The woes of a fledgling mechanic and a reluctant plumber…

JC! What an evening! Hehe…

So I got home and saw that the new fuel filter that I ordered for the Golf had made it on to our porch and I immediately looked at the clock in the Prius… 4:45pm…. I had only a few hours to take care of the kids and get outside and swap it out. Mel and I tag teamed the chillin’s and it was then that I grabbed the new filter and headed out to my favorite car in the whole damn world.

But first… a bit of history…
The Golf!!
We bought the Golf in 1999. I only got it because a co-worker and good friend of ours, recently bought not just a new V-Dub Beetle, but a DIESEL V-Dub Beetle. He took me for a ride and before I new it, we bought one. At first it was basically an impulse buy, it was different, and being different was important to me at the time, so it made sense to me in an over 10 grand sorta way (whew!). Fast forward 7 years and 140,000 miles later…

Who could’ve known that a purchase that long ago would grow and adapt with us as it has. With the birth of biodiesel, our burgeoning hippie sensibilities and a need for your’s truly to learn and find out how something larger than a computer works, we had bought and paid off, the perfect car. So over the years I’ve become a bit of a weekend wrench, diesel geek and I tell ya, it’s been great. Except for one time, I’ve kept the Golf out of the garage for the last 4 years, saved countless amounts of cash, and have found a new hobby that gives me a new kind of inner peace. For whatever reason there is definitely this crazy zen-like state I reach when I work on the car. Maybe it’s because so much is at stake from my actions when I work on it, or maybe it’s in my genes. I don’t know, but I’ll tell you, when I work on that car for a couple of hours, turn the key and she turns over faster and better than before… it’s a satisfaction that I get from no where else.

That said, there are the occasional “Oh shit!” moments that occur once and a while that keep me in check and today was one of those moments.

Changing a fuel filter in a car can be tricky business if you don’t have the right tools, and while my tool set is a wee bit better than average, it definitely is not optimal. So I find myself improvising sometimes and if I’ve learned one thing about working on automobiles it’s this: improvisation often equals lessons learned. One of the trickiest things with the Golf is detaching the fuel lines from the filter without letting an abundance of air into them. Air in the fuel lines will often cause your car to not turn over after you’ve reattached everything.

Car not starting = badness.

So I was able to cinch of the fuel lines and not allow any air to get in but I made one fatal mistake and this was a new/old one. When you put in the new filter you need to prime it with fuel or an additive. I bought some additive and thought I had filled it but I didn’t tap the casing to get the excess air out. So when I reattached everything, I turned the key to have the engine erupt into idle motion (YAY!!), only to have it die a minute later(BOOO!). I quickly looked under the hood and watched in dismay as the filter gurgled and the excess air escaped into the fuel lines. You can do one of two things at this time. If you have a hand pump you can siphon the air out making a damn mess, or you can just crank away and risk hurting the starter. I had no pump so I just turned the key and sweet talked the Golf for a little bit. “Come one baby, please, please, please, just start…” and if there is one thing I can say about my beloved Golf it’s that she’s never let me down. She turned over eventually and offered forgiveness to a guy who just worked a 40 hour week and wanted to just sit down with his best friend/wife and enjoy the evening, not swap out a fuel filter. I drove her around the block and basked in the fact that life does offer up some small victories once and a while.

The Golf!!

I got home, parked her and ran inside. My hands were covered in diesel fuel additive (read: foul smelling stuff) and I needed to wash them stat before touching anything else around the house. So I go to the kitchen sink, turn on the water and when I shut it off I put a little more elbow grease into it than normal. The base of the one handle faucet set up, creaks a little and then squirts at the base causing, the faucet to leak out a constant hair width stream of water… in the “off” position. I frown at it, as if giving an inanimate object guff will somehow intimidate back into working properly, but no dice….

I sigh, tell Mel what I’ve done, and proceed to freak out a bit, pissed that I broke it and honestly scared of what will break next. All the while, she is this sea of tranquility. Which at first is maddening and immediately is my anchor and the reason why I believe she is my soul mate. She knows the kinks in my armor and she loves them to no end along with the rest of me. She also has a plan, which was a bit of a change up for me, as I’m typically the “Mr. Fixit” around the house. I, for whatever reason, believe that there is no way in hell that a Home Depot would have parts for a faucet, thinking that that is the perfect way for getting middle class suburbanites to buy entirely new plumbing fixtures, but through a little tenacity and harnessing the power of the interwebs, Mel not only found parts, she also found out that they would most likely be at, yep, you guessed it, Home Depot. So off I went, bought the parts and dove into my first adventure as an amateur plumber.

It wasn’t pretty. There was about an hour of leaks and one geyser of water when I forgot turn off the water main after testing it, but eventually I got it. No leaks, and a better running faucet than before. Less in the landfill, new knowledge, in other words; score one for the good guys!
Fixed Faucet!!

It was a long evening for sure, but as I sit with a tall glass of wine and think about Mel holding a rubber washer in place on the faucet trying to keep water from spraying everywhere and me under the sink frantically turning the water off, I can’t help but smile. Life can always be worse folks, but there’s always perspective, and there’s always that road back up,

And that road? …well, that road can be pretty damn sweet sometimes.

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2 thoughts on “The woes of a fledgling mechanic and a reluctant plumber…

  1. Hey! Funny to click to your site and see my car! Well, Ok, one like my car.
    I love mine too, same age as yours, same colour.

    Although, surprised to hear you call it a Golf.
    My BF says they were called ‘Rabbits’ in the States??

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