After a busy week at work getting ready for the Katinas concert (which I must say went off without a hitch), I was looking forward to half a day off on Sunday afternoon. I envisioned myself using part of that half a day off to get outside, preferably in the woods – maybe hiking or geocaching, or maybe trying to find and explore some abandoned structures, cloaked from view by trees, yet clearly visible through the amazing eye of Google Earth. For me, nature offers an escape from the rat-race of life, and I always look forward to these moments, however brief, when I can get away and breathe in the relaxing smells and sounds and sights of the world as it ought to be – no schedules, no worries. Ahhhhhh…
So why then does my one half a day off have to be cold and rainy? After all, this is the first weekend in May! How do you spend a cold rainy Sunday afternoon? Well, not doing what I had planned, that’s how.
But all was not lost. My wife must have sensed my dispair, (or she got tired of my whining and pacing) and suggested that we could go for a drive in the bus. It may not seem like a big deal to most folks, but this simple activity of meandering around some back country roads in our old`73 VW is indeed on our top-ten list of things my wife and I both enjoy. (Ok, so we don’t really have ten things on our list yet, but we’re working on it. Even polar-opposites can find some common inerests.)
I reminded her that it might be a cold ride, since I had to disconnect one of the bus’s heat exchanger control valves a few weeks ago when it gave up the ghost after forty years of road grime, abusive mechanics, and hippie smoke. For those of you who don’t know a heat exchanger from a blinker fluid reservoir, let me simply say that on an old Volkswagen with an air-cooled engine, it’s the thing that sends warm air into the vehicle so condensation won’t freeze on the hippie’s bongs. For those of you who don’t know a bong from a ….. Oh, nevermind!
Despite my wife’s insistance that I’m a packrat, there are times when that tendency is beneficial. Since these control valves are no longer in production, a working replacement can be hard to come by. Except that I remembered I had a pair of spares in my shed – yes, that place where packrats chuck their junk until the day it is called upon – that glorious moment when it becomes suddenly valuable again. Today was that day. Twenty minutes under the bus, and we had heat again. Well, as much heat as you’ll get from one of these German wonders. But it was all we needed to spend some simple time together, enjoying what was left of our half a day off.