I made a thing, at the bottom of this post

Got the oil changed in my car today. I was many miles past due. The place here has the model where you park the car and sit in their waiting area and they drive it around back and do the work. I miss the old days, when you could drive your car into the bay and the tech guided you to get it just right over the pit.

I always liked seeing the enterprise of it. Hood up, exotic sounds made, shouted commands back-and-forth from topside and down where the real work is taking place. He just opened a valve and supervised gravity, of course, but it seemed mysterious if you don’t think about it.

I liked when they come along and open the car doors and push a shot of WD-40 into the door hinges. The smells of light industry! I enjoyed when they tell you how all the things look and the one guy would come around and show you the dipstick, “And the gentleman will enjoy a 10w30 this evening … ” presenting it like you were two steps above a table wine.

My favorite part was the participatory bit where they ran you through the headlights, taillights, brake lights, blinkers and horn. I gave a short curt toot on the horn. These people heard this all of the time and they didn’t need me to sit on the thing. Just enough sound so that the guy running the safety check can verify the horn is in working order. I took great pride in that.

The place here, though, you’re sitting in a small row of chairs. It seems like an even less pleasant idea these days. Fortunately I timed it well. There was one other person there and she left soon after I arrived. There are no magazines to look over. I suspect those went the way of the dodo when some manager realized everyone was looking at their phones anyway.

After about 15 minutes the technician came in with my air filter in his hand. Looks good, he said, but the cabin filter is so brittle that removing it to show you would destroy it.

Well. Let’s replace that. If there’s anything I need right now it’s properly filtered air.

He came in later and said the one he took out was the factory filter. Of course it is.

The lady at the desk then conducted the business part of the transaction. Fluids are good. Wipers are good. Everything is good, except two tires are aging.

Knew that.

One of them is basically bold.

Guess I’ll get that changed sooner than later.

We wound up talking about her child. Turns out she has a five-year-old. And kids are tough and he understands that he can’t do all of the things that kids should be able to do now. He’s back in school, and he gets masks. He even, she says, points out others who aren’t wearing a mask and wonders why.

You and me both, kid.

She says virtual work and masks are hurting him with a speech therapy program. You have to be able to see the teacher’s mouth for so much of that style of instruction, but if the pathologist is wearing a mask …

It’s just another one of those million things we don’t think about until we’re confront by it.

At television tonight, with all of the students in masks, of course, the sports gang produced their highlight show. Next week they will finally have some highlights! So far it’s been virtual interviews and some practice updates and now a story about how there will be no tailgating and a feature on the university’s brand new golf course. And, of course, this Saturday, there will be football.

It’s that unique and special time of year for fans, here in late October, when anything is possible because nothing bad has happened on the field yet.

On the talk show they previewed that game, IU hosting Penn State. The guy on the left, Drew, is the host. DJ is the one in the middle is a beat reporter from the newspaper and Haley is one of the station’s beat reporters.

As I said to her just before they sat down to shoot the show, the best part of this job is to watch the students develop their craft. It makes me smile, behind my mask, every time Drew starts this show. I’m also pleased to see how comfortable he’s become, considering how nervous he was when he began. DJ I had in a class early in his time on campus, and he’s showing himself to be a talented young writer and, he was good on TV tonight, too. And Haley is … Haley is just ready.

And all of three of them will graduate this year and we’ll be alternatively proud and sad and that’s just how this level of the game is played.

After TV there was a technical issue to take care of, and then home to clean up for dinner and the debate and then a little football. After all of that I went to the garage and worked on the card holder I mentioned yesterday.

I put some music on in my headphones and put my sound-killing headphones on top of those and my safety glasses around all of it and I broke out the belt sander for a quick pass at 60 grit. Then I took the glasses and the sound-killing headphones off and listened to music while I sanded the rest of the thing by hand up to 800 grit.

And this is my new ID card holder:

It’s not bad. It’s probably a quarter inch smaller than my other ones. My ID card and five business cards make a nice, snug little arrangement. You don’t want things flying out all over the place when you are trying to fish it out of your pocket.

Here, again, is one of the originals:

You’ll note that this new effort also has the fancy curvature at the top. I’m very artisanal.

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