Friday, September 2, 2011

Out of Gas, Attacked by Bees, and Tractor Woes

This was my last week working for the maintenance department of the school district.  I think it's high time I go back to teaching.  There have been several signs this week, but I think the most blatant signs were running out of gas, a broken tractor, and getting attacked by bees.

We have an old truck at the maintenance department.  The boss sunk some money into it to make it street worthy, and to keep employees from kissing the ground every time they got out of it.  The brakes were...there once.  I had the unenviable task last week of taking it to be serviced...the boss followed along behind to witness where the body landed, I assume.  I made it safely, but had the distinct urge to lay my lips upon Mother Earth when I descended from the cab!

A refrigerator went kaput the other day.  I dutifully loaded it up in that truck so it could be done away with.  I needed to leave the truck to get a new windshield, though.  When I got back to it, there was a new windshield that you could even SEE though in it!  I took the truck and went to a metal recycling place in hopes of getting the school district a few bucks, but they wanted to charge me.  He did say that the dump would take it for a much smaller amount than he would charge.  I set off for the dump.

Now, l;et me explain, this truck has a functioning gas gage, however, it reads in reverse, so if the gage says it is full, it is in fact quite empty.  I learned this little fact seven years ago, when I began working there.  I had since placed that little tidbit of information on a high shelf in my head and it has gathered dust.

I had to climb a hill to get to the dump.  Just as I was approaching a 7/11 it started that recognizable choke/ cough that a gas starving engine gives.  I recognized the chuff, and looked at the gage...that little tidbit about the reverse gage dusted itself off and jumped into my lap.  I pulled over immediately and got in line for fuel.  I put three gallons in it.  The gage actually moved I began to doubt myself.

I dropped the refrigerator at the dump and drove back.  I put fuel in it and I was happy to find that I put a lot more gas in it than would have been had it been truly full.  In fact, it was 15.7 a 19 gallon tank...I apparently had been on fumes.

The next day I was tasked with weed whacking a particular area.  I set about my task with head phones on and all of a sudden little yellow things started hitting me in the face, in the glasses and on my had.  It took me a fraction of a second to recognize bees, and they were apparently not happy with my choice in vacation spots, as they seemed to be attacking my Ocean Shores hat.  I dropped the weed whacker and left the area at a prodigious rate.  Dropped my sunglasses and swatting at the airborne aggressors with my hat.

I looked around and saw that they were coming out of a hole in the ground.  Every time I got too close they swarmed toward me.  I retrieved my glasses and wanted to reclaim the weed whacker.  I was too close at one point, and they again pelted my glasses and hat again.

Finally, I left the glasses on the ground and they seemed to pay less attention to me.  I finally got closer to the weed whacker and noted that they were still interested in it, I assumed because it was still running (after about  five minutes).  I slowly reached in and turned it off, this time they did not bother me.

I departed the area only to note this year's freshmen class gathering within sight of my bee debacle.  I walked through them on my way for some bug killer.  One of them asked if i had been attacked by bees or something.  I said, "As a matter of fact, yeah!"

I decided against a frontal attack in broad daylight and let the bees go.  I went to return to my vehicle, but I had to return near the freshmen class which had gathered in the bleachers.  A few seniors were there to leads the introductions.  They know me and we have had a long and varied past.  The freshmen also know me.  I heard several, "Hello!  Mr. H"s and then, over the loud speaker, "Ahem, Hi, Mr. H."  I looked and there was one of the seniors with the mike in his hand.  Several paid their respects and I waved.  I went on my way.

This morning I revisited the hive and expended an entire can of wasp killer on the nest.  I returned later to see what I had killed, Yellow Jackets.  A few survived...and I departed.

I was told to rake the bark nearer the playground equipment.  I began that task early.  But one of my coworkers called and said he was getting some loads of new bark...oh, yea.  I had hope for an easy day.  No luck!  New bark means a lot of raking and shoveling.

We used a tractor for the first the first school we needed to pull out a shrub before the bark got there.  We did, but there was some wood and rebar sticking in there.  We raked the bark and as I was about to return to the shop for lunch I was told to take the wood with me.  I couldn't get them all, and the coworker brought over the tractor to help.

He pulled up some of the wood only to reveal some rebar...stuck deep in the ground.  He went to try to remove it with the front loader, but at some point punctured the front tire with one that he had not seen.  We were suddenly without the tractor!  The second load of bark was to arrive after lunch at a different school, so he called to cancel.  We were about to return to finish at the first school when the driver called to ask where he wanted the second load.

This day just keeps getting better.  He went to tend to the new bark and I went to tend to the tire...only to find that I did not have the keys, I turned around and then when I got to the school found I could not remove the wheel!

We finally got the wheel off, but it was late and we still needed to fix the tire and return the tractor to the shop...let it be known, we worked about an hour and a half after quitting time.  It sucked.  While he was getting the tire fixed I was raking the bark and trying to clean up...I felt like I could jump right in a cold pool and be happy about it... Cora sent me an audio message on my phone, it consisted of Chloe saying "Come home Daddy", and "I love you," and "Bye, bye."  It's the kind of thing that makes me really really smile big.  It was just what I needed.

Now, I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend with my family.    

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