Monday, June 13, 2005

They are Vice Grips, Not a Wrench

I consider myself rather savvy when it comes to tools and such. I know the basics - hammer, screwdriver (phillips and flathead), drill, saw, etc. I even know wrenches and such. However, when you start to give the tools specific names I don't have a clue. I could probably guess what it's for, but that's it.

This weekend I became even more deeply entrenched in redneckdom. My boyfriend - J (who is not entirely happy that I write about him, but I can't help it, and I think he secretly likes it) - received a citation from the Town of Alden because he had too many unregistered vehicles parked on his front lawn. That's right - too many unregistered vehicles in the redneck town of Alden. I look on the bright side, at least he didn't have appliances and lethargic bloodhounds who lazily bark at the neighborhood kids.

He had to move said vehicles so that he wouldn't be assessed a fine. A reasonable thing to do. One vehicle he managed to sell to the junkyard (I think that's where he told me he sold it - I am not up on these things and am content with that ignorance).

J also drives the largest pick up truck I have ever ridden in. Again, I think they call it a pick up truck. It could have some other name I am unaware of like 'big ass gas guzzling make out machine' (which, if that is the case, I want to test - J). It is huge. The mack-daddy of trucks. He likes it because he can haul all manner of goodies (many for me) and it has leather seats so I am comfortable. I am sure he is more comfortable also, but isn't it really always about me?

I was charged with driving the pick up truck (henceforth called Whitey - because it's white). He was first going to hook Whitey to the shell of a classic truck (I don't recall the year or make and will likely get some grief later on). I was then given directions to drive slowly around the front yard, between his house and the next, into the back yard, then continue along the perimeter of the backyard until the shell was nestled and hidden behind some pine trees. He wanted to make sure it wasn't visible from the front. Hide the unregistered vehicle from the Town.

He is going to be on the shell steering it behind me so that we don't have any mishaps. There is a catch. The shell doesn't have a steering wheel. This is where the vice grips come in. He has vice grips hooked to the steering column ready to be used to turn it to steer it to its hiding place in the suburban back woods. I said, "is that a wrench you're using?" "Um, they are vice grips." He didn't say it in a mean way at all but I could tell that he was thinking "Wrench, are you kidding? Are you dumb?", much the way I would be thinking "Comma? That is so clearly a semi-colon," should he have asked about my 'tools'.

Anyway - I am in Whitey in my cycling clothes (I rode my bike over because I needed some exercise), so not only do I not look redneck, but I look so out of place I am surprised I didn't see neighbors pissing themselves on their front lawns. We make it around the obstacle course and manage to hide the shell in the backyard.

There is one other job. We are to also move the second truck (again, some kind of vintage that I don't remember) so that it is parked in the driveway facing the house. Apparently you are allowed one unregistered vehicle per household. Who knew? I will, once again, drive Whitey but we have to pull onto the street (a very quiet sleepy suburban street, thank God), then he has to unhook me, back the truck up, rehook me, drive into the driveway, and then veer off at the last minute so I don't hit the house but come to rest just on the side of the garage. No problem.

There's a catch. The other vehicle didn't have a steering wheel but at least the steering column was hooked up. This truck has neither steering nor brakes. So he has to jack up the front end so he can turn the tires, then rehook up to Whitey so we can continue. This is much more difficult and much more ridiculous looking, I am sure. I can't even manage to pull the truck because it has been sitting so long in its bed of grass that the brakes have atrophied - if you can even say that about brakes. He has to do some mechanical thing to get it to move - I have no idea what and I'm fine with that. Once it does move, I am forced to maneuver Whitey around this narrow street, then up the drive and to the side.

When it's finished, I am glad, and also a bit proud of myself. I then invite him to my mom's to swim because it is still hotter than a witch's nipple, but I digress.

That was Saturday. Then Sunday J and I went to meet my sister in W. Virginia, the redneck mecca. We should feel at home, and strangely, we do. After we take delivery of the Wild Mountain Organics' display, we leave. Since we are in W. Virginia he wants to take advantage of the proximity to George Washington and Jefferson National Forests so we extend out trip about 5 or 6 hours by driving through. It is stunning scenery contrasted by rundown towns with much potential. He races through in Whitey as if the forest was on fire. We try to read the historic plaques but can only manage "in 1783" before we have passed.

We stopped at the visitor center at Monongahela National Forest and not only do we grab every pamphlet on W. Virginia and its recreation opportunities, but we sit and watch a video on the formation of the forest and its uses and evolution. Then we shop the gift shop. I always buy a book of ghost stories wherever I travel and a cookbook if they have it. I find that you will always find local takes of horror and the unexplained and they make fascinating reads. And I love to cook and eat so cookbooks offer a glimpse into the area we visited. He likes t-shirts and hats. We are only there about 20 minutes but we manage to spend money and learn about the place.

We are such complete goobers it's not even funny. I relay the story to my sister who says, you better hang onto him, because you aren't going to find another goober who wants to watch historic videos and read those damn historic plaques on the side of the road.

And perhaps she is right. I think J thought I was bored, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I loved it! I loved that we didn't get home until 1 a.m. when we could have been home by 7 p.m. I also love that while we were both freaking exhausted, we didn't get angry or catty with one another. We might be a match made in heaven.

Or he may be mad at me for sharing all of this. Who can say?

What we found missing - or what I found missing - were natural body care products. I think the residents of W. Virginia, and the visitors to the National Forest would like some Wild Mountain Organics Body Polish or Replenishing Face Cream. That would make things right with the world. We were in the mountains, after all. Why not try some yourself?

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