Amish Soffit job and a flat tire!!!!

June, 2020 a true story           

The Riordan Chronicles.

So, the night before the Amish were to arrive, I was working on my tractor. I use it for keeping the weeds and woods down so at least I can find my house. I also use it to carry heavy things which seems constant.  One of the too heavy things,,,,is me! My point, tractor is important.

Worked on it a good part of the day discovering what parts I would need, and at six thirty came in looking like a grease monkey of the fifties. Back then, fixing the problem was more important than dazzling the customer with your Amante shoes and baby blue shop smock.

I knew I had to do a lot of washing even before I got near the shower.

NO WATER ?!?!?!?!?!?”

That’s when I came in to find I had no water. I have a well and all the answers come quick.  Hard work,,,,,,,,,,,, at the end of a day I had only intended to spend time scrubbing and scraping in a warm shower.  Even a cold one would have been glorious.

The alternative now. No shower, scrounge some water from the only receptacle in the house which has water all the time. Wash my hands. Make a bed on the kitchen floor with a bag of pasta for a pillow and worry about it in the morning.  Eating was out of the question. I was so filthy my cats wouldn’t accept treats from me.

I tried very hard not to listen to that miserable little voice that says, “you know you need to go and check the well NOW!”

No, I don’t want to do that. I’m tired, it will be dark soon in a few hours at least, I’m old, there could be wild animals down the hill to the well, by the way there are a lot of weeds down there. The owner didn’t cut them. Thorns, sticks, salamanders, did I say thorns?


Off I went, taking the long way around to the well, at least another three hundred feet.

Yanked open the door that has been opened as recently as 2003. Not that long ago at my age. Lifted the door covering the pump and as I expected the pump was running but like a human on a treadmill, going nowhere.

The problem was obvious or at least, my theory was probably right on. When it comes to repair. If it is going to take a great deal of hard work, that is most likely the problem.

Being the think ahead person I am, I checked the well house for the spare. Found the box,,,, empty ,,, with a date of 2003.  Oh Yah, I must have saved a lot of money by not getting another spare back then.

Spent a few minutes kicking things, which should help but not when you are wearing a pair of Crocks from the 1995 era. And are worn to the Playtex glove thickness.

I did have a few other water pumps on the shelves in the well house and with a little TLC and about fifteen miracles one might just get me by.

Back up to the shop (garage) for tools and fittings. Things I would normally carry with the tractor. For starters, a couple of thirty-six-inch pipe wrenches weigh up pretty quick. Even faster when you thought this was the end of your work day.

Back down to the well dragging buckets of ,,,,,  stuff.

To shorten it up, even though it wasn’t short, thanks to my vast knowledge, super skills, amazing abilities, or at least most of the fifteen miracles, by 9:30 pm I had water. Not that bad, except for that little voice saying,” I told you so

Up early next morning still squeaky from last night’s extended shower and detailing and back to experience more water. How great it is. Thank you, Boss, for that push.

The Amish showed up about 7am and ,,,,,,,,,,,,, Oh,,,,, I hired the Amish to repair or replace the soffit in my house. In case you don’t know what, the soffit is and even if you do, and even if you don’t care what the soffit is, you’re going to find out. The soffit is the part of the house or roof that hangs out from the house. Unlike those that just hang out at the local Pub, it has purpose.

Years ago, the soffit was made out of wood, quite strong and other than paint in forty-eight years, needs little attention. Now it is made out of rigid vinyl, about as thick as the vinyl on the seats of a fifty-six ford.

As I am the guy who built the house, I suppose I need to take the credit for some of the issue with it. Somehow the starlings found a way to get in and found it so accommodating. They ran an article in the Star-ling news and decided to hold a convention there every season after. In the beginning it was about as popular and quiet as a St. Patrick’s parade in 1960 Belfast.

Soon they were requiring much larger sweets and the weight of so many guests were causing the floor or to most humans, ceiling,,,,,,,,, well the vinyl was falling out.

When the Amish started taking down what was left of the soffit, pterodactyl nests came with it.

Trying to imagine what was going on up there,,,, this must have been a starling brothel. There was enough hay up there to over flow the back of a pickup truck. I considered buying a cow just to recycle.

So, I had made a lunch for the Amish which they seemed to really appreciate. If they had seen me the night before when I was without water, they may have opted for a trip to Mc Donald’s.

First day went very well. Some places need a thirty-foot ladder and one of the reasons I turned the job over to them.

The second day they showed up about 7:35, hustle, ladders up banging, pounding, I’m preparing food for at least the twelve apostles after a serious fast but there are only four of these guys and their driver who doesn’t eat. Only smokes and sleeps.

About 8:45, Jonis comes to me, “Bill, I have to leave. I just got a c all; My son just broke his arm in two places”.

Jonis and the driver are off and about 9:45, one of the other men comes to me. “Bill, Minion just fell off the ladder and he thinks he broke his foot. He is in a lot of pain.”

Dressed in a raged t-shirt, trusty crocks and what is left of a pair of shorts that can only be called comfortable, I grab my keys.

Menyon is suffering a lot and they want to go home. Calling 911 just won’t do.

They insist on taking down their ladders, putting away their tools, all the while Minion is sitting there moaning. Besides his foot, he fell on a four by four post and broke it clean off with his ,,,,, back of his pants.

Revved up my trusty van and we were off. A few miles west of us27, on us 12 we hear something hit the side of my van. Shortly thereafter we here, thump, thump, thump.

“I have a blowout.”

Called AAA, recording telling me I can go to AAA !@#$%^&.com something or I can wait to talk with a service person. I am the ninth person in line and the phone call is being recorded and if I would rather and I should and ,,,,,,,,,, I hung up and called Roger and Hellen.

“Have a blow out on US12, side of the road a few miles west of 27, west’ is your sandwich hand, not your coffee hand, got a guy here with a broken foot needs to go to the hospital quick.”

Hellen answered, “OK, we will be right there.”

Two of the Amish who weren’t hurt went walking, looking for a store to get something to drink.

45 minutes later I call back to Hellen. “Well be right there I just left Staples and need to stop at the shelter.” 

“This guy is suffering; he needs to go to the hospital”

“Were you serious about that? I thought you were just pulling my leg, like usual”.

“Please, just get here.”

Another half hour goes by and I call Hellen back,

“Roger had to stop at the Springs gas station and get something to eat. His sugar is low.”

By now I am running out of ideas. Two of the Amish have gone looking for a store and I haven’t seen them, or don’t see them in my mirror. AAA hasn’t got to number nine yet, Menyon is moaning and my brain refuses to give me, even a hopeless idea.

Eventually Roger and Hellen arrive, the Amish return with drinks, smelling of cigarettes and we move on to the next phase of a routine Riordan day.

Hellen takes Minion and the other two Amish men leaving Roger to administer comfort to me. As they disappear into the sunset,,,,  well over the hill, too early for sunset, AAA calls back. We exchange information, me receiving more than I give, advice about getting on AAA@#$ and someone will get back to me.

Another hour and a quarter go by, me trying to stare a hole in Rogers potato chip bag and Hellen returns.

The Amish have been delivered to various parts of the country, grab the car keys, lock it and Roger and I jump in Hellen’s car. At home I call a place located half way between me and where my car is broke down.

“Sure, I can take care of it. Might be about a half hour. Can you bring me the keys?”

Hellen drove me to Artesian wells garage, dropped off the keys and as we were leaving my house to take the keys, AAA called back,

“We have someone in the area. Now what is your problem and where are you located?”

Would it have done any good to express myself to a person who was hired to do just exactly what he is doing? By now it has been three and a half hours since I first called AAA. There only advice was to wait or if it is an emergency call 911. Would a paramedic have come out with a new tire for me? Would the fire department have brought me an ice-cold case of beer? Would the police come with an orchestra to lull me back into sanity? I thought car insurance was supposed to solve these problems. I think that is why I have been paying for road aid for sixty-five years. The only thing they insured, “I was in trouble and don’t call us ____ _ _ _ _  _ _ _  _” ! M y cats are going to hear about this!

Artesian wells took care of the problem.

An old used tire, a tow job and $90 later I am on the road.

The Amish were not back for several days because it was haying time and apparently that takes precedence. They did eventually come back and finish the job. They did nothing about clean up, leaving that to me. I was hoping to find at least a dozen eggs in all the nests but either the fledglings had all left or the eggs couldn’t stand the drop.

All in all, would I hire them back? Probably, if for no other reason, they seem naively honest and I mean only that our world today expects one to be dishonest.

Jonas’s son is in a cast and doing well. Minion must be off his foot for eight weeks but Jonas said they will put some kind if wild leaf on it and expects it to heal much faster.

For me, more fuel for the “Riordan Chronicles”

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