Friday, May 09, 2008

While the cat is away...

Dave has been at Java One out in San Francisco this week. Java is a programming language, and Java One is the premier event for people who are into Java. He has had a productive time of attending tech sessions and seeing acquaintances, specifically those within the "Grails" community. Grails is kind of akin to a special toaster oven configured to cook Java programs. (I may have to correct that statement, as I am not following much of this.)

In preparation for this conference, Ben and Zak have been working on a new website which is like a roster and locator for Java user groups. For months, they have been working on the site, as well as gathering information for JUGs around the globe. This is their first "Grails" project. Abi designed the logo for the website, which we used to produce a T shirt for Daddy to wear. (The complete logo includes the URL, www.juglist.net.)

The boys had the site done by Tuesday afternoon, at which time Dave unveiled it at a short talk he did on Java user groups, "How to find one, how to start one".

When Daddy is gone, we like to try to get surprise projects done around the house. The main one we could think of was building a new duck house, using parts of a used ramp we had been given. Yesterday, the boys were struggling to pry the pieces apart, and it was really going slowly. They were working in the shade of our old bus, which was not running. The idea occurred, what about trying to start up the old bus?

The old bus has been a big blockage in our driveway, almost completely cutting off vehicle traffic to the garage. It has been parked since the day of its last voyage, in our primo parking spot, and was always in the way, for us, for guests, and most importantly, for the guy who pumps our septic tank.

After an initial look-see, the boys noted that there was NO diesel in the tank. We had used it all during the winter, to fill the tank of the new bus. So, we decided that was the first step.

The boys also noted there was no diet Mountain Dew either.

So, it was off to the gas station, for a jug of diesel, and a 12 pack of Mountain Dew.

The ducks were skeptical.

We're still not sure what did it, the diesel or the Dew, but I was in the kitchen making pumpkin cookies when Susanna and Noah burst through the door to say, "They got it running!" Come to think of it, I could hear the familiar engine noise. Every Klein this side of the Mississippi was elated and frantic as we sprang into action:

First, Abi got the camera.

Next, we had to move all the stuff we had been stashing UNDER the bus (to keep it out of the rain), lawn mower, shingles, woodpile, yard chairs....

Third, we had to locate and clear a new parking place out in the back 40. We chose a sunny spot adjacent to our neighbor's septic mound.

Ben had to chop down a few small trees.

Fourth, we had to clear a path to the new parking place....

All this was done in a frantic, joyful flurry, as we did not know how much time we had to work with. Solomon checked fluid levels before we began the trek. He had to add water to the radiator, ATF for the transmission. The steering was really difficult for some reason, but we soon were rolling...

(For those with time to kill, you can catch the electricity of the moment in this footage.)

After navigating several hairpin turns around OUR septic mound (hence the singing of "She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain"), accidentally driving over our woodpile, etc. we got our old faithful bus to its new parking spot, amidst cries of jubilation...

In disbelief, we spent a few moments praising the Lord and reveling in our new spaciousness. Then, I went back to making cookies, and the older kids worked on moving the other broken down car. That car had been stuck in front of the immovable bus, further shortening the usable length of driveway. It was a piece of cake. Even the little kids helped relocating our pile of ramp pieces, which is now in the garage. With thanksgiving, we parked the new bus into the primo parking place. (You can see where we parked the old bus just behind the blue car.)

So when all was said and done, we have a much more normal looking property: two school buses, two broken down cars, two working cars, and eight quackless ducks.

The skeptics were impressed too!

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