2020 is off with a bang! School started up again, went in to load and fire the new kiln, happy to say it worked like a charm! On the drive out to school I was conversing with my all knowing self about how this year might shape up compared to last year. I had just balanced out my taxes and again it was just abysmal. The ever quiet partner in this 38 year marriage piped up as I hit the gross yearly income button; "Wow, you work way too hard to make that." and then he walked away. No judgement, just shock and instant depression. That was on January 2nd so I'd had this rolling around in my head well before my drive out to school. I rarely say it but hells bells and buckets of guts; he was right! Special orders took me down last year and made me a wee bit crazy, to the point of cancelling a show. The special orders; dinnerware sets, 300 bowls, skulls, all of it, kept me out of the garden and knee deep in the studio. I neglected over due house projects and spent a lot of time driving too.
As I approached the snow covered driveway to school, I prepped for class and students hit with an unceremonious plop. A couple were down right prickly, I repeated the mantra..... 2 hours, just 2 hours. The glazes were pulled out, projects started and we tried to get back in the groove but Wow this was hard. I demo-ed on the wheel and nobody watched, they sat staring into space or punching holes in freshly wedged clay. I walked out of class ready to toss in the towel but the goats were standing there doing what goats do. So ladies, what the hell am I doing here? I love the goats, I love the chickens, the horses, the greenhouse, the gardens, the micro economics class, the staff, my paycheck....... I am not so much loving teaching middle age kids at 9 am. Maybe I would herd the cats for one more session and call it a year. I am very aware of how short life is becoming and need to have some fun this year! Last year one best day; standing in the Kenai River, Alaska, casting my brains out and catching nothing (maybe this year I should actually catch something) As I drove out of the snow covered drive, waving goodbye to the goats, and passing an Amish buggy going to town, I felt content with the decision to wind down my time at school. And then a weird noise came from under the hood of my van.
Popped the hood and no power steering fluid........ also mice had taken up residence in my air filter.
I changed out the air filter but the dealership had changed out the power steering line last summer due to a factory recall. Call the dealership and they can't get my van in for 9 days. As I asked the head of service; "Is it safe to drive?" Won't know until I look at it. But it's my only vehicle and I kind of need it. Can't help you, click. No puddle in the driveway, after I filled the power steering reservoir with $30 a quart fluid and the noise ceased. Yesterday at 7 am I took the van into the dealership for an oil change; ding, ding, ding, I have a coupon, $59.99....and please find out where the leak is and if it is the same as last summers leak and whine. Call me when you find it and I went home. Around 1 pm the phone rang, this is Head Service Guy, well the leak is not from the recall last year but it is another line to the power steering (there are 3!) and it's going to run around $800 plus tax, plus the 59.99 oil change plus tax and wow I just had $1,000 eclipsed right out of my bank account! Don't fix it!!! I will be right there to pick it up, is the oil changed? No, not yet. I need the van, please finish as I am on my way. Got up to the Ram dealer and no van. Three people in front of me and not one was a happy camper. I thought teaching middle aged kids was hard! My turn came and I tried to be patient and nice. Just hand over the keys and let me pay for the oil change. Oh well, we have a cashier now and he walks me over to the sliding glass window with bulletproof glass. Three very coiffed, bespectacled, middle-aged woman with very long painted nails sat stabbing chicken nuggets and dunking in sauce before popping into ruby red lips said; That will be $211.63. EXCUSE ME? It was an oil change! Nope it was diagnostics for the power steering leak. WTF it was pulling a bottom panel with 8 bolts and looking for a leak. The bee-hived, gold nailed cashier in gold lame scarf looked across the counter and said: they didn't discuss this with you? No and I think I am done with your dealership! And that is why there is bullet proof glass, I handed over my credit card. I drove home and racked my brain on the next step. I downloaded the schematics of the power steering lines and thought it might be above my capability and I did not relish laying on a cold asphalt driveway in January with Rufus handing me tools
Lesson on community....... I worked the election polls last year and we were talking about cars and mechanics and out of the blue I remembered a guy saying; "Only to go to Augie, he's the best!" Augie lives around the corner and I can walk there. I hunt down Augie's number and his lovely wife answers; "Oh I am really sorry but Augie had a heart attack yesterday." I don't even know what to say other than OMG I am really really sorry! In her quiet, unflappable voice she tells me she is headed to the hospital now but "Call this guy, Augie said he's the only honest mechanic in the county and he is covering Augie's jobs until Augie is back in the garage." I am in stunned disbelief.
Number 1: I finally call Augie and he is in the cardiac garage having stints put in. Number 2: his lovely unflappable wife recommends the only honest mechanic in my county. I call the only honest mechanic and he has no idea Augie has taken a knee in the garage and now there is complete silence on the phone.....Hey, are you OK? Only Honest Mechanic; "Ya I am just kind of stunned, I didn't know." Just call me the Angel of Happiness and Good Tidings. After an uncomfortable amount of silence he said; Ya, I can look at your van. I drove up to meet the only honest mechanic in my county. I found the shop, next to pornographic book store and across from the fairgrounds, a cement block building tucked next to the railroad tracks and was hit with the stench of hot metal, welding rods and diesel fumes. I slipped on the oil soaked floor and saw a tiny grey haired woman standing behind an antique oozing radiator sludge tank. He'll be out in a minute and then a huge, hulking, oil stained young guy walked out of the back wiping his hands on shop towel and said; leave the keys, I'll take a look. I was having flashbacks to visiting my Dad at his second job, working nights on garbage trucks in a cement block building on Brookpark Road in Cleveland; pulling engines on giant trucks, stripping down breaks and welding anything that broke. It felt kind of homey; YES, MY PEOPLE! I did not hesitate to leave my keys on the counter. I went home and cleaned the studio. An hour later he called; Yup, I jerked the panel and found it; the part is $339.00, really sorry about that and it should take me hour. I can't get the part until Monday. You can drive your van as it's not spurting fluid, I'll put it back together cuz you probably need it, if it makes that whiny noise just add some fluid. And Augie called me from the hospital and he's doing good and made sure I could help you. WAIT! Is there a diagnostics charge? WAIT! Augie called from the hospital? Honest Mechanic Guy; " For what?" Finding the leak.... um no I just pulled the panel, it took 5 minutes. WOW WOW WOW! I am baking this kid a pan of lasagna and sending Augie's wife flowers and a box of celery and carrots to Augie when I get this van back!
Ok back to shifting orbits and a new year and lunar eclipses and and and..... I have felt a shift in the studio for awhile and I am tired of doing shows with little to show for it. I am applying to two shows this year! No special orders, I just can't! I am going to the garden with gusto again! I want to be in a community that gardens and makes stuff and figures stuff out and then shares it! I ordered a tripod that fits my iPad and started a youtube channel. I am not moving and am quite tired of looking for a place. Sooooo this is what I have; an iPad, a studio, a half acre, a ton of projects and a demented sense of humor...... what could go wrong? I am tossing around the idea of Sunday morning live chats with real people as the dog and goats are somewhat lacking. And if there is anything you would like me to cover or you would like to see on this half acre; let me know! I have said it before; my life is so much bigger than pottery; so many house projects, garden projects, kitchen recipes, well life stuff and it's exciting and fun
My first video was too long and too many tangents and I will get better, I think.
So Happy New Year and onto the next adventure! Oh and here is the link: