Talk about “life imitating fiction,” this week a new movie came out, “Our Idiot Brother.” After I’ve written about him for over a year, they think they can come in and just steal my brother? I hate to even say it, but come on, “I got dibs on him!” Speaking of the old IB, we were talking last week, and he started asking questions about the what was next on the tractor project. I told him I was pretty close to reinstalling the engine. “You are going to at least make sure all the gears are turning in the transmission and differential before you go stickin that thing back in there, aren’tcha?” Admittedly, Gene’s been harassing me about this too, so under all this pressure, I told Gene I’d be out this week to look into that. Coincidentally, the hot summer weather had finally broken, so working outside was at least be feasible.
You may recall that last fall Gene and I removed the cover on the side of the transmission, I guess just out of curiosity, because after we’d taken a look around inside we just closed er back up and forgot about it. Here’s what it looks like both open and closed.
Well, here we are not a year out from when those pictures were taken, but pretty dang close, and it was time to go back in there and find out what we really had. We needed to make sure that we could actually shift the gears and that all the gears in the transmission and differential were moving.
We first tried turning the drive shaft, but no dice. We then tried shifting gears, but could not seem to find neutral. Neither could we push the tractor. Finally we removed the cover off the transmission, which includes the shifting mechanism, and tried pushing the tractor. Gene stuck his hands into the slimy interior of the transmission and moved the gears around until they engaged. We then pushed the tractor again and “Voila!” the tractor moved and we could see all of the gears turning in both the transmission and the differential. From this exercise we knew that everything worked except the shifting mechanism, so we tackled that next. Here’s a diagram.
After a lot of pondering, we figured out how to take the mechanism apart. What we found, was that part (12) in the diagram above was cracked in half. Thank you once again Pony. Gene’s first words were, “Uh oh, Cost-O-Meter” time. My thought was, man, I hope Maggie Simpson, Parts detective, can find one of those.
Turns out Maggie couldn’t find the part, and I really started worrying. I tried something though, that I had tried with partial success another time, and called the corporate offices of Agco, a company with affiliated tractor shops all over the country. Through them I found a shop in Goldsboro, NC that incredibly, still had this part in stock (after 50-60 years!). Woo hooo! I told the nice woman who helped me how incredible this was, and how old the part was, and she said, “Well hon, we’ve been in business just long enough, 63 years!” So, just to conclude, here’s a photo of the new part, its factory original wrapping, and my old, broken one.
I had to halt the tractor work for a few days, because I’m building a picnic table for our neighborhood. Of course, the first step was a trip out to Lowe’s where once again I observed some of my fellow North Carolinians at their best.
Now I’ll be the first to say that looks ain’t everything, and thank goodness, or I’d a never talked the Princess into marrying me. You just can’t, as they say, “judge a book (much less a person) by its cover.” With that as preamble, and with apologies to all of womankind, I’ll describe the little 20 second Lowe’s vignette.
Two nasty lookin’ guys were walking toward me, dirty, tattered clothes, four days beard, and not a hair on their heads straight. One of the two caught sight of a woman standing in line at the check-out. She was facing away from him, but she had a nice figure. As he was checking her out, she happened to turn his way (ok, she did not have a pretty face), and as he walked on by, he turned to his buddy and said out the side of his mouth, “Whoa, that face could knock down a mule!” I guess it was just that I’d never heard that particular, earthy expression before, and I’m embarrassed to say it, but it did make me smile and even giggle a little. As I think about it, I should probably apologize to any mules that might have been offended by this as well.
One last topic. Ya know, I don’t even know why I get into arguments with The Princess. Maybe not everyone will be able to relate to this, but any of you that are married can. I guess maybe this is another truism, yes, I’m going to state it “for the record.” If you lose an argument with The Princess, well you lose. But if you win an argument with her, you lose worse. There are just so many ways she can make you regret the victory that it just ain’t worth it. So, even though I knew better, tonight as we were eating dinner we got into a kind of memory contest. First she said, “I don’t really think most people can remember anything before they were five.”
“Nonsense, I can remember lots of stuff starting when I was about 3 1/2.”
“Well, I can remember walking through the tall weeds across from our house looking for golf balls. My brother, Jim, was with me. I remember it, because Jim kept taking the good golf balls, and I ended up crying.”
“Bah, I don’t believe it.”
“Well, what about this one. We moved from that house to another, still before I was in kindergarten. I remember we had a teenager that came to baby sit for us, actually we had a parade of them. Maybe that was because of this memory. Jim would drop something on the ground and try to look up the her skirt. I mean, give me a break, he was at most 7 years old and already a sex-crazed nuisance.”
I heard later he was still pulling this in Hawaii when he was on leave from the Navy. But I digress. Not wanting to be outdone, The Princess counters with, “Well I had dreams about when I was in the womb.”
“Yeah, when I was a kid, only about 5 or 6, I had dreams where I dreamt I was floating in a dark place in lots of liquid.”
“Bah, first of all this is not a memory, it’s a dream of a memory. Second, your parents just fed you to late at night, and those were nightmares, not actual memories.”
And this is where the whole thing kind of degraded, and now she’ll get her vengeance in any number of different ways, and that’s what I mean, it’s a lose-lose situation. And talk about nightmares, why is it that all the early memories I have, involve stupid stuff the Idiotic Brother did? I don’t know, maybe he’s actually got dibs on me! Idiot Brother indeed!
Thanks for reading.