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March 23, 2013: Pete’s Man Truck

Yesterday evening, as I was writing the dispatch about spring/winter storms and shedding, the phone rang. The phone doesn’t ring often around here. This is because we primarily use it to transact business, this as opposed to using it to engage in lengthy conversations. We do talk at length with family members, but not all that often.

So, because phone use is minimal, we generally know who’s calling and what they want to talk about. And we knew this time it was Vicki who was calling to transact some very important business. We were right. She said that the truck was here, and we could come and get it.

Long story short – a relative of Mike, Vicki’s husband, had put it up for sale. The pair subsequently mentioned this to us, and, because we were in the market for a larger truck to pull the horse trailer, we said that we’d like to buy it. Vicki flew down to America to visit her mother and then drove it back here, a distance of close to 3,000 miles. She is perhaps one of the toughest women I know. She took her sleeping bag and slept in the back seat. (Vicki, by the way, once did the Iditarod, and finished mid-pack.) Tough, indeed.

We could have waited until today to go and pick it up, but instead we went over and picked it up last night. It was in the garage. Mike had even been so kind as to change the windshield wiper fluid and give the truck bath. He seemed as excited about this as Pete. The Ford’s former owner came into hard times, divorce and illness included. I suspect that he was very fond of this vehicle. It’s been well-maintained and cared for. And it will continue to be well-maintained and cared for.

I must say, it’s quite the truck. It’s a 2002 Ford F350 and has a V-8 DIESEL engine. It also has what I call the bells and whistles, or what Mike calls “Geeky after marketing stuff.” Some include circular door mirrors, driver-side gauges, a step up (gotta have this), and a string of red lights just below the tailgate. It also has seat covers and floor matting. There are other things, but I forget what they are. Suffice to say, this truck has do-dads up the ying yang.

The first question is do we really need such a big truck? Pete thinks so. He says we’ll be able to better haul the horse trailer long distances. He also says, because it’s a diesel, that it’s more fuel efficient than our Toyota Tundra. In the words of our friend Andre, who fixes up vehicles and sells them, “this is an upgrade!”

And the second question is could we afford this? Refinancing the house made this possible, and when we sell the Tundra we’ll put the money back into the house loan. But I’ve assured him that next year, our roles will be reversed. I would like it (of course) if a publisher bites on one of the two book proposals that I have out. But if not, I will find an outside-the-home job.

I have (of course) been wondering if this purchase is reflective of the fact that Pete’s going through his male midlife crisis. Most men say no, there is no such thing. But I definitely think that men also experience hormonal changes when they reach a “certain” age. They don’t have hot flashes. Rather, they have energy surges. Outward signs – a renewed interest in younger women and fast machines. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with either, except that sometimes those who are involved with such men are temporarily inconvenienced. (Some women who are reading this might say “You really have no idea.” My response is I probably don’t. Life is a crap shoot, and yeah, I know that this time around I got really lucky.)

Yes, this truck purchase may very well be a MANifestation of Pete’s midlife crisis. I mean, why not a new bicycle, sea kayak, or ahem, horse? The answer is that Pete can’t keep himself from thinking altruistically. He sees our getting this truck as his way of continuing to be a good partner and provider. Gotta upgrade now that we have five horses. Oddly enough, I am moved by his gesture.

I think that Pete’s overall level of confidence was bolstered by his recently having gotten a sabbatical. This was a pretty big deal. He did the near-impossible in convincing a group of set-in-their way academics that his proposed project – a book on the subject of chain saws -- was worthy of his getting a year off. This was huge. And you know what? He will write and get this book published in short order.

What I most like about this truck purchase is that it’s made Pete very happy. Any time I bring it up he gets giddy, like a kid who’s gotten his first little yellow Tonka Truck. Then a big smile crosses his face. Seeing this smile makes it all worth it. Happiness is where it’s at. So here’s to Pete and his midlife crisis all tricked out man truck.

Next: 83. 3/24/12: Here’s to Being in Good Health