How A Domestic Goddess Breaks Down a Tire

October 10, 2008

I’m a single mom who recently lost her job, and when I need money, I do what I have to do. This time it meant breaking down tires so I could pocket a quick $9 per rim.

The tools required for the job? The corner of my storage bulding, a floor jack and a hacksaw.

Drag everything to the corner of building. Set tire on jack and hoist it up til the tire is squished between the corner and jack, popping the bead on the tire. Then take the hacksaw, cut through the bead, and tire is removed!

Reverse Engineering… On my 94 Ford Probe V6 GT (POS)

August 9, 2007

Reverse engineering is the process of learning how a product is made by taking it apart and examining it.

I know more about 1994 Ford Probes than any woman on the planet, and as a “do-it- yourself” kinda gal, I thought I’d post a couple of my “reverse engineering” shots for those of you who need a close up of the greasy, oily, crud-caked crap that you will not find in the Haynes/Chilton manuals.

So, in the beginning, there was this car…. which was a freebie given to me by my loving grandfather when I gave my ex the other car just so he would have a way to “GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME.”

In the beginning….In the beginning….

Then the hood blew off at 60 miles per hour…


Followed by half the stuff UNDER the hood lifting UP with the hood when I stopped to check the oil….


And of course, not long after, I was replacing the water pump.. and then the timing belt broke…






So this is when the timing belt broke


This is after I broke down the left side of the motor…removed the water pump pulley bolts and drivebelts from the alternator and power steering pump, then removed the water pump pulley. Position the number one cylinder at TDC.



Using a “persuasion bar” to make sure the crankshaft doesn’t turn:



Removed the drivebelt tensioner bracket, and while it says to use a 0.060-inch pin in the tensioner after compression, I just used a nail… worked fine.



Don’tcha love my floormat?



Gettin’ ‘er done! (Um… Yeah… that would be me….)



Set the timing marks on the camshaft, put and reverse engineer one more time to put the damn thing back together…. and she runs like a scalded dog. Go Me!


I Was Wondering…

January 18, 2007

Instead of talking to your plants, if you yelled at them would the still grow? Only to be troubled and insecure?

If I break the laws of Physics do I go to jail?

Will you die if you get scared half to death twice?

If quitters never win, and winners never quit, than who is the fool who said, “Quit while you’re ahead”?

Sooner or later doesn’t EVERYONE stop smoking?

Why can’t we make newspapers that don’t smudge?

Why doesn’t onomatopoeia sound like what it is?

If you choke a Smurf what color would it turn?

Whose cruel idea was it for the word lisp to have a s in it?

If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation or a murder?

Why does the psychic hotline ask for your credit card number? Shouldn’t they already know it?

Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone is going to clean them?

Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?

What’s another word for thesaurus?

If you throw your pet cat out the window of your car does it bec0me cat litter?

Why is it called a TV “set” when you only get one?

How did a fool and his money get together?

Why is it that when you are driving and looking for an address you turn the radio down?

Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Why is it that when you transport something by car it is called a shipment but when you transport something by ship it is called cargo?

If you have an open mind is there a chance your brain might fall out?

If the entire world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

Why in a country with freedom of speech are there phone bills?

Why is it that when you tell a person that there are 400 billion stars in the sky and he’ll believe you, tell him a bench is wet and he has to touch it? ,

How do I set my laser printer on stun gun?

Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?

Who really took the bite out of the Apple logo?

Why when you say a color a lot does it start to sound really strange?

How many licks does it really take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

If 75% of all accidents occur within 5 miles of home, why not move 10 miles away?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

If there is no God, who pops up the next Kleenex in the box?

If the cops arrest a mime do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

Isn’t the best way to save face to keep the lower part shut?

If it is zero degrees outside today and it is supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold is it going to be?

What does Geronimo yell when he jumps out of a plane?

The Mechanic and Me

December 16, 2006

Tales From the Countryside (CH 4)

I was a daddy’s girl, and I grew up southern style. By that, I don’t mean I was a “tom boy”, nor was I a debutante. I blended the two into what I believe to be a perfect balance of eclectic, eccentric, outdoorsy, intelligent, multi-talented femininity.Smiley

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “WTF is she talking about???????” Smiley (And here is where i tell you….)

My father was bridge foreman for the railroad (Mo-Pac) for 32 years. He would be gone for two weeks at a time, and only home every other weekend. My father was right up there with God as far I as I was concerned, and when he was home, he belonged to ME. He taught me everything he knew. Probably not because he always wanted to, but more likely it was because he couldn’t get rid of me for an instant. I think he figured as long as he taught me something new, and sent me to practice whatever it was he imparted to me, he could breathe for a minute. It never took long however, because I never wanted anything more than to see my father smile, and I learned quickly, from pouring concrete to construction. One of my earliest recollections is of the only fight I ever knew my parents to have. I remember like it was yesterday, sitting in the kitchen on a stool when i was 8 years old, and my father lacing up hiking boots on my feet. He was on one bended knee, and he had a coil of rope on the floor next to him. My mom walks in, stops dead in her tracks and says “Clovis, just what the hell do you think you are DOING!!?!?!?” My father turned to my mother with the most confused look on his face and says “what?” My mother says… “Clovis, you are NOT taking that child up on the ROOF with you!!!”, and my dad says “But Val, I have a rope! I’m gonna tie her to me while I replace the shingles, so she won’t fall off, and she can hand me the nails!” Smiley

Yeah. I thought she was gonna choke him to death with that rope. When she picked it up, I swear…. it kinda looked like a hangman’s noose there for a second. Really. It did….

Anyhow… the point of that retrospective is this. Thanks to my daddy, I also know a wee bit about cars. Not a whole lot, mind you, but enough to get by. I can rebuild a Holly 4-barrel quadrajet, drop in a 350 or a 327 4 bolt main,
replace my own brakes, and change a starter, flywheel, or alternator. So, when I have a damn car with OBD, I know how the hell to read it. OK?

For those of you who DON”T have a CLUE what an OBD stands for “On Board Diagnostic”.
OBD serves as an early warning system that alerts you to the potential need for vehicle repair through the “Check Engine” light on the dashboard of your vehicle. It flashes codes that tell you what ‘s wrong with your ride. You can read them, look them up, and diagnose your own damned car, without having to rely solely on what some “mechanic” tells you.

Now then… Chapter 4 really begins with me, and my OBD the night I got back from night of terror in Tulsa. Yep, I got home, and checked it. The only code it’s flashing is a 41. i go inside, look it up on the internet, and there it is. It’s the EGR valve, and guess what that means? I was right. It’s electronic, and will make my car run like it’s constipated when it’s f****d up. I crawl under the car at midnight with a flashlight in hand and start tracing. yep. It’s F*****D!

Soooooo….. the next AM I call my grandpa and the mechanic, and tell them what the problem is. But noooooooo…… “that’s not it” they say. GRRRRRRRRR!!!!! They will NOT listen to me. I “don’t really need it” they say.

Soooooooo…. I have spent the last 4 days waiting in this God-forsaken 7th circle of hell. (Oklahoma is no longer OK to ME!!!!!) In the interim, the “mechanic” has checked the pressure on my fuel pump, replaced the fuel filter, totally removed the catalytic converter, and a few other various waste of time things.
He tells me yesterday, “must be that EGR valve”.

Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
YA THINK?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

By now, my grandpa has sunk so much into that car, it’s all pretty much new under the non-existent perverbial hood. He just doesn’t wanna spend the $250 it’s gonna take to get it fixed. I’m thinking at this point that Old Man Murphy won.

But Wait~~~~~~

The trumpet sounded last night (by way of the telephone) and I was informed I would be getting the money western union from people at home who love me and want my ass BACK there. I bolt to the shop, tell the mechanic I am picking up the part in the AM, have the car ready to install it. He tells me he’ll have it done by the afternoon, and I can go home on Sunday.

Sooooooo… this AM I get up early, go to the shop, and tell him I’m headed to OKC for the part, and he says “cool”. I get back, and guess what??????? The mother fucker (excuse da language, but really… WTF??Smiley has closed the shop up tight, left early, with my car locked up INSIDE, and no one has heard from him since. Did I mention, he lives BEHIND the shop, and sure as hell wasn’t there either?

The S.O.B. RAN and HID!!!!!!! Smiley

That’s ok. I got something for the mechanic. You just hide and watch…

Don’t fuck with a southern woman who has been held hostage in hell for two weeks, and wants nothing in the world but to get home to her son.

Oh yeah….the “mechanic” and me… uh-huh…

Guess no one ever told him that hell hath no fury like a single southern mother scorned.

Murphy may be tough, Karma may be a bitch, and my Dogma may be dead, but they ain’t got SHIT on me!!!!

To be continued…

And where the hell is a disgruntled Smiley carrying a baseball bat????

My KarMa RaN OvER mY DoGMa !!!!

December 16, 2006

Tales from the Countryside Chapter 3

Well, I guess Mr. Murphy decided enough WASN’T enough, so he sent that bitch Karma over to kill my Dogma. She not only ran over it… she backed up… spun out…squalled the tires, and burned rubber all over it.

Yes, my Dogma is now a grease spot on the Road of Life.

Personally, I think Old Man Murphy is prejudiced against women, or he needs to get laid. (If he’d quit throwing his damned LAWS around, smacking car hoods and the like, maybe he WOULD get laid!)

OK, so here’s chapter three of my “Tales from the Countryside” blog that is fast becoming an Epic of Ridiculous Proportions.

My mother and I had decided to take my car and go shopping, sans hood, of course. We were in Tulsa when Karma decided to catch a ride.

First, something black comes flying up and smacks my side of the windshield. It was so fast, that I would have thought it to be an apparition, had it not been for the resounding “SMACK” before it shot by my widow with meteorific speed. I asked my mother if she saw what is was. She claimed it must have flown up from the road., which I know isn’t possible. I saw where it came from, I just couldn’t identify the part at 80 miles and hour, and daylight becoming dusk. After the hood incident I opted to let it go, so she could keep believing her delusion.

About 15 minutes later, the car decides it wants to start cutting out on me. I mean… bogged down…” Karma get your damned foot off the brake while I’m pushing the gas pedal down” kinda thing. Karma seemed to think it was fun, however, and would simply slam on the brake at random, intermittent periods. I, not realizing it Karma just yet, ran through the gambit of possibilities in my mind. So what do I do? The car had been setting up a while before I got it. Condensation build up caused water in the tank? Fuel filter? Injectors? Catalytic converter? Bad gas? Fuel pump losing pressure? Hmmm….. wtf? Now it’s dark, and thanks to the hood incident, I am running one headlight that only works on high beam, however, I have bought replacements which are in the back seat, so I pull into a station, get gas, injector cleaner, and go to install the headlights. Guess what? Oh yeahhhhhhhh… You know it. The freakin screws weren’t in the headlamps EITHER! Just dumb ass luck and wind sheer holding them in place. Karma must have missed that somehow, or I’m sure she would have kicked them out of their sockets with her spiked stilettos. Then I take a look to see what auto part might be missing. Found it, too. It was the main fuse box cover. Lovely.

So….on the road again. The car is running a lil better and I’m thinking “WHEW!”. That lasted all of three minutes. I think Karma was straddling the motor, kinking the fuel line like you do a water hose when you want to sstop the water without turning it off at the faucet. She made the car gag and lurch so much that a 200 mile trip cost me $50 in gas. She’s such a bitch.

We decide to go on home, and I fight with the car for the next three hours. I have figured out that it is definetly something electrical, because I can shut it off, throw it in neutral, let it reset, re-crank, and it run would smooth for about 10 minutes before acting up again. We stopped for more gas, and something to drink, and that’s when my Dogma decided to get out and chase my car down the road. Karma didn’t like that, so after we had pulled off the interstate onto one of the rural blackened highways headed back to Newalla, she decided to run over my Dogma. We knew when she hit it. Oh yeah. There was no mistaking it. “THWUMP!” “PLUNK< PLUNK< PLUNK< PLUNK< PLUNK”.

Mom is now “over it”. Even SHE is cursing the car. She just knows it’s the tire. I know it ISN’T the tire, because while it sounded like one, there was not so much as a bip, much less a bump. It’s pitch black, however, and I have no flashlight, and can’t see a damn thing. I’m not ABOUT to stick my hand around there to see what it is. Then I remember, the phone I had just gotten earlier that day (in case I had car trouble on the way back to Arkansas…((HAH!!!)) has a itty bitty flashlight on it. What do I see? The FENDER WALL…. Sticking out between my tire and the fender, protruding about a foot and a half. Ok… so now I’M over it!!!! OMG! That was the last damn straw. I look underneath, and the fender wall (screw-less, of course) is wedged up in my strut, and is being eating by the wheel. The strut and wheel had a good bitedown on the thing, because I had to stick on foot up on the tire, grab the fender wall, and pull so hard that byt the time it gave up the grip, I went flying backward to land on the median on the opposite side of the road. OOMPH! I think it took an inch of height of me when my tailbone jammed up into my spine and squished a few discs together.

Anyhow, it only took another hour to make it those last 20 miles home, with each mile bringing the car closer and closer to death and a car crusher. Jesse James seems to have some cool ways with demolition. Think the Monster Garage would be open if I gave them a ring?

Me, My Car, and Murphy’s Law

December 10, 2006

Me And Murphy’s Law Current mood: indescribable

Old Man Murphy and his freakin’ Laws. Gotta love ’em, aye? Have I mentioned that my personal sanity is almost threadbare at this point?

So, I’m in Oklahoma where I have just picked up the car my grandfather gave me. It’s a great ride for a 94 Probe. Sunroof, automatic everything, electric seats, gray leather interior, cruise control, perfect alignment, and wheels/tires on it that are worth as much as the car. Best of all…. it was a freebie!

Then, coming home from the store with my mom, she makes the comment “yeah, well it’s ok, but you haven’t hit the interstate yet”. To which I reply with a tenative laugh ,”mom, shut the hell up and don’t jinx me”. Mom says with utter sincerity, “old man Murphy doesn’t care if you say it aloud or not”.

Either way, we met Mr. Murphy about 10 minutes later, when he bashed my freakin’ car with his freakin’ law.

Yes, at 60 mph, Mr Murphy decides I don’t really need my car hood, or headlamps.

I’m just drivin’, chattin’, and laughin’ with mom when WHAM !!! We hear a clattering sound, the hood flies up, disengages, goes soaring over the top of the car (missing the windshield and back glass, thank God) and SMACKS into my trunk before sailing like a frisbee into the adjacent lane in front of oncoming traffic.

Yes, it’s just another day in my life.

I whip the car around and go after the hood. I pull up in front of it, stare it down like something that should be slaughtered, and get out of the car.
My mother… she’s speechless…bless her heart…
I walk up to the perfectly unmarked hood, stare it down for a moment longer, pick it up , and walk back to check out the car-nage. (Get it!? Carnage!? LMAO!) ((Shut up. It was funny to me.))

I can’t help myself, standing there, holding the hood, looking at the opening where my v-6 is proudly(?) displaying itself. I start smiling. Then the giggles kick in. It is only when my mom gets out of the car and hold the door open saying “honey, quick, stick it in the back seat!”, that I totally lose my composure, and erupt into eye-watering, side-splitting laughter. A few cars slowly manuveured around us, but I’m fairly certain they were afraid to stop, fearing that I must have lost my mind somewhere. I can’t stop laughing! It was just the funniest thing in the world to me. My mom is starting to look at me in a most concerned fashion, and takes a step back from me, which makes me literally double over and HOWLLLLLLLLLL with laughter.

This one truck finally stops and two guys ask if they can help… my mom is looking from them to me, like “OMG HELP HER”…… and all I can do is laugh and laugh and laugh!!!! My mom asks them to put the hood in thier truck and plz follow us home. I guess it was adrenilin cause that hood felt like a feather to me, but it kinda seemed to be given that one guy a hard time.

We did finally make it home and figured out the hood had never actually been fastened to the car. It was simply “resting” there, and had been held in place by the thick sheet of ice that had weighed it down and had also been attached to the wiper blades. No latch, no hinges, no nothing. Just a hood with some ice that decided to melt.

I love my life…..every day is an adventure….

Tomorrow begins my adventure in car hood replacement…..