I don’t want to cheat Thanksgiving, but It’s been the Christmas season for about a month now on QVC. Every day an ever larger portion of their “shows” promote things for the holidays. A few weeks ago I happened to catch a segment that featured Christmas Trees by Bethlehem Lights. In a studio with winter scenes outside its windows, a company rep and a QVC rep extolled the virtues of the Bethlehem trees. A few things intrigued me so much that I later replayed the segment for the Princess. First, the trees looked incredibly real. Second, there was a cute young gal who on cue, seemingly easily put the trees together over and over again. Third, and most importantly, when each tree segment plugged into the last, the lights from that segment would automatically pop on, no separate messing with lights.
All of this appealed to me, as I’d really been struggling with our 9 footer for the last three or four years. It is not exaggerating to say that I’d spend hours each year getting the tree down from the attic, setting it up and trying (to no avail) to get all of its lights to go. And a friend who once saw all the tree sections up in my attic, wrapped in black “lawn and leaf” bags looked at them worriedly and asked, “You keepin’ bodies up here?” The issue with the lights though, was the worst. Every year I’d plug the wires in, trying every way conceivable, yet at least one strand would never come on. I finally solved that problem by going out and buying a separate strand, stringing it in where the dead strand was and running a separate extension cord up the tree. All of that and then the daunting task of lugging bulky, heavy “body bags,” I mean tree sections, up and down two flights to the attic had me looking longingly at those easy to handle, easy to operate, twinkling Bethlehem beauties.
But I wasn’t going to be dumb and pay the exorbitant QVC price, no sir. I’d find one on-line somewhere else at a fraction of the price, which I did. And with a click of the “Enter” button on the keyboard my $375 Christmas tree was winging its way to me from Bethlehem. Well no. Several days later the UPS man knocked on our garage door and tore back to his truck so fast that when I opened the door all that was left was the smell of diesel fumes. I found out why when I tried to lift the box. Talk about heavy, no wonder he didn’t want carry it up the stairs to our front door. I bulldogged the stupid thing up the flight of stairs to our living room, put it down and gazed at its awesome “yellowness.” Yeah, a really sick looking yellow box, that came my way from a warehouse somewhere, but first from a container, on a giant container ship not from Bethlehem, neither the one in Pennsylvania, or even the one in Jordan, nope, in big bold letters the box said THAILAND!
Well, I don’t know what I expected, but a Thai Christmas tree wouldn’t have been high on my list of guesses. With a little thought though, I was able to conjure up a vision. Vast forests on lush Thai hillsides covered with plastic Christmas trees waiting to be cut by Thai lumber jacks and sent to America. Right…way to kill my Christmas mood. With the weight of the box still in my mind, I pulled the tree sections from the box. They were NOT light. I now understand the depths of my underestimation of female capabilities. That young gal easily slapping those trees together must have been training for that for months. I’ll bet that under that holiday sweater biceps bulged as she easily hefted each piece of the tree. When she leaves the studio each day, she probably heads to her job as bouncer at a local bar. Yeah, I was QVC’d alright.
In spite of this experience, I’m currently lusting after some spiral sliced hams they were pushing. What could go wrong? Oh no…they’re not from Pigs in Thailand? Wouldn’t that be great! Cue-up the Babes in Toyland Music.
Sorry to say, but just in time for Thanksgiving the Pony has gone “off his feed.” Yup, just about the time I finished up installing the fenders the engine started acting funny. We thought it was a timing thing, or something ignition related anyway, but we’ve now ruled that out. Next step is to check the compression and see what we have there. I’m guessing a valve lifter has gone out of adjustment.
But it doesn’t stop there. While running the engine I felt some water drops hit my face, what the &##$! Turns out the radiator is now leaking too. Then, as I was crawling around underneath I noticed that the pivot pin that connects the front axle to the frame and allows the axle to pivot on uneven ground was trying to work its way out. The pivot pin is a simple but crucial piece of the tractor, as resting on it is about half a ton (the whole front end of the Pony). I had some luck here though. After doing a brief Google search I was able to come up with a used replacement pin, now already in my possession. Here’s a photo of what the Cost-O-Meter bought for $10, plus shipping.
That’s a decent amount of original Pony red paint on there. Pretty cool. I’ll keep you posted on this “pivotal” issue and others in the weeks ahead.
I ought to finish I guess with a little thought for Thanksgiving. Up at the corner and on the walking route that The Princess and I regularly follow, a nearby apartment complex has had a guy dressed in a dog costume waiving at the cars as they go by and advertising the apartment complex. He’s been doing this since summer, and I really felt for him in that hot costume in the summer heat. But the guy apparently has staying power, and after all these months he’s still out there cheerfully waiving as the cars go by.
Last week while we were walking past, the dog was having a conversation with a rather shabbily dressed guy on the sidewalk. I just happened to hear him say, “Well, you’ve got to of known some hard times to be able to appreciate the good ones when they come along.” I thought man, even for that guy in the dog suit, there’s someone worse off than him, and he’s able to dispense some dog philosophy to help buck him up. This Thanksgiving, may we all appreciate what we have…woof!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all and THANKS for reading.