and last night the weather man kept saying that we’re having “weather like october,” which seems like a slight exaggeration to me. but it’s been lovely and cool and we’re lucky that we’ve been having such a nice summer so far.

gus the goose continues to show up in our yard; yesterday he was out there with his wife and four children, although they’re getting bigger and bigger and almost as big as the full-size geese.  gus didn’t seem to be limping quite as badly, and we have hopes that maybe he’ll get better.

i wrote to some forum on the U of I extension website – they take care of wild animals there.  after several days some woman there wrote back and said “how is the goose doing?”  this was not helpful at all, so i wrote back and said that HE’S DOING JUST THE SAME WITH HIS LIMP.  this was before he looked better to me.  i’ve noticed other posts, and her responses to these posts, and i didn’t see much more than her asking how the particular animal was doing.  so i don’t quite see the point.

in june, we were going to go to Effingham to the VW Funfest, a celebration of all things VW-related.  we were gonna drive down in our VW thing, which Kevin bought about 10 years ago.  since we’ve moved out here, kevin keeps telling people that i drove it a little bit, but now the motor has gone bad, and so it has sat in the garage.  i have a very vague recollection of putting groceries in the back of the thing, and plus kevin doesn’t lie, so i can only assume that i did, indeed, use the thing to drive to the grocery store, at least.

kevin decided that one project would be to fix up the thing, and like i said, we were going to take it to this event.  when he was younger, he bought many VWs of different kinds and rebuilt engines in them on a regular basis, one after the other.  so he pushed the thing out of the garage and started work.

and he worked.  and worked.  and it wasn’t ready for the FunFest, and it’s still not quite ready to drive, but it’s getting closer.  before, the motor was lying in the garage and the brakes didn’t work, so if we’d driven it anywhere it would have been in a flintstones-kinda way.

occasionally i’d stroll out to the garage and ask him how it was going, and he was more than happy to describe in minute detail all the things he was replacing and doing and lots and lots of talk of plugs and…and…other car part names.  many of them.  all i could do was say “good job!” and stuff like that, because even though i tried to understand what he was talking about, clearly the understanding the mechanisms of even a very simple engine like a VW is totally missing from my brain.

Here’s the motor.

here’s kevin, carefully explaining something about the motor to me.  i thought that even though i didn’t follow what he was saying, at least i could take a picture.

there’s the thing, over on the left, and the right bay of the garage, filled with many, many tools.

it has been hot and humid some days, and kevin was out there, under the car a lot.  even night he’d have to take a shower because he got so filthy, crawling around on the driveway under the car.  one day when it was about to rain, i helped him push it back into the garage – i leaned all my weight into it, and it wouldn’t budge.  finally, we both pushed it in the garage and i was amazed at the number of times he pushed it out and then back into the garage.

here he is, jacking up the motor so he could put it back into the thing.  i “helped” with that, too.

not only did he do all this work, but he’d come inside and look stuff up in a big VW repair manual, and he’d looks stuff up online – of course there were videos of guys doing all the steps for doing everything related to rebuilding a VW thing motor, because i’m pretty sure there are videos for absolutely everything in the world, including brain surgery.

if i needed my brain to be operated on, though, i think i’d rather have a doctor who didn’t learn how to do it by watching it on youtube.

i think the thing is almost ready – he had to replace the solanoid? which has something to do with the starter, and then the engine started, but then gas wasn’t going to the engine, so he had to take out some tubes and see if they were clogged or damaged…and then he had to put the brakes back on, and i’m pretty sure he’s waiting for at least one more part, because of course you can buy parts for things even though they were only sold here in the US for two years in the 70s.

the thing has old-fashioned seats that only go up to our shoulders, which means the if we were in an accident, our heads would pop right off.  kevin said he could find some bucket seats, and sure enough, he found some in chicago, so last week we drove up there to pick them up.  the guy who sold them to us was clearly a man obsessed with all VWs and he and kevin chatted about them for a while.  the guy told a story that he said was “great” – he had a girlfriend in New Hampshire who moved to chicago to be with him, and she lived there for a couple of years, but then she had to move to New Jersey to take care of her mother because she’d had a stroke.  so they broke up, but she gave him her VW bus.

so the guy was very happy about this, but to me it sounded like a sad story.  maybe this is why he was a single guy.

meanwhile…it looks really nice now down by the water, and here’s the lilies and the spirea in bloom under the peach trees where dad’s ashes are buried.  the peach trees aren’t so well this year, and i don’t know how much longer they’re going to last.  but at least right now they’re still hanging in there.

when randy was on his trip to the Dominican Republic (i must post some of his photos), i rode my bike to his house to take care of his kitty.  one morning, kevin came over in the boat to pick me up, with mom, who lives near him, and he drove us back across the lake.  it reminded us of taking ferries in Austria on our bike trip.

besides watching videos and reading manuals, kevin also found a guy in utah who knows all about VWs and is a huge Thing aficionado.  he and a bunch of other Thing people went on a big rally, and are there right now, driving all around in their Things.

and that is all for this pre-4th of july thursday.

ok then,

mrs. g. hughes.