By Craig Hastings
I’m writing this column tonight (12:30 a.m.) on the fly. Meaning; I sat down with nothing in mind other than to avoid politics. This is Friday night. Now it’s Saturday morning, and when I stepped outside to take the trash out I was overwhelmed with the amount of humidity in the air. A storm weather alert has crossed the television screen, our own Douglas County Code Red has popped up on my phone, and friend Gus has also texted me to make sure I’m aware. I’ve given Gus the code name “Judy” over the years because he never fails to send me weather alerts over the four seasons. So. I have no idea what’s to come. I did pull my weather radar screen up on my phone and yes it looks like it might get nasty.
So what’s a single guy living with his two graduated sons to do when the forecast for the next several days is rain, rain, and maybe more rain? Not to mention the teenage sons have pretty much outgrown their Dad’s company when it comes to leisure time activities. I really don’t understand why. Just because they have cars to drive, lives of their own, friends of their own, and their teenage activity schedules doesn’t mean I should be left out right? LOL! Of course it does and this is all good with me! Better too little activity for me than too much activity. I am sixty-four you know so when not at work full time I really kinda enjoy my down time at home. Besides, while the boys are out enjoying all the things teenagers do, I have a three level house to keep clean. And then there’s two cats to care for, one chinchilla to entertain, the boys laundry to do, fold it and put it away, take dirty dishes from their rooms to the sink for washing, and keep their bathroom in order. See, I have all of this down time to enjoy while the boys are gone! I should make them do these chores? Are you kidding? Only if I want to see them never done. It’s much easier to just do it myself.
Then of course I have a few hot rods to keep me busy with upkeep and entertainment. I’ve kept myself entertained with gas and oil powered machines most of my life. First it was a mini bike, then ATVs, motorcycles, cars, and trucks. You would have thought fifty years later I would have outgrown some of this. I haven’t and was never tempted. With no one home this afternoon, crappy weather outside, and nothing on television I wondered what I might do in my garage that has turned into a shop? Back in the fall I purchased a low mileage 2011 Mustang GT. Of course even though there are few miles on the car they all could stand a few improvements. This one happens to be a manual transmission car and the Ford factory installed 6 speed shifter leaves a lot to be desired. It’s fine for those trips to the store, dropping kids off at baseball practice, a trip to your knitting class, or maybe a drive with your fellow seniors but nothing sports car oriented. Ford even includes a “skip shift” program that forces a manual shift from first to forth to conserve gasoline if you don’t know how to get around it.
Well, I had ordered a new performance aftermarket shifter and related mounting hardware some time ago but never took the time to install it because I just don’t drive the car often enough. But since I have the parts and since I’m bored, today was the day. It was a pretty straight forward install, 2 hours, and since I’ve done similar installs it wasn’t that bad. Now the car is ready for a trip to the track, some stop light skullduggery if I was still a teenager, (or retired) and maybe a rip snort through the gears on a wide open abandoned road. This all lets me relive my days, take me back in time, to 1975-1980. Times were good! What’s next! Lower control arm installation to keep the rear axle from bouncing around should I be so inclined to accelerate too hard. Probably, maybe, I’ll sell all but two of my vehicles as I get older but, I’ll probably leave a couple of hot rods behind. When I do they won’t be half finished projects that I had hoped to get to someday either. Mine will run and drive properly!