He Died With His Belt On

Yesterday I went to the Lion King to pick-up a few grocery items.  We’ve got a dumb waiter on the first floor (garage level), so we just chuck bags of groceries in there and push a button and they go directly up to the kitchen, one level up.  So yesterday when I got back from the store I put the bags in the dumb waiter as always, pushed the button and went up stairs.  Usually, if The Princess is around, she’ll hear the dumb waiter coming up and start putting things away even before I get upstairs.  Pretty neat system.

Except…at 6:00 this morning as I was heading out to my volunteer gig, I opened the dumb waiter, so that I could put the garbage bags in there and send them down to the garage. Imagine my surprise to open the door and find yesterday’s groceries still in there.  AHHHHHHHHH!  Had to toss out a pint of half and half, but at least there wasn’t any ice cream in there.  I’m going to take the blame on this one, because to try passing it off on The Princess would be a “lose-lose situation.”

Do you ever get the feeling that everything is falling apart.  I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s true, the old maxim that The Princess and I came up with many years ago, Eventually almost everything turns to ____ (fill in bad word of your choice).    And when stuff (or people) fall apart, it’s always a pain in the ass to make things right again.  The “Rabbit” wine cork- puller that had a 10-year warranty just broke after about a year.  The Delta kitchen faucet with a lifetime warranty had been leaking sporadically for most of its third year of life when I called Delta and convinced them to replace it.  Remember the “tractor clock” in Gene’s garage?  It stopped running and began oozing some nasty, sticky stuff from its electrical connection, and that was only about two months passed it’s one-year warranty.  The guy who built it said he’d fix it under warranty, but when I called about a month ago he hung up on me, and now two months out I’ve got nothing.  I don’t take kindly to being shafted, or being treated rudely, so for all those out there who feel they ought to have a clock with a tractor logo emblazoned across it, I’d suggest someone other than Don Nugent at ABC Enterprises aka TractorClocks.com.

And along these same lines, The Princess (no, no, she’s not out of warranty yet), but this does relate to her.  Often in the morning while taking a nice long soak in her tub, she’ll loll around, drink coffee and read a book.  Yesterday, I heard a big crash in her bathroom and hustled in to see what was up.  Turns out that yesterday she had showered instead of bathed, and thank God!  She was just toweling-off when the glass cover over the recessed lighting fixture above her tub just decided to let loose, drop nine feet and smash to pieces in the tub!  When I got to the bathroom, she was standing there in her “altogether,” speechless (a miracle?) and eyes as big as half-dollars.  “They’re trying to kill me,” she finally managed, and I had to admit, it did look that way.  So, in addition to having a murderer to look for, I’ve got yet another thing that needs fixing.

Moving on.  We caught some really nice days while Andy was visiting over the holidays, so he got a chance to take the Pony out on the roads by Gene’s.  I forgot to put the cap back on the exhaust stack, so he did inhale a bit more exhaust and soot than usual.  Sorry, Andy, I didn’t think of that until a couple of weeks after we took the Pony out!  And he got to meet Gene’s daughter, Jennifer and grand-daughter, Sarah.  They recently had the nerve to send me this photo of Sarah with a tractor in an unapproved color.


Other than that visit out to noodle around on the Pony, there has been no Pony work of late.  Still some work to do though, on those side-panels.  I’ll let you know when there is more progress.

Also, I’ve been corresponding with some of the blog’s readers, and I’m asking all those with Ponies (in whatever state of reconstruction) to send photos of their “pets” for a future post.  Should be fun.

I have a belt I’ve been wearing for maybe 25 years.  It’s just right in almost every way.  The leather strap is not so thick that it’s bulky and not so thin that it won’t do the job.  It’s not too wide and not too narrow.  It’s brown color isn’t a chocolate brown, but more of a reddish brown that is enhanced by a patina that only age could give it.  The leather is now so supple that when I take the belt off I can role it up in a tight little circle and it will stay that way.  These days your average, department store belt will come with a shiny, plated buckle.  The buckle on my belt is understated in it’s simplicity, and it’s all brass; on the back it’s stamped “solid brass.”  The brass too has aged well, to a smooth, satin gold finish.  When I lived back in Indiana, on one of my bike rides through Amish country I found a piece of brass-work from a horse’s reins; I still have it.  That piece of brass and my belt buckle have the same look.

Every couple of months I rub the belt’s leather with a conditioner that years ago I could only find in tack shops.  Now, of course, I buy it on the internet.  And last year I took my belt into a shoe repair shop to fix a split that had developed in the leather.  That brought to mind the old Boehmke Maxim that I referred to earlier, and I thought, man, I hope this belt doesn’t fall apart before I do.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to expire before my time just so that the belt and I can go out together.  But wouldn’t it be great if many years from now they could say after I’m gone, “That dude was really lucky.  He lived a long life and died with his favorite belt on.”

And back to The Princess for a moment.  Did you ever wonder how she stays so good lookin’.  Year after year she hardly seems to age.  But yesterday I think I figured it out.  I hadn’t seen her for most of the morning when she wandered into the kitchen at about 11:00 and said, “You know today when I woke-up, I decided to take a nap.”  Beauty sleep!

Thanks for reading.










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