Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day One: The power of Air's done.  I did it.  I survived the stress of walking into a class that I was sure I had no business being in.  And, on top of that, I made it through the first full 3-hour session without getting laughed at.  Well, I did get laughed at, but it was because of jokes I was cracking (how can you not laugh at those giant community sinks!?)

So, here's how it went:
I got there super early, and I was going to take a photo of the front of the school, for this post, but forgot.  Oh, damn!!  The 20 minutes I sat in the garage waiting for class to start I could have gotten pics of the 'classroom'!!  Oh well, maybe next week.

I walked in just behind the first guy...'Do you know anything about cars?' he asked.  'Nope. You?'  'Nope!'
Already, I feel better.  Eventually, another guy walks in...same question, 'Nope!'  Sweet!!  So, all in all, it ends up being me, and this boy-band trio.  I mean, one of them has a faux-hawk.  And, they were all prettier than me!!
Someone didn't show, so as it stands, it's me, Ricky, Josh, and Raffi.  (You can expect our album out next Spring.)

The instructor, of course asks us what kind of car we have ('have', not 'drive').  We also had to give a list of 10 things we want to learn.  I basically put every system I could think of, minus electrical (b/c they have a separate class for that on Thursday night).  When I told him about the Barracuda, he said 'good luck with that'...but then all through class, referenced it and said to feel free to bring any parts in that I'd like to work on or learn about!  Already this class is paying off!!  If I can take my tires/rims in and use the tire mounter (I'm sure that's not the proper name) and tire balancer...I mean, that's huge!!

So we toured the shop (and the annex where they have 3 more bays and more computerized diagnostic things) for about an hour or so before we set out to learn about tools and equipment.

Air hoses!!  I both love and hate them!  First we had a demonstration and hands on practice with attaching the hoses to impact wrenches.  This is when it became clear that I was the girl in the class.  I could not, no matter how hard I tried, get that damn gun off the hose!!  After a few tries, the teacher says, 'well, that's alright.'  So I heard, 'That's alright, little girl.  When you need help next time, just ask one of the boys.'  Guess who's gonna be working out even harder now!!

So once things got going, we were actually working on a car!  First day!!  Miraculously I didn't get my clothes dirty, but I LOVE having grease all over my hands.

The four of us practiced working the hoists, and were trusted to make sure the car we were hoisting was set right on the hoist.  I got my placement right!!  We looked at the underbelly of a Saturn wagon...and then we took it's tires off.  And then we disassembled one of the back drum brakes AND one of the front disk breaks.  We put the front brake back together but ran out of time and left all the other pieces off the car...sorry, class that is working on it this morning!

So, I was super excited to write this post.  It seems sort of lame now that it's all out there in 'written' word, but that's fine.  I'm still trying to learn the names of tools and remember which lever is the safety lever, and which sequence to push buttons on the hoists. I am completely overwhelmed by the number of sockets and other tools we have at our fingertips in class.  I'm still nervous about my ability to use air powered tools (talk about power!!).  But I am so excited that I am not in a class of macho dudes, and that I have an instructor who has clearly taught girls before.  We connected a bit when I told him the story of the Barracuda and that my dad was in Vietnam.

Next week, my very first oil change!!  We are changing the oil in Raffi's car.   We are also going to hook the little diagnostic computer up to Ricky's Saturn Vue...seems his car has a ton of issues, including an air bag light that stays on.  I was also asked if I would be bringing in any parts from the 'Cuda.  'We can get those four flats off, and clean up those rims, if you like.'  Now I have to figure out how the hell I'm gonna get those wheels off!!  Time to go get me a breaker bar and some jacks!!


  1. I'm impressed! Now all you need is a vintage gas station attendant's shirt with a "Joe" or "Bob" patch on the front and a greasy rag sticking out of your back pocket.

    I want to take a welding course but just have not found the time.

  2. haha!! Great idea...i'll have to scour the thrift stores!
    Yes, it's definitely hard to find time for 'for fun' classes, as an adult! My brother is a welder, so he'll be doing our rust repair.

  3. I had this image of you and your classmates breaking out singing “Grease Lightning”. Now that would be a sight! All jokes aside, it was a great idea to enroll in a class to learn about working on cars before diving headfirst into the Barracuda. It’s even better that your instructor allows you to bring in your own cars and car parts to work on. I wish you all the best with your class and the restoration!