There was a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode in which Jean-Luc encountered a race of people who looked like they weren’t too smart. Their leader kept saying “We know things.” It turned out that they were a crafty group. Ever since, I’ve borrowed their phrase, usually to express a lack of knowing on my part. Such as yesterday.
Three items for your consideration:
1. While trying to mow the lawn on Friday, I turned my tractor to the left and the front right tire came off the rim. It rained Saturday and Sunday and the grass kept growing.
2. No hot water in the house since Saturday morning. I tried a brisk hair wash in the sink but it wasn’t much fun.
3. Monday afternoon, a fellow knocked on my door, wanting to seal my asphalt driveway. It had been about fifteen years since I’d last had it done (by me!) so I told him to go ahead.
Monday morning, I thought I could get the tire back onto the rim with a big screwdriver, and then pump it up with my air compressor … but no go. Phoned my lawn tractor guy and he told me how to get the wheel off the axle so I could bring the tire in for a redo. And I actually did it! Such a handy guy.
The water heater company had given me a four-hour window (10:00 – 2:00) for their technician to show up. He’d phone fifteen minutes before arriving. It was 11:30 and tire guy would only be at his shop for another couple of hours before heading out for appointments with desperate homeowners. Do I take the tire in or wait for water heater fellow? I decide to go. And as I went, my cell phone rings. I pull over. No, the gentleman couldn’t go see another water heater customer first. If I wasn’t home in fifteen minutes he’d cancel the appointment and I’d have to rebook. I was already twenty minutes away, zooming towards the tire shop, scratching my unwashed head. (Sigh)
I dialed water heater company. Magically, they were able to give me another appointment that day, technician #2 to arrive by 5:00. Magically as well, lawn tractor guy put a tube in my tire and I was out the door lickety split. Definitely on a roll. “Make sure you put the two washers back on and the clip that holds the wheel on.” Sure, I’ll do that. After all, I know things.
Back home again. Plastic Nitrile gloves on (cleverly avoiding greased hands), wheel on the axle, washers too, and now for the clip. It was a little horseshoe-shaped spring-loaded dealie that fits into a groove on the axle. I got a screwdriver and tried to jam it in. Nyet. More pressure, and sproing … off the metal guy flew into my uncut grass. Search, search, search … ahh – there it is. Since discretion is the better part of valour, I phoned lawn tractor guy. “How do I get that clip on?” “Take a pair of pliers and squeeze it.” Okay. So I squeezed the left and right sides of the horseshoe, which didn’t make any sense since that just put more pressure on the groove, rather than widening the clip. Grunt and grunt. And off she went again, over my right shoulder. Far away, I believe, into the bush behind me.
Thinking that the clip might be deep within the grass between me and the bush, I got out my Whipper Snipper and mowed down the tall blades, never considering that if the clip was on the lawn, it could easily be ejected into kingdom come by the rotating trimmer cord.
Meanwhile, driveway sealer guy was starting to edge the asphalt and the tractor was partially in the way. No clip. I needed to push the tractor fully onto the grass. I had raised the offending wheel with Scarlet’s jack. I inserted the long rod into the hole in the jack and turned left to lower the wheel. My Nitrile gloves wrapped themselves around the rod, pretty much immobilizing my hands. And here comes edger fellow. More grunting, plus a ripping of plastic gloves that reminded me of Superhero Man. Finally my hands were free, the tire was back on terra firma and I pushed the tractor away from my new friend’s trimmer, just about to the point where the wheel fell off the axle. But not quite! I know things.
Trimmer man, also known as driveway sealing man to his friends, shut down his machine, and started groping with me through the grass. (Hmm … I don’t think I said that right.) Still no luck with locating said clip, and the grasses were grinning at me with their very long bladed mouths. So thinking at the speed of light, I reasoned that I needed a magnet. I knew that Jody and I had one but God knows where. However Tony, my neighbour, knows everything and has everything. So off I went. He found a little disk magnet, about an inch in diameter. He came back with me and we groped together. Same result. Then Tony simply said, “Well, Bruce. We have the same lawn tractors. I’ll take a clip off mine, we’ll put it on yours, you can mow your grass, then buy another clip from the tire shop, and give it to me.” Of course. Why didn’t my all-knowing self think of that?
One more conversation with lawn tractor guy. “No, you don’t squeeze the sides of the clip. You set it in partially in the groove, take the pliers and squeeze the top of the clip and the underside of the axle.” Oh. Tony was all set to do the deed, but I said no. With the fine motor ability of a surgeon, I did the squeeze and the clip popped into place. I then mowed part of the lawn while my driveway transformed into glistening blackness.
And there you have it. I absolutely, positively, for sure know things. Plus I had a shower last night.