Some people just have a talent for fixing things. My husband, BB, is one of these people. By day, he’s an unassuming plumbing, heat, and air conditioning contractor, and he does a lot of commercial refrigeration work to boot.
But by night and on weekends, he’s The Fix-It Guy Superhero. Everyone in the neighborhood knows it, and everyone calls BB when they’ve done something stupid and broken any kind of machine. He’s always ready to drop whatever he’s doing to go bail out someone who has broken this or that, and actually really enjoys it.
There’s not a machine I have ever seen him fail to fix. More often than not, he fixes things the right way the first time, but he’s also got this wonderful ability to come up with a temporary fix when that’s all that can be done in an emergency situation. No matter what the problem is, given a little time to think it over, he can almost effortlessly (or so it appears) whip up some “better than MacGyver” type of temporary fix to tie it over until he can do the repair correctly.
And that ability sure comes in handy when I break things at the worst possible times. Because I do break things, and have yet to do so at what would be a convenient moment. And I usually do it far from home, which complicates matters even more.
Case in point… This weekend I had that 3 stop trip to do. I had just finished congratulating myself for getting it all planned down to the last detail, then I took off and headed south. And, everything went exactly as planned… until my dash light came on that tells me I probably got some dirty fuel in the system. So I got on the cell and called BB who told me to wait until I got to my motel, then to drain the fuel filter housing, and he explained to me how to do it.
Now, I’m not usually completely stupid, but some days I have to admit I am sorta stupid, if you know what I mean. And apparently I was having one of my more stupid moments when I ended up busting the top off of the tube that houses the valve that drains crud out of my fuel filter housing. Dang thing just came off in my hand.
Evidently I did not do it right.
If I didn’t already say it, I’m not very handy with fixing machines. I can do basic stuff like change oil and put in new filters or install a new battery, and I’ve changed out a few starters and other relatively easy stuff, but I’m no mechanic.
This does not necessarily mean I understand what I’m doing or how the machine works, I just do these things the way I’m shown to do them since they need to be done. And a lot of that, I don’t even do anymore, since BB likes to do it himself.
I assume it’s more enjoyable for him to just do the work than it is to watch me try to remember what step to do next. I have the same feeling watching BB try to fold laundry. So we pretty much stick to what we’re good at…
That said, I knew I was in trouble, over my head, and dead in the water when that part came off in my hand. I immediately went into full blown crisis panic mode. And being a girl, that means I shed a few tears and talked mean to myself while kicking rocks in the parking lot and trying to figure out where and how to get a replacement part on a Sunday afternoon.
After a few calls to parts houses and even truck rental joints, it was painfully obvious to me that I was going nowhere… fast. If at all. And I had three deliveries on the truck that had to get to where they were going first thing in the morning. I was pretty much screwed. And it was all my own darned fault for not being more careful… And for not listening as carefully to BB as I should have while he was telling me how to drain the thing in the first place. Gaaaa!
That’s the problem with doing stupid things, they can’t be undone. Fixed, yes. Undone, nada. Nope. Ain’t happenin’. And that’s why I particularly hate it when I do stupid things. But anyway…
The part I broke drains the fuel filter when you open it, but when it’s closed, it also keeps the fuel from all running out on the ground when the fuel pump is working. And the fuel pump goes on as soon as the ignition key hits the on position, whether the engine is running or not. So I couldn’t do anything but sit there and try to figure it out.
After coming up with nothing, I bit the bullet and phoned home.
That’s where BB the Super Hero of Fix-It Guys comes in. He got me calmed down after getting my probably nearly incoherent phone call, got me to tell him what the exact trouble was, and said, “I’m headed down with Dew Dog (our little Tex-Mex dog) and we’ll get it going.” So he did.
When he pulled in to my motel at 2:30 a.m., BB never said anything about how dumb I was to break the truck in the first place. And he only mentioned a few times that I should listen to him better when he’s telling me how to do something. After 7 hours of driving in the dark to save my butt, I think he was entitled to make a few comments.
So… he grabbed a few hours of sleep, then at 7 a.m. he was out there working up his magical fix-it powers. He had already found out that the nearest actual replacement part to fix the truck was about 500 miles away, so that wasn’t going to work if I was going to get those deliveries made on time.
After looking over the damage I had done, BB made a trip to the auto parts place and one to a hardware store, came back, and, on the bed of my truck, fabricated a little custom piece to seal the ports on the fuel filter housing so not a drop of diesel could escape.
It took him two pieces of aluminum, a piece of rubber gasket material, four little washers, a power drill, a rasp, and a star driver. That’s it. And he got the leaking stopped and the truck running just like that.
Once it was running and he was sure it wasn’t leaking, BB just gave me a hug, loaded up Dew Dog, hopped in his Jeep, and headed home, calling me every few hours to make sure the fix was still holding. It was.
So BB saved my butt and I made my deliveries (late by my standards, but still on time considering my customer’s time-frame) and got myself and the truck home safely last night.
Like I said, he’s THE FIX-IT GUY SUPER HERO, and every hotshot should have one!