This morning The Princess had an appointment to have her hair cut at yet another beauty salon. It’s gotten to the point where every several years we have to move to a new city, because she’s used up all the salons in the old one. I hate this.
Here’s how it usually goes. First, she lets her hair get so long that every day she’s fussing and cussing, but doesn’t know what to do about it. Next she starts clipping pictures out of magazines of gorgeous actresses and models who frankly would look good bald, but whose hair she thinks is just what she wants. Then by some process just short of randomly and blindly placing her finger on a map, she decides out of the blue to go to the Very Merry Call us When your Hairy Beauty Salon, or some such nonsense.
She goes in, flashes all her pictures, the hair cutter goes mm hmm and cuts what she (or he) feels is about $75 worth of hair. Now comes the part I hate. She comes home and says, “Well, how do I look?” Ooo boy, this is one of those questions you’ve got to be real careful with. But I’ve learned something in a 41-year marriage; when confronted with this question, no matter whether she looks like Meg Ryan or the Wicked Witch of the East, you say (enthusiastically) “You look Great!” And to make this sound legitimate you follow it up with some additional comment like, “It hangs nice in the back.” With that, I’m off the hook and the next phase begins.
The tell-tale sign of this next stage is the few little snips of hair I find in the bathroom sink. This is followed within 24 hours by wholesale brandishing of the scissors and searing self-criticism; this then quickly degrades into the final stage, blaming yet another hairdresser for not doing what she wanted and overcharging besides.
So, I was glad when she left for the appointment that I had something to keep myself busy. I went down to the shop and started work cleaning the second piston. I was so nervous about what The Princess would look like when she came back that I broke a piston ring while removing it. Dang it! I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to rationalize the new set of rings by saying it was The Princess’ fault.
I had just finished most of the work on the piston when I heard the car pull into the drive. I lingered in the shop cleaning-up trying to postpone the moment of truth as long as I could, but finally ventured upstairs to face either Meg, or the Witch. Sometimes miracles do happen. There she was smiling, standing in the hallway looking, well, damn good. Whoo hooo, I didn’t have to lie. I said “You look great!” and meant it. But I tell you, I’m going to watching that sink for the next 24 hours.
With the morning’s little drama over, I was off to visit Gene and the Pony. It’s so quiet and peaceful in the woods out at Gene’s house that you can hear yourself cursing even though your lips aren’t moving. You will recall that with four stuck valves, we had determined that removal of the camshaft was next on the agenda.
What we were hoping is that after removing the camshaft we would then be able to knock the stuck valves back up out the top of the block. Unfortunately, jeez, how often have I had to start a sentence with that word since this project began? Anyway, we couldn’t get the camshaft out, because the valve tappets of some of the stuck valves were obstructing the way out through the front of the engine block.
So, what we have here can be described with a lot of phrases, none of which I like when applied to The Pony Project, but the most apt I guess is that its a “Catch 22.” To get the valves out we need to get the camshaft out, but we can’t get the camshaft out, because the valves won’t come out. We’d burned up a couple of hours by the time we figured out we were stuck, so I decided we’d forego any more drastic steps, like cutting through frozen valves and save that for another day. On the way home from Gene’s I was reminded of the bumper stickers that say things like “A bad day fishing is better than a good day in the office.” I admit that the hours we spent today battling with that obstinate little engine were better than being in an office, but they certainly were no less frustrating. It was, however, a nice day in the woods.
The Princess and I are heading out-of-town for about a week, so there won’t be any tractor news for a while. If something else comes up that I feel is worth mentioning, you’ll be the first to know. Have a great week everyone and thank you for reading!