Why Should This Time Be Any Different?

I woke up at Oh Dark Thirty this morning for some damn reason.

After the usual cup of coffee and a smoke, I sat down here and read a bunch of Emails etc, etc., waiting for a decent enough time to drive the thirty plus miles over to the In Laws to take FIL’s 4WD Tahoe to the smog check station, which is ten miles back the way I come from.

I get over there and he is waiting but still can’t give me a coherent answer on what this mysterious problem he experienced yesterday was, where the thing didn’t want to move after he put it in gear. I did take my code reader and found a code for an oxygen sensor so I cleared that out first.

Then I look under the thing and don’t see anything out of the ordinary, he says he can’t see what it was because the wheel is in the way. It’s still a mystery. I never did have any problem like what he was talking about.

I open the hood and start checking fluid levels, already planning to take the thing somewhere and get the oil changed first thing out of the gate.

Enter Murphy, that dirty fucking BASTARD!

Almost exactly a year ago, I went over there and wound up changing a heater hose when all I was going to do was check the coolant protection level.

Today I take the cap off the radiator and can hear an echo come back out of the filler neck when I look in there, don’t see any coolant and say FUCK ME!

Of course there isn’t any coolant laying around in the garage so off to the parts house I go, it’s only a half mile away, and snag a twenty dollar gallon of anti freeze to fill it with. I get back, fill it up and then turn my attention to the Mother In Law’s little Ford Focus that we gave to her a few years back.

It’s supposed to be silver but now it is a greenish silver with moss all over it. The tags on that expired clear back in January and it hadn’t been driven since.

All 4 tires are extremely low also.

While I was there last year, I hooked up one of those Harbor Freight Battery Minder gizmo’s because she never drove it and the battery would always go dead.

It’s basically a Wall Wart with battery clips on it to keep it charged up.

Apparently it had died at some point and so had the battery.

I snagged my jumper cables and started the Tahoe and jumped the thing because they are sitting right next to each other. The little car fired right up so I let it sit there and run while I finished checking out the Tahoe.

After fifteen or twenty minutes, I shut the thing off and tried to restart it. No dice. OK, it’s on my list. I gather up Father In Law, make sure he has the DEQ paperwork and off we go to the Jiffy Lube, also about a half mile away.

We get there, I pull up to the door behind another rig and we sit there for a minute. I reached down and shut the rig off and pretty soon this kid comes out and starts looking under the left front of the rig. He says something about a coolant leak and I told him I had just topped it off. he says no, you have a coolant leak and we can’t change the oil with it like that. So I get out, take a look and bigger than shit coolant is POURING onto the ground!


The damn thing sat there and ran for ten minutes in the driveway and no leak.

Fuckin’ Murphy AGAIN!

I had to back out completely around the building and go a block and a half back to the parts house across the road.

Miracle of Miracles, they actually had a radiator in stock!

No fucking radiator cap but whatever.

So I got the new radiator, two more gallons of coolant at $20 each, a tin drip pan and a covered plastic drain pan, a little magnetic flashlight and head back to their place.

The old guy has a small roll away but virtually zero metric tools. I found a set of deep metric sockets and a cheap assed ratchet that the retention ball and spring were missing out of.

Thankfully I had a small toolbox with me that had my Snap On metric wrenches in, a set of metric Snap On Wobbly Sockets, one of their Flex Head Ratchets and some other tools I needed.

Every once in a while I outsmart myself.

This DEQ joint closes at 1 PM but as soon as I found out I had to R&R that radiator that shit went right out the window.

It took me a couple of hours but I did manage to get the thing changed out. The amazing thing is that it only rained on us once and just for a few minutes.

The bottom radiator hose had one of those damn Spring Clamps on it and it took me over a half an hour just to get that prick off.

Damn I hate those things!

I swore it wasn’t going back on so I took the battery out of the Focus, ran up and got a new one of those and then stopped and snagged a couple of Screw clamps.

Finally got the damn thing in and filled up, ran it for a while to make sure there were no leaks because not only does this radiator have an automatic transmission cooler inside one of the tanks, it has an engine oil cooler in the other one.

Thank God I had those metric wrenches to get those flare nut fittings loose without rounding them off.

After all that horseshit we finally get to take it back up for an oil change. I would do that myself too but it is a nightmare trying to get rid of the used oil anymore. You are money and aggravation head to just pay the bastards.


Except they do their damndest to upsell the shit out of everything.

It’s a good thing I was there.

First thing,



Why are you even looking at the brakes?

I’m here for an oil change fer Chrissakes.




Here we fucking go.

“We can do those here you know”.

Uhm, no, thanks.

“Would you like to see for yourself?!”

Sure. Jack it up and pull the wheel.

That little sliver of material had come off and was just sitting on the little ledge of the opening on the back of the caliper. I just flicked it off with my fingernail.

So much for that Drama.

While I was down there I noticed something else they were about to spring on me next,

Yeah, OK, I see it. Now put the wheel back on it please, I’ll add it to my list.

I get back in the rig and thirty seconds later one of the little clowns stick an obviously almost brand new air filter in my face.

OK, thanks, you can put that right back in now.

They tried and tried to upsell a bunch of shit and I just sat there in comfort, shooting them down in flames, one right after another.

I think there was like 5 of the fuckers. One older guy and four kids. I do mean kids too.

They finally got the message that I ain’t buying their schtick so let’s get done here shall we?

$70 for an oil change and the unforgettable opportunity to stare at yet another filthy front brake set up. Like I haven’t already seen a thousand of them at least.

Got that done, went back and started looking around at some other shit.

Ayep, needs some tires here buddy.

About every three inches, all the way around the semi bald left front tire.

I have known my In Laws for well over thirty years now, getting closer to forty at this point. They are really nice folks but they are also getting up there in age and are like thousands of other elderly, they are living on a fixed income. This radiator and battery alone came to over three hundred bucks.

I paid for all of it except the oil change.

The Wifely Unit and her mom can have all the conversations they want about who is paying for what and how much. If it was up to me I would just call it good and leave it alone. Neither one of those two are going to let that happen though.

I told the wife, hey, I’m just taking care of what needs to happen RIGHT NOW.

Next weekend I will see about getting over there again and getting his rig through the smog test and getting tags on it. Then I will worry about the little Focus and make sure it is legal and driveable.

The wimmins can worry about the finances, that ain’t my department.

BTW, speaking of such things.

Because I had no idea all of this was going to happen, while I was at it I snagged the new tin drip pan, the new plastic drip pan/container and the cool new pocket light with a magnetic base.

I’m an old hand at acquiring desired items when the hen isn’t guarding the checkbook.


26 thoughts on “Why Should This Time Be Any Different?

  1. I like the blog, your stories and the camaraderie shared by all the guys here.
    I always thought it would be great to meet you. But, you seem to carry that asshole Murphy around in your back pocket. So, stay the flock away from my AO please.


    • Iffn’ Phil didn’t have that asshole Murphy in his back pocket, he wouldn’t have any friends what so ever… That was Phil’s imaginary friend growing up and since Phil growed up so did his friend…


      • Phil’s imaginary friend has at least one brother and that prick follows me everywhere I go. That’s why I told him to stay away from me. I can’t being to envision the size of the asteroid that would land if we hooked the 2 Murphy brothers up for a family get together.


  2. Just another day in the life of a welfare mechanic. I know what it’s like. I
    spend more time repairing bicycles and other shit for a developmentally
    disable couple in my neighborhood than I do anything else.


  3. ” I snagged the new tin drip pan, the new plastic drip pan/container and the cool new pocket light with a magnetic base.”

    Pretty sure by that point you’d earned at least those.


    • It was if Phil decided he was gonna get his Christmas presents early, cuz’ we don’t know what the rest of the year is gonna bring, we could be a a full hot CW and he is trading rifle shots across the street with the grouchy old fart …


      • Cederq, ” – and he is trading rifle shots across the street with the grouchy old fart”. So um, which is which here? Six of one and half a dozen of the other! It’s more likely that Phil and old Chuck are planning to clean out the Pantifags in the crossfire’s beaten zone.


  4. BTDT, Phil. I’m retired now, the kids can either PAY me or a mechanic – I’m *far* cheaper. And I’m NOT going to do any preemptive fixing, either. They’ll learn.


  5. You sure it’s Murphy? Cause that bastard “never” leaves my bench! At work or here at home. The Murphy clan is huge evidently😂

    Guns are just frustrating as vehicles.

    I have been hit with old relic 22’s from cellars and attics that are just shit buckets of rust and worn out parts since all this china flu/blm/antifa BS.

    Folks are Preparing it seems.

    Why with a Rust Bucket is beyond me, IT’s Your LIFE… but Sentiment and My Life have more value than a gun that I wouldn’t pay 50$ for. Even if it worked.

    My work load has shot threw the roof the last 3 months. I use to turn guns around in 2-4 days, it’s something our store prided itself on.
    I now have to tell folks it is going to be a minimum of 2months, especially if i have to order Parts.

    Pro Tip-…if your gonna bring in great great great grampa’s gun that hasn’t been taken care of since the invention of dirt…expect to pay more than the gun is worth, and that maybe just the parts, if they can be found..

    I get “the sentiment”, but sometimes, it’s best to hang it on the wall and just enjoy the memories.

    Old Gun Parts are drying up and gun shows are thin to day the least.
    Especially critical parts, sears, triggers, mags, springs, pins, firing pins… etc.

    If the 22 is your bag, which i get in todays enviorment, just grab a 10/22 or some new inexpensive bolt gun.
    There are plenty out there for not alot of cash and the damn parts are available. and it’s cheaper than me finding parts, my bench time AND you have a working gun NOW!

    By the way….buy bolts(AR types especially), springs, pins, extractors, extractor springs, ejectors, ejectors springs (if they apply), firing pins, FP springs…basicly what i call “the consumables”(and that includes MAGS-did you know Manufacturers consider Magazines Consumables)… and the little things that like to disappear for no reason😂

    Keep up the stories please Phil, you really do have a Talent.


  6. $70 for an oil change on a ‘hoe? JFK. Did they at least give you a reach around while they cornholed you? Here in Ga I pay $89 and some pennies for a change on a Powerstroke, 15 quarts of Rotella plus the giant filter. And the pit monkey evens shoots some grease into the front end fittings. The crew up top fills the windshield douche bag and checks my tire pressure. I always tell them up front to keep their dickbeaters off my air filter, windshield wipers and serpentine belt.


  7. Unless you enjoy arguing with the Jiffy Lube upsellers, do what I do: The minute they start trying to flog me additional shit like a new air filter, new transmission fluid, etc. I say, “Look – this is my wife’s car. I’m only here because she nagged me into getting an oil change for her because she’s too lazy to bring it in. I’ll tell her what you recommended, but anything else she can by God take care of herself, because I ain’t paying for it!”

    Shuts them down in a hurry. End of conversation.

    ; )


  8. Back when my in-laws were alive, when we’d go visit them (us in Georgia, them in Tennessee), my wife and my father-in-law would keep track of what was spent and before we left they’d settle up. My family was always more casual about money, to say the least. You might think this anal attitude toward money would be annoying but it has made retirement a whole lot better. I did tell her that I wanted “He should have bought the Jaguar” on my tombstone. That’s another whole story.


  9. Gotta love those split-boot CV joint repair kits… but my Taurus SHO doesn’t have that ability, so I replaced the whole CV joint while I had the hub/shaft out.


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