Battle of the tow ball


The weekend!

Yay! The weekend!

That means I can work on the yard, plant my garden, mess with the compost bins, prep the raised beds, clean up the sidewalks, move dirt and generally work outside around the house. The big task of the day was rent a tiller, a real man's tiller, a thirteen horsepower monster of a tiller, one that can till the front yard faster than I can poop, which is saying something: Kris calls me the Fastest Poop in the West.

For good reason.

So, come 11 AM, the earliest I can rent the tiller for a full 24 hours, I jumped into the truck and drive to the equipment rental place. When I arrived, I hopped out of the truck and wandered into the rental office. After confirming they had the tiller ready for me, I asked them if they could just place it in the truck. No, no, the tiller is too heavy, it needs to be towed.

Okay, then. My truck, I told them, has a plastic covering over the bumper, could they help me punch a hole in it so that I could put the tow ball I have here? No, no, they aren't allowed to alter any customer vehicle, not even to attach a tow ball. You sure? You really sure? You really really eally sure? No, they couldn't help me.

So, I drove home, pulled the 50 foot cord out of the garage, followed by the electric drill and my 2.5" drill bit. As I tightend the bit into the drill, using the chuck key on at least two holes, I thanked my teenage rebellion that directed me to industrial arts and away from home economic classes. I can cook. I can sew. I can vacuum. I can iron. I didn't need three years of junior high school classes to teach me any of those skills. What I did learn in those three years of industrial arts was enough printmaking, metalworking, woodworking, drafting to be unafraid of power tools.

Especially small power tools like a drill.

Keeping the power drill steady, now that was the problem. I gave up on the larger drill bit, and put in the 1" drill bit, the one with the hole lead. A minute later, I had a hole in the plastic on the bumper. Now, to detach the tow ball from the hitch it was on. This ball was in the truck, left from Mike, I think. I spent ten minutes and a dozen tools trying to detach the tow ball from the hitch, with no luck. I gave up, and drove to the nearest automotive parts store and bought a tow ball.

I knew a I needed a 2" ball, the equipment rental place told me I needed that size. I had other choices, though.

There are three dimensions for tow balls: the size of the ball, the diameter of the shank and the length of the shank. I went in and, looking at the various tow balls, purchased a 2" ball with a 3/4" diameter shank with cash. I walked outside, looked at the bumper, and walked back into the store, exchanging the 2" ball with the 3/4" shank for a 2" ball with a 1" shank. Annoyingly enough, the store required a first name, last name and telephone number to return or exchange any purchases, even when made with cash. Annoying.

I walked back outside and realized I didn't have any way of attaching the towball to the bumper, so I drove home.

After about two minutes at home, I realized the towball shaft was too short. So, this time, collecting my tools, I went back to the automotive parts store and exchanged the towball, again, for the only 2" ball with a 1" diameter 2.75" long shank. Unfortunately, the 2.75" shank wasn't long enough either.

Good lord, that nearly sounds scandalous.

So, I went back in and returned the tow ball. For the third time, I had to give my name (or rather, Kris') and my phone number (or rather, someone else's, I have no idea who) to the cashier. In the end, with all the exchanges, I ended up losing a penny in the deal.

The equipment rental place had tow balls, which I found out by both calling, and driving back over because it took them longer to pick up the phone and talk to me than it did to drive from the automotive parts store to the equipment rental place. Unfortunately, all of their shanks (heh) were even shorter than the ones I had just purchased and returned. I asked them again if they could please just load the tiller into the back of the truck, and once again, they refused. I suspect if I were the size of Mike, they wouldn't have refused me. Weighing less than half of Mike, though, and they declined.

After four hours of wrestling with the bumper and the tow balls, and driving back and forth from the various stores and home, and not having a tiller in the end, the tow ball defeated me.

On a different note, I found my passport. I chased my house keys as they fell between the truck seats, and when I reached in, I pulled out my passport instead. How the passport ended up between the seats in the truck, I have no idea. I do know that last November, I touched everything I own inside my house. I even checked my car and Kris' car. Clearly, I never thought to check the truck, too.