Sunday, February 24, 2013

Backhoe Lug Nuts are the Devil.

Well, we lucked out because yesterday it warmed up to a balmy 28 degrees instead of a frigid 27! The first thing that happened was us snapping one of the extensions my uncle had lent us with his pneumatic tool.

Which meant that the day was already off to a great start. He had also lent us a ¾ breaker bar and ratchet. However, we made the decision to go get our own breaker bar and ratchet, because I was afraid if we broke too many of his things my uncle would never talk to us again which can never happen because my aunt makes, like, really really good desserts.

Now the thing is, many, many places sell 1/2 breaker bars and ratchets, or 1/4 breaker bars and ratchets, but not many sell 3/4 breaker bars and ratchets. And by not many I mean two. Only two places sold them within driving distance. So we hopped in the car and sped off to the store that's like, too damn far away and I almost feel asleep twice during the drive because breaking other peoples things is hard work.

Well we get to the store in question and we go in and lo and behold they have what we need. So we sped back to the house, slapped our brand new breaker bar and extension and socket onto the lug, grabbed our 6 foot long pipe (the persuader) and began. We heaved and grunted and cursed at the cold uncaring universe.

And then we bent the head of the breaker bar. 

This, this is what trying looks like. Also, failure.*

We went back inside. Did I mention that it was 27 28 motherfucking degrees outside? We called my uncle. He said to heat the bolts up with a torch.


So after some digging around in the shed we found a rinky dink little propane torch. We lit it off, and the wind put it out. We lit it up again and the wind really put it out. We lit it again, sheltered it with our bodies like it was our own infant, and got it into the tire well and we were in business.

Imagine standing outside, wearing two sets of thermals, fleece, insulated gloves, a hat and wool socks, hunched over holding a propane touch up against a lug nut in 28 degree weather with wind gusts of up to thirty miles an hour and you will not even come close to imagining how much this sucked.

It really, really sucked.

After a while the oil we had placed on the lugs began to bubble up and then we placed on the whole breaker bar/extension/socket/persuader combo again. Using a stump, some boards and a jack we were able to support the whole rig to allow me to keep the torch focused like a fucking laser beam on that lug. 

If you ever wondered what sadness looks like, this is it.

So with me holding steady Scott put his entire weight down onto the persuader. And there was an almighty sound. At first we thought something had broken. I was looking right at my uncles breaker bar, thinking that he was going to kill us, because my eyes refused to believe what they were seeing. Everything was intact. The lug had finally loosed.

Quickly Scott pulled the pipe off and cranked it loose and then I moved the torch to the next one and then we repeated the process until the second to last one when the propane torch started to die. Then we freaked out and did arcane things to it and lit it again and again and then I had to hold the can at some bizarre angle to keep it going and freaking out that it would fail on the last lug because of course we didn't have any refills for it because that would be the smart thing to have.

Yet, somehow, somehow the torch lasted until we were able to loosed the last bolt and then pull the tire off and set it on the ground to wild applause.

Pictured: wild applause.

And then we went and became flushed with our own success and then we tried to take the tire off the rim and failed magnificently and said aw fuck it and I went inside and drank the rest of that bottle of wine.

*Scott took all of these pictures. I was gripped too
deep in the throws of holy shit balls it's cold.


  1. One step at a time. I think though, the next step is harder than the one you just did. It always is for me.

    Nice looking backhoe though! :)

    1. Yeah, I think the carpet is a nice touch.:) And yeah, getting the tire off the rim, I am beginning to think child birth might be easier...

  2. I would have been envious of the lug nuts. They at least got warmed up. I can't wait to hear about getting the tire off the rim. That's a bitch of a job on a bicycle wheel, never mind a great big tractor wheel.

    Does King seriously have carpeting?

    1. Yep, see it under the kitty, in the last picture. Former owner put that in there, to keep the mud down and to keep tools from sliding around. That's why King is so awesome. He has everything.

  3. Heck! By this point, I think I'd just walk away from the back hoe regardless of what I needed it fixed for! You have more determination than I do, that's for sure!

  4. Man, King is really giving you a run for your money!

  5. I LOVE your stories! I feel like they are depicting my life and all the shit that I go through in an attempt to "fix" things. Which usually ends up costing me way more than if I had simply taken them to someone who knows what they're doing. We don't have to deal with snow down here in Texas so you've got me beat on that one. But we do find rattlesnakes hiding in places they shouldn't be. Can't wait to read your next installment. Good luck!

    1. Yes, I will definitely take 12 degrees and snowing over rattlesnakes any day.