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February 2005 Dr. Vern

Posted in Features on May 1, 2002
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Contributors: Dr. Vern

Every Jeeper has an opinion on what should be in their survival kit. A healthy smattering of tools is required, up to and including a fully equipped machine shop. An assortment of critical spare parts is important, too. Add a blanket and a few military rations, and you should be able to fend off the buzzards for a few days. These precautions are fine and dandy, but are only of use when stranded far from civilization. You'll need an entirely different survival kit in your Jeep when back at the house.

No doubt you are scratching your head, wondering why a survival kit would ever be needed there. Consider this scenario: Your wife sees you nonchalantly sprinkling fertilizer pellets on the blackberry bushes in the far corner of the yard. Those darn things are nearly impossible to kill, so why would anybody encourage their growth? With curiosity getting the better of her, she pushes aside those thorny vines and what does she discover? You've squirreled away another Jeep project and have been waiting for the right time to tell her.

One suggestion is to feign ignorance about your wife's discovery. Make a glaring gesture towards your neighbor's house. You've planned ahead by stealing some toys from their kids. Hide these items near the Jeep. With mock indignation, throw the stuff back in their yard. Try to make the same association as to how the Jeep got there. This ploy is more appropriate for advanced projects, the type not immediately recognizable as a Jeep or as any sort of vehicle.

Alas, most of us don't have a wife who is that gullible. Now you can understand why your survival kit must have the appropriate contents. This one should include your clothes for work the next day. Don't forget a sleeping bag and pillow. You'll also want your toothbrush, as you won't be seeing the inside of your house any time soon.

Most married men will agree that bringing home their first Jeep project wasn't too hard. The typical wife, if there is such a woman, had no idea what was in store for her. She can be convinced that whatever just rolled off the trailer can be running before too long. Then one day she notices the credit card is maxed out with Jeep parts, and she can't remember the last time you willingly came in from the garage.

Imagine your wife's reaction when you now broach the subject of another Jeep project. No matter how you slice it, good luck getting approval for a second Jeep, even if it only needs a "little" bit of work. Luckily, things will get easier with the third and fourth Jeeps. (Honey, the editor added the part about the fourth Jeep. He thought it would be funny. However, I did notice a hornet nest in the shed so don't go out there.)

Where is this leading? Well, there are two main methods to combine marriage and as many Jeeps as your little heart desires. One way is talk it over carefully with your beloved, and patiently explain why another Jeep project is a good investment. Meanwhile, the rest of us in the real world will be making sure our eep survival kits are well stocked.

Think back to when your beloved found that Jeep hidden behind the blackberry bushes. It would be something of an understatement to say she was upset. Yet what does the typical husband do in such a situation? The clueless guy tries to placate her. Appeasement didn't work for Neville Chamberlain (look it up), and won't work for you, either. Your wife will be mad for about two weeks no matter what you do. Expensive jewelry, a nice dinner, and even a Barbara Streisand movie are all wasted efforts. An amateur husband might even quickly ditch the offending Jeep. This is a very counterproductive move, as you'd still have a very upset wife but no Jeep to show for it. None of your actions will shorten your stint in the doghouse. With a proper Jeep survival kit you'll get by, even if you need to skimp on hygiene.

Now, the Jeep she discovered cost you what, about two weeks sleeping in the garage? How much madder can she get? While hard to believe, this is the perfect time to make yet another major Jeep expenditure. It might only cost you a couple of extra nights sleeping in the garage. Her initial discovery behind the blackberry bushes caused quite a ruckus but it can be used to your advantage. There is no point in waiting for the storm to clear, only to repeat the process several months in the future

To any brave soul who tries this method, please report how it went. I forgot my fuzzy slippers last time and nearly cracked during the last few days. Fortunately my wife invited me back to the house early. I can't say that she specifically missed me, as her decision may have involved a large spider that needed to be dispatched. I also had to agree to watch Yentl with her (my wife, not the spider). Hey, at least I got to keep the Jeep...

-Dr. Vern

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