Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Tutorial... AKA My Longest Post Yet...

So, back in November of last year, I think, we lost the transmission in our blue van. Well, 3rd gear, which is the one that let's you drive faster than 40 mph. We then got a new one, and the blue one sat in our yard. All. Winter. Long.

Collecting snow.

A. LOT. Of. Snow.

I have pictures of it, almost invisible with a solid foot of snow on top of it, but that's from before my new toy (meaning external hard drive), so I had to borrow a photo from an old post!
That's the van, the mound of snow behind the Christmas tree that found "new life" in the front yard for a few months!

Anyway, then spring, or mud season, came to Maine, followed by construction season, which is drawing to a close, and we still had this big ol' hunk of metal in our yard. With 185,000+ miles on the engine, and a gone transmission, it wasn't worth much.

Someone we know with a similar hunk of metal, but less miles, needed a couple of cheap parts, so I offered the parts to them.

Someone else with a less than similar hunk of metal wanted a seat belt strap, and you know me, I am ALL about safety, so that went, too.

Bill suggested we offer it to the Fire Dept, for extrication training, and said we could scrap it for the metal, maybe clear a hundred bucks. I said, "Sure."

We found out it might be worth more in scrap than we originally thought, and I toyed with hiring someone to haul it. The people who took parts needed to buy a bumper, so I thought about selling it to them. And, in the end, it was still sitting here the day the FD was ready to do some cutting, so off it went. Decision made.

But, I asked Butler, the FD guy who works for the towing company, if I could come take pictures.
I call this one, "They've come to take me away, ha ha, they've come to take me away!"

'Cuz Bill would've said no, the spoil sport.

I guess they needed tail light covers, too.
Best seat in the house!

Anyway, Butler said yes.


Here they are Megan, as you requested!

Turns out I wasn't the only camera happy person there! This is one of JFD's "Hotshots", a term for high-school kids who come and help out.

Firemen play with Lego's!!
Here's Bill, working on a crashed car that was donated. At least I think that's him, hard to tell 'cuz he opted for the summer FD jacket, intended for hot days, forest fires, stuff like that. It doesn't carry his number.

Which is 48, BTW.

Here they are ruining an almost-brand-new windshield. That I never would have replaced if that darn Farmington cop hadn't harassed me about getting it inspected. The creep. $100 deductible, down the drain. There's another Hotshot in the background. They don't get to help. They did get to pillage the trunk of a car that's owner hadn't bothered to clean it out. Mine? SPOTLESS.

Here's Bill, having transformed said donated crashed car into a convertible.

Now might be the time to tell you that we like them to cut up cars. Jaws of Life are not the most common thing to use, and if you already have experience, you can do it faster, know where to cut the seat belts, and retrieve an injured person much faster. Most car accidents that require extraction also mean that time is of the essence. Life or death people. I'm just sayin'.
And occasionally your favorite police officer needs to be rescued from his cruiser lodged in a tree. Helps to have practiced in such sticky situations.

You may have noticed that surrounding our van is largely Livermore FD. That would be because awhile ago, when JFD got their new fire truck, they also got new extraction equipment. So they gave the old stuff to LFD, who didn't have any, and had to call in for mutual aid from other departments if they had an accident that required those jaws.

Remember that time thing? And for you out-of-towners, route 4 in Livermore is known for it's bad traffic accidents. It's a thruway for the area here, and very lousy passing opportunities. People get impatient, and unsafe.
OK, I'm off my soapbox.
So, the JFD was training the LFD to use their new toy. LFD's new toy, that is, JFD wasn't ABOUT to share THEIR new toy!.
They got my van, 'cuz it had 8 different cuts to make. And those nice firefighters, they passed the toy around, sharing nicely.


Here's my van, a shell of it's former self.

Here's the Peanut Gallery. We invited the Hurleys 'cuz Melissa has talked about doing a calendar fundraiser for the FD. I'll let you know if it comes to fruition, so you can all order one.

Look at Donovan, the one in orange and blue for those who don't know!

No, they aren't putting gas in it. That, my friends, is a Jaws of Life. Ever wonder how it works? Well, it is very thin, and narrow, they put it in the crack where door meets vehicle, and then, with compressed air pressure, the blades, or "jaws" open, popping the door off. The strap is to keep it from falling, I suppose, and to help pull at it.

I think the tool they used to cut is a different tool, let's find out together, shall we?

I was right, on the top, Jaws. On the bottom, Pinchy. That's what Dustin nick-named it anyway.
So, after popping all the doors, they cut all the posts.

Off goes the lid!

Steady... steady...

And yes folks, a convertible mini van.

Does it need a spoiler? Tell me honestly...

NOW I will let him drive!! ;-)

This one, that is, not the new one!!


Megan said...

That's what I need to feel like a hip mom....a convertable mini van! Great pic's!

Nicki said...

Wow! The pictures are WAY better than my imagination!

Great job! It sounds almost as much fun as a demolition derby, but WAY more productive!