Sunday, May 21, 2006

Necessity is a Muther

I'm what you would call a semi-handy faggot.

Of course I am not one to do tons of home projects on my own, but I have been known to dabble a bit. Especially when money is tight. When I am flush, I'll just call a handyman like any sensible gay man who prefers play to work. But in the past I have actually been forced into the following: mudding and taping of drywall, laying tile floors, removing (and hanging) wallpaper, putting in shower doors which included drilling through existing tile, installing ceiling fans, changing light fixtures, put in sink fixtures, etc. Oh, and one time I helped a guy redo his tarred roof (but that was merely to get into his pants).

Let me just say this about that the reroofing gig. Once I finally DID get into his pants, the dozens of blisters on my hands prevented me from doing much. As did the intense sunburn on my back. The whole thing ended up being rather sad. And not worth it.

Now when it comes to automotive maintenance, I must admit I'm rather retarded.

My lack of comfort around the engine compartment of a car is even more sad given the fact that I do engineering work for a company that supplies engine components to the Big Three Automotive concern. In my time at said company, I have learned exactly how a type-II overhead cam engine works, but not necessarily how to change the oil.

To learn more about zen and the art of auto maintenance, I worked with a friend of mine on changing the rear rotors and breaks on my 1995 acura integra. We also changed the radiator in that car. All I learned from this experience is that if you have the right tools, you can do anything. And I also learned that the damn car was starting to fall apart so I sold it.

Okay, so cut to a few weeks ago. This is several weeks P.B. (pre blog), so I am reconstructing this from memory. I was driving my bright yellow convertible MINI cooper (his name is Jack) though the wilds of North Carolina at dusk. If anyone has travelled through NC in the spring, you know it gets very buggy. And not just small insects, we're talking the HUGE ones that hit your windshield and it sounds like a truck has kicked up a piece of gravel and you need to inspect for cracks.

Unfortunately as I was driving and trying to keep my windshield clean, my wiper fluid gave out. And with my car still being 2000 miles from its scheduled dealership service, this meant that I was going to have to refill my wiper fluid. DEVIL! But honestly, at this point I'm thinking this is absolutely no problem for someone of my means and educational background.

So the next day I swing by the handy-dandy Advance Auto store, and pick up some great wiper fluid. Not only is it a fantastic shade of turquoise, it also claims to help dissovle organic bug residue,bird shit, etc. And at 4 dollars a gallon, it was only slightly more expensive that the gas I use, and therefore a bargain.

I take home my prize, pop the hood, and prepare to replenish Jack's wiper fluid supply. And that's when I realize that I really haven't looked that much under the hood of my MINI.

The engine compartment is small, for starters. VERY small. They have shoehorned in everything into a tiny space and nothing is where you think it should be (which I discovered later). Also, everything is maddening labled with those fucking european icons. I guess they figured not everyone buying a MINI would speak english- so they use pictures. Unclear pictures.

Well, its 7 at night, and the light is fading and I see a big, empty reservoir at the center-back of the engine compartment. It sits right between the wiper blades which is a perfect location for the wiper fluid reservoir. On the plastic reservoir is what appears to be some sort of spurting icon, which I think is either representing Jeff Stryker or the wipers. So I begin filling away.

It was only after filling the whole fucking thing up and looking a bit closer when I was putting the cap back on, that I noticed the red "X". It was then that I started to panic. What the fuck did I just do? My car is still under warranty. What reservoir did I just fill???

It was the engine coolant reservoir. For antifreeze.

Now I really start to panic. Antifreeze and bug dissolver are decidedly NOT the same types of fluids. They have vastly different properties (I know this from freshman chem class, I think). And the last thing I need is for my radiator to explode in a frothy, turquoise mess.

What to do, what to do... i know! I'll get a turkey baster and siphon out the washer fluid. No one will be the wiser and my warranty will still be valid! Yes! So I dash inside to my kitchen to my utensil drawer.

No turkey baster.

Come to think of it, I can't remember EVER using a turkey baster. I don't cook turkey. HELL, I don't even cook!

So then I start running through the litany of 'what can I do'? I could drive to the store... no. Because then the washer fluid might suck into the radiator and I'd be fucked. I could walk to the store- but its several miles away. The quickie mart? Doubt they have anything. A piece of garden hose and mouth siphon the stuff off? Too risky. If only I had something-- anything-- that could suck out the fluid from that damn reservoir.

Gasp. But wait. I DO have something. Its brilliant. And it will work. Its perfect! Why didn't I think of it before? So I run to my bathroom and get my...

... enema bulb.

This is something, in my opinion, that every gay man should own. After all, you don't want to be getting intimate sometime and suddenly realize that you have that "not so fresh" feeling.

Feeling rather triumphant, I run out to the car to begin my siphoning duties. My excitement was rather short lived, however, when I realized that the snout on the enema bulb was only going to get me so far. It was never going to be able to reach all the way to the bottom to get out all the fluid. I needed an extension of some kind.

Back to the kitchen, but this time to the junk drawer. Where I find the perfect item. A penis straw.

I am NOT joking about this. At a cinco de mayo party last year, there was a rather gay pinata full of all sorts of gag prizes. In addition to flavored lubes and stuff, a few lucky people got these plastic drinking straws with a male member at the top. Very anatomically correct, replete with testicles and veins. I guess its funny to sip a cosmo out of a penis... I don't know. And I don't know why I kept it, but I did. Fate has a sense of humor I think.

So, with one deft snip of the scissors (I cut off the head), and a bit of duct tape, I had a long snout for my enema bulb. And in a few minutes, all the offending liquid was siphoned off and squirted into the correct reservoir. Which, in case you were wondering, is located on the very left side of the engine compartment basically over the front tire.

Now, I did rinse my enema bulb quite well before storing it again for future use. However, the next time was a few weeks later, and when I used it I discovered that it leaked like Condie Rice shooting poolwater from between her teeth. Not pretty and quite messy actually. Evidently that bug dissolver solution did a number on it.

Necessity can be a real mother sometimes. But at least I had a fully functioning car so that I could drive to the drugstore to get a new enema kit.

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