Today’s post comes from Chris, Reneeinnd’s husband.
Due to an anomaly at birth, I am partially ambidextrous. I learn to do simple tasks with my left hand and complex tasks with my right. I allow other people to demonstrate their mechanical prowess while I stand aside to lend assistance. Attempts to tackle jobs with moving parts commonly end in frustration, absurdity, or disaster.
In July, Renee and I traveled to see our son and his wife in Brookings, South Dakota so Renee could do a therapy presentation and we could help the kids move into a new apartment. The new place was quite a step up: it had three bedrooms on two levels, with two and a half bathrooms! Son and his wife had bought new furniture and had it delivered to the new apartment. They had to leave several pieces of furniture, including a huge, dilapidated sectional sofa, in the old apartment so it could be removed and hauled to the landfill with my pickup.
We arrived on Friday evening, delighted to see the new apartment. Renee and Son would be at the presentation the next day. After a pleasant meal, the four of us went to the Lowe’s to get what would be needed for the big move– a big tarp and a set of ratchets with straps.
Son and I went over to the old place and proceeded to load the bulky pieces of the sofa into my pickup and cover them with the tarp. The next step was to secure the load with the straps and ratchets.
Son and I usually work well together, but he has dexterity problems of his own. Secretly, I didn’t have a clue–I’d let him take the lead. Neither of us knew how to spool the straps through the ratchet. Son used the expedient of the young–he looked up the procedure on YouTube. By this time, it was getting dark and he had to use his phone as a flashlight. He figured out what to do, and we threw the hooked end of the strap over the top of the load. At that point we inadvertently violated the cardinal rule of ratcheting–always keep the strap straight! If you don’t, the strap will twist and get stuck in the spool while you’re tightening it with the ratchet.
Of course the strap got tangled, and the strength of two big men was not enough to unwind it. Fortuitously, Son’s upstairs neighbor, a veteran of multiple collegiate moves, arrived. He was able to pull out the strap so it could be spooled back in to the ratchet. We tried again, secured the load, and drove the truck to the new apartment, tired but satisfied with a job well done.
On Saturday, Daughter in Law and I got to do the fun part–driving the pickup to the landfill so we could dispose of the sofa. We gleefully flung the cruddy pieces onto a smelly pile of rubbish. We were very careful to wind the straps back into ratchets without twisting them. I had not repeated the same mistake and was proud of my newfound competence. I could now use a ratchet on my own–without help!
We showed Son the neatly spooled ratchets when he got home, only to find that the straps were horribly stuck! You’re not supposed to rewind the strap through the back of the ratchet! Son pulled with all his might and was able to get one of the spools unstuck. He had to resort to cutting the other one. A mysterious third strap was involved. Although Son remained calm and patient, he was clearly disgusted by the situation. He advised me to ask one of “my mechanically inclined” friends for assistance in the future.
The straps and ratchets are stored in a compartment of my truck. I am too embarrassed to show my incompetence by asking a casual friend or neighbor for help. I vowed never to use an unspooled ratchet and strap again– if I can avoid it.
Have you ever had a guilty secret? What did you do to conceal your shame?