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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   waiting for the free
Thursday, July 14 2011

For the past few weeks or perhaps even months, there has been a slow leak in the driver's side front tire on the Subaru. It had gotten to the point where I needed to inflate it at the Stewart's air pump (it's free!) on the way to Susan's for a load of firewood. The other day when I drove down to the Esopus floodplain to walk the dogs and mine dirt, I'd had to first fill the tire with my air compressor; it had been too low even to make it to the Stewart's (two miles away). Today I decided to deal with the leak, I pulled the offending wheel off the car and the built a miniature makeshift swimming pool using a sheet of plastic and chunks of firewood (the latter served to form the walls of a circular depression. Once the water was a bit deeper than half the width of the tire, the leak made itself obvious. It was producing more air than the speed of the leak suggested that it would, though in recent weeks the leak seems to have accelerated.
I took the wheel into town and dropped in at Mavis Discount Tire, the place out on 9W where we usually conduct our tire business. One usually ends up waiting a long time to have anything done there, an experience that has been greatly improved since the opening of a nearby Barnes and Noble. In the past, though, when I've done all the work of taking the wheel off the car and finding the leak, I've been in and out in five minutes. But today it seemed I'd come at a bad time and I found myself waiting in that dismal little waiting area with the flatscreen teevee (it was showing extended infotising about what might be done to combat high blood pressure). I wasn't there long before I decided to at least take care of the Hannaford grocery shopping bullet item on my task list.
After that, though, the waiting at Mavis continued. I overheard one of the mechanics breaking the bad news about the state of a vehicle's brake system to its unfortunate owner. The mechanic said that some sort of weird domino effect had happened whereby bad brake lines had led to bad brake brake shoes and bad brake drums, all of which would need to be replaced. "If you're lucky, your master cylinder will be okay." It sounded like a fishy explanation, but who knows. One thing I do know is that one should always avoid getting brake work done at Mavis; it almost never comes to less than $800.
Not wanting to spend more time in that dismal place, I went on another errand: to Lynch's auto parts out near Keegan Ales, a place where parts can be had for as little as you can find anywhere online. I'd called to see if they had a replacement axle for the Subaru, and they'd said they did. But this turned out to be a mirage in the inventory and I left empty-handed.
Back at Mavis, my tire was finally done, and best of all, it had been done for free. If it's just a puncture, they always fix it for free (at least if you're in their database of customers who have had their gold-plated brake repairs).
On the drive home, I pulled over at the place near the bottom of Dug Hill Road where I like to get rocks and occasionally soil. I'd brought two buckets, and I thought I'd fill them with something of value. But I found something more valuable: a fairly good haul of small elm trees that had been cut down to clear the powerline. Elm is difficult to split, but at this size (no bigger than my thigh), splitting wouldn't be necessary. The pieces were long (six or eight feet) and I didn't have a good place to put them, so I just had them cantilevered out of the passenger-side window. I drove mostly on the left-hand side of the road for the rest of the way home so as to avoid a disastrous collision with a telephone pole.

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