Monday, June 05, 2017

As repair bills pile up ~ my column from Sunday's paper

This week has been aggravating and costly here on the home front. Modern machines are wonderful things while they are working. They save time and make life easier. But when they go south, it can be frustrating and expensive — in more ways than one.

I do a maintenance check on my vehicle weekly. The list includes checking the fluids and a “walk around” to make sure the tires are sound. A few weeks ago, I began to feel a slight bump coming from my left-front tire. It still had a good bit of tread left, but I made a mental note to run it by the shop to have the tires checked by professionals, just to be sure.

Last Thursday, I had a list of errands that exhausted me just looking at it. One stop was at the Daily Mountain Eagle office to pick up tickets to the East Walker Chamber of Commerce banquet. After fetching the tickets, I hurried outside and hopped in the truck. When I put it in drive to head out of the parking lot, I felt a bump, bump, bump.

Shoving the beast into park, I stepped out to make sure I hadn’t run over a critter. The tire was flat. When I slid underneath to get a better look, I discovered the inside of the tire had worn worse than the outer part. It was so thin I could have seen the air in the tire had there been any in there. On the upside, I’d just found the source of the bumping I’d felt as I drove.

After changing the tire, I continued with my errands. One of the belts on my riding lawn mower broke last weekend, so I stopped by the parts place to get a new one. When I looked on my phone for the model number of the mower, all I had were the numbers from my old machine. It was exactly like the new one except a little older. I flinched when the parts guy told me the price for the replacement belt. Saying an ugly word under my breath, I handed him my debit card.

The next day when I tried the new belt, it was too short. I mumbled a few more curse words. Since the mistake was my fault, I had to suck it up and get the right one. The only problem was when I put the new belt on and went to cut the grass down by the barn, the new belt slung off! It seems that worn pullies throw the belts out of alignment. The new belt won't work until I replace the pulleys.

When I discovered this, I said some more unkind things about the lawnmower and to those who manufactured it.

Meanwhile, I was still driving my truck without a spare. The next day I took it in to get new tires. When the shop manager raked my card through the reader to pay for the four new tires, I think I saw the lights in the shop dim.

If foul language alone can doom one’s soul to Hades, I’m investing in asbestos underwear, and I’ll ride my lawnmower into the fire.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. had to delete because of typos so here is the same comment fixed:

    Nasty big ouch x 2 (or x5 including each tire). Our dishwasher and water heater went the same day 2 weeks ago, did repair the leaking part of the dishwasher, did replace the water heater (under warranty) but the labour cost was nasty. Life stuff.

  3. Great column Rick! If people couldn't get a laugh out of that (sadly at your expense :=) ) they are humourless people. That's the problem with buying things - they are great while they work and then they cost heaps to repair and THEN you throw them away.


  4. Sigh. All too familiar. And why, oh why, do they all break down at once.

  5. Murphy's Law at work. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong... Some days, it doesn't pay to get out of bed.
    I hope everything is going smoothly this week.
    Smiles & hugs.

  6. Ouch! Expensive week for you. It always seems that when it rains it pours!

  7. Anonymous8:04 AM

    How are you going to ride your lawnmower into the fire without the belt?

  8. I love a good story, this is one of the times that bad things make good stories. (However they good stories don't stop the bad-words!) LOL
    I hope next week is better. Like the rest of the world I wonder when is a good time for something to 'BUST'! So far I ain't found it! ;-)

  9. PS: Love the 'lights dimming' line. Also that is sure a pretty view!

  10. It never rains but it pours.....

  11. I imagine I'll be there riding to hell beside you.

  12. At least you know how to change a tire...most young people no longer know how to do that. I've never been able to change a belt.

  13. Things these days doesn't last long they are cheap made, but not cheap to buy. My refrigerator is thirty years old one you buy now will do well to last five. Hope you're having a better week.

  14. My son went with me today so I could have my eyes checked and order new glasses. Then we picked up my prescription along with a few other needed items. Finally, we put gas in the car. I handed my son the credit card and said, Here--let's see if we can reach the limit on this baby.


  15. I am sure I am not the only person who wonders if their appliances and cars make a pack to die all at once

  16. ... Piggy-backing on Jo-Anne's comment, yes. I believe they all belong to the same union. Some days there's not enough asbestos.
    Nevertheless, this made me smile. (Hi Caillou!)


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