Sunday, April 02, 2006

Pitfalls

(For today's installment of "Idiot City People in the Country", I will be writing in first-person, present tense, to give a feel for what goes through the mind of someone in the middle of acts of appalling stupidity. See if you can spot all the points where we could have done things differently to avoid disaster! I'll mark them with asterisks but I bet I missed some you (or any five year old child) could spot. The plan was to get some big fencing panels to the back of the property to plug some holes in the fence line.)

Geez, these fence panels are awkward. "Let's put them sideways in the truck bed and drive them over, and you sit on them so they don't fall out," Annie tells me*. Yes, excellent. Good to know my fat butt is good for something. Into the truck and onto the panels. Much better than carrying them to the back fence, that would take forever.

Oof, bump! Ouch! Keep your fingers out of the fence openings or you're gonna lose a thumb, Hebert*. There's that big drainage pipe, gotta take that one ssslllllooooowwwww *WHAM!* "Jesus!" Not quite enough padding on that rump after all!

"Should we carry them across the creek bed or try to drive the truck down that gully?" Annie says. Down the gully? Jimminy Christmas, are you kidding, that's no gully it's a CLIFF! Now wait, get down, take a look, maybe it's not ... Hmmm, not too bad after all. Fairly shallow, but those rocks ...

"What do you think?" I ask, though from the way she's heaving rocks out of the way I think her mind's made up. "Let's give it a try, it'll be fun!" she says*. Fun, right, it's about a bazillion degrees and a thousand percent humidity, but anything's better than lugging this crap all the way out there. Let's just get this over with. "I dunno, it looks pretty steep. But ok, we can try it," I say.

"Let's just promise not to get mad if it gets stuck," she says. Maybe I could use that rationale at the beginning of each day -- "Let's agree not to get made at me if I do something wrong!" That could be the Ultimate Marriage Solution!

Focus, Hebert, she's driving down*. Take it slow there, take it ... look out for that tree! "SCCCREEEEECCCHHHH!" "Hang on, the fencing's caught on the tree!" I shout. I leap off the back of the truck at the last instant, narrowly avoiding severing my thumbs on the sliding panels.* We pull them off (the panels, not my thumbs) and set them aside. Things aren't looking good, the front of the truck is pretty close to slamming into the opposite bank. "Should we keep trying?" she asks. I shrug. What the hell do I know about trucks and mud? "Your call," I say. So she guns it again* and hey! Mud can fly FAR! Now the back of the truck is slipping sideways, are trucks supposed to do that? Probably not. "Better get out, let's take a look," I sigh.

Definitely stuck.

Yes, the ass end of our truck is jutting out of what now looks to be a ridiculously steep ravine. The Grand Canyon has nothing on this thing. What the hell were we thinking?! "We're gonna have to call Leon," Annie says. Noooooooo! The pinnacle of male embarrassment, having to call a neighbor to get you out of a stupid jam. "Couldn't we just suck it up and call a tow truck?" I ask desperately. No way my male ego survives having to get Leon to haul our fat truck out of our own river. "That would be stupid," Annie replies. Dammit, I hate when she's logical!

So it's back to the house and on the phone. Of course Leon will come! Who wouldn't want the chance to laugh at another man's astounding mistake? Hell, I could probably sell tickets. So here comes Leon in his John Deere, all cool competence and friendliness. Why couldn't he mock me so I could hate him properly? As it is he's just a really good guy helping me out and salvaging my pride with his compassion.

I hate that.

In five seconds flat the giant F250 is hauled out by the small John Deere and all is well. It's not the first time we've gotten the truck stuck, and with a sinking feeling I suspect it won't be the last.

Now how can I turn this into a convincing argument that Annie should let me buy a tractor ...?

10 comments:

annie'sbuddie said...

This hits so VERY close to home except in reverse. Paul frequently drives his Chevy 1500 across our creek to work back in the woods...we only have about 13 acres so it's not like going out to the "back 40".
The creek at that end is no big deal to cross & it has culverts with multiple bags of quickcrete bandaids filling up the gaps that happen when it does rain & that end gets washed out.
Lurking on the other side of the creek after the slightest period of rainfall is the scourge of east texas - GUMBO. Not the culinary delight of Cajun country but black gumbo that goes from ice slick & soft muck when it's wet to concrete hard when it's dry.
We've had to have our own "Leon" whose name is actually E.C. come pull the truck out more than once after getting stuck just from sitting on damp gumbo for a few hours while Paul played lumberjack in the woods...it just gradually sank enough under its own weight to make it impossible to get out.
I'm the one that wants the JD so I might actually be able to do something when I get calls while working in Houston to tell me the truck is stuck again!

TexasAnnie said...

Thanks my buddie for your post -- we love not being the only ones who do this sort of thing. Leon -- the nice neighbor who pulled our truck out -- told us how many other neighbors he's done the same thing for so I felt better about that. Also, the creek here was/is bone dry since we are still in a dought . . .who knew a truck can slip and slide on dry, packed dirt that sits on top of limestone....well now we know! :0

Jimmy Mac said...

You made my day, Jeff!
The first person narrative gave me a very clear picture of the gully incident, but I would buy a ticket to watch that in a heartbeat!
If you posted a list of weekend projects you plan to undertake, I'll bet we could fill a bus with people willing to pay to watch what unfolds. Sort of like "Tool Time" on the ranch.

Jeff Hebert said...

Tool Time on a tractor, I like that concept!

The Cow Whisperer said...

IT IS HIGH TIME THE CARTOON CHARICATURE OF "MEAN JEFF" ON THIS WEBSITE IS REPLACED WITH A NEW SUPERHERO...

Let's think of names, shall we?

Super Bumpkin
Admiral Slim
Count Bumpkinini
Gomer Man

Denise said...

I love that "Gomer Man!" However, it should be "Goober Man!" And I agree with Jimmy Mac -- I'd pay to watch Jeff in action one weekend!

Rob Rogers said...

Hey, Jeff. Mechanically, how did you set up these "Read More" posts? I tried something similar on my own site, but to make it work, I ended up creating a second blog that just housed long posts, and that doesn't seem to be nearly as elegant as what you've done.

Love your site--I visit it at least every couple of days. Thanks.

Jeff Hebert said...

Hi Rob, thanks for stopping by! I shamelessly stole the "read more" functionality from another site. Basically you add a style to the style sheet section of the template. You then enclose the section you want to be invisible on the front page in [span class="fullpost"] tags. That just makes the text invisible. The button is just a link to the full-post page, which is set up to display all text even if it's marked as invisible.

The way Blogger advises you to do it means the "read more" link is always there even if there's no more to read -- http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=898 -- I didn't like that method.

The method I adapted only shows the button-link if there's actually more to view. The page for that is http://theblogdesk.blogspot.com/2005/11/making-expandable-posts-in-blogger.html

Hope that helps, it drove me nuts trying to figure it out before finding that. Works like a champ though.

Jeff Hebert said...

Hmm, that link didn't work too well. Holler if you can't cut and paste it from here (jhebert@texas.net) and I'll e-mail the link directly.

Jeff

Rob Rogers said...

Thanks, Jeff. I was able to follow the linkg. I'll give this a shot.