I cruised back roads at 45 MPH towing the little splitter behind my truck. It was comically out of scale. On the way I rolled up to a gas station with my huge thirsty diesel, put less than two bucks of non-oxygenated unleaded into the splitter’s tank and drove off. Ha!
At the Foxinator’s house I did a headcount. No family members had gone AWOL. Whew! The kids were consuming cable TV like addicts. Ignoring them, I headed to the woods, fired up the saw, felled a tree, bucked it up, split it, and stacked stovebolts in my truck like Tetris was a religion. Work was getting done! The cure for a bad week. I grinned like an idiot. The kids grumped some but helped when prodded. A loose turkey made an attack run at the roaring woodsplitter engine and crapped on my gas can. Turkeys have interesting personalities.
Just before sunset I rolled out for home with a full load of split wood. My trusty saw was perched on the carefully packed load. My good pal the splitter was still hitched and rolling behind the truck. It had been a good day. The stress of air travel had faded. I was a happy man.
I also picked up the kids but who cares about that?
Halfway home I got a call from Mrs. Curmudgeon. She was 100 miles out and closing. We’d all be home soon. The dog would be glad to see the family back together. (The dog doesn’t like it when some of her “flock” are missing.)
Something was amiss! I saw sparks in side mirror. Sparks?!? I pulled over immediately.
The splitter’s tire had blown. Not “got a flat” but “kersplode”. I’d brought the truck to a stop quickly but the damage had been immediate. I’ve always hated those tires.
Not only had the rubber split but the wheel had gouged into the pavement causing the sparks and flattening a chunk of the rim. The sparks had also melted the plastic fender on one side. I inspected everything else; no actual damage to the mechanical elements of the splitter. I breathed a sign of relief. No breakdown is good news but things could have been worse.
I paced and cursed a bit as I internalized the scene. Once I realized the exploded tire was the opposite of the one I’d patched earlier that morning I felt better. The catastrophic tire failure wasn’t due to my patch job. Then I realized out of two possible tires I’d had two tire failures; a branch stub puncture and a kersplode. That made me feel worse. Who has luck like that?
I jacked up the splitter, removed the castle nut, jiggered off the mangled wheel and tire, dropped the bearing in the dirt (every damn time!), stepped on my tool box and sent sockets everywhere, then…
Should I leave my splitter abandoned by the side of the road? Hell no!
A word about crime. Many people think rural areas are crime free. Not so. We’ve got different crime. There are people who’ll see a $1,500 woodsplitter by the side of the road and consider it “found goods”. With the advent of cell phones a working group of friends and relatives and a truck can appear out of nowhere like a beer fueled special forces team. Six arms would toss the splitter into a rusty F-150 and I’d never see it again. This could happen in ten minutes while I was off buying a new tire. Note: I’ve met people who’d steal your splitter on a highway on Saturday night and smile at you in church ten hours later; all the while honestly thinking they’re going to heaven. Don’t overestimate your fellow man’s ability to separate the world into themselves, friends, family, clan, or whatever and “the other” to whom doing wrong is somehow justifiable.
I called Mrs. Curmudgeon who was still some way off. I’d have to wait for her to come to do guard duty before I could take action. By then the tire store would be closed. She’d have to wait while I went home, hitched my trailer, came back, and then… I sighed. I’d have to find some way that I alone or with only minimal added muscle power could lift the beast onto the trailer. I didn’t like that sound of that. It sounded like a great way to mash fingers and compress vertebrae.I saw no way around it either.
It had been just that kind of week. The whole week had sucked since Monday (it was now Saturday), my morning had sucked, my evening was starting to suck, and it was going to be a long sucky night. Everything sucked and that’s all there was to it.
Then the cops showed up…