Friday night was supposed to be relaxing. The plan involved a quick visit to Kim’s sister to Oooo & Ahhh over the newly finished attic, followed by a nice dinner, a couple of drinks, and home in time to watch my
Sci-Fi Syfy shows while Kim snoozed next to me on the couch. Fate had other plans in mind.
As I was leaving work, Kim texted me to say her power steering quit working. I was thinking that maybe we had finally found that annoying front engine squeak in her Kia that no one has been able to find. In a way that would be good news, but this was not a remotely good time for car trouble what with imminent travel plans and all. Arriving at her house I chuckled as hanging out from under the front of her car and trailing down the driveway was about a 6′ strand of what used to be a drive belt. At least the diagnosis phase would be quick. Although I was still concerned there might be a seized pump in the belt path that had caused the shredding. I harbored a suspicion the squeak that had been driving her nuts was a pump bearing.
We popped the hood and quickly cut out the shards of belt from all around the front of the engine. I then wanted to simply spin all the pumps by hand to make sure everything was turning as it should. It was at that moment I discovered that apparently Koreans have impossibly tiny hands. We are maybe talking alien hands here, 2″ across with 14″ fingers. Even reaching the pumps was damn near impossible. However, I did eventually find a path that would let me barely spin each one, indicating that maybe this was just a bad belt. Putting the new belt on was nearly as impossible. As the crank pulley was completely inaccessible, I resorted to dangling the new belt through a tiny opening and trying to lasso the thing. And of course, the tension pulley was in a completely blind position so you had to thread that by braille.
By this time I was sweating so hard the water was dripping down onto the engine. A reality which greatly amused Kim. Or at least I’m gonna go with the notion that it was amusement. On the plus side, I didn’t utter quite as much colorful language as I expected to use. It has been my experience that many mechanical problems are abated by swearing the appropriate incantation at the errant machine. But at any rate, she was back on the road, and squeakless.
Nonetheless, the universe wasn’t letting me off the hook that easily. As I went to my truck to fetch tools, I noticed a sizable nail sticking out of my rear tire. Lovely. The good news is that the weekend was clearly going to get better from here.