Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Fortified City

Yesterday was a cold day. A very cold day. The high was about -11, but the wind made it feel substantially colder. At those temperatures you don't notice a difference in coldness so much as an increase in how quickly you start to feel intense pain.

Because of this, our vehicles decided it was a good day to stop working. My van led the charge of immovability by having transmission trouble. It had been low on transmission fluid for a while, but I kept waiting for a warmer day to fill it up. That worked well for me, since I ended up re-filling it on the coldest day so far this winter. The transmission fluid was barely liquid and took forever to sludge its way through the funnel.

Even after that the car refused to go into any gear but reverse. I sat there for about a half hour working the gears until it finally went into drive and I could head into Westby in a forward fashion. I got there to discover that the vehicle rebellion had spread to my dad's trucks and neither of them were working.

After a struggle he got the little truck to work, but the farm truck wasn't budging until its demands of warmer quarters were met. Only problem was it was parked out in the snow by the road, nowhere near the garage. I was the lucky duck that got to help solve that little physics problem.

We started by clearing the garage a little. At 30 degrees inside it felt positively tropical compared to the driveway. Then it was time for the tractor to leave its cushy quarters and bravely haul the large farm truck out of the snow while I cranked the wheel to line it up for a push down the narrow driveway.

Every moment outside was extremely uncomfortable as my dad hooked up the chain and prepared to tow. As I analyzed how my dad was able to work in so much more comfort than I, I came to the realization that to keep my cheeks from literally freezing I needed to grow a beard like him. Who knows what can happen in this climate.....

At last the chain was hooked, my dad climbed on the tractor, and put it into gear. I braced for the big pull. HUUUUUUNNNNNGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! I moved an inch. Maybe two. Turns out the tractor doesn't have very good traction on the snow. After about ten minutes of nearly fruitless pulling, my dad hooked the little truck up and pulled the farm truck out within 30 seconds.

Now I was lined up with the driveway. We were getting somewhere now! My dad turned the tractor around, placing the rear scraper thingy against the bumper and started to push us up towards the garage. HUUUUUUUUNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH! With tremendous effort, tractor tires spinning, we made our way until we met the mountainous obstacle of a bump an inch high. The farm truck would go no further.

What to do? Why of course, the solution was for me to stay in the truck ready to jam my foot against the brake should we creep over the bump. My dad would drive the tractor forward, then jam it into reverse and slam into the trailer hitch of the truck.

"I'm not going to get whiplash, am I, Dad?"

"I don't know. We'll see," was the comforting reply.

I felt like a medieval city as I watched him churning towards me again and again. Brace for the slam, let off the brake at point of impact, jam my foot on the brake as soon as he pulled away again. Such fun! What girl wouldn't want to spend the day getting crashed into by a tractor?

At length it was declared that we were over the bump. Would the tractor push the trailer now? No. I was able to go inside for a while and defrost while my dad experimented and discovered that the bumpers of both trucks matched enough for the little truck to push the farm truck the rest of the way to the garage. Whew!

I would have had some pictures to accompany this blog, but tragedy has befallen our little family. My beloved's so painful to talk about...but after the camera got stepped on, this is what comes out of it.

A portrait of Tiggy and me:

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