Thursday, July 22, 2010

heavy things and happy things

Our vacation recuperation day started out promising. I spent most of the morning getting my proverbial ducks in a row. Wrapped a present for my nephew, made calls to verify items I needed to purchase and store hours. I put away travel stuff and took something out of the freezer for dinner. I puttered.

Then, the skies started to darken and that lit the fire under my puttering ass. There was drywall to be bought and unlike wood or fabric, drywall does not reconstitute well once it's been soaked. It turns into, what we call in economics, a sunk cost.

We hopped into that butch and beautiful Tundra and headed over to the place...where in fairly short order, 14 sheets of 4'x10' 1/2" drywall was fork-lifted into the truck bed. When we finally got home (25mph at a time—I know, I know, St. Barbara's caution is all wisdom and common sense) we unloaded the sheets onto the porch just as the rain began to fall. Can I get a hallelujah?

Drywall sheets are often paper "bundled" in sets of two. This keeps the good sides facing each other for protection. So, we maneuvered them into the house two at a time. Just like Noah. We are strong women (St. B is, admittedly, taller and stronger than me...but I like to think I carry my own weight (...that's funny, I rarely stumble upon self-referencing fat jokes)) but this extra-long sheet rock is dense. Of course, I had to look it up: each 4'x10' sheet weighs 64lbs. So we moved 128lbs every time we carried a pair into the house. Seven times.

I figured that was all the hard labor I could expect to deal with in one day. Unfortunately Barbara pulled something in her ribs/back and began to experience pleurisy-type pain, so she was off-duty for the duration. Thank Buddha we were done.

My shirt was covered with sweat (Oh, say ewww, if you must. Sweat is the natural antidote to spontaneous combustion, thank you very much) so I cleaned up and put on a fresh one. We headed back out to finish our errands. And there on the front passenger side was a very flat truck tire. When we picked up the drywall, we got a large nail in our tire for free. Sheeyit.

Now Barbara was out of commission, and much as she protested, this job was for me. I've changed plenty of car tires but truck tires are...well, they're fucking big. And unwieldy. I'll spare you the details. Well, most of them anyway. You have to lower the spare down from under the truck with this ridiculous rigged crank the manufacturer provides. Once it's on the ground, you have to get under there (did I mention it was raining intermittently?) and drag that bad boy out.

To get the flat tire off, you have to put the wrench on one lug nut and stand on the other end of the wrench and bounce carefully, until the tightened nut breaks free, without you losing your balance. Repeat 5 times. Finally, you set up the piece-of-shit jack and try like hell to figure out from the mystery diagram where to set it up so you don't break your truck by setting up under a weak joint. All this while wiping the humidity, grease and dirt off your glasses so you can see enough to kill the mosquitoes draining your blood. Did I mention I just changed my shirt?

ANYHOO...the first round with the jack provided us with a heart-stopping slip. As in, a few thousand pounds of truck starting to slip off a jack the diameter of a cheap flashlight. Cranked the thing all the way back down, repositioned, slipped some wood under it for stability and started over. The best news? The spare was not flat!

I put on the spare, hauled the dead tire and it's hole-making spike into the truck bed. Then, I went inside and scoured the incredible amount of filth I'd accumulated off of we could head to the tire store. Could they patch it? My emotional brain said sure, my frontal lobe said, are you fucking kidding? You've had these tires for 9 years! I threw a tarp over my frontal lobe...

...which was mercilessly yanked off at the tire place as the cute little butch girl measured (in microns, I believe) what little was left on my tread. On all the tires. I know. I know. It was time. Jesus. Four new tires the day after coming back from vacation. Like a vacation stinger.

There you have it. My post vacation blues got pushed out of the way for the crisis-at-hand. This is not unlike the second hammer thwack on your thumb erasing the pain from that first misguided hit.

In spite of all of this, I am happy to be home and grateful for a wonderful vacation. What's more, I've got the happiest event to anticipate and erase these little bumps in the road: my sweet, wonderful daughter is moving back to Houston! She'll be here in the next 2 weeks and I can't wait to kiss her face and give her one of those pick-up hugs.


StevensVox said...

All I can say is wow, and THANKFULLY. You experienced the flat at the safety of you home rather than on the road with 896 lbs (I used a calculator) of sheetrock on the truck or in traffic. If it makes you feel better several months ago I had a flat, but I used my hydraulic jack. Alas te jack was made for a car not my Rav4, a thought I did not seem to take in account and also had to use my Mickey Mouse Skeleton jack also. I hope St. B and you feel better soon, and thank you so the very funny e-card. I loved it and you both.

Epiphenita said...

Nice use of the calculator--you are 100% right. We are feeling so much better and you are very welcome for the card. We must get together and celebrate your birthday right, though!