Ever felt like a dipstick?

by Jonah

Okay, nothing to worry about. It’s all taken care of.

I explained the oil predicament to Joanne as soon as she and Doug got home. “Probably nothing to worry about,” Doug said, “How farabove the safe line is it?” I held up a thumb and forefinger. He shrugged.

“Doug,” said Joanne in that voice all wives have of saying their husbands’ names when they think they ought to do something.

Doug looked up. “What?”

“She’s got too much oil in her car,” Joanne stated the obvious.

“Well, then, she needs to take some out,” answered Doug. He looked at his wife and then back at me. “Come on,” he said, finally, leadingthe way down to the basement. “I’ll show you how.”

We approached the car armed with an old sheet, trouble light, and plastic oil collector. “Get the toolbox out of the back of the Suburban,” Doug instructed me, “I’ll go get an extension cord.” I did as he said and then spread out the sheet beneath the car’s hood. There wasn’t much room. Doug reappeared and then ducked into the bushes in front of the house to plug in the trouble light. “Not much room to spare,” he observed as he slid himself slowly under the engine. Placing the oil collecter beneath the oil pan, he said, “There’s the plug. It looks like it’s leaking a bit. You have to take the plug out and let about a quart drain. Know what a quart looks like?” I nodded and shrugged simultaneously. “If the plug falls out, just pick it up and try to stick it back in. But try to hold onto it. Hand me a five-eighths inch wrench,” he ordered. I dug through the tools on the top tray of the toolbox searching for one. “No, that’s not gonna work. Try a nine-sixteenths. I might as well do it since I’m under here,”he muttered, loosening the screw. Viscous, black liquid slowly oozed from the bottom. Then the plug came out, and oil shot into the container. I guessed that I didn’t really know what a quart looked like with the amount Doug was letting out. “Okay, check it,” he said. I pulled the dipstick out, wiped it, stuck it back in and examined it. Nothing.

“Uh, there’s nothing on there.”

“Are you putting it in all the way?” he asked. I told him,yeah and tried it again. Still nothing. Doug climbed out from under the car and checked it himself. “You got any oil? he asked. I opened the trunk and fished around. I did have oil. Three quarts, to be exact. Along with some stuff in an antifreeze container and the soup. Doug put a quart in, half a bottle at a time, and checked it. Then he put another half a quart in. “How often do you get it changed?” he asked, “When’s it due for another change?” I opened the driver’s door and looked at the sticker in the upper left hand corner of the windshield, then down at the speedometer, then back up at the sticker.

“Uh, now?”

Doug grinned. “Guess you’re all set then?”

Now I have to figure out what to do about the battery.

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