Alright, you may need some explanation for how a chunk of wood jammed into my tire has a place in an article named “Pleasures.”

Don’t worry, an explanation will be forthcoming.

It’s the little things in life, really, that make all the difference.

I got that flat while returning home from helping a family member get health care from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the VA. My uncle, a veteran of the Korean War, was in a jam. Nearly ninety, with totally inadequate (and expensive) “care,” he was whiling away his days in a terrible bed, and my exhausted aunt was his sole provider.

Well, they finally decided to hand his discharge papers over to the VA, and lo and behold, he’s now getting the care he needs in less than 30 days from the start of the process. People cry about the VA all the time, and I don’t see what the problem is. They’ve provided me with world-class care, and now it’s my uncle’s long-overdue turn. I’ve helped the process a little, and it’s involved a bit of travel. No biggie.

The flat was a result of this. A chunk of wood flew from a contractor’s truck, and I didn’t have time to dodge it. A quarter mile later, and my “low inflation” display came on, with a helpful diagram to let me know which wheel and it’s current pressure. 27 psi, and dropping fast. There was a problem. I looked for a good place to park, right away. Fortunately, there was an Aldi with a generous parking lot nearby. I whipped it into there with ten psi to spare.

I got out and looked. Yep, a big chunk of wood was jammed into my tire, there was no way it could be patched. I scratched my head. It was raining, of course, and I had never changed the tire on this particular vehicle. The spare was stowed in an odd place, and there is a whole procedure to getting it out. Damn.

A lightbulb went off. Hey, didn’t I have Ford Roadside Assistance as part of the vehicle purchase package? I wasn’t sure, but there was a 1-800 number in my owner’s handbook (which I had been looking through to figure that spare tire thing out). I called it, and instead of speaking with an operator, I received a series of texts. Within five minutes, a repair dude had been dispatched, complete with a Google Maps display with an icon of the inbound repair vehicle’s location.

Easy-peasy, and it turned out I didn’t even have to fish around in the booklet for the 1-800 number, I could have used my Ford app. But I digress.

The fellow showed up, and I watched how he took out the spare- it could be that sometime I’d be in a place hours from nearby help, so I wanted to file that info away for potential future use.

He swapped the blown tire for the spare, had me sign a receipt, and he left. No cost involved. I followed Siri to the nearby Ford garage and they took my vehicle in and installed four new tires.

Within two hours from the time I hit that jagged chunk of wood, I was back on the road. Ford did an amazing job, from start to finish.

An unpleasant event turned into an unexpected pleasure; I now have full faith and confidence in Ford’s Roadside Assistance program, and new tires for a reasonable fee.

Today was violin maintenance day. Another pleasure.

Guys, there is nothing quite like getting your functional antiques out, along with polishing cloth and polish.

It’s a pleasure.

Holding these old girls in your hands, admiring the craftsmanship and obvious wear from their past lives. Smelling the wood, rosin and polish. Rubbing them down with a soft cloth and a thin layer of fragrant varnish restorer. Bringing out the shine. Tuning them and then giving them the first strokes of the bow.

Hearing them sing, at least as well as I can do.

It’s a great way to start off the day.

A pleasure.

2 thoughts on “Pleasures

  1. Wanted to comment on the VA. My father is retired AF. He served 28 years enlisted. He uses the VA in Clearwater FL. They have always been fantastic. He often makes the exact same comment you did about how everyone complains, but he has had great care and service.
    He suffers from a litany of service induced injuries. Hear loss from years on the flight line and in C-130s, a knee injury from a bad parachute landing that was “fixed” by the AF with an experimental procedure in the early 80s, that you will NOT find being done by the mid 80s (cause it doesn’t WORK!), as well as osteoporosis. Who knew you could not do Hyperbaric dives in the morning and altitude chamber flights in the afternoon? The AF in the late 70’s that’s who!
    I think like many things, how good the VA is, is location (and staffing) dependent.


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