Broke down in Florida nature reserve. Alligators and Space-X

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Alligator Bait.

I left the cabinet shop at the yacht factory after a hot day of doing things over. The partially visible hinges between the doors and the jams were not perfectly spaced. They wanted them to show 50/50 in case someone took a flashlight and checked the dark space between. There were three SOS hinges on each of nine doors.

The Alpi veneer on one side of a finished door had been damaged and had to be sanded off and re-veneered. This required me sanding with 80 grit sandpaper for two hours, then leaving the door and veneer overnight in the vacuum table.

A cedar wardrobe that went into the starboard stateroom was complete, except for the missing door and trim for the front. I pushed it aside until the walnut arrives and started on another wardrobe that was also missing the walnut parts.

After the standard ten-hour day, I laid my thumbprint on the timeclock and ducked out of the side door to my 2006 pickup. I waved at the guard at the guard-shack and sped through the traffic of 528. I exited onto Courtenay and zoomed north toward Kennedy Space Center. The radar detector was working fine. I had a 5:00 appointment with the cable company at my land home to check the cables to my high-speed modem.

As I came to the light at 405, I smelled antifreeze. My truck was running hot and as I passed the intersection, the steam came through the hood and across my windshield. I sat puzzled for a second as the steam came through the dash vents of my A/C. I opened the windows, turned off the outside air, and popped the hood.

The hose that went into the heater core had broken.

My adrenalin was peaking and I pulled the tools from behind the seat and removed the clamps. Between the hose on the heater core, and the hose to the engine, was a cheap plastic part that had a small fitting for service. The front of the plastic part was still in the hose and I ungracefully dug it out in pieces with needle nose pliers. With my hands bleeding, I tried to push it over a flange that was just a little too big. I laid my cell phone on the fender and pressed my mechanic’s number.

“Yeah David, if you pull the rest of the hose fitting off, you should be able to push the long hose onto the heater core tubing! If it doesn’t work, call me back and I’ll send a wrecker.”

“Okay! Thanks Tony.”

I managed to get the other clamp off that was recessed back against the firewall, with other hoses inconveniently around it.

Space-X, had just released their employees and cars were zooming by in a hurricane evacuation type frenzy. I laid the broken plastic part in the floor of the truck and resumed pushing the hose onto the BRASS fitting of the core. I had to use a screwdriver to push the clamp back far enough, but finally had it secure.

“My appointment! I have a 5:00 appointment!” I hit the button for my service provider.

“If you are calling to pay your bill press…”
“If you would like to change the services on your account press or say…”
“If you are calling for technical assistance press three.”
THREE… I pressed three!
“Please press one, for English… Press two for Spanish…”
ONE… damb it! English!
“Thank you… your estimated wait time is…”
AAaaahhhh! I pressed zero… and zero… and zero…
“Spectrum-Brighthouse, how can I assist you?”

“Look! I am on the side of a busy road with a broken-down truck. My hands are covered in grease, antifreeze and blood, and I have a rather large alligator that wonders if my legs may taste like chicken. I have a 5:00 appointment at my home with your service rep. and it appears that I will not be there.”

“Is this the account associated with the number showing on my caller ID?”
“Yes.”
He was laughing and snickering. “Don’t worry sir. I wall take care of it.”
“Thank you.”

Fortunately, I had been working on my sailboat last week and had all of the fairing compound, primer, sandpaper, and related tools in the back. (My truck has a fiberglass shell.) I cleaned the blood, and antifreeze off of my hands, and took out a five gallon bucket to dip replacement water from the nature reserve.

“Crap!” I stared at a big gator. He stared at me. I walked further away from him, and got some water, as we watched each other closely.  He leisurely swam toward me. I added the water to the trucks plastic reservoir and drove home watching the temperature gauge all of the way. I relaxed when I pulled in the driveway.

I took a quick shower and popped the cap on a cold Heineken. I pulled the handle on the recliner and pushed the Netflix option on the remote. It downloaded a movie, started, and kicked back to antenna TV. After doing this over and over, I went to my home-office and turned on the computer. No Netflix, no Twitter, no WordPress, no Pinterest, and only old email, from eight mailboxes.

Long drink… deep breath… and started running through the tests on the modem. In the end, the Tampa server was down, and I was exhausted. I remembered that it was a full moon… and went to bed.

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