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Back To One

May 22, 2018

Okay, everybody back to one.

I was planning to go in early this morning, get a jump on my email and shadow Arthur as he escorted our client representative through our building. Instead, I was crawling around under a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was very much a redneck scence. The car wasn’t exactly up on blocks. I used jack stands instead.

I was completing a “simple” job that I started yesterday evening. I set out to change the oil and replace the brakes. I was well prepared. I had 5 quarts of 5W-30 conventional motor oil, a new Wix oil filter, the brake pads for all four brakes and a brand new jar of brake grease.

It didn’t go as planned. The oil change went smooth. And the front brakes went well. I broke one of the back brakes. Specifically, I broke the cylinder in the left rear caliper. (Oh. . .THAT’S Why It Didn’t Work.) By the time I figured out I’d broken it, the auto parts store was closed.

That brought me to today. I had no way to work, so I borrowed my wife’s car and went to get the new caliper from the auto parts store. While I was at it, I decided to replace the rotor on one wheel. I should have planned for it before, but I didn’t want to delay finishing. . .too late!

Everyone makes a car payment. You either pay the bank or you pay the mechanic
– Lloyd V Bliss

. . . or you pay the auto parts store
– Rodney M Bliss

I actually made good time and counted it as a really long lunch. I still got company work done in the morning and the afternoon and of course, we have more maintenance going on in the middle of the night.

When I got done, I took the car for a test drive. It worked great. In fact, the car is running better than it has since I bought it a year ago. I considered what was recently done.

– Oil change
– New brakes (including a new left rear caliper and a left front rotor)
– Tires rotated so the best ones are on the front

And some other work was also done recently
– New water pump
– New thermostat
– New radiator cap (It might sound minor, but it really isn’t)
– New engine mounts

I also topped off the following fluids

– Brake fluid
– Coolant
– Oil (during the change)
– Automatic tranmission fluid

It was, in many ways, like a new, or at least new…er car. But, when I got it all put back together, it looked exactly like it had at the beginning. All that work and not a single thing to show for it. It looked like nothing had changed, and yet a long list of things had changed.

I’ve often thought how my regular job is a lot like these repairs. At the end of the day, my office looks pretty much the same as it did when I started. But, if I’m doing my job well, there should be many things that have changed. During the day, my desk looks worked at, but at the end of the day, like a good mechanic, I put all my tools away. They are waiting for me the next day.

Like a movie director who has just filmed a complex scene and now wants another take, everything is back to first positions, or “back to one.”

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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