Sold the TDI back to VW today. I’m going to miss it, but it was the right thing under the circumstances.
Long before I knew her, Mrs. Mack505 had a habit of naming her cars. Since we’ve been married, each of our cars has had a name. Some have gone on to have nicknames, and nicknames for their nicknames. The current fleet consists of Emma, Connor, Hans, Featherstone, and the Batmobile. (Plus a pair of motorcycles which might or might not be sometimes known as Bert & Ernie.)
About a decade ago, my truck was new and nameless. As we were leaving Fryeburg Fair that October, we watched a draft horse loose in the workout area. He tore around at a trot, dragging a sledge in circles behind him, with his owner running behind shouting, “Whoa Emmett!”
Big, strong, kinda slow but unstoppable. We had a name for my truck.
Emmett stayed in the family longer than any other vehicle. We patched and repaired, repaired and patched. My mechanic and especially my body shop guy had visions of boat payments every time I called. I still loved that truck.
Last month, as I was coming out of a store, I noticed rust on Emmett’s rocker panels. It’s a common failure mode for GM trucks of a certain vintage. I bent to inspect the decay, and put two fingers through the floor of my truck.
140,000 miles. Eleven and a half years.
We had vowed we would keep it until it became cost prohibitive. I feared the day had come. I took it home, sat on the front steps, and stared at it. Part of me felt like I was losing a friend. In the last eleven years we had driven the entire East Coast together, mostly with some sort of trailer in tow.
It’s only a machine, yet the decision felt almost like deciding that it was time to take a beloved pet for that final trip to the vet. Emmett had known only me and the Mrs. since the day he left the factory.
Eventually logic triumphed over emotion as it must always (except in politics,) and I put Emmett up for sale. We did some cool things with the money, and now we only own one truck like normal people. Here’s hoping Emma lasts just as long.
1993 was a watershed year. Just out of college, I had the whole world before me. I began dating the future Mrs. Mack505 that fall, and then my beloved VW died.
It wasn’t necessarily a terminal failure, but I had neither the skills nor the money for a major repair. I was off to the local used car lot with paycheck in hand. I came home with my first truck (a 1989 Dodge Dakota,) and my first car loan ($3000.)
The truck was perfect for me. A short cab, short bed, 4×2, 4 cylinders, and a manual transmission made it cheap to buy and cheap to run. It had one option: an FM stereo radio. I added some ballast in the back, a set of used snow tires, and a tape deck. A plastic box in the back kept my duffle dry on weekend trips to visit the future Mrs.
We covered a lot of miles in the next four years, all at 68 MPH or less. With the exception of one early warranty issue it never failed me. Eventually I landed a better job and moved on to my first NEW car (and my first five-digit loan balance.)
Some days I miss the simplicity.
Fast forward 19 years. The search is on for the right plow truck for The Farm. A Saturday detour down a NH back road brought me to this gem:
Yes it’s a 1989 Dodge. This one is the larger W100. With a V8, automatic, 4×4, and a plow it would have been out of my league all those years ago. It came well-equipped back then with cruise control, intermittent wipers, two-tone paint, chrome step bumper, cloth seats, and a sliding rear window.
Today it has four-tone paint and will never go fast enough to use the cruise control again. It was ridiculously cheap, and it’s perfect for the farm!
Getting it home was an adventure involving a borrowed trailer, cribbing, jacks, and my Duramax. We made it with no injuries, no damage, and no tickets so it was a successful day. I shouldn’t be having so much fun with a 23 year old truck.
In keeping with family tradition, it needs a name. Suggestions so far have included Beowulf and Mater. Beth informs me it can’t be a Mater because it doesn’t have a hook. Perhaps we should have some sort of contest. Suggestions will be accepted in the comments, and I’ll work out the details later.
2/11 – One for me, one for her. If you’ve been reading the blog for very long you know which is which.
2/12 – Going ‘commando’ at work. Sweater, that is. My sweater has been with me since my first winter in EMS those many years ago. I finally had paramedic and company patches installed on it this past week.
2/13 – coming later. It’s still in the FM2 right now.
2/14 – More on this later.
2/15 – It’s a miracle!! (seen randomly on the sidewalk)
Just catching up on a few photos:
3/28 – There are still PCC cars running at Mattapan. I’ve known they were there for years, but I finally got out to see them today.
I find that I’m missing Project 365. I can’t guarantee that I’ll manage a photo every day, but I intend to start shooting and posting again.
So without further ado. . .
March 14 – Making chips on the Sherline mill with Beth. I’ll learn brass soon, but wood was a safe, easy place to start.
March 16 – None of my cars are complete without a W6 decal. Now the new TDI is ready to roll.
March 19 – Jasmine takes care of me during an unpleasant day sick in bed.
Today marks the official end of Project 365 for 2010.
When I started it on 1/2/10, I had no idea where it would take me. With all of the negative memories from 2010, I’m glad I have a positive photographic record. In the end I missed a few days, and a few others have multiple photos. Still, iPhoto logged 360 shots under the ‘P365’ tag and 4051 for the entire year. The entire set can be viewed without captions over at Picasa.
1/1/11 – Changing of the guard. My old belltop has been with me for over 20 years. It’s been through W6, 9/11, one National Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial, and an ill-fated attempt to attend the Charleston funerals. It has stood the honor guard detail for numerous retired members and even been photographed in a coffee table book.
It’s also worn out. It has water stains on the inside (a funeral in the snow, I think), the hat band is disintegrating, and it’s one size too small. I’m not sure if my head grew or if it shrunk, but it gives me headaches. I happened to mention these facts in front of Deputy Dad, and Voila! a new one appeared under the Christmas tree.
Today I swapped the bands and badge over to the new one, and the old one will go to its final reward. There are a lot of memories in that old hat, but in the end it’s just a hat. The memories will linger on.
I did it. I didn’t realize how often I check my email until I forced myself not to. I plan to make a habit of Wireless-less Wednesday.
Overlooked from 11/13, Sebby and Jasmine doing something they rarely do: sharing.
11/21 – Moon over Mercedes.
11/23 – The second milestone for the week. Nine years ago on Thanksgiving Eve, I took delivery of my baby ‘Benz. She’s an early 2002, and this is the longest I’ve ever owned any single vehicle. We rolled out of the dealership and hit the highway straight for Buffalo. It’s not something I’d recommend in a new car with 6 miles on the odometer, but we made it with no problems. She’s starting to show a bit of rust and will need to see the body shop when I can afford it.
Where the heck have 9 years gone?
I climbed in my truck last night at lunch, and this was staring back at me:
Take a closer look.
Yes, I was a fan of the TV show many years ago. In fact it, Melrose Place, and laundry all figure early on in courting Mrs. Mack505. The universe has cute ways of sending us reminders from time to time.
The milestone isn’t tied to this specific number, but this is the most mileage I’ve ever put on a single vehicle. I’ve owned vehicles with more, but never purchased new. It’s still running great and I love it, so 190,000 here we come.
(And there’s another milestone coming up later this week. No spoilers, though.)
October 18 – Last year the plow gave me an unpleasant surprise when it came out of storage. I was forced to do without for the first two storms. There will be no such issues this year, as it’s ready to go now.
This is probably the only time you will see the plow blade and tow mirrors on the truck at the same time.