Man Card Math

Here is where I think I stand with Man Card points:

Skydive (static line, not freestyle) +2

Cave spelunking +1

Camp in freezing temperatures +1

Chop down a tree (used a chainsaw, not an axe) +.5

Frame a wall (with help) +.5

Shoot a shotgun (at a target, not for actual hunting) -2

Follow sports (only if my team is doing good, the Cavs, so never…) -3

Adding all of those up, I pretty much come out to an even goose egg.  But this weekend I did something for the first time that I think might actually bump me up into the positive category.  I worked on my car.

I’m not talking about changing a tire or anything like that, I mean I actually replaced a part of my engine.  And I’m pretty proud of that.  But I’ll tell the story and let you decide if I can get any credit for it or not.

A few weeks ago our minivan (possible negative points there, I understand) began making a very loud and very strange sound when we turned the key to start it.  At first, it was just a brief noise and I treated it the same way I do when my kids cry that slow building fake cry.  I ignored it.

It got worse and worse over the next few days to the point that if Erica was in the car with me, we could no longer avoid mentioning it.  “That noise is getting worse…” she’d say. Still in denial I’d joke back, “What noise?”

But then it got really bad.  Over dinner, Erica told me how she was at the store earlier and was really afraid it wouldn’t start.  She had to hold the key for fifteen seconds (more possible negative points for putting my wife in this situation?) before it finally worked, so she did some research and found out that if it’s the starter, you only have so many starts left before it just goes.  This new revelation now made it undrivable for fear we would go somewhere and not be able to get back.  I had to hitch a ride with my brother, which is when he offered to come take a look at it.

The next day it was forty degrees with on and off drizzle (I’ll take whatever you’ll give me for the weather conditions) and he diagnosed the problem as my starter.  Before you judge and say that is an easy part to replace, at least mine was located under the car. He taught me how to locate different car parts, and how auto part stores can let you look at the part with diagrams and test the old part to make sure it was bad (“just to make sure we aren’t replacing things for fun”)

He brought his wrenches (I don’t own any) and we went to work.  He would show me what to do and then let me take a crack at it.  I even cut my hand when I finally got a bolt loose. But I ran into some trouble when I had to put a bandage on it.

I tried to hide it as long as I could at the auto parts store while I tried to talk shop, but when I had to sign for my credit card purchase, I finally had to take my hand out of my pocket.  “You must have kids,” the guy behind the counter said.

What do you think?  Did I finally make it into the positive?

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