By George! Freed from Durance Vile

By James Breckenridge. It was exactly two weeks that I was trapped without a car; it was a Wednesday afternoon when my car plunked itself down and refused to move and it was on a Wednesday afternoon 1,209,600 seconds later that I started up the engine, eased out the clutch and took the Breckenridge Transport Machine [BTM} for a test drive down, around the cul-de-sac and back home. Towards the end of those 1,209,600 seconds even the nanoseconds were dragging by.

The danger during a period where the BTM’s status is non-operational lies in being trapped at home with me … myself and I.

One of the strategies incorporated into my Wellness Recovery Action Plan concerns what to do when being by myself inside my head without adequate adult supervision would be hazardous to my mental well-being. The strategy is to leave so I am not isolated with myself and seek out adult supervision; or, alternatively, have adequate adult supervision come to my place.

Obviously, escaping myself and finding adequate adult supervision becomes a great deal more difficult when the BTM is non-operational.

When Sunday found me in conversation with a Scarecrow [Brain Quest] a strong suspicion formed that I needed to get the BTM’s status changed to operational ASAP. When, towards the end of the conversation, the White Rabbit joined the Scarecrow and I in our conversation suspicion became certainty.

Faced with certainty I called my friend Mike to express my strong need for an operational BTM. Mike stated he would get in touch with his friend and encourage him to perform his magic on the BTM.

Thus it came to pass that on Wednesday morning Mike and his friend were at my abode to ascertain what issue the BTM was suffering from.

So we pop the hood, I get behind the wheel and start the car and engage the clutch George, after telling me to disengage the clutch for a moment, repositioned himself to the drivers side of the engine and had me ease the clutch out again. Telling me to disengage the clutch and leave it disengaged George disappeared from eyesight, getting down and looking under the BTM.

Mere seconds later George returned to my sight holding what looked like a strip of grease in his hand; which proved to be a piece of rubber coated in grease. CV joint is gone George informed me, as he also informed me he had replaced thousands of them.

cv joint

Having determined what needed to be done George headed home for the tools he would need and to wait for the car to be in shade late in the afternoon. Mike dropped George off and returned to take me to CanWest to procure a replacement CV shaft.

I did have to replace the driver side CV shaft on a previous vehicle of mine so I knew it was far easier and more efficient just to pull the old shaft and plug in a new one than anything else one might do. I didn’t beat myself up over, having previously needed to change a CV joint, not realizing it was the CV joint that had gone because this CV joint gave no warning it was about to go. Normally when a CV joint is getting ready to go they warn you with a clicking sound that gets progressively worse.

With the car shaded by a tree and the house – with the added bonus of a nice breeze blowing – George returned and began the necessary disassembly to access the CV shaft. As he progressed George got a look at the disc pads of my front brakes and dispatched me back to CanWest to procure a set of new brake pads as the pads could do with replacing and with the driver side wheel already going to be off it only made sense to do the brake pads now rather than a short time latter.

Returning I sat quietly in the shade, giving George the courtesy of my silence to allow him to focus on what he was doing without distraction or interruption by me.

As George began work on replacing the passenger side brake pads his concentration increased as he began to work on part of the braking mechanism itself. It was sticking, not moving as freely as it should, which George considered an unacceptable condition for it to be left in. So he sat there, not simply replacing the brake pads, but patiently working on the braking mechanism until it was in what he considered acceptable condition.

With the passenger side wheel back on the car, George gathered his tools back up and then, just before he closed the hood back up checked the fluid levels telling me I was down a litre of oil. I got out the engine oil [checking the oil level and adding oil if needed is among the limited auto repair/maintenance skills I have], a litre was added, the hood closed and it was time for a test drive.

I fired up the engine, put it in gear, sloooowly eased out the clutch and headed off down my street, around the cul-de-sac and back to my place; such a short drive to put such a cheek stretching grin on my face.

Getting out of the car with that huge grin on my face I heartily thanked George, although words couldn’t/can’t express the gift that having the BTM operational was/is to me.

It is not simply that George is such a highly skilled and experienced mechanic, but that he is a craftsman. A man who does a superb job because of the pride he takes in the work he does. It is always a pleasure to watch a craftsman work, especially if it is your vehicle he is working on.

And thanks Mike for the original ride home when the BTM became non-operational, for transportation to purchase the necessary parts, but a far bigger thanks for freedom from Durance Vile by George!

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