One with the brains, one with the brawn?


So last night we made a quickie trip out to Nowheresville to install an air conditioner in the Quacker. We live 2 hours away, so that’s 4 hours round trip of driving, if you’re counting, but Eric needed a little daylight to install it, and we didn’t think we’d get another chance before our next scheduled after-dark arrival. Life in a trailer in Texas in August is insufferable, so his urgency about this project made sense to me.

When he announced his plans, I volunteered to tag along.

“Really, I don’t need your help. I know you need to write,” he said.

“Really, I can write in the car [which has an air conditioner], and I like to be with you.”

I packed us a cooler, grabbed my manuscript and red pen, and went along for the ride. As we closed in on our beloved piece of hill-country heaven, I congratulated Eric on making a to-do list for the trip, and I said, “And of course you brought the keys.”


Confession: I knew he hadn’t brought the keys in the way a wife just knows. You know?

“Well, there’s an extra set hidden in the grill, if you don’t have them,” I reminded him.

His blanched face regained its color. But while we were on the subject of dirty little oopsies, he came clean. “I also forgot the ladder, and I can’t figure out how I’m going to get this 100-pound unit on the roof of the trailer. Hell, I can’t figure out how I’m going to get it from the Suburban to the trailer without hurting my back.”

He had a point. He would have to park 25 yards away. The sand out there is not something to trifle with, and we’d trifled before.

“Hey,” he said, “I know what I’ll do!”

I interjected. “Why don’t you just use the boom on the hackin’ frackin’ skid loader? Isn’t that the whole point of it?”

“You know I was about to say that, right?”

(Totally irrelevant now that I had saved the day, don’t you think?)

He grumbled, but happily.

We arrived at our swampy Shangri-La to an unwelcome sight. Due to the combination of (1) Eric’s awesome skid-loadering, in which he created super-fertile soil by turning every plant in the formerly-dried-up pond into compost, and (2) the monsoon rains of the last six months, our pond now sprouted water plants that extended 30 feet above its surface. You couldn’t tell there was anything but a weed forest on the two acres, even though it was completely submerged. We’d gone from “can’t see the pond because its dry” to “can’t see the pond because it’s overgrown.” Which is really exactly the same problem, if you think about it, and quite entertaining, if you don’t consider the 40 man hours of work and $2000 spent tackling the problem.

Nowheresville, 1. Hutchins, 0.

We turned away from our pond-forest, and Eric went for the spare keys. Unfortunately they were under heavy guard by the hornets who had built a nest inside the grill.

No keys.

No keys meant no skidloader. No skidloader meant no wheelbarrow/ladder.No wheelbarrow/ladder left us right where we started. Damn.

“Maybe if you drive into it and knock it over, it will open and the nest will fall out,” he said.

“OoooooKkkkkkkk,” I said.

I drove forward as gently as one can with a 2000 Suburban, which means I never felt it. Oh, I knocked it over all right. Where it lay broken and mangled, but with the latch on the lid still in place.

“I hope we didn’t pay much for that grill,” I said.

He ignored me.

“We’re going to have to drive to town to get hornet spray and a ladder,” he said.

That would take at least an hour, and the rest of our daylight. “Or we could just go borrow one from our neighbor Bert,” I suggested.

“But he’s not home.” We know Bert is home when the flags are out. They weren’t.

I spoke slowly into his ear, enunciating my words. “So if we find it, I’m pretty sure they aren’t using it themselves right now.”

Aha, common sense. It’s a woman thing. Anyway, Eric came back from Bert’s carrying a ladder and a can of hornet spray.

“I like our neighbors,” he said.

“I like that you brought your wife,” I said.

He grinned. “It has been pretty great having you around.”

It’s nice to be appreciated. And to have daylight left to work on my manuscript, which I did, while my super handy but tragically forgetful and terminally unlucky husband installed the new air conditioner into our ancient trailer. Successfully. And without needing any help from me.


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26 Responses to How many Hutchins does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

  1. Sandy Webb says:

    LOL…TJ & I forgot the keys to the shack once. We pulled up the roof & slipped in. Then we had many extra keys made. Put a set in both trucks and to this day I still carry a set in my purse. There is also a set hanging on the key thingy at home.

  2. Clint says:

    This such a great story and good for you being such a helpful wife. It often takes 2 to get the job done!

  3. Vidya Sury says:

    :-) Ok..I am just a giggling mess. Only, I sobered up thinking of the day when Sury went to work at 8 am and my Mom took Vidur out to loaf in the hot sun at 9.30 am, promising to be back by 1 pm. And I was in semi-damp clothes (being a pair of ancient shorts and saggy sleeveless tshirt) with a broomstick in one hand and waving “ta ta” with the other, until they went out of sight. Then I turned towards the door which shut with a gentle bang on my face. I was locked out. From 9.30 am to 1 pm because I was too stupid to turn the lock to prevent the door from auto-shutting on me. I now wear my house keys on a rope around my neck. truth.

    • Pamela says:

      Oh no! Locked out is bad enough. Locked out when dressed in a way you don’t want to be seen is really bad! I am glad you tie your keys to yourself :) I’ll start doing that with Eric!

  4. Oh Eric and Pam,you really are the Lucy and Desi of Texas. Always in a scrape. Thanks for a million laughs. I’ve got a backlog to read from you. I’ve been distracted by hot boy bands.

  5. Well, THAT was my LOL to kick start my Friday! Thanks, P!

  6. Eric says:

    I would hate to ruin the story :). Actually and unfortunately it is all pretty true, and if you had not been there I would probably still be out there, dead from wasp stings or pinned under the skid loader, which reminds me,,,,,,, I did not tell you about one other kinda sorta funny thing that happened……

  7. Bill Dorman says:

    So, it’s probably a guy thing then; that’s exactly what I would do, start heading to where we are going w/ very little preparation. ‘Cause I’m good at just showing up. HOWEVER, I would have probably still gotten the job done; it’s just I would have turned a 2-hr job into a 5 or 6 hour one…..:).

    Air is good. I grew up in central Florida and we didn’t have air conditioning until I was 15 yrs old. I think it was when DCF came by that my dad finally got an air conditioner for us…..

    • Pamela says:

      We didn’t have air conditioning when we lived on St. Croix, but it was bearable. The Gulf Coast is oppressive. Central Florida — wow. You win, that must have been hot humid air so thick it was hard to breathe if you moved!

  8. Ally says:

    Okay, is it me, or is there a part of this story that’s missing? The part where the nest of hornets were none too happy to have their abode forcefully knocked to the ground, even while still inside the grill? I have all kinds of horror movie scenes running through my head!

    • Pamela says:

      It was hilarious. The dance of the bumblebees turned into the dance of the black hornets, with Eric armed with a spray can. He did a lot of leaping pirouettes.They are aggressive, and they quickly figured out how was attacking them, and they attacked back. He only got bitten once.

      The other piece missing is that he told me, only last night, that he had positioned the boom of the skid loader above the trailer, and then he turned off the skidloader so he could run up the ladder onto the trailer and put the air conditioner on it. Only the boom is hydraulic. So when he turned off the loader, the boom started descending, and it is HEAVY. Within seconds the trailer was listing toward him, but he jumped back up on loader, turned it back on. We almost had a very bowed roof. 😉

  9. Alexandra says:

    I love it when I have good ideas.

    Such a rare thing, I get giddy when it happens.

    Cute read, thank you.

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks, Alex. Yes, it’s rare for me to be the brilliant one. I relish every moment of it. However, it is NOT rare for me to be the one who founds all the things he loses and forgets :)

  10. Lili says:

    What would your husband do without his creative, smart and wonderful wife? He has to feel lucky about you, doesn’t he?;)

  11. A hah hah hah. Haw haw haw. Snicker, snicker, laughing until tears come out of eyes. OK OK. I’ll come back later when I’m not cackling with glee at this post. It’s just so perfect!!! Typical Hutchins’ folk lore. I can’t wait until you deal with Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster. Really! It’s only a matter of time.

  12. Kinga says:

    So you have finally manage that! It is always the same with my hubby, too. They need to feel that they are the brain, but the wives are always the neck which turns the head with the brain in the right direction:)

  13. JennyBean says:

    Methinks he couldn’t have done it without you!

    xoxo, Jenny

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