Random gulchy moments

On this morning’s Monday water run I thought I was gonna get a chance to be the big white knight and only ended up perplexing myself. There was a bit of a line at the water dispenser; ahead of us was an old lady in a minivan that was almost as old, and when she tried to crank her engine the starter relay just clicked. Well, no problem – D&L have a fairly late-model truck and a nice high-class and well-cared-for set of jumpers, so we’ll be able to fix this in no time. D was still filling water bottles, so L brought the truck up and I connected the batteries with a superior flourish … and it did no good at all. I could not get a good connection no matter how I tried. Didn’t help that D&L’s truck has a battery box with exterior connections that clearly weren’t meant for jumper clamps, but even so I should have been able to do something right.

About the time I was genuinely ready to give up and leave the old lady to the mercies of whoever she could get on the phone, another cedar rat pulled up in a seventies Ford that looked like every further yard of progress might be its last. Seeing the predicament, he rummaged around in the ice and snow filling his truck bed and eventually pried a set of weathered and beat-up cables out of the ice. I shook my head as he opened his hood, but took one end of the cables and connected the old lady’s battery. Immediately I got nice sparks on her negative post, and almost immediately she could start her engine. Go figure.

Torso Boy got a scare a few evenings ago. He has a nighttime ritual that he just loves: He goes out to the juniper grove by the porch and I light it up while he has a last pee. Then he comes straight in, gets a treat, and runs into the bedroom so I can pull back the blankets, pat the sheet to invite him up, then rub his head and tell him how great he is. We do this every night, and that’s his bedtime. Well, a couple of evenings ago he went down the stairs just in time for a nearby coyote pack to start singing to the moon. That’s not an every-night occurrence and he found it startling. His ruff went up and he started barking at the interruption, then seemed to realize just how dumb that was because he forgot all about urination and decided it was time to go inside for treats and bedtime right f’ing now. The next evening we started the bedtime ritual but he got as far as the edge of the porch then turned around and came right back to me, staring up and wagging his stump a mile a minute. I kept telling him to “go pee,” but he wasn’t having any of it. Damned if he didn’t want me to go down to the trees with him. I wasn’t going to encourage a phobia about peeing in the evening – that’s why I stand right there with a bright light, to keep the predators away – so I let him back inside. A couple hours later he really had to go, listened to my encouragement and got the job done. Then last night he seemed to have forgotten all about the matter. But that coyote pack certainly must have made an impression if he remembered it from one evening to the next.

I can be a cheap old bastard sometimes – this morning as I got ready for the water run I agonized over what to do with this last 3/4 of a gallon of drinking water in this one bottle. I had filled my filter pitcher, the teapot, and I’d cleaned and refilled TB’s water bowl but there was still just too much water in this bottle to throw away. Considered filling my canteens but this time of year I don’t have much use for them and don’t like to keep them full lest they mildew. I really needed to refill the bottle, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pour that 20 cents worth of water down the drain. Finally…


…I filled the pan I normally use for heating wash water. I knew at the time it made exactly zero sense – I was not really saving anything by heating up drinking rather than well water. But it was the principle of the thing, dammit. 🙂

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to Random gulchy moments

  1. Jim Price says:

    It’s obvious your OCD rivals my own. Never waste anything useful, especially if I had to pay for it. Heck, sometimes even if I got it free.

  2. Mike says:

    One of the side jobs I was tasked with when I still worked for a living was doing vehicle boosts for visitors who had vehicles with dead vehicles. I can’t count the times when, after doing everything right, the other vehicle just would not start. Such is life…

    BTW Joel, you’re frugal, not cheap. It would have bugged me to toss out that good water too.

  3. Robert says:

    Joel: think of it as conservation of a precious resource.
    Mike’s “frugal” comment is exactly what I was thinking, even down to the use of that very word.

  4. Kentucky says:

    Out of curiosity, why didn’t you just leave that residual water in the bottle and complete the fill on top of it?

  5. terrapod says:

    Just proves you have good Scots blood in you, waste not, want not

  6. John of the GMW says:

    Kentucky, when you fill the not-empty container the spillage wastes not only the water running into the drain but the 25 cents that you have already spent previously. This is the desert.

  7. Jerry says:

    Make a pot of soup?

  8. Kentucky says:

    Guess I don’t understand the bottle filling procedure. Isn’t there a valve to turn the water on/off or does the mechanism dispense a given volume of water each time . . . or what?

  9. Joel says:

    Depends on the vending machine. The one that used to be in the food market had an on/off valve and you paid at the checkout counter. This one is coin operated – push a button and get a gallon of water. I really could have just left the 3/4 gallon in the bottle and filled it with 2 more, but I didn’t feel like giving D another reason to laugh at me.

To the stake with the heretic!