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Tag Archives: small town living

My New Morning Coffee Klatsch

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Day in the Life of a Car Lot after a Snowstorm

Most people look forward to sleeping in on Saturdays for a change in routine from their work week.  We work most Saturdays because we are part owners in a Used Car Sales and Service business. 

Saturdays are usually busy at the shop but the morning after a snow storm,  busy takes on a whole different meaning.  This morning our car lot looked like this when we arrived at work.

My tools for cleaning up the car lot are few but essential.  I dress in warm clothes with boots, jacket, hat and several warm pairs of gloves.  I also need a snow brush for sweeping the cars off before moving them to plow, a jump pack to start any cars that may have a dead battery, and lots of coffee.  And no, we don’t have a McDonald’s in our small town of 400.  I just recycle the cups when I buy coffee so my good cups can stay at home where they belong.

One of the things I like most about cleaning up the lot is the level of activity around town.  Everyone is busy cleaning up, homes and businesses alike.  This morning as I was clearing the lot I heard my first snowmobile in town.  When we get a lot of snow it is not unusual to see large groups of snowmobiles drive through town on the snowmobile trails. 

After I sweep off all the snow off the cars I retrieve all the keys for the cars and start each one and move them so I can remove the snow.  No one likes to tramp through the snow to look at a vehicle covered in snow when they are shopping cars and we don’t have an inside showroom for our cars.

This is what the lot looks like after I’ve moved all the cars.  Today wasn’t bad only two cars that wouldn’t start before moving them. 

I move all the snow from the south end of the lot to the north end where we pile it up for the season.  Sometimes we get too much snow and have to haul some away so we have enough room for more snow if we get some.  After the lot is clear then I move all the cars back to their locations and put all their keys away and the bobcat away as well. 

This morning it wasn’t too bad for working outside because the wind wasn’t blowing and I dressed warm enough.  My work started at 8:00 this morning and it took until 1:15 to finish up.  As I finished up and was getting ready to head home my husband said that we needed to go out on a tow call.   This is what the lot looked like when I finished this morning.

We locked everything up at the shop and backed out the tow truck.  It seems we needed to rescue a sheriff who had driven a rear wheel drive squad car down a very steep hill in the snow and got stuck at the bottom.  We had the winch the car up the hill backwards to get it out.  I don’t know what the sheriff was thinking driving down that hill.  It wasn’t an emergency call,  just follow-up on an investigation.

This is where the picture of the sheriff’s car being towed up the hill belongs but the sheriff didn’t take too kindly to me for wanting to take a picture of the event so you will have to settle for a picture of my favorite watering can outside my front door.   

Keep warm, toasty and your cars on the road . 

I don’t feel like a tow call out in the cold this evening. 

I am finally warmed up and settled in with a good book! 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Business Matters, Life Happens, Nature

 

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Walter’s Car

Last night  my husband and I had a special delivery to make.  It’s a delivery that Walter has been waiting for nearly 35 years.  Our delivery was a 1968 Chevy Camaro Z28.  Walter bought the Camaro brand new on August 30, 1968.  In the mid 70’s Walter was married man with a family to support and sold the Camaro to pay bills.  It has been in my husband’s possession ever since.  He and his Dad painted the Camaro and it was my husband’s car while he was in high school.  He parked it in his Grandma’s old garage when he left for college in 1977.  There it has remained except for one brief outing in the 90’s when we took it out to show our kids their Dad’s old car.

Last week my husband made the comment to me that he thought it was time.  I said “Time for what?”  “Time to talk to Walter to see if he would like to buy his old Camaro back.  Neither one of us are getting any younger.”  Walter is 61  and my husband is 51.  He continued, “I always told him that if I was ever ready to sell the old Camaro that I would give him first chance to buy it back.”  Later that evening he called Walter’s wife and asked for Walter’s cell phone number to call him.  She gave him the number and he got Walter on the phone.  They talked and I listened to one side of the conversation.  Walter is an over the road truck driver and said that when he got back in town he would stop by to talk.

Walter and his wife showed up at our shop yesterday afternoon.  They had been out to the garage to check the car out.  Noted that it had one flat tire, was dirty but in overall good shape.  My husband and Walter got down to the business of negotiating a price.  I sat down with Walter and his wife to begin the paperwork for the sale while my husband drove out to the garage to retrieve the mileage off the Camaro.  It was 92787 actual miles. 

It was fun to hear both my husband and Walter reminisce about their time with the Camaro.   My husband talked about how the window really shook when they got it up to 140 mph.  Walter said he thought the fastest he drove it was 150 mph.  They commented on the fact that it more amazing that both of them were still around rather than the Camaro due to their driving habits.  Walter talked about picking up his future wife for their first date and how she was wearing white go-go boots when they went out that evening.

Walter talked about stopping by the dealership to see if they had the original invoice from his purchase in 1968.  He said the dealership is still in business.  He talked about how he would have to call his friend who was with him the day he picked up his Camaro the day he bought it to tell him he had it back again.  He told us how they had Nehru jackets to wear while they drove the Camaro.  One was green and one was blue.  Nehru jackets became popular when the Beatles and the Monkeys wore them during performances. 

After we finished up with Walter and his wife we told them we would bring the car out later that evening after we finished up with our other customers for the day.  Walter had to hit the road at 10:00am the next morning.  It took us longer than planned but finally we headed out to the garage with the air tank, flashlight, and flatbed to retrieve the Camaro and deliver it to Walter. 

The anticipation of delivering it was like waiting for someone to open a special Christmas present that you know they will be excited about.  We worked together to carefully load the Camaro on the flatbed and drove to our shop to air up one tire that wouldn’t hold air and to give the Camaro a quick bath before we delivered it.  It’s last one was in the mid 90’s.  It needed it.

Getting a Quick Wash

 

We drove slowly the mile or so from the shop to Walter’s home.  When we drove into the yard the sound of the diesel truck and headlights brought them out of the house for the unloading.  After we unloaded it my husband got in the car to show Walter the old eight track tapes he found inside.  There were a couple of Beach Boys and a few others.  Then he opened the glove box to see if the owner’s manual was still in the car.  It was and a few other items.  As he paged through the owner’s manual neatly tucked within its pages was Walter’s original purchase invoice for the Camaro.  He wouldn’t need to make a trip back to the dealership after all. 

At the end of the day some things just feel right like the Camaro back home with Walter.  Sleep tight!

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2010 in Life Happens, Reflections, Uncategorized

 

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There’s a Disruption in the Force and We Feel It

Whenever my husband and I try to take a day off of work at some point in the future things start happening.  It’s like someone put a billboard up for everyone to see that we are trying to take a day off.  A few years ago we decided to take a Tuesday off to get some things ready around home for our oldest daughter’s graduation party.

At  8:30 am a truck drove in our yard and a man came to the front door and asked if my husband was home.  I went in the livingroom and got him from his recliner.  He had decided to enjoy his cup of coffee in his pajamas before getting busy on our projects.  I was still in my pj’s as well.  My husband talked to the gentleman about the kind of truck he would like to purchase and sent him on his way.

Back to the recliner and coffee for him and I headed to the shower.  Next our next door neighbor saw our car still in the driveway and came over to ask my husband some automotive repair questions as long as he was home.  He didn’t want to bother him at work.  They sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking cars.  Soon he had his answers and left.

Back to recliner once again and then the phone rang and asked for my husband.  It was one of the guys from the shop and asked if we couldn’t take our air tank over to our other neighbors and air up her flat tire so she could drive it the four miles into town and have it repaired.  It made sense to them that we were closer to her and it would be easier for us to do it.  So I headed over to the neighbors with the tank and sent her on her way after airing up her tire and my husband headed to the shower. 

We managed to get the things accomplished we had intended to after our not so great start.  It got to the point it was getting comical for the amount of interruptions before 9:30 in the morning.

This past week we have been trying to get ready to be gone for a few days next week so we each have our list of things we need and want to have done before we leave.  It has been a never-ending series of phone calls and chuckles from my husband as he announces “You’ll never guess who just called and wants an appointment for this week.”  You would think that somewhere out there they think that if we leave town for a few days we might like it better somewhere else and may decide not to return so they better get their stuff taken care of now.

On the same note however I am amazed at the list I have come up with of things I feel I need to have done before we leave.  There is the closet that has been a mess for the past year really should be cleaned out, the refrigerator needs to be cleaned .  The bathrooms all need to be cleaned just in case someone stops by to use them while we are gone.  Of course, I should get all the windows washed and all the laundry done.    I’ve been driving myself crazy and the rest of the family as I try to tackle my ever-increasing list. 

I would love to leave home with a picture perfect clean home but who am I trying to kid.  It didn’t take a week to get in the condition it is in and it certainly will take more than a week to get everything clean especially with working full-time.  I found myself washing winter coats today that were in that closet mentioned above.  Why??  I don’t know.  They have been just fine in the closet and would have been until this fall when it would be time to dig them out again.  I guess I will be a little ahead of the usual game by having them clean this early but at what price.  At the pace I have been keeping this past week, it will take my entire time off to wind down to relax and then it will be back to work.

I’m looking forward to a few days off.  At least this year when we leave we finally have our will in place just in case something would happen to us on vacation.  It was one of those things on my ever-increasing list to do before vacations.  Up til now we never got our wills done because we couldn’t decide who to put in charge of our four kids if something happened to us.  They are all grown now and can fend for themselves.  It’s nice to have at least one thing off that list.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Humor, Vacations

 

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Now Where Can That Load Go…

Ford 650 with a overloaded Ford 1 Ton

One of the things I like about my job is that I think I know what I will be doing when I go to work but it’s not always what I end up doing.    Today I needed to ride with my husband to St Cloud to pick up a vehicle that was getting a recall taken care of at a Toyota dealership.  It’s about 40 miles away so we went over our lunch hour to the upholstery shop to drop off one vehicle and pick up another.  Then on to the Toyota dealership.  While we were on our way my phone rang and a customer that was coming to see the truck that we were picking up from the upholstery shop was on his way home from the Cities and his truck died and he would need a tow.  The other guys at the shop were busy so my husband sent me to St. Cloud to pick it up after we got back from our trip to St. Cloud.

I hopped in the flatbed that we use for towing vehicles.  It’s a Ford F650 Diesel and headed to St. Cloud.  My husband warned me that the customer’s truck was heavily loaded because he’s a tile setter by trade.  I got to the location to pick up the truck and he had it loaded to the max, 1700lbs of tile and all the equipment and tools to install the tile.  There was stuff everywhere.  There wasn’t a wasted inch of space.  I got inside the truck to put it in neutral for loading and every square inch was filled inside as much as the box of the pickup truck.  I hooked up on the truck and started winching it up on my truck.  It moaned, it groaned and made every possible sound to let me know that it wasn’t happy about the load especially in 90 degree heat.  I got it loaded and chained down and hit the road for home.

My truck is not a speedy truck.  About the best you can do loaded is about 70 mph.  Not today,  it was protesting and only giving me 57 mph.  It was a slower ride home which wouldn’t have been bad if the air conditioning was working on the truck but it apparently ran out of freon and needs to charged up for our summer season.  When I got back to the shop I was greeted by the owner of the truck.  His wife said, “They sent you to get the truck?”  I said, “Yes, no one else had time before closing time to go and get it.”  She said, “Good for you!”  Most of the time I get looks from the men when I go to pick up a vehicle like they somehow got shorted by sending a woman to do a man’s job.  One guy took months to pay his bill because he didn’t take me seriously as a tow truck driver.  I finally said, “I picked up your car from where you wanted picked up and delivered it to where you wanted it delivered for you undamaged.”  He looked at me like I was crazy for charging him for the service since one of the mechanics didn’t pick it up.  He finally paid the bill. 

Back in the day when my father-in-law used to buy and haul farm machinery with Uncle Orville they used to bring some wild loads home.  They would have combines, racks, corn heads and other miscellaneous items stacked as high as they possibly could and still make it under the power lines.  Uncle Orville’s usual comment about their load was “Now where can that go!”  Today’s loaded up pickup reminded me of the good old days of  Wayne and Uncle Orville’s loads.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2010 in Life Happens, Reflections, Uncategorized

 

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We’re not Mayberry RFD but we’re close…

We're not Mayberry RFD but we're close...

When I was growing up one of the shows that we watched at our home was Mayberry RFD.  We grew up with Aunt Bea, Sheriff Andy, Barney Fife, Opie and the rest of the gang.  The show was based in a small town and focuses on small town life and its individual characters.  

We live in a small town in central Minnesota, population 400.  We own a used car sales and service garage.  Each day there is a stream of men that wander through our shop and chat with  the mechanics as they go about their work.  They are our own cast of characters.  One day one of the older retired men asked my husband if he minded them stopping in the shop to talk and my husband’s response to him was “Some men have to go the wise man for wisdom, but I can stay here and they bring the wisdom to me!”  

In our local hardware store the men gather each morning around a small round table with their coffee cups and discuss all the local and world problems.  Our local librarian calls it “The Think Tank”.   Rainy days usually have more participants than usual because the farmers are not out in their fields.  

We have older drivers in our town.  Everyone knows who they are and to give them more room.  Some probably shouldn’t be driving anymore but no one wants to take away their freedom.  One man is 90 years old and drives from our town 20 miles each day to see his wife in the nursing home in the next town.  They’ve been married for over 50 years.  One older man in our town doesn’t drive anymore but he walks around town daily with his walker.  You have to watch out for him because without any notice or looking he will walk right in front of your car to cross the road and usually never at a corner where you might expect it. 

I used to be the city clerk in town for ten years.  Part of my duties were to oversee the election process in town.  I had been involved in the election process before I became city clerk when my dad was in the Mn House of Representative for two years and the MN Senate for twelve years.  I had been a poll observer as we collected the voting tallies and brought them back to the campaign headquarters.  I was really surprised at the voter turnout in our small town.  It was nearly 90%  of the registered voters.  The people would line up outside the polling place and wait for it to open.  It was a regular social event in town.  Some planned to vote first thing in the morning, some voted before lunch or after, others voted on their way home from work or came to vote after supper but everyone voted. 

Our small town has many churches.  On Main Street there are three churches,  one church is one block off Main Street, one a mile out-of-town and one about 3 miles out-of-town.  Every one knows who belongs at which church and if you should happen to appear at a church different that the one you attend regularly you will be the talk of the town until the next Sunday and everyone sees if it was just for one Sunday or you are making a change for good. 

We have our local parades, community theatre, and community choir.  The town’s people always line the streets or auditorium chairs to cheer on our local talents.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Life Happens

 

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