firehouse pizza banner

Cheryl Hughes: Too Simple

My Career As A Woman

I have had a continuing saga with my car this summer.  It starts when it takes a mind to.  One mechanic had it in his shop for three weeks.  It started every time he tried to start it.  He could never trace the problem, because the car had no problem while it was living with him.  As soon as it was returned to my driveway, of course, the car once again only started when it wanted to.

Garey decided to call our friend, Wesley Jones, who is also a mechanic.  He told Garey to call him when the car wouldn’t start again, and he would bring his equipment to the car and trace down the problem.  Sure enough, the car decided not to start, right before it was time for me to run my paper route one afternoon, so Garey called Wesley.  Wesley traced the problem right to the source.  It was the starter.  Unbelievable.  Nobody thought it was the starter, because this particular starter didn’t act the way most starters act when they’re going out.  Starters make a big production when they’re giving up the ghost.  They cough and hack and grumble and complain.  They don’t just “not start.”  The starter.  How could all of that aggravation be traced to such a simple source?

My sister-in-law, Charlotte, went through a similar situation with her pickup last spring.  Her truck would always start, but once she was out on the road, she never knew if she would make it back home.  The truck would just lose power and stop right on the highway.  She had to have it towed twice.  Different mechanics replaced various parts on the truck with no permanent fix.  Friends and family offered diagnoses—I thought it was a stopped up fuel line (shows how much I know).  She was as frustrated as I have been over my car.  Turns out, Charlotte had mice in her garage.  They chewed a wire in-two—not completely in-two, just enough to cause problems. It was mice.  Unbelievable.  There are so many bigger and badder things that can happen to a vehicle that the simple stuff gets overlooked.

I had this lesson reiterated once again this past week-end.  The coils in my kiln had burned out, so Garey and I decided to tackle the project on Saturday.  It was a bear!  The control panel and connectors had to be removed, as well as the old coils and metal pins which secured them.  Each new coil had to be pushed back into the grooves between the brick of the kiln with new pins inserted to secure them.  Each coil had a pigtail at the end that had to be pushed through a hole in the brick then through an insulator where it was to be clamped into one side of a metal bridge.  Each electrical connector on the control panel contained wires that had to be clamped into the other side of the bridge.  There were eight connection points, as well as a kiln-sitter apparatus to be dealt with.  The job lasted into Sunday afternoon.

As we finished putting the last screw back into the control panel, we both breathed a sigh of relief.  We checked the inside of the kiln one last time to make sure none of the coils had slipped out of place.  Everything looked good.  We were ready to fire this thing up.  I put a cone under the plunger of the kiln-sitter, Garey put the plug into the socket, and I turned the switches to the on position…nothing.  Garey checked the circuit breaker (we had some bad lightening this weekend), and threw the switch back and forth…still nothing.

“Maybe the lightening ran in on the plug,” I suggested.

We dug through the tool box for a circuit tester and Garey tested the plug…plenty of current.

“Maybe one of the coils is bad,” I offered.

“They’re connected separately,” he said, “You can lose one and it won’t affect the others.

Garey used a flashlight to look down into the control panel.  Everything was still connected.  He squatted down in front of the kiln.

“What’s this?” he asked as he pushed the button connected to the kiln-setter.

The kiln lit up like a Christmas tree as it hummed to life.

“That would be the “on-off” switch that I forgot to push,” I answered.

“Unbelievable,” Garey said.

I agreed.


Bookmark and Share