My parents arrive for an extended visit today.
Yes, they're traveling the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest day to travel in the U.S. all year.
So work has been put on the back burner while I try to make sure the house is somewhere in the neighborhood of presentable.
Honestly, most days I'll take habitable, with three boys living here.
I'll be heading down to the airport to pick them up later, all things being equal and there are no delays, but this morning I had a couple of errands to run (we were out of coffee beans, which with my caffeine addicted spouse, is a major disaster) and I set off in the car. The same car I'll be using later to pick up my folks.
I set off and it's all fine.
Then I hit the gas as I get some clear road and the speedometer starts to creep up. And with that, there's a steady WHUM WHUM WHUM sound.
At first I think it's the radio. The bass line on the track that's playing.
Then the DJ starts talking and I still have the WHUM WHUM WHUM.
This is not good.
Fortunately the car is pretty new and has some fancy things, like allowing me to check the tire pressure on a screen in the dashboard. And everything looks OK.
But the WHUM WHUM WHUM is getting louder.
I ease off the gas and that seems to make it louder still.
I hit the breaks and it's just as loud.
Dropping below 20 mph and it finally drops in volume to the way it was when I first noticed.
But this is not safe, so I turn around and head home.
My speedy return is obviously a surprise to my wife and she asks what the problem is. So I tell her.
"Oh," sez she. "Yeah, I noticed that this morning when I took No.3 Son to school."
"When did it start?"
"After I hit that thing."
Now I'm no mechanic, but I'm immediately leaning towards the idea that these two events might well be connected.
"What exactly did you hit? A horse? Small elephant?"
"Well," she explains. "I was driving along, and there was this leaf in the road, and I thought with the roads being wet, it was probably dangerous to swerve. So I didn't."
"I'm pretty sure that wasn't a leaf."
"I can see that now."
"And you couldn't see it THEN!?"
I admit, I was a tad cranky at that point.
So I hop in the minivan and I run the errands.
Clearly the need for coffee is significantly more pressing than I had previously thought.
Once home again, my wife offers to just take the car down to local tire shop and get them to have a look. Now we'd loosely talked about going down together, so if the car needed to be there a while, we could use the other vehicle to get home, so I was immediately suspicious as to why she was willing to go without me.
What HAD she hit?
Would there be a law suit?
And should I start thinking about the best place to bury a body?
The boys all had early release from school today, and suddenly they realize Mom is missing.
"Where's Mom?" asks No.3 Son.
So I tell the boys what's happened.
I'm paraphrasing now, but it was something along the lines of, "Mom hit a hobo on the school run this morning, and she must have got the body still wedged under the car. When I was driving after, it was making a WHUM WHUM WHUM sound, which I assume is like a broken arm, wedged in the wheelarch or something. Anyway, she took it to the shop and they will lift the car and unjam the body with a couple of broom handles."
And with that, I return to work.
When my wife returns, she is immediately surrounded by boys.
"MOM! MOM! Was there REALLY a dead hobo under the car!?"
My work there was done.
If you're playing along at home, it turns out that a wheel weight (the thing they put on the actual wheel itself to balance the thing and keep it true) was INSIDE the tire. No idea how it got there, but the guy at the tire shop started to recount the many varied and wonderous things he had found inside other tires. I think it was the mechanic version of that box of things every emergency room has, filled with items that have been removed from human bum-holes. Though the mechanics probably didn't need to wash quite so vigorously afterwards.
Now, as soon as I post this update, I'm going down to look at that road. Because if a leaf can do that kinda damage, it is clearly from a giant beanstalk, and at the top of that baby, there's gold.
Or at the very least more leaves I can sell to the army to reinforce tanks.
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