Sunday, November 6, 2011

Going, Going...

Facing Olivia Street, across from the cemetery which seems sadly appropriate, there crumbles this old home.

I cannot say that I should like to have been a pioneer living with a hand water pump, oil lamps and mosquitoes but I do take pleasure from seeing the past as a lesson for the present.

I wonder who built this place but for all that they lived long ago and must surely long since be dead, I expect they had all the usual hopes and dreams for future generations.

My own gutters are channeled to a cistern to collect rainwater and even though I can access the Aqueduct at the turn of a switch I prefer to run my house on my own supply of fresh water.

In those days hoping for rain was a necessity as piped water only came from the mainland to feed the war effort in 1942.

Held together by string and a prayer.

Which one per center wants a fourth home in paradise that needs a little work?

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I saw this turquoise roofline and I found the color against the blue sky quite striking. Mix in the straight lines of the building against the soft green of the bushes and I was moved to take a picture.

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Flat Earth

It was plain for all to see that the tire was flat. It was, as they say, only flat at the bottom but it still needed to be changed.

I assessed my options and decided that once Cheyenne was walked and thus relaxed, this was as good a spot as any for a flat tire. I was parked on a flat firm piece of ground such was one might find most places in Flatistan, land of no hills, the sun was shining as it does in Florida, the breeze was blowing and it was in all respects a perfect day for some physical labor in the open.

Too bad the labor was a flat tire but I used to be a boy scout before they became homophobes so I was prepared. This is not a good time to discover the doughnut is flat but if mine had been I carry an electric pump in my trunk which is surprisingly useful as it makes it easy to check tire pressures and stuff when you have a spare moment. It has also saved me when my spare was flat in the trunk.

While I was bent double in the trunk removing the well screwed down doughnut I heard a kerfuffle outside and found my dog in a high state of nerves as she was being solicited by a Key deer. Rangers think the deer are scared of Cheyenne when the reverse is actually true. She retreated with a worried look on her face as the curious deer approached her with lust in his eyes. My sudden appearance from the bowels of the broken car scared the deer and Cheyenne took up a protective stance, sort of, nearby.

I applied foot to tool and slowly loosened the wheel nuts.

Then I applied the well greased jack to the dimple in the under carriage and slowly levitated the Fusion.

As I did so, as though to mock me the culprit leered at me from between the rubber treads:

With the old tire well off the ground I finished loosening the nuts and exposed the secret parts of the car to sunlight. Had I been a smoker this might have been the moment.

As it was I stuck the doughnut on, rigid with it's 90 pounds of pressure.

And honked down on the wheel nuts in the approved cross hatch style.

Supposedly doing it that way keeps the wheel flush against the tire and prevents wobble.

Replacing the jack is a total class A bitch. I would pay good money for five minutes in a dark room with a rubber hose with the cretin at Ford who designed the wheel jack holder. The pin seen above has to be inserted after the jack has been lowered into place. When the folded jack is place the hole the pin screws into becomes invisible. Duh!

Fumble-curse-fumble-curse. There has to be a place in hell for the "engineer" who designed this arrangement. A lifetime later I was putting the useless tire into the trunk when the actual cause of my derangement made itself known. Two screws in one flat! Grrr.

The doughnut spare tire used to irritate me but in the modern era with long lasting tires and tubeless compounds that resist flats and only seem to lose air slowly when they do get punctured, the miniature spare tire has come to seem a good idea to me. It takes up no space, is easy to handle and happily gets very little use

Driving around with a honking great wheel in the trunk is a pain in the backside, as is my preference for doing manual labor without gloves.

But the job was done, Cheyenne was walked and,

it was still a perfect day today.

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Running Dog

I couldn't resist making an extra stop on the way home and giving Cheyenne one more airing on an old Flagler Bridge.

It was another in the series of perfect days we have been having all this week in the Keys. So perfect one could ride a bicycle on the adjacent modern Highway One and not break out in too much of a sweat.

Or one could go boating on a flat calm, sun speckled silvery sea.

Some few people were out fishing wrapped up against the wintery sun's rays. The sun has fallen appreciably lower in the sky by this time of the year as it's orbit sinks closer to the southern horizon (in the Ptolemaic world view).

Ptolemy or Copernicus notwithstanding the center of my world is revolving around my currently indestructible orange Crocs. I am waiting for them to disintegrate so I can start wearing my splendid bright new pink ones sent by Amanda in the Virgin islands but these orange ones wont break. I am told orange Crocs are no longer being made so my deviation into this odd color will be short lived apparently. Except they are indestructible.

Homeward plods the weary angler....from Gray's Elegy in a country church-yard...

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

It is a bit of a liberty to compare a person in a center console to a man ploughing a field with a horse.

Which was my cue to go home before I bastardized any more poetry.

It seemed too lovely a day to waste it on making lunch, but I compelled myself to slave over a cold stove with my Labrador in eager attendance. She knows a soft touch when she sees me with food in hand.

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