Gran's Apple Butter Blog

December 6, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Maintenance (7/X)

Filed under: Along the Road,Book Series,Books,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Life Journeys,Maintenance — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 10:08 am

Chapter 7 – Maintenance

There are other things involved in traveling – like all the stops. There are expected stops for snacks and bathroom breaks, and sometimes there are a few unexpected stops, too.

In general, the more of the first we make, the fewer of the last pop up. If we stop every so often to stretch a bit and check the tire pressure, we’ll notice if one develops a slow leak. That’s hard to see if we sit strapped in place for twelve hours straight. Even then, we can choose to keep on driving without doing anything about it. We’ll wonder what’s going on later when the car starts pulling to the right, hopefully early enough to prevent a blow-out. Whether we stay alert enough to notice that first tug is up to us, Gran said. Either way, sooner or later, a bald tire will make itself known.

Preventative maintenance stops serve all kinds of purposes. Once pressing needs are taken care of and the gas tank is full, we can take a minute to check our fluid levels and wash our windshield. This is also a good time to make sure we’re still headed in the right direction. We might need to do a little recalculation. Or if our memory’s gotten fuzzy, maybe it’s time to pull out that picture of home for a quick refresher. And since getting there is half the fun, we may want to buy one of those little bobblehead dogs for the dashboard –they’re good company for the road.

If we don’t make enough of these stops, our car may start feeling neglected and demand some attention. And no matter how many stops we make, we still want to be prepared in case of an accident – in case something or someone gets hurt – maybe even ourselves. Depending on what happens, we may be fully prepared or we may be up a creek.

In this case there’s nothing left to do but set up those reflectors and start dialing for help. We can just stand there, holding our pride in our hands, but that won’t get us far if the transmission just fell out. Pride can be a heavy burden to bear, Gran said, and it can get awfully expensive sometimes.

We can treat our wounds while we wait for the tow truck. If they’re not too big, it’s best to leave scrapes and scratches open for sunshine and fresh air. Others we’ll need to cover with a bandage or two, to give ‘em time to heal in a protected space. Gran said this is like when we experience major life changes, when we need time to lick our wounds in private. It’s only natural, and not a process to be rushed. If we push too fast, we may get hurt again, even worse than before.

When it’s time to take those bandages off, we have several options on how to go about that. This being a five-year-old’s field of expertise, I wrote up a list of my favorites, to which Gran added a few thoughts.

  1. Grit your teeth and rip it off as fast as you can. (This hurts like the dickens, but it’s fast if you’re feeling brave. – G)
  2. Ask someone else to pull it off for you. (Like pulling someone’s tooth, this doesn’t always work, and sometimes it hurts even more.)
  3. Pull up the side and poke around ‘til you see blood, then stick it back down. (That’s good for causing infections.)
  4. Pick around the edges ‘til they start peeling up. Keep doing that ‘til the whole thing falls off. (Very creative. This may be the least painful option, but it takes a lot of time and energy.)

Gran had tried each of these herself and a few more I hadn’t thought of – she said pain can spark amazing ingenuity. Each is a valid choice, and each has pros and cons and consequences. We just have to pick which one feels right at that moment. If Technique #3 hasn’t worked well for us in the past, maybe we won’t use it next time.

The neat thing about all these rules is that there’s always an exception or two. For example, if you’re in a full body cast, Gran recommended getting some assistance with its removal – it can be a delicate job and probably requires professional help. Hammers don’t count, and neither does your well-intentioned neighbor with the hacksaw.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010-2011. All rights reserved.
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