June 12, 2006

Junkyard? No, FUNYARD!

Up early Saturday, dressed myself in my nicest slovenly duds, and saw that the children were already up and outside bothering the kitten with an assortment of bothering things.

Hmm. Bird feeders look a bit low. Got Catherine to go get me the key to the Not a Storage Shed, and we went out to fill up the tubes with seeds.

@#%$*$&@^^$~!@#%^$%@ SQUIRRELS!

For the past several years, I have been openly prideful about my Heath bird feeders. They have been, up until now, the only bird feeder I have ever had that were so frustrating to squirrels that they had given up on them. They are a clear acrylic tube, with a metal lid, and metal perches. I have them hung from some metal shepherd's hook style poles, and the combination of thin slick metal poles, with a slick plastic tube of seeds, and metal at all the usual gnawy places has meant that although squirrels might get a few seeds, they have never been able to get in there and clean one out like they've done so many times in the past with other types of feeders I've had.

Until this past week. I had seen one fellow manage to get himself all the way up the pole and onto the feeder. Big deal. Then he'd managed to crawl headfirst down to one of the perches. Big deal. He never did get anything, because he fell off. Stupid squirrel.

Little did I know that he was persistent, and had managed after I quit watching to not only get on the feeder, and not only shimmy down it headfirst, he had actually managed to hang on long enough to the bottom-most perches to reach underneath the feeder tube, and gnaw through the bottom plug!

Nice big squirrel-head-sized hole chewed into the pliable plastic bung, and not a lick of seeds inside. STUPID EVIL SQUIRRELS!

It's not like I don't leave plenty for them to eat--I set out some especially for them, and then there's the huge pile of seeds underneath the feeders that the filthy birds drop. WHY NOT LEAVE THE FEEDER ALONE AND GET THE EASY STUFF!?

Anyway, that made us be down to only one feeder, so it was time to get a couple of new ones. And I had decided to get another hummingbird feeder while I was at it. The one I got that sticks to the window doesn't seem to be working too well, so I thought I'd get another bottle type to hang up. On the other plant hook I'd taken up and put in the back several weeks ago.

Which was--gone.

I had stuck it in the ground beside one of the other feeder poles, and now it was gone--so it seems I have STUPID THIEVING SQUIRRELS and STUPID THIEVING NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS.

Why? Why would they take THAT of all the interesting stuff they could steal? Little idjits.

So, a pole, and some feeders, and some seeds. And some Ritz crackers for Reba.

No matter how mad I was at the squirrels and juvenile delinquents, I was still about to get to go play. And not only that, when I got home, I was gonna play some MORE! Jonathan had gotten a model rocket for his birthday (and Catherine gotten one for his birthday, too) and so I told him when I got back we'd all go and fly them. SUCH FUN!

But first, my fun! Because it's all about ME!

I had stopped by the auto parts store on Friday, but the counter guy wasn't really much help in figuring out which seal I needed, and they didn't have all the parts I wanted. I decided just to order them from my incredibly expensive source over on the Left Coast. That way I'd know I was getting the right things. BUT, they'd take a while to get here, so I figured why NOT go play in the junkyard, right? Right!

But first, the stop at the hardware store at the foot of the hill. Hummingbird feeder, annnnd...


What is wrong with Marvin's!? They only had the feeder with the PLASTIC perches! Oh, sure, it's cheaper than the one with the metal perches [and I gotta say, I think 9 bucks extra for 8 metal perches is ridiculous], but do you realize how worthless plastic perches are? Squirrels love 'em, and the birds peck them to pieces in no time.


Well, thankfully, I had the metal perches from the older feeder that got broken, and two spares that I had because one tube didn't have all the holes punched in it. That still left me having to use two plastic perches. Grr.

And I have to say, I'm disappointed in Heath, too--they don't have the metal caps on the feeders anymore, meaning that Mr. Peanut Brain will just gnaw right through the top and have a nice meal.

Stupid squirrels. Stupid hardware store. Stupid bird feeder company.

Oh well.

Got two of the inferior feeders, and some seed, and I was off to the Pull-A-Part!


Walked in, paid my buck, got my hand stamped, and very nearly ran out onto the yard in anticipation of much fun. Past the Japanese car section and--and--Fords? No, wait--this can't be. The Europeein' cars are supposed to be right here. HERE! Boy, it's hot. Hmm. I guess they moved them. But where?

OH NO! What if they just crushed them all!? What if all those fine hunks of junk had been unceremoniously squished, and now they were all out of them, and I had come all the way out here just to get sweaty for no reason!?

I went and looked some more. And some more. Woe is me!

Went back inside, and just out of curiosity looked on their computer inventory (yes, junkyards is now real high tech like) and there were scads of Volvos listed. I asked the goggle-eyed guy behind the counter (he looked a bit like Tim Curry) if the inventory list was right, and he said it was. Well, let's go look for row 87.

Went back out the same direction I started when I got there--ahhh--I see. Row 87 is somewhere over in the other direction. Went that way. STILL didn't see where 87 could be. Finally decided to be unmanly and ask for directions from a guy on a forklift. Seems that since I was last here, the Pull-A-Part has dramatically expanded, and the row I was looking for was way, WAY, WAY over to the other side of the yard.

I had by now wasted thirty minutes in the hot sun looking around. BUT NOW I KNEW WHERE THEY WERE, and that they hadn't been crushed! Yay!

Ahhhh, there they are!

Whew. Boy, it's hot.

I had no set item I wanted, other than to see about getting a couple of instrument panel circuit boards to see if I could finally get rid of that annoying dimmer switch/tachometer short. Uh-oh--two guys are looking at my junker! LEAVE IT 'LONE! I hate it when people start shopping in the same place as me!

Hmm. Let's see--oooooh! Rear headrest covers! It didn't occur to me that they were black vinyl instead of blue cloth. However, should I ever have my long anticipated eBay sale, they should bring a pretty penny. Which is bad, because I paid $5 for them.

What else? Oh, let's see if the Bimmers and the Saabs have any of their tools left. The BMW tool sets get gone quickly, but sometimes the Saabs will still have a wrench or two. SCORE! A pair of the orange Saab slip joint pliers, and a couple of screwdrivers!

Lalalaladee--oooh, hey. Fuses are always needed. Volvos use the old-timey fuses with exposed elements, which just seems dangerous on the face of it, but I suppose they work well enough. Lots of those available for the getting.

I wonder--do I need to get a trailer hitch? Back when they were over on the other side of the yard, there was a wagon with a factory hitch that I always thought would be nice to have. Eh. I'll wait.

What's this? Hmm--a young lady's car it seems. A student at Jeff State. An organ player at a local Methodist church. Also working at a local hospital. Got herself a speeding ticket in downtown Trussville. How do I know all this? Because she left all of her papers in the car--papers that included credit card numbers, and telephone numbers, and addresses, and Social Security numbers. Folks, please--if you are ever in a wreck, clean out your personal effects before they tow the car away, or go find it in the impound lot or junkyard and get that stuff out of there. Unless you really just like the idea of someone stealing your identity.

Well, time to pull some instrument panels. Found a couple that looked like good candidates. I now have pulled so many of these that I can pop the trim panels, unscrew the four screws, and unplug the control plugs in about two minutes. I undid the back and left the housings behind, along with the speedometers and clocks. Two reasons--I didn't want to pay for a full gauge cluster, and someone else might need those things.

Time to go--I was getting a little too rednecked, and red-armed, and I wanted to go fly my--uh, I mean Jonathan's--rockets. Paid my ransom at the counter and was on the way back home.


Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 12, 2006 10:00 AM

I can't say that I would recommend the factory Volvo trailer hitch. At least not one like we have attached to our wagon. It takes, if I recall correctly from the one time 10 years ago when we pulled a trailer, a Swedish standard 7-prong plug which requires one to get an adapter to make the lights and such work with American trailers -- and then it kept unplugging and the turn signals never did work. All in all, it was a huge pain in the neck.

Posted by: Jordana at June 12, 2006 02:28 PM

BUT--today there is available a handy adapter that converts the ginormously complicated Volvo taillight signals into something simple: "Trailer Tail Light Converter--
Used to adapt Volvo's separate turn signal and park lamp design (5 wire) to work with the more common shared versions (4 wire) found on most trailers. This is the easiest and safest way to connect your Volvo's wiring to your trailer wiring. The adapter uses a built-in diode to isolate the turn signal circuits and prevent current from back feeding to the car's tail lights. Takes about 30 minutes to install. Instructions and scotch lock wire taps are included."



Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 12, 2006 03:34 PM

We bought an adapter. It kept coming unplugged and never adapted the turn signals. Maybe there have been advances in the past ten years though...

On the other hand, one should also take into consideration that the Volvo engine doesn't really like towing stuff very much. We towed my very small amount of furniture from Tennessee to Tuscaloosa for grad school and the engine threatened to overheat several times. It was a very slow and hot trip.

Posted by: Jordana at June 12, 2006 03:55 PM

That's true--I've already blown out one seal, I might not want to try it while pulling something!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at June 12, 2006 04:01 PM