Tidbits - January 16, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY




BATTERY POWER

  Remember in the good old days when to remove a car battery, you loosened the battery cables and had the battery out in seconds?
  Remember when batteries were under the hood?
  A couple of Saturdays ago, I decided to ride up town to put gas in my car, because I was going to drive it to Lexington for my great-niece Baylee’s  birthday party  later in the day.
  I turned the key. Click, click, click.
  My battery was dead.  I was not concerned. I had driven the car only a few times in the last month. The battery just needed a charge.
  I did that, using the posts, not battery, under the hood. I  drove to town, got the gas, and made a couple of more stops.
  Saturday afternoon, I got in the car to go to Lexington, turned the key. Click, click, click.
  I needed a new battery.
  I’ll be totally honest when I say I’ve owned my car since 2004, but I have never seen the battery. All other battery changes have been done at the dealership.
  I told my brother Jamie about the battery, and he asked where it was, and I told him I didn’tknow. I got out the owner’s manual, and found it was in the spare tire well in the trunk.
  I took out my golf clubs, lifted the cover and there it was. I had removed the tire jack before, and can’t believe I never noticed the battery.
   Changing this should be a cinch. I thought.
  Saturday, January 12, I decided to  remove the battery and get a new one.
  I grabbed my wrench set to remove the cables. None of them fit.
  While Chrysler is an American car, my 300C was built when Mercedes-Benz owned the brand. Everything is metric.
  I didn’t have any metric wrenches, and didn’t have enough space to use a rachet wrench.
  So, I go to my shop to get my self adjustable vice grips. It worked.
  I loosened the cables, then tried to loosen the nylon belt wrapped around the battery. I ended up accidently breaking the clasp, but I got it loose.
  I tried to lift out the battery. It wouldn’t budge. What was the cable for?
  I looked down and saw a bracket holding the end of the battery down.
  It required a metric socket.
  I went inside and got my little tool kit, which contained metric sockets.
  The kit was missing one socket. Guess.....
  I walked to the shop to get another set.
  This one had the right size. I put the extension in the handle, attached the socket, the then remembered the ratchet handle only works to tighten, not to loosen.
  So, I used the handle from the other kit, and got it work!
  While I was doing all this, I heard scratching sounds, and turned to see my cats sharpening their claws on my golf bag! I put an end to that.
  Finally, I lifted the heavy battery out of the trunk, put it in my truck, along with my golf clubs, closed the trunk to keep the cats out, and drove to town to get a new battery.
  I heard nightmare stories of where manufacturers are putting batteries now, like under the back seat, and in the wheel well, requiring the tire to be removed. They thanked me for removing my own battery.
  I put the new battery in my truck and drove home.
  When I pulled up behind my car, I said to myself, “You idiot! You idiot! You idiot!”
  I had closed the trunk. The key fob or the button under the dash do not work when there is no battery in the car, and, of course, there is no place to insert a key on the trunk.
  Fortunately, I remembered I can drop a third of my backseat to gain access to the trunk.
  I was hoping I could reach through and pull the emergency trunk opening handle I thought I would never have to use in three lifetimes, but I couldn’t.
  So, I had to climb in far enough to reach the handle. I pulled it and the trunk popped open! Hallelujah!
  My joy was short-lived. I was stuck. Remember Lucy in the ship porthole?
  My only solution was to crawl completely into the trunk, and somehow this person who will be 70 in 15 months did it, AND I was also able to get out!
  I put the new battery in the spot and attached the cables. When that was done, I noticed I had put the battery on top of the nylon belt. So, I had to remove the battery cable again.
  I screwed the bottom bracket in place, then noticed the ribbon was no longer attached to anything on one end. I didn’t care.
  Hurricane Petunia could blow the car to South Dakota, and I don’t believe that  battery would fall out.
  With everything in place, it was time for the day of reckoning. I got in the car, and turned the key. The car started.
  This was another of Daddy’s ”30 minute jobs,” and I know he was up on Heaven laughing.
  I don’t normally use pictures with the column, but I just wanted to show you the tools it took to change one car battery (above).
  Technology is for the birds......

DARLING, NO LONGER...

  Dabo Swinney has long been a media darling, but now that love affair is wearing off.
  Some are now classifying Dabo as a whiner.
  One of the latest criticisms is unwarranted.
  Dabo said the National Championship game is basically a home game for LSU since it is in Louisiana.
  Dabo said LSU playing in New Orleans would be  like “us getting the play the National Championship game in Greenville.”
  People started complaining, saying it was ridiculous for Dabo to compare New Orleans to Greenville.
  That is not what he said. He was simply comparing distance from the campus to the game site. Greenville is a nice town, by the way, and it doesn’t have voodoo shops.
  Dabo motivates by playing the “poor little me” card. As long it as makes his team play better, who can fault him?
  I’ve often said there’s never been a cliche that Dabo hasn’t used, but a quote attributed to him this week is pretty thought provoking.
  I don’t know if this is a Dabo original, but it is a good one: “God would not put a Goliath in your life, if you did not have a little David in you.”
  There was an excellent article in a Jacksonville paper about former Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, who had a good season for the Baltimore Ravens.
  Hurst suffered from depression and attempted suicide when he was at Carolina. Will Muschamp and his staff came to his rescue, providing counseling and support.
  Fans know Hurst had an outstanding career and was drafted in the first round by the Ravens BEFORE Lamar Jackson was taken.
 Coaches do more than coach.
  Hayden is now devoting his spare time aiding young people suffering from depression.

THE STREAK...

  My late father was born in 1926. That is the same year the Clemson men’s basketball team lost it’s first game at Chapel Hill.
  Ninety-four years later, the Tigers ended the 59-0 losing  streak by beating the Tar Heels in overtime.
  The streak was particularly painful, since another S.C. school, Wofford, had won at Chapel Hill in two of the last three years.
  Some across the country ridiculed the Tiger celebration when they beat an 8-8 team.
  While the Saluda Tigers are the state champs this year, fans can recall the endings of a 20-game losing streak to Thurmond, 19 to B&L and 18 to Ninety Six.   You better believe the players, coaches and fans celebrated when those streaks ended.