These days are a whirlwind of this and that what with Evan filling out scholarship applications, Erin having a boyfriend and lots of other friends, and of course: income taxes to be done. But Saturday, I ditched all that.

Two weeks ago a friend from my old days at Sabre (now EDS) called up and asked if I’d like to make a road trip to the Grizzly Tool store in Springfield. Score! He picked me up bright and early Saturday morning in his pickup and off we went. He was on a mission to buy himself a new jointer and he wanted some company for the trip (which is about three hours one way.) Apparently his wife can only stand tools for a few minutes. Grizzly knows how that is; they have a waiting room with a big screen TV in it for the wives and kids.

I never knew this guy terribly well although we both talked woodworking a great deal. I was briefly concerned that we’d be in the car all this time with lots of dead air but it turned out very well; we had lots to talk about and so the time passed quickly. He’s my hero because he managed to actually retire and not go broke.

We only made one stop to “pay the water bill” which is interesting in the sense that the rest stop was “out of service”. As a result, the very next exit with a service station was quite popular. I had only just stepped into the men’s room when the knocking on the door began. I did what I had to do and when I opened the door I was greeted by a little boy holding his pants and dancing around. He dashed past me and slammed the door. Then his little brother, also holding his pants, began knocking on the door.

Our time at the tool store was long and enjoyable – we stayed in there four hours and it didn’t seem like more than a few minutes to me. I had a bit of an ulterior motive which was causing stress: I have put up with a crappy table saw for years and now I was at the very place where reasonably priced nicer saws could be had. Furthermore, such things have a shipping weight of about 300 pounds which costs about $130 to get from there to my house. Having a truck present would save that amount for sure. My buddy was open to the idea as long as there was sufficient room left for his intended purchase. This was a bit of an issue since his truck was one of those four-door jobs with a short bed. Very short actually.

I had just about decided that these things were a bit too expensive for a hobby when I discovered the “scratch and dent” room. Back through and unobtrusive door I found another dark showroom with returned merchandise. And in that group was a single table saw that was the lowest priced model but with scratches in the paint. They knocked $125 off the sticker price.

Well we measured and measured (yes – he carried a tape measure in his pocket). We got with the sales guy and made sure we knew the size of the cartons of the thing he was buying. We measured his truck bed. Finally with the stress of such an expensive purchase and the knowledge that it was now or never since I don’t know of anybody else with a pickup who would care to drive to Springfield, I cracked.

We loaded it into the pickup upside down for traveling and had to remove the motor and several other things to get it to fit along with his boxes. But we did it.

The drive home was uneventful except for the fact that the sun was right above the highway which made for much glare. As we backed into my driveway I was wondering how the two of us out of shape guys would manage to get such a heavy thing out of the pickup when Melissa drove up with a carload of teenagers. Among them were two guys that proved to be very handy in this scenario.

I was beat by that time. I had been sort-of coming down with a cold and it finally got me. With a new saw in the garage, I had to go to bed. But Sunday morning dawned and found me ditching church and setting up the saw. I mostly had to rearrange stuff in the garage so that there would be space for it and the cars. But by the end of the day, I had it running and it’s so much nicer than my old one that I can’t believe I ever managed to build anything with the old one.

There’s just not enough time in my weekends any more. As if there ever was anyway.