The simple pleasures

King of the Hill is a funny show. Even more so if you live in Texas. I swear I’ve met every type of character portrayed in the show in real life. I had a boss at one time that was eerily similar to Hank Hill. He once lectured me on lawns and grass for an entire lunch. I get it, lawns aren’t native to where we live, so it’s a big accomplishment to keep one alive and green. When I first got down here, he told me about how the ground expands and contracts, and why I’d need to use sprinkler system or soaker hoses to keep the area around the foundation moist, so it doesn’t crack.

I quipped back something like; “Wow, no wonder you guys build your houses on wheels.”

Not a fan of Irish wit, I found.

My son and I were chatting about the show some time ago, and in a great Hank Hill voice said “Bobby, this is a carburetor. Take it apart and put it back together until your normal.”

That line had me chuckling as I tore apart the carb on my power washer. The thing had been surging and not running right at full throttle. So I did what anyone does these days and consulted YouTube. I found it embarrassing, quite frankly, and was glad I watched it alone. I knew the solution. I’ve been working on these motors since I was a kid. Should have torn right into it the moment I noticed a problem.

So after procrastinating for weeks, I had the time to pull it apart last weekend. It was raining, so what the hell. I fired up the tunes in the garage and pulled the thing apart. They are about as simple as they get. Took maybe half an hour to pull it off, clean it, and reinstall it. All the while the big dude watched.


The garage is probably my favorite room in the house. I have a bluetooth amp and some speakers installed for tunes. I have plenty of tools and I find fixing things relaxing for the most part. I was incredibly lucky to grow up around men that repaired their cars, houses, boats..everything, and were happy to have me tag along and help and pass along massive man-skills. So the room is full of all sorts of parts and projects. About everything but cars, of which we haven’t been able to park one in since moving here.

Best part of this project was it allowed me to geez and wax romantic about the old days. The boy came over that evening, and I reminded him about that line as we sat on the patio. I told him about fixing the carb, then went into full geezer mode, you know…back in the day…

“…we didn’t have money for rebuilt carburetors. All the cars had them, and they could be finicky. So we’d scrape together a few bucks to buy a rebuild kit and take the thing apart. No big deal on a power washer, but a quadrajet on your Olds was a different story.”

These days you fix a problem with your car with a laptop and a checkbook (or credit card).  I prefer this, actually. The last Q-Jet I screwed with was on a ’83 Chevy van my neighbor gave me. Nothing will ruin the peace and tranquility of my garage faster and deeper than a 1980s American vehicle.

One of the benefits of growing old is learning. I’m smart enough to fix most anything, but not dumb enough to dive into something I know will result in me covered in dirt and grease, busting my knuckles, and swearing like a sailor.

You learn to pick your battles.