Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A reputation as a miracle worker

A first time parachute student was making his first jump. He fell away from the airplane and when it came time to open his parachute he couldn't get it to work right. He pulled on this and yanked on that and could not get his parachute to open. As he looked about in despair he spotted another man flying up toward him from the ground.

"Hey!" He shouted. "Do you know anything about parachutes?"

"No!" The other man replied. "Do you know anything about gas ovens?"

There was a knock on the door. "Jones." She said. "Jones, we are having some trouble with our oven. We hit the thermostat with a cake pan and now it's bent and we want you to take a look before we move it or damage it any more."

"Okay, I'll be down in a few minutes."

In the kitchen I snooped into the oven. Just as described the thermostat temperature sensor was hanging precariously. I put on an oven mitt and nudged it a little, it popped off into my hand. "Yup." I announced. "Your oven is broken."

I was given a quick tour of the burned cakes that the problem had produced and eavesdropped a staff planning session on how they could possibly bake the roasts, the breads, the cake, the cookies and the vegetables with only one oven. I offered up the suggestion that if someone just monitored the oven temperature every ten minutes they could still get use out of the damaged oven and several people volunteered to be the human thermostat. I turned my attention to the operating manual.

The parts list page proved most interesting and when I thought to heroically call in a replacement part on the spot I was thwarted because the company was closed on Sundays. So I called my business partner instead and asked about spare parts on hand. "I need the one with the coil of wire and a thingamabob on the end." I said. "Oooh. I have that here." She replied. Jackpot.

My business partner called me back three times to let me know that she was consulting resident expert and that there would be more parts and that the whole package would be at the corral in the morning so the riders could carry it in and I should spend an extra night to make sure I had enough time to make the repair. At least some of her ideas are good ones.

Somehow the team managed to bake bread with someone standing duty as a human thermostat. The next morning I commandeered the oven as early as I could. To expose the thermostat I had to strip the top, some rails on the side and a front panel. Then it was hurry up and wait. The horses arrived two hours later and sure enough they had the package as promised.

The repair took all afternoon. I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading the manual. At least twice I worried that I broke the replacement part. Somehow it all came together. I disassembled and reassembled when I found the gas leak. The calibration was sketchy at best. I had it put together again just in time for the cook to put the potatoes in. Dinner was saved.

I informed the staff that they could stand down from human thermostat duty. I was given many accolades for my newfound gas oven repair skills. The staff now thinks I have powers of repair unsurpassed in the mountains. Reputations can be hard to live up to.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,