Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Week the Generator Died 3

Now it's Monday. Last night we were actually warm and comfortable. But we still need to get out and get the generator going and/or get the truck going. Quantum talks me into going to M's to call CK. Once we get an ETA on CK arriving with supplies, Quantum will go out to the road and meet him to drag the stuff back.

We put together a minimal list of what we need. Something that won't tax CK's energy or brain - it is CK after all!  A new battery. (Quant's a little ticked that instead of getting us a new one as he requested on Saturday, RY gave us one that he had around (allegedly charging) and seemingly not up to the job.) A box of wooden matches. (We need them to start the cook stove and the propane heater M lent us. We have about 3 matches left.) A plastic or metal snow skid. (Something like a kid's toy sled, to carry things. Quant saw them in the Dollar Store the other day, right up front and real cheap, but didn't think to buy one. Quantum realizes there's no way he can carry another battery across the local tundra without a sled.) A package of tube socks. (At this point all our socks are soaking wet.) If possible, a bale of hay. The yaks are nearly out, though we have a tiny bit of grain they're still eating. (We've had a deal with RY for quite some time, and have been buying hay from him in advance. At the moment he owes us about $200-500 worth of hay. Why Quant didn't get 5 or more bales when he was last in town is beyond me.)

Quant already has an idea that RY is miffed (the fact that RY didn't check up on us after the cop/ambulance fiasco is a small clue) and figures it'd be easier just dealing with CK. There's a local guy who does taxi service and Quant figures if CK can hire him for the ride it'll be easier than asking RY to drive him. "But if," Quantum says, as I'm heading out, "RY will drive him out, then he can probably grab the bale of hay."

I slog over to M's again. Naturally the phone wants to mess me around and I'm having trouble extracting CK's phone number from it. I finally get through to him and he says he'll call me back in 10 minutes to confirm when he can make it there.

Now lest you think I'm being overly presumptive with RY or CK, understand this: 1) Yes, I realize these are kind favors that you shouldn't ask anyone unless you're desperate. 2) Yes, by now we're desperate. 3) Despite the fact that CK and I don't get along worth a darn, CK and Quantum are basically like brothers. They lived together for more than a decade before Quant and I even met. For that matter, despite the fact that CK and I don't get along well when we live together, we still love each other. I've ferried his ass to Chemo for months on end, and spent long nights at his bedside back when he had leukemia. We're family even if we don't always like it. 4) Over the past few months RY has borrowed a crapload of money from Quantum. In fact I only found out how much it added up to this week. Certainly enough to allow Quant to feel that he could ask for a favor of this nature.

So I hang out with M for a while and wait for CK to call back. He doesn't call back. I call him again and he says, "RY and Sue just got home, I'll call you back." I get a sinking feeling in my stomach again. From the tone of his voice, something is wrong.

Now I should probably say something about Sue. I love her to death but she's challenging. She's in her 70's (I was astonished when I learned that RY her hubby is 6 months younger than my 48!) and rules the place with an iron fist. She's a super-heavy born again Christian (I don't have a problem with Christians - Quantum is even semi-Christian - but she's the wacky fundie kind. Pretty much nobody at her house does anything without her say-so. Which is a problem because her say-so varies to her moods, which are up, down, red and purple. She's in early-mid stage Alzheimers. She MAY also have cancer. So some of the moody shit that happens may be folks reacting to her. Or reacting to the exhaustion that happens with dealing with her every day. Or it may totally have nothing to do with her.

Anyhow. a few minutes later I get a call from RY and he's fuming. "I'm only doing this because I love you like a brother," he says. "Ummm...what are you upset about RY?" Naturally he points to the other night with the cop. I've "embarassed" him somehow. "I swear, RY, he was vomiting, he was sick and yes, he seemed to be passing out. Quantum will swear he wasn't but that's not what I observed. I told you he wouldn't leave the house and we just needed some way of getting heat started."

 He'll meet Quant in an hour with a new battery. Okay fine. "Tell him to bring me my battery back," he says. "Look, RY, I told you, Quant nearly passed out trying to carry that battery over to our place. He doesn't have a way to carry it back, and I'm afraid he'd kill himself if he tried. That's why we want CK to get us a sled." We say a few more things and then he repeats "Tell Quant to bring my battery back."

Wha? "I told you. He can't carry it. It's not happening." Once again I don't think he hears a word I'm saying. No go. Not happening. Quantum is not dragging that thing across the snow without a sled.

I get home, Quantum goes out. An hour or two later Quantum returns. And he's highly ticked. "They went out and got the cheapest-ass battery they could find," he says. "But I told CK to get the right battery for the truck," I say. And seeing that we already know a charge is the problem, and CK does come from a cold weather place, he should know that the teeniest battery isn't going to have the cranking power to get the truck going. On top of that, no sled, no matches, no socks, and worst, no hay. The yaks still have a few crumbs of oats, but they are not happy.

At this point more of the story comes out. Unbeknowst to me, RY has borrowed nearly a thousand dollars from Quantum over the past few months. That doesn't even include the money we've given him towards hay. That may not be a lot of money, but for us it's quite a bit - if we had it we could have fixed the truck, bought a new generator, etc. For RY it's probably even a harder number. Now I really hope it isn't the deal, but I've been in situations before where people borrow money and then pick a fight so they don't have to pay you back.  I think this is why my grandparents became communists. *Giant sigh.* I really don't want to lose a friendship over this garbage.

Monday night the propane runs out in the heater. An entire cannister of gas has lasted us only about 30 hours. So much for the high efficiency boasted of on the packaging. We spend another night huddled together under the blankets, cramped and freezing.

Tuesday. Quantum gets M to give him a ride into town. He buys yet another battery, another canister of propane, a replacement propane heater (just like the one M lent us but smaller and hopefully more efficient) and a few small supplies. Not hay though. He gets a $8 plastic sled to drag the stuff back. Despite CK's avowal that he couldn't find them, the sleds were right in front of the Dollar Store. I somehow doubt CK even tried looking.

Wednesday. Once again we struggle to figure out what to do. Truck, no. Generator, no. Battery, no. Nothing is working.

We have a friend who is an electrician, but...gods, he's a friend we know through RY. And RY recently had a fall out with him. And RY seeems to hate us now. So how do we ask for his number? Naturally we don't know his last name even.

We realize that the other day I'd been talking to a friend and she mentioned Mercury was in retrograde. If you don't know, Mercury is the planet that rules communication and short-term travel. Both of those are screwed for us. According to astrology, when Mercury is in retrograde, those things screw up. We laugh. And shudder.

Thursday. I slog over to M's again and return his propane heater. This time we're going to get a tow truck to jump start our car. Can we afford it? Not really. Do we seem to have a choice? Not really. As I'm waiting at the bottom of M's driveway for the tow guy to come, I hear a woman's voice. "I ran the car off the road," she says. "It skidded on the ice." She's talking to someone on a cell phone. Now I'm not a big woman and I don't know how much strength I'll have to help someone get back on the road, but I feel incumbent to at least try helping. My legs and back are screaming, but I hike up the road, towards the sounds. Funny as heck, it's G, M's wife. He actually makes it down the driveway to her before I do. Well, at least I tried.

The tow truck guy comes. Except he doesn't have a tow truck, just a small pickup. He takes me home. I'm amazed his truck makes it up our road. On the way we see a huge elk bounding through the woods. He stays much longer than I'd thought and keeps trying to help get the truck started. The battery is drained, yes, but he and Quantum also discover that the negative terminal to the battery is cracked - part of the problem. Also something's wrong with the fuel line. And maybe the starter. The bill is only $83. Which is a lot for what we can afford, but totally reasonable for his time. He doesn't have the parts or knowledge to fix the situation but says he'll bring out a friend tomorrow if we wish.

Friday. Well we wish we can get him to bring out a friend to fix our car, but first we need to check our bank balance which we're sure is low. Quantum walks back to M's but M looks busy and can't give him a ride into town to check our balance or do desperately needed shopping. The yaks are now completely out of hay and Yeti spent the night tossing the now empty barrel that held the oats. The local taxi guy doesn't want to drive out. Finally Quantum calls P, the tow guy and offers to pay him to take Quant shopping. Just before dusk Quantum returns with yet more propane and some more supplies. Matches! Yay! Dog and cat crunchies (they were almost out of food too)! Hay! Hurrah! No more ticked off yaks!

Today was Saturday. P the tow guy was supposed to come out with his mechanic buddy around 2, but they never showed. Finally Quantum "remembered" something I'd suggested several days ago that got dismissed.

Or previous truck is a Blazer that's sitting in our driveway. Last May we were driving home and the darn thing threw a wheel. Like the wheel actually FELL off. Something with the front end cracked. But it was the wheel that failed, not the motor. Two days ago Quantum actually tried opening the motor, but the rod that opens the hood was broken. Today however, he tried again. The hood opened. Anything could have gone wrong with the motor by now. The gas in the tank could have been bad. The radiator could have frozen. The engine could have frozen.

But no. The baby started right up! Right now I'm typing thanks to energy powered by it attached to the inverter. Because of that we may be able to get our electrician buddy and the mechanic over tomorrow.

Please, I hope this saga is nearly over.

1 comment:

  1. Hey sis, Hope you're still running! Here's a page that has good info on generators. Enjoy.