Hick left me on Saturday.
For those of you jumping up, clasping your hands together and shaking them over your head, shouting, "YES! YES! It's about time!" I hate to disappoint you...but it was only for another International Man of Mystery tour. Of Sweden. I think he's inspecting a quarter-of-a-million dollar machine that keeps the bands of steel straight so they don't sag in the middle when passing through another machine to be formed into knife blades and saw blades. This is a new machine, just manufactured, and Hick has materials being shipped there to run through it and see if it works for his company. Except, as of Friday evening, the materials were stalled at the border, in customs.
You'd think I'd know more of the details. Just shows you how much blog material I miss out on when I tune out Hick as we sit on the porch in the evenings giving the dogs their snack. Anyhoo...I know Hick's itinerary, because I told him to text it to me. He was flying from St. Louis to Chicago, then Madrid, then Arlanda, Sweden, and from there taking a 3-4 hour train ride to Mora, Sweden, where he will test the machine. He doesn't have the power to buy it or anything, like some of the used-machine auctions they have sent him to. He just makes the decision, and gives the details to his company president.
When he returns, Hick will take the train again from Mora to Arlanda, but this time in the daylight. Then he will fly to Heathrow, then to Charlotte NC, then to St. Louis. I asked him to take some pictures this time, of actual scenic sights, not of highway off-ramps and the inside of hotel bathrooms. He said he would try.
Anyhoo...this is NOT all about Hick, it's all about VAL! Hick left home at 9:00 Saturday morning. He had only been gone 90 minutes when my world came crashing down. By 10:30, I was on my way to town. But I wasn't! Because as soon as I turned onto the blacktop county road down by EmBee's mailbox condo, a chime went off on T-Hoe's dash, and a warning flashed.
NO OIL PRESSURE. TURN OFF ENGINE.
Well. Even VAL knows not to turn off the engine while driving. So I proceeded to the next driveway where I could turn around, which was at the Best family compound (those fast-driving fools) and headed right back home. I called Hick on the way. He had just gotten to Lambert Airport, and found his check-in surprisingly simple this time. He said he could have left home later. Which meant he could have spent more time with ME. Nah. That's okay. He couldn't have solved my T-Hoe problem because I wouldn't have left until he did, anyway.
"I have no oil pressure in T-Hoe. An alarm went off saying I have NO oil pressure! And to turn off the engine! The gauge goes from 0 to 80. At the top of the gauge is 40. Right now, it's hovering around 20."
"Well, you have SOME pressure. You can probably drive it."
"Uh. I don't think so! I'm not getting stuck in town. I'm taking it home and getting the Acadia. Is there gas in it?"
"I'm sure there is. We haven't driven it since the casino. There's probably enough to get you to town."
"Why do you do that? I always fill up at half a tank! You NEVER have gas in your vehicles. That's why you ran out and had to walk that time with HOS and The Veteran, when they were not even 10 years old yet."
"There should be enough to get you to a gas station. It's only five miles to town."
"Okay. I just like T-Hoe better. Can I get some oil and put in and then drive it?"
"If that's all that's wrong with it. Get some 5W-30. When you lift the hood, the oil will be on the passenger side."
"By the time I get back from town, it should be cool enough to reach in there, right?"
"Yeah. It'll be fine."
So...I got in A-Cad, backed out of the cramped side of the garage, surprisingly enough filled with some of Hick's junk, and started up the driveway. Even though we got this car last fall, I save it in the garage. Just because. I'm accustomed to T-Hoe, and don't want to give T-Hoe to Hick. So I don't know where all the doodads are, and the radio stations that Hick and The Pony set on their trips to Oklahoma make it hard for me to find mine. The shifter is on the console, not on the column. BUT it still smells NEW!
I had just pulled out on the blacktop county road when I saw a warning light flash on the dash. No chimes from A-Cad. I guess this wasn't a matter of auto life and death.
TIRE PRESSURE LOW! CHECK TIRE PRESSURE!
Oh, it wasn't just ONE tire that was low. It was all four freakin' tires! I have told Hick again and again, every time I ride in A-Cad (okay, so that's not very often, but I DO tell him every time) that the tires look low. And Hick always says, "The tires are fine! They'll expand as they warm up while we're driving." Uh huh. Those tires are supposed to be inflated to 35 pounds. And now they were at 25, 26, 26, 26.
So...I had to go get gas. Then pull over to the air compressor hose. And of course it just so happened that the valves were lined up at the first tire I aired down at the 6:00 position, then the others at 5:00, 7:00, and blessedly 9:00. Which meant that I had to wave my ample buttocks in the breeze for passersby to gape at while I stood on my head trying to fit that hose's metal end on the valve. Which was not easy with the design of the hubcap thing which prevented me from aligning it flat without a massive struggle on all but the valve in the 9:00 position. Which meant that I let a bunch of air out, trying to put air in. It's not like I had a pressure gauge. It's not like I had The Pony to put in the air, while I sat in the car and watched the dash to tell him when it was enough. I did pretty good, though. The tires ended up with 33, 32, 35, and 33. Good enough for now.
I bought a quart of Pennzoil 5W-30 and a long narrow yellow funnel. The cashier even tried to tell me that they had paper funnels that were cheaper, but I figured I could spring for $1.99. Once home, I got T-Hoe's hood up (thank goodness the hydraulic lift thingy worked, and I didn't have to prop it open with a crutch like the back hatch several years ago).
Did you know that a Tahoe engine is surprisingly expansive under the hood? I had to stand at the side and lean over at my armpits and try to grab the oil cap. Forget about the dipstick. I tried and tried, but it was stuck. After three tries, I got the cap off the oil holder. I jammed in my expensive funnel and opened up the Pennzoil. I poured in half of it and nothing overflowed. So I closed everything up and waited for Hick to call me from the airport. He said I could pour the rest of it in. So I went back out and did that and drove it up the driveway. No alarm. The oil pressure hovered at 45.
Today I drove T-Hoe to town. The oil pressured stayed around 45. Hick had sent HOS a text to come by and check on it. HOS got the dipstick out and said there was NOTHING on it. HOS said he was surprised that I was able to drive it, because I didn't have enough oil, and that I probably needed at least two more quarts. He searched the BARn for some, but lately Hick has been taking the vehicles out to get their oil changed. I told HOS I was headed to Walmart tomorrow, and he said I should be able to make there and back, but if I heard a lot of noise from the lifters, to shut it off. And to call him if I needed anything.
You know, I'm an old retired lady, and I don't especially want to become Val Thevictorian, Auto Mechanic. When I told Hick about the low tires on A-Cad, and the fact that there was barely 1/8 of a tank of gas in it, and how hard it was to reach T-Hoe's oil hole...Hick said, "I'm sorry you have to deal with this."
So there's that.