Grumpy Fairytale

Well now, I haven’t told y’all a story in a while have I? Thought about it some yesterday and more today. To be fair, you have been good lately and there is plenty of time before lights out I suppose. But, never forget, fables, fairytales and folklore are all ways of passing along wisdom. As such, they typically contain a moral. Good kids get them before bedtime so they can ponder something other than the Boogie Man. Something like how tomorrow can be better than today. Comfortable? Can I start?

I wrote about Grumpy recently. The bit about the gender issue surprised me. It surprised me because I spend a good bit of time on maintenance. Big difference between working on something all day and dropping it off at a dealership. How do you not notice he/she issue in a ten hour day working on something? Before we make my head hurt this close to bedtime though, let’s move on.

Yesterday was another round of that maintenance. She got new shocks (again), a new steering dampner (again), new sway bar bushings and new endlinks. Sort of esoteric maintenance I suppose, things of the sort few do and fewer still do at regular intervals. But, oh my, what a difference a day makes. Today she stayed straight (steering dampner) with little effort, soaked up bumps (shocks) and cornered (sway bar bits) so much flatter. All that effort pays off in a much tighter truck and a much better ride over time. Throw in that reduced tire wear offsets the cost of the parts and you have a sweet deal indeed.

(There are bedtime stories for boys you know. Knights, swords, dragons, diesels and such are used but the moral remains. Now, just keep listening.)

This work makes her sound like a basket case but that’s really not fair. A gentleman bought her as his retirement gift to himself. For years he had skimped and saved. He drove beat up fourth hand rides, worked hard and raised a family. With that family gone and a career done, he picked out his chariot for the years ahead. He actually spent his last few months working by day and looking at new trucks in the evenings. He found the one and bought it. It brought him to his new life as my neighbor a couple of months later. Sadly though his retirement was a litany of health issues and his planned adventures in that truck were largely unmet. Never the less, he loved her. He took care of her to the best of his knowledge. When he passed she came to live on my side of the road. (That transition is a story unto itself I suppose.) She was 15 to the day when I brought her in. I spent the next month going over her needs one at a time.

It’s nice to have toys if you know the costs. A Ferrari takes more to maintain than a Ford. But, what you get out of the relationship is proportional to what you put in. Lots of folks want a big truck but few understand their needs. Throw a diesel in it and you add another layer of commitment. Sure, it can run a million miles with ease IF you do your part. The oil changes that he did religiously were a nice start but after a 100k, she needed more. That’s where I came into the picture and I stayed in the picture.

Every part of her gets attention. Saggy seats got new cushions, filters got added or upgraded. The computer got a boost so she could think better and act faster. It was dozens of little, overlooked things that needed attention. That wondrous first love fades as time takes away luster and age robs youthful agility. Seeing the way others act always reminds me of this. They complain about maintenance costs and overlook things that should get attention. Heck, there is a book full of good advice, tips and a maintenance chart telling them what to do and when but they don’t read it! They get disillusioned with their partner and start looking for a new one. It never crosses their mind that a new relationship will fail like the last simply because they failed to do their part. They didn’t accept the responsibility that came with the keys.

My work has paid dividends on many fronts. I know I can rely on Grumpy. Mighty good partner there but it’s that way for a reason. I’ve done a lot of little things regularly to ensure a good relationship. The truck rides better, gets better mileage, pulls harder and runs cooler at 200k than it did at a 100. It’s now a pleasure to be around. There isn’t a given act that made the difference however. It has been a series of small things done regularly over time that has brought her back to the glory she once had. Had I sat back and expected her to be perfect I might have become quite disillusioned by now. I might even be looking for something younger, something a bit shinier. Instead I’ve got a partner I trust, a partner that I know and understand inside and out. That care and knowledge is key to my satisfaction and commitment.

Now you know why my nails are a bit discolored today and my arms are scratched but did you see the moral within your bedtime story?

Lights out, sleep well…

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