt and transmission rollers, all of which were long overdue.  It should be ready any day now, but my usual luck typically stretches such promises into a few days longer than they should be.

The down side of this great news (Seems like there’s always an Eyeore kind of cloud over these things.) is that I “did something” to my back which has me in pain of a whole ‘nother variety than any I’d to now experienced.  To be certain, I have no idea what it was that I might have done to bring this on.  I simply got up from this computer chair a few weeks ago and found myself in agony.  It’ like sciatica which I’d had at times in the past, but this time the pain is mostly concentrated in my upper thigh.  It sure does feel like that same kind of nerve pain that sciatica delivers.  I have an appointment scheduled with my family doctor for a week from today, but I’m nearly certain that it’ll be the kind of pain about which he and his medical confreres won’t be able to do anything.

 Where the scooter should be parked is
nothing but its cargo crate
waiting for its return.

 I’m hoping that I’ll be able to enjoy some serious scootering in spite of the pain when I finally get the bike back.  Well, that is if I can manage to ride it back from the mechanic’s.  If not, I’ll have to ride the recliner on the front porch during some fun summer thunderstorms, if they ever arrive.