The six-headed maintenance monster
It’s no secret I love our truck. I’ve been accused of being “weird” about it, because I touch her and talk to her and beg her to quit eating money. We joke and say the windshield has a sensor in it that can smell dollars, because it seems like every time we’re almost able to relax a little something breaks. I’ll admit I’ve fallen a little out of love with her lately, but she’s still our baby, as well as a major portion of our income.
It’s certainly not unique. We know people who have brand-new trucks they’ve had to put thousands into. It’s the nature of the beast when you’re dealing with mechanical things, especially when those mechanical things get run almost continuously. It also bears to be noted that having someone else work on your truck costs as much hourly as having a thoracic surgeon work on your innards. (This may be a filthy lie. However, it’s pretty dang close.)
We recently had the head rebuilt, and while the actual work wasn’t as expensive as it could have been, the cost coupled with the time off the road made it a pretty hard pill to swallow. We finally got it back after a week and were happy as hell to be under a load again. We got as far as picking the trailer up in Springfield, and had been on 70 heading West for about eight miles when the horrible noise started. George immediately got that look he gets when he’s having excruciating pain somewhere in his body.
“What’s that noise?! What are you doing?!”
“I’m not doing anything. Something’s wrong with the new head.”
(This was uttered through clenched teeth, and I had a hard time paying attention to what he was saying, because the vein in his forehead was twerking like Miley.)
“That’s bad, right? What are you going to do?”
“Right now I’m just trying to decide if I’m going to put you out on the side of the road and drive this bitch into the first bridge abutment I see.”This was my cue to start crying (yes, I broke the rule), because when he talks about slamming the truck into concrete with him in it, he usually means, “this is going to be really expensive.”
It just so happens our mechanic is right off of 70, and since there were no lights, no codes, and the truck appeared drive-able, he limped it back to The Precious’s second home. I remained in the bunk in the fetal position, trying not to sob too loud, while he got it pulled into the bay and went in to talk to the boys who had just replaced the head.
Once again, I’m going to have to give him kudos for being one of the calmest people I’ve ever known. One of the reasons I stayed in the bunk was because I was afraid I’d kick everyone’s ass who had had even anything even remotely to do with the recent work. He was calm and cool and joked a little while I brayed like a basset puppy. I couldn’t help it. There was no more money to be had without selling an organ or doing something incredibly illegal. One of the mechanics stuck his head in the bunk, probably to see what kind of injured animal George had in there.
“Uh, Miss Wendy, can I do anything for you?”
“Yes Opie, you can take this gun and shoot me with it [sob, snarffle, sob].”
“Aw now, that won’t be necessary, Miss Wendy.”
“Yes Opie, it will be. We’re going to starve to death and have to live under a bridge. We’re under a load, for God’s sake, I don’t even know what kind of lawsuit it’s going to be involved if we don’t get it there. George has never missed one [gurgle, snort, sob].”
“No ma’am, it’s going to be fine. We’ll have you out of here in about three hours and back on the road. And it’s not going to cost you a thing.”
And they were true to their word. It was something relatively simple, involving an O ring that was the wrong size. Blah blah blah: I have no idea what they were talking about, but we got back on the road and I got back into my seat. George was happy again.
“Well, at least that’s done. One less thing to break.”
“Pffft. You know as well as I do the other heads will break now.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“How many heads does this thing have? We’ll probably have to do this five more times, right?”
He laughed and laughed, and while it was good to see him smiling and happy, I was afraid he might be hysterical.“Don’t laugh at me. You know it’s true.”
“Baby, there’s only one head. We’re good for now.”
So we rode on and I felt relatively comfortable with the fact that we weren’t going to starve to death and live under a bridge. Until the air conditioner went out.
But that’s another story, entirely.