Maybe a better title for this post is “How to ruin your daughter’s engagement news”.
Friday morning we arrived at the Ritchie Brothers Auction site in Chehalis, Washington to get Joe’s trucks. Everything was fine as we got on the road and stopped in Portland, Oregon for the night. 75 miles plus Joe needed Oregon permits.
Leaving Portland the air was cool on Saturday morning. Just before noon it began to warm up. The 5 by 65 air conditioning was not working so well.
What is 5 by 65, you ask? Two wing windows wide open, two door windows wide open, and one bunk vent open while traveling 65 miles an hour.
Joe stopped at a rest area in Oregon over the hill from Pendleton – my last post was from down the hill at Pendleton. He put in two cans of R134 air conditioning fluid stuff in the A/C compressor floppy doo. We had cool air! Roll all the windows up, close the wings and vent, crank up the A/C and away we went.
After about 5 hours driving we stopped for fuel and something to eat. Getting back in the truck I noticed it was smelling like mildew. These trucks, older models, have a tendency to smell moldy. Especially the trucks from the southern part of the US from California to Florida.
Air conditioning is used almost continuously in the south. The air ducts don’t get much chance to dry out. The condensation pools in the lower parts of the vents and goes stagnant and moldy.
By the time we got to Boise, Idaho for the night we had gone back to having the windows down and the wing windows open. The truck was smelling like something died.
Leaving Boise this morning, again with the windows open, Joe and I determined the smell was coming from beneath my seat. In an International the air conditioning unit is housed under that seat.
Upon arrival at the hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah I began the task of unmounting the seat from the housing.
I had been working at getting the last bolt unscrewed when my phone went off. By the time I answered it I had the bolt out and Joe arrived after having got us checked in.
Our daughter, Heidi Jo, was calling me to let me know her boyfriend proposed to her.
Heidi Jo is excitedly telling me about their normal weekend trips into the mountainous areas of Arizona where they go four wheeling. The group stops near a lake and Will asks Heidi Jo to join him. She begins to walk over barefooted and Will tells her to bring her shoes.
The story gets interrupted here by Joe asking me if I had the bolts out. I tip the seat back fully exposing the air conditioning unit guts and find no dead animal hidden inside.
Joe then asks “Who are you talking to?” I respond with “Heidi Jo” and she says “What, mommy?”
I’ve got sweat dripping from my face, decomp infiltrating my nose, a husband asking me to look further under the seat using a flashlight, and a daughter excitedly telling me her news.
It has degenerated into a circus run amok.
The hissing noise on my cell phone goes dead quiet and I think I’ve lost my link to Heidi Jo. I think Heidi Jo said her engagement ring was in her shoe. Will needed it, the shoe, to properly propose on bended knee.
I’m trying to do as Joe is instructing me in looking deeper for the dead thing and I blurt out “I think I’ve lost Heidi Jo. That dead animal is not down here.”
At this Heidi Jo passes on the news to Will that we have a decomposing dead animal. Do I feel rotten or what?! Her wonderful news has been usurped by a dead mouse or some other creature.
Juggling the seat, Joe’s instructions, the continued phone conversation with our daughter, and wiping sweat out of my eyes we manage to get the seat put back together.
Are you as lost as I am in this whole thing?
There is evidence on the floor around my seat that something had, in fact, expired in the truck. The stink is still quite evident. My phone conversation has come to an end and I need to locate a drug store for a giant can of Lysol spray and some kind of odor absorbing powder.
I get my trucks at Magna, Utah tomorrow and take them to Henderson, Colorado. Joe will be all by himself in that decomp truck tomorrow and Tuesday. I’ll rejoin him in that stinky truck as he drives to Houston, Texas for his delivery.
Heidi Jo, I’m thrilled to bits about your engagement news. Will, you have been a master at pulling off the surprise proposal. Working with your friends and family the past couple weeks to keep the secret and make it happen. Joe was delighted by your call asking him if you could marry his daughter. You have sure delighted the both of us.
And the engagement ring is beautiful.
Congratulations Heidi Jo and Will. Dad and I are truly happy for you.