Friday, May 29, 2020

COVID Student Journal: I slowly convinced them that we needed two puppies because what’s better than one puppy…. two that’s what.

(Student submission Spring 2020)

Previous Events- I left my mom’s house in Tallahassee for spring break I was headed north to Blue Ridge Ga where my dad lives. My full expectation was to spend the week of spring break their and then come home and get prepared for school the next week.


Day 1- 21st I called my mom and told her that I got notification that school was moving all online and I told her that I was going to stay with my dad for a while. I was super excited to be able to spend some extra time with my dad considering this was the first time I have seen him in four months. I surprised my stepmom and little sister with the news that I was going to be able to stay for a while.


Day 2- I woke up at 9 am and went too work. My dad owns a restaurant/store up in the mountains of Blue Ridge Ga. I talked to all the local guys that come in and got caught up with all of them about how school has been going and where I had been for the last few months. I genuinely enjoy the conversations with all the locals, just sitting on the front porch on the swing and at tables just looking at the mountains. They tell the best stories and have the most experience in life, so it is always fun to sit there and learn.


Day 3- We have been watching the news now and have been trying to decide what we are going to close the restaurant. Most of the locals that come in are older in age and have medical conditions like cancer and such. No decision has been made but I am just happy that I have gotten to catch up with everything going on up here.


Day 4- I go into work with my dad to help him open (6:00 am) we were super busy for breakfast with locals and cabin renters. The rush disappears right when we switch to our lunch menu. One person come in and eats, we had zero customers for two hours, so we packed up and drove home for the night. So far life isn’t abnormal this is what most of my summers consist of, working six to six with my dad.


Day 5- My dads’ birthday is at the end of the month and we decided to let him pick his own gift this year, so he chose to get a lift kit for his 2008 Tahoe. Me and my dad are planning on driving to the artic circle next summer so we are trying to fix his Tahoe up so it can make the trip. So, I did hours of research looking for the right suspension lift kit. We finally decided on a 1500$ Rough country lift kit. We ordered it that night for my dad’s “birthday” present.


Day 6- We decided to open the restaurant breakfast for and tell all of the locals that the decision to close until further notice has been decided. We did all preparations for closing we, deep cleaned the rest of the day, drained and cleaned the ice machine, and locked the place up and set the alarm.


Day 7- It was weird not waking up and going to work, I always associate my dad’s house to work seven days a week. This gives me and my dad to get all the house chores done and work on our toys (cars and trucks). We fixed a broken cabinet door, my bedroom door, pressure washed the porch, and cleaned out some old parts from the garage.


Day 8- We went to a friend’s rental house first thing in the morning and fixed her mailbox (renters backed into it and knocked it over). We then went to work and picked up the lift kit from the delivery service. We took all the parts back home and checked all the packages to make sure we got all the parts and to get the instructions to look over.


Day 9- I wake up at 9:00 A.M. and me and my dad eat breakfast and we are like today is the day, we are going to start the lift kit. We went outside and walked into the tool room. After spending 10 minutes looking for stuff and decided step one to properly starting the job is being organized. But this isn’t a one-hour job we spent 8 hours that day cleaning and organizing the tool room. We have been collecting tools for our entire lives, so we have tools everywhere and we got them all organized where they each have their specific place.


Day 10- We started the 5-inch lift kit on the Tahoe today. We decide to start with the front of the vehicle, we jacked it up and put it on jack stands. Took the front tires off and started following directions. We worked for about 6 hours today and we are about halfway done with the front we had to drop the front Differential and cut a cross member to make room for the diff spacers and new front drop cross member, but we didn’t have a cutting blade for the Sawzall so we had to stop. We went to town (30 min drive) and got a cutting blade and picked up dinner from Zaxby’s.


Day 11- Today is my dad’s birthday and he comes downstairs and wakes me up, while still half asleep I told him Happy Birthday. I came upstairs and my stepmom had invited one of my dad’s best friend and his wife to breakfast and we had eggs, potatoes, bacon, and sausage. When they left me, and my dad went outside to continue working on the Tahoe. We finished the cutting and threw everything back together but not before me and my dad both cut our finger open on the same piece of metal. (Redneck tip use electrical tape as a band aid). We finished the front up and threw on a tire trying to see what it would look like, we let it down to the ground and realized that the tie rod end was touching the inner rim, so we took our 2002 Tahoe too town and picked up ¼ inch spacers. Once we got the front wheel spacers on the tires went on and worked perfectly.


Day 12- We now have a half-lifted vehicle and it looks stupid, but I can see the potential before it’s done, and I’m excited. This is just about the time my dad starts thinking that me convincing him on the bigger lift was a bad idea. We start the rear of the vehicle and there was half as many instructions as the front, but we got to the 18th step and it told us to get a part that we didn’t receive from the company. One and a half hours of me and my dad talking and reading we realized that, the step it was telling us to do was for 7.5-inch lifts only. We finally figured it out and got to a stopping point and went inside to eat dinner.


Day 13- We are so close to being done with the lift kit I can see it in my head, and it is a beautiful thing. We finish the rear lift (technically it levels the rear because from factory the back was two inches higher than the front, so we only did a 3-inch lift in the rear). We finished the rear of the vehicle, slapped the tires on and let it down…… I’m looking at it and something just doesn’t look right. The front tire sticks out noticeably more than the rear tires. We measured front wheelbase and compared it to rear wheelbase and it was about 5 inches off. We had to go inside and do research on why. After looking around I found out that once you do a suspension lift that big it makes the front tires stick out 3 ½ inches. We ordered 1.5-inch spacers for the rear of the vehicle, so it doesn’t look dumb.


Day 14- Today we took a chill day after 4 days of hard automotive labor we decided to give our body a rest. We stayed inside for most of the day and watched movies with my stepmom and little sister. We ate home made country fried chicken with mashed potatoes. I ate enough for 2 people, but it is my favorite meal and I don’t get it often.


Day 15- I had my day of rest it is time to get back to work. I go with my dad to a friend’s house to pick up a trailer and brought it back to the house. We pressure washed the trailer, rewired the entire trailer with new lights, and we got a trailer vin made for it and registered it. We posted the trailer for sale on craigslist for 750$. Someone called me and said I can come get it tonight, so I might him at our restaurant and sold him the trailer.


Day 16- We got the wheel spacers in the mail and we slapped them on the rear end really quick. The beast was almost done she was beautiful but missing one big thing, we went higher but didn’t have bigger tires yet, so we drove into town and got some used Nitto Terra Grappler 295/70R17. We got used tires because we are going to order custom rims so we can get the offset right and not have to run wheel spacers. We went to Walmart and they were limiting how many people could come inside the store at a time. We went in and I Would say over half of the people had masks on. We got in and got out with the groceries we needed.


Day 17- Today was full of adventures. First thing we did was went to a friend’s house and looked at what we had to fix to get them water back in their guest house. We got their and quickly noticed the problem the pipe running from the house across the bridge to the guest house was cracked in about 4 different places. We ran to home depot and got all the parts we needed to fix it and drove back and fixed it. Secondly, we went to our other house and got my little sisters power wheel monster truck and a Husqvarna lawn mower that didn’t run. We got them bot home and unloaded we plugged my little sisters power wheels in and started looking at what we needed to do to get the lawn mower running. I pulled the fuel line off at the motor and started draining the old gas by blowing air out of an air compressor into the tank to force the fuel out. I then cleaned the air filter, pulled a rats nest out of the intake, and then hooked up a battery charger. I couldn’t get the lawn mower to start and couldn’t find any starting fluid, so I poured just a little bit of gas directly into the carb and it started right up.


Day 18- I took picture of the lawn mower and put it for sale on Facebook marketplace for 500$. I had two people call within an hour of it being online and sold it to the second person who said he could be at my house in an hour. I also took the back of my dad’s Tahoe apart trying to find out why the power assisted lift gate wouldn’t work, after digging through all of the parts that make it worked the motor had stripped out a plastic gear and I ordered a new one for my dad as a “late” birthday present.


Day 19- Me any my dad go to our other house to pick up a trailer he bought at auction about 2 years ago. We took the air compressor with us so we could pump the tires back up after getting their and trying to pump up the tires one had a hole in it. So, we did what any redneck would do with a tandem axle with three good tires would do…. we drove the trailer all the way into town with only 3 tires. We took it to a tire shop and got a new tire. We then went to home depot and bought new 2x8x16 lumber to re-deck the trailer. We got back home and started tearing the old wood off the trailer. Once we got all the old wood off, we started cutting the boards to length and got them put in place properly. We got a new piece of angle iron to secure the wood at the back and we welded it down and rewelded the fenders, so they stopped flopping around.


Day 20- I woke up at about 11 am and decided I was bored and the only logical thing to do was go get my jeep grand Cherokee from our other house (my extra vehicle at my dad’s house). I hadn’t started my jeep in over a year, so we took jumper cables and prayers. After letting the jeep charge for a little bit, I hit the key and she fired right up. My jeep has a slight transmission fluid leak, so I had to put 3 quarts of ATF4 in it just to get it to move under its own power. Me and my dad loaded it up on the trailer and brought it back to our house so we could pressure wash it and put it up for sale. I had it on Facebook marketplace for literally 10 minutes when I got a call from a family friend that lives in Wakulla county. Her husband wanted the jeep so he could put the axles under his jeep grand Cherokee, so I took it down and they are coming to get in one day coming up.


Day 21- My stepmom has been non-stop pressuring my dad into getting her a puppy since we have time to train it right now since the restaurant isn’t open. We started looking for German Shepard or husky puppies in our area. We finally found a guy that had puppies and we set up an appointment for tomorrow to go get the puppy. I slowly convinced them that we needed two puppies because what’s better than one puppy…. two that’s what. It was settled we were going to get two German Shepard puppies.


Day 22- We are at the place waiting to meet the guy with German Shepard pups, when we get a call about a dog, we had previous talked about wanting. So, we picked out our German Shepard puppy which was later named Mellow and drove to meet the other people about the other dog. We drove another hour and a half to get a 3-month-old German Shepard Husky mix and we name her Ada May (mainly just Ada). We stopped at the store and got them harnesses, toys, treats, and crates.


Day 23- Last night was the worst night’s sleep I have ever gotten Mellow was going crazy all night. I let Ada sleep in my bed with me because she was already potty trained. I started training Ada (kind of claimed her as my dog) how to sit and lay down and by the end of the day I had already taught her how to do both.


Day 24- The puppy did a little bit better last night, but she was still freaking out a lot my stepmom ended up sleeping on the floor in the living room next to her creek to keep her calm. Ada slept in bed with me all night and was chilling like a villain. We started teaching the dogs how to walk on leashes and focused on potty training Mellow. We also gave both dogs a bath with medicated soap to make sure they didn’t have any bugs on them and that their fur stays healthy.


Day 25- The puppy has gotten much better at sleeping in the crate Ada was sleeping in a crate next to her all night and she was taking the momma dog role and teaching the puppy not to whine in the crate at night. I love my dogs so much and even though they are a pain in the ass I’m really glad we got them, and they have really unique personalities. My days now mainly consist of training and caring for the puppies.