Sunday, March 17, 2013

Boy Will Be Boy

Who gets the "boy" jobs in a family of all girls?

That'd be me: the lone man in the garden of Cazier.

That's ok though because that means I get to experiment on a lot of manly stuff like fixing houses or cars, and I don't get compared to anyone. There's no one to compare me to!

As it turns out, my Dodge Neon has been suffering for a while now. Last year, when I got emissions tested, they informed me that it would pass emissions ok, but it's a good thing safety's not being tested. Window's broken, needs new tires, power steering is leaking, battery's not secured, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

So to get registered this year, I've had my work cut out for me.

I'm no mechanic. I don't know how those dang machines work! But men all over the world profess they enjoy working on automobiles. Hmmm. I'm still figuring that one out.

Anyhow, I'm smart enough to know that I'm gonna break it if I don't get some help. J.R., my brother, is my pseudo mechanic. Pretty much I call him and I say, "Hey J, listen to this and tell me what's wrong with my car;" or "J, I just posted a video of my car on YouTube, can you tell me what's wrong with it?" To his enduring credit, he has never said no—he always checks it out for me. I have often quipped that, "I'm getting my four-year automotive degree...I own a Dodge." People laugh, but I'm serious. I've fixed nearly every issue this poor machine has ever had—and J.R. has diagnosed anything I couldn't figure out.

So, I posted a video on YouTube earlier this week, and asked J.R. to advise me, which he did. My high-pressure steering fluid line was leaking and needed to be replaced. J.R. thought for a moment, no-doubt considering the experience of the mechanic about to undertake these repairs, then advised, "I'd give it at least two hours."

Here's the Cazier Calculus behind this: It would take an hour for J.R. to do it, Tyler's a little...slow, let's double it and call it good.

It took me three hours.

I have also learned that repairing something on a vehicle (at least a Dodge) is never about just that part. The trick that makes mechanics good at their job is knowing which systems have to be moved / modified in order to get at the part that needs to be replaced. They see an engine as an interactive series of layers that can be systematically peeled away.

My quest to repair the steering fluid line ended in success. I came in sometime in the middle of the repair, and Maleen snapped this photo:

Yes, the grease and grime just keep going up my arms. At one point the engine took advantage of me being under the car and dripped a combination of coolant and power steering fluid in my ear.

Let me remind you that I'm a web developer. These same hands write code and styles for websites. I must say though, that I find it exhilarating to complete a true "Man" project. I was so proud of myself that I bought a bunch of honest-to-goodness Craftsman "Man" tools to reinforce my credentials to toil over these machines. (And yes, I buy Craftsman not only because they have a lifetime warranty...I shamelessly admit that a little part of my buying decision is because they say "Man" right on the tool.) I figure that by doing the work myself, I saved at least the price of a new wrench set...and an air compressor...and a new flexible LED flashlight...


Allison said...

Encourage your girls to help you in the garage. Assigning tasks based on gender is so arbitrary, since gender is a social construction. Girls and boys alike can enjoy getting their hands dirty and working on cars. It is such an important life skill EVERYONE should have :)

Scott and Svetlana said...

What a cool handy CRAFTSMAN is in Cazier's family! Way to go!

meganmushrat said...

Looking at those hands, I'm really tempted to ask if you are sure your ancestry is entirely Caucasian! Those are some of the blackest hands I've ever seen!