Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's Just a Little Smoke...

Memorial Day was winding down to a conclusion. Manlet's baseball game had been rained out, so his team had a quick batting practice in the early afternoon in which the sun came out the entire time. After that we made a quick stop at a local sports store to pick up supplies, then headed home to dine on leftovers from our rained out picnic dinner from the night before.

It was nice to kick back at home to read and relax. The sun was out in full glory as all of the weekend campers would now be in their cars heading home. Of course.

Manlet and I were on our sectional couch in the the livingroom with the windows behind us opened wide. There was a refreshing breeze stirring the drapes, a chorus of birds in full voice, and our dogs were happily sleeping in the middle of the yard in the sunshine.

Suddenly a deafening roar filled the air. A car engine was being torqued out at four or five thousand RPMs. Six thousand RPMs would toast the engine.

I jumped up from the couch and looked out towards The Hubster's shop where billows of smoke were beginning to fill the air. I grabbed my cellphone and called him.

"Steve! Stop revving the engine up so high!" I yelled the moment he answered.

"I'm just moving the fluids around!" he yelled back.

"Didn't you burn up the engine on your truck by revving it too high?" I questioned. 

"Ummmm......" was the mumbled answer.

I heard the engine revving even higher. Smoke was pouring out from the entire undercarriage and from the front edge of the hood. This SUV that has been his 'project' for the last five or six months.

"Grab the fire extinquisher!" I yelled over my shoulder to Manlet as I charged out of the front door. I ran as fast as I could in flipflops across to the shop, waving my arms at my non-compliant hubby. 

"STOP STOP STOP!" I screamed as I got within arms reach of the rig. 

When we bought this vehicle last fall we knew it needed the tranny replaced. I begged my husband to take the transmission out and have a professional rebuild it for us. Husband insisted on buying a used, very cheap replacement. Then began the process of replacing dozens of different parts "while he was at it". Many had been broken during the removal of the original tranny as Steve fails to recognize his own strength (breaking off bolts and screws), nor his dyslexia that causes him to do things backwards or out of sequence.

Steve finally switched off the engine and jumped out as I reached the car. He lifted the hood and had to jump back as thick smoke slapped him in the face.

"What in the world are you doing?" I was still very agitated. "Did you put enough tranny fluid in? Where is the car manual?"

"I don't know, and I returned it to the library," grumbled my Spouse. "Can't you just leave me alone? Why do you always have to interfere?"

By then Manlet was at the shop with the extinquisher. The Hubster had finished checking fluid (which actually looked over full to me), so I climbed in and started the car. I stepped gently on the accelerator, trying to rock the vehicle back and forth to finish pulling it back into the shop. Steve had shut it down half way in. Try as I might, there was absolutely no response from the transmission no matter what gear I put it in.

"Help me push," demanded Hubby to Manlet. They pushed and pushed and pushed.

"Are the brakes locked up?" I asked. "I have the car in neutral. It seems like the brakes are holding it. Or maybe the tranny has ceased up."

Steve and Manlet turned their backs to the tauilgate and pushed with all their might. The rig finally slid across the smooth concrete floor the last fourteen inches required to close the shop door. I turned off the ignition and got out of the car.

"Who did you buy that tranny from?" I quizzed, a bit calmer now.

Through gritted teeth The Hubster said he couldn't remember.

"Do you still have the tranny that came in the rig?" I continued to ask.

"Yes!" came the terse response.

"Let's take it in to be rebuilt," I suggested, definitely more peace-filled now that the smoke was beginning to dissipate.

"It will cost too much money!" roared Steve, now growing increasingly angry. "You SAID not to spend too much money!"

I started to explain that I had meant to do the project correctly from the beginning and not take shortcuts or cheap ways, but I shut my mouth. He already knows my thoughts on his projects. He has a brilliant mind, but over the last twenty some years every single project that he has attempted has ended up much worse than when he started. His mechanical abilities suck. He won't admit it. He thinks he is a brilliant mechanic. He isn't. He's a brilliant engineer. His ideas are awesome. His implementation isn't.

In the end, it's his money that he earns that pays for his projects. It's his time and effort that he spends on those projects. It seems to make him happy to think, putter and 'produce'. It's his single focus hobby that keeps him at home, and out of my hair.

I will keep my mouth shut. And yes, it can be done, lol.


  1. Thankfully the hobby that occupies my Hubby is quiet but no less expensive - Electronics! I see that the same project going on for so long that new technology beats him to it and makes it obsolete. He spent ages building a computer for the car and it was amazing with full Windows and touchscreen all mounted into the radio chassis frame and then tablets arrived. He has great amazing ideas but just not the drive to stick with it to completion. Thankfully, he is brilliant at mechanical work and i can safely leave him with my beloved car.

    1. my sweetie's automotive skills often lack the clarity of reality - he THINKS that all will turn out well when that often isn't the case at all... often i'd just rather do it myself!

  2. Sounds like my hubby when he says "You ALWAYS...". Fortunately, my hubby's hobbies aren't too dangerous: computers and electronic music. He is the first person I have ever met who can kill a computer from overuse. (I'm an IT professional, so I can usually fix them for him.)

    1. my hubby doesn't do computers nor electronics - no video games, no smart phones, no electronic gadgets - in fact, he often becomes extremely frustrated just trying to read texts from me - i asked him about something i had texted the other day & he admitted that he had erased them all as they are 'too confusing'