John, the garden artiste (he cuts my lawn) and I were standing, thumbs in our imaginary suspenders and chewing imaginary green shoots, as my neighbour across the street backs from his driveway, pulls across the street to in front of my house, and moves off, clipping a non-resident Lexus on his way to the Save on Foods for some chewing t’baccy.
He gets out of his van, suspenders amply filled with girth, and assesses the Lexus, waves no problem, “Just our tires rubbed,” and drives off down the street.
The artiste and I saunter into the street to find the quarter panel dented, the tire and rim scraped, bumper pulled forward and the flashy headlight, the kind that blows your brains out at night when it comes your way, a bit cracked.
“I reckon that’s $5,000 damage, including painting the hood,” I venture. Having run into a deer on the highway, and having the same expensive headlights shifted a tad, and finding they cost $1,500 each and repairing grill work, and hood damage I couldn’t see, coming in at $3,500, I think my estimate might be low.
“I reckon,” is all John answers and we go back to lawns and computers. Well, it comes to me that my boat trailer that I hoped to put in my driveway and park my car on the street, just puts my car in the way of damage from my otherwise good dude neighbour, that he won’t tell me about.
So, I have to run it out to the Alderwood, RV & Boat Storage, behind the Waddling Dog, and pay a $1,000 a year to store my trailer that I don’t need stored… and two years goes by, in which, two years of Victoria weather pounds my trailer, until I have to go and see what, if anything, remains.
The trailer is still there, the tires are not yet flat, and when I plug in the lights, both signals work. But the wheel on the front end, that you use to raise and lower your trailer onto the ball of your tongue in your car’s hitch receiver, won’t turn. I find some WD 40 in my tool box and empty the entire can into the grease box on the top. Well, the crank cranks until it locks – in both directions – but the trailer will not raise or descend on any ball.
I call on honest Ed, my good aboriginal buddy, who owns the lot, and we both look at the crank and crank it for all we’re worth, but to no avail. The lift won’t lift or descend. “Balls,” we both say and a lot more colourful words.
“&)()()))(^%^&%^%$^, eh,” Ed says.
(*))(*&^&*%^&$^&%*&, eh,” I answer. I find I can swing the wheel out of the way, and he says he will drop the ball clasp on my ball, adding that he can hold it while I move the ball into place. The purpose is to see if the brakes work, as well as the brake lights.
I try moving off and he soon signals that the brakes on one side are locked, so the tire is not turning. We exchange more cuss words.
“Eh?” he ventures, but adds that it looked like the tire wanted to turn, so I might as well go around the block and see if it will unlock. “Tryn hit somethn.”
As I’m pulling out of the storage site he laughs and waves me to stop. It turns out that to prevent theft I have put a lock on a kryptonite chain through a trailer wheel (that I forgot about) so I rummage out a second can of WD 40 (you can never have too much WD 40), empty it on the rust encrusted lock, and look at my keys.
On my key chain, there are two keys that I have no idea what they do, but thought they were boat ignition keys from before I had it changed. I insert one and, by Jminy, it fits in smoothly, but won’t turn a millimetre.
“I’ll get the bull clips, eh.”
“Yeah, eh.” And I stand philosophically over the lock I forgot I had and the keys I didn’t know I had, but had not thrown out, being too superstitious to throw away anything that looked like it might still be of some small use some day. Good thing I didn’t throw them away.
Soon, honest Ed, is putting the jaws of death on the lock, and it is refusing to do anything. I give it a try, but honest Ed is larger than I, so I soon give them back and find my hacksaw in my tool box – I found out eons ago never to be anywhere where your tools are not. Hence, my toolbox, my main one, has been sitting in my stagecoach for the past 30 years.
My hacksaw goes: “D-d-d, eh,” but the lock refuses to show a cut, and honest Ed soon is back jumping on the bull clips, and finally the rusty lock does what we want which is get cut.
“Won’t be needing this anymore, eh,” honest Ed says and pitches my cut lock far into the blue sky. It returns to earth far down in the next lot, which looks, sort of, like a cross between a composting yard and dump. Hast la vista lock.
I pull out the kryptonite chain, and almost fall off my driver’s chair when, going in a circle, all four wheels on my double axel trailer turn, and brake. “Well, Lawdy, eh?”
But the crank on the wheel still won’t crank, and I am thinking that I am going to have to have a tow truck come and pick up the trailer and take it to Sherwood, and get it fixed, as in ka-ching.
“Naw,” says honest Ed. “Ya just go git another wheel assembly, cut this one off, and put the new one on, eh?”
Ed, my good buddy, has just saved me several hundred dollars. According to him, they are generic, and any one rated at the same number of pounds just gets bolted on the trailer in the same spot and Tonto’s yer uncle.
Well, I’m gittin a new wheel assembly at Sherwood and the best song the Eagles ever writ is playn on the radio, Desperado, and I almost fall off their ‘client’ stool because, at $50, the wheel and crank is far cheaper than the usual boat bill, which usually comes in at $1,500.
“It may be rainin, but there’s a rainbow above yeh”, Don Henley sings, and I agree, as the December sun sets in the west, meaning I have to reconvene with my good buddy, honest Ed, another day.
On this cautionary tale, my garden artiste thumbs his Stetson far back on his forehead and sez, “You couldn’t jest lift the trailer up n prop it aginst the house, like?”
“Not when it weighs 1,700 pounds, eh,” I give back, tryn not to souwnd kriticle.
The artiste raises an eyebrow, spits out some brown ‘baccy juice and we go back to lawns and computers. The moral is, as all of us afflicted with boats know: no boat related problem is ever simple, or fixed in one day, or for fifty bucks. Eh?