Friday, August 31, 2007

The common toolbox gremlin...

I was alone in the house. Mary and Lyndsay were at the grocery, so I figured it was a perfect opportunity for garage time. My fixed gear commuter needed a quick clean-and-lube. It's always a good idea to check the chain tension at the same time.

I sprayed the chain with WD40 to loosen the crud. It's a great cleaner but as a lubricant it won't stand up to the pressure on a chain. I scrubbed with a rag while being careful to keep my hands away from the rotating cog and chain ring. The wheel was out of true so I made a mental note of it. After the solvent evaporated, I applied some chain lube and wiped off the excess. As I turned toward the toolbox for an adjustable wrench, the phone in the kitchen rang.

I went to answer the phone, taking the wrench along in my hand. Mary wanted to know if we needed a few items she'd left off the shopping list. I checked for her, then went back to the garage. “Now, what happened to that adjustable wrench?” I mumbled to myself. “I had it just a moment ago when I answered the phone.” I went back into the kitchen to look for it. It wasn't near the phone or on the counter top or the table. I checked my pockets too. After a few minutes of fruitless searching, I went back to the garage. I could use a 15mm combination wrench just as easily. The adjustable would turn up – sometime.

The chain tensioning went quickly, then I gave the wheel a spin prior to truing it. But when I reached in my pocket for my spoke wrench, a Schwinn Centennial tool that I carry because it doubles as a bottle opener, I was astounded to find it missing! One should never be without one's bottle opener just in case there's a cold beer in the vicinity. I'd had one or two the previous evening, so there was a chance the tool was sitting on the kitchen counter, probably right next to that missing adjustable wrench. So I went back to the kitchen. “No luck”, I thought, “but maybe I left it in a jersey pocket after riding home.” So I went to look in the laundry basket.

I keep my cycling clothes separate from the family laundry. It's easier than sorting through a big pile of clothes. But when I looked though my jersey pockets, the spoke wrench was nowhere to be found. The basket reeked, though, so I thought it would be a good idea to dump it in the washer. I did that, added detergent, and turned the washer on. “Now what was I doing before I started this? Oh yeah, the wheel truing.”

Back in the garage, I found a Park spoke wrench and set to work on the wheel, but before it was finished, Mary and Lyndsay pulled into the driveway. I went out to help them unload groceries and to do a little discreet peeking for goodies. That went quickly. In a few minutes I was back at the repair stand. Of course, the Park spoke wrench was now missing too. “It probably ran off with the Schwinn tool”, I thought, “and they're now living in sin in some other state.” I muttered darkly about toolbox gremlins and decided the best course of action was to have another beer.

The Schwinn spoke wrench was sitting on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator next to a cold bottle of Rolling Rock. The Park spoke wrench turned up a week later on the floor of the Chevy. The adjustable wrench is still missing.

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Blogger Fritz said...

Hee hee hee. I'd say you're either getting old or drinking too much, but I frequently fall victim to those toolbox gremlins too.

"I just had that thing in my hand; where'd it go?"

4:54 PM  

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