My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
It was Friday and everyone was gone from the house but me. I was sitting around doing a bunch of not much just enjoying the quiet time alone. There aren’t many days like this anymore with two teenage boys running in and out day and night. The balance of peace and quiet vs fast and loud is about 95/5 at my home but I wouldn’t have it any other way right now. I really enjoy having my sons living with me again and I’m taking it all in for I know these days will sooner than later come to an end. When that happens, it’ll just be Shannon, the two cats, and me again and I’ll get all the peace and quiet I could ever want. With teenagers at home a parent never knows what might be coming next in the family’s day-to-day routine. Up until this past May, Shannon and I were the only full time residents here for nearly nine years.  Everyday was pretty much just like the next because we always knew the what and where of the other’s schedule. 

I had no plans for this weekend.  It was going to be much cooler than what it has been so my outdoor activity would be limited because I really do not like being cold unless events in my life dictate otherwise.  I certainly was going to sleep better because I had Kelsey’s deliver me a long overdo new king size and extra firm mattress. They brought it Thursday and after just one night I wondered what had taken me so long to replace my last one. I’ve had some backache history and I was told a few years ago whether I wanted a firm mattress didn’t matter. I was told I have to have one. I think I put it off because the old one was actually getting a little soft and I liked it but it was causing me grief as I slept. 

Around 1:00 p.m. my phone sounded an incoming text message from Payton.  He told me to check outside the house because he had just received notice that a package had just been delivered to him. “Okay Pate, what am I looking for?  Is it a big box I need to get in out of the rain right away?” “I ordered lowering springs for my Mustang and yes, please get them out of the rain but first please go outside and tell me if they are there, he said.”  Obviously he was a little anxious for this delivery. He told me a few weeks ago this was going to be the next mod he was going to do to his car. It was then he had also told me a friend of his and he were going to install these springs.  “Do you have spring compressors I asked?”  Sure do, Parth (his friend) is bringing his.  “We’re going to do it here in our garage he said” 

I told him that this was a job that would be much easier with a lift and he quickly fired back that they had this, no biggie.  I have all the tools they need except for the spring compressors and his friend has those so I’m out of this one and kinda glad I was because I haven’t taken front coil overs apart and replaced the springs in them before.  When Payton came home on this Friday afternoon he told me plans had changed.  The plan now was that when he got home from work Friday evening he and I were going to change the front and back springs!!  What?!  “Pate, we can’t do the fronts because I have no spring compressors.”  “No worries dad, Noah brought Parth’s compressors down from Champaign, we’re good!”  Suddenly I wasn’t so good. 

I pulled up a couple install videos to watch so I could at least have some general idea of what it was going to take to do the front springs. The back springs shouldn’t be and weren’t to bad to change out.  Just so you know in case you haven’t watched and attempted your own “how to repair and replace” automotive parts video…it seldom will go as easily as it appears in the videos.  These guys and gals will have already done the replace and repair and then; put it all back and redo it all over again for the video. What you don’t see are the rusted and stubborn nuts and bolts, rusted pieces that break or bend, and the busted and cut fingers and knuckles. There will sometimes be a small step left out or forgotten in order to shorten the video record time. 

According to the instructions this job should have taken about two and a half hours if done on a lift.  It took us exactly three and a half hours with two hydraulic floor jacks and two jack stands.  The guys in the videos didn’t even get dirty.  We ended the job filthy dirty.  Probably all of the lying down on the floor it required of us because we didn’t have a lift and the car is seven years old with 40,000 miles of road grime stuck under it. The fronts took about two and a half hours and the rears just an hour.  This was a job for sure.  It’s Saturday night now and I’ll tell you this; I’ve been paying for last night all day today. All the twisting and contorting my body was required to do has taken its toll on my old self.  

Payton is thrilled and I guess that’s what’s really important about this project. Teens just don’t understand how come we older adults can’t just bounce right back and move right on into the next project like they can so easily. Anyway, the car sits two inches lower all around now and he and his friends think it’s cooler than a winter breeze in January. What I think would be cool is an automotive lift in my garage so I don’t need to bend over so much and lay down on the floor helping Payton with his modification projects.  

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