The Mrs and I were sitting down to coffee Tuesday afternoon, and as per usual, she gets all doe eyed and asks me what can be done to hurry the process of moving and get the heck out of Kansas. And me, being a guy, always fall for the big eyes and questioning look, and get the wrong idea. When you’re married to a hottie with a predilection to answer the door with smile, can you blame me? No, I think not. Anyway, came back to my senses and went into problem solving mode. One of my better features if I do say so myself. I responded with a “Well, sweetheart, I would like you to start searching for a trailer, so we can get a brush hog.”
You, dear reader, are probably scratching your noggin, wondering how a trailer and a brush hog will help my wife’s desire to move quicker. Lets just say it’s complicated and leave it there for a bit. The Mrs immediately jumped into the project and asked where is the best place to look for trailers and brush hogs. I have had my best luck on craigslist for stuff like that. We had previously found a Ford 8n tractor from a local guy, so I told her to start there.
A couple of minutes later she said she had found an Allis Chalmers with a mower. I went over to her side of the table and looked at it. Nice, but A: the listing was over 20 days old and B: we already have a tractor, just need a mower. Plus C: why was she looking for tractors and mowers, not trailers? But, it did get me to thinking. For the right price, a tractor-mower outfit would work out and we could sell our little Ford to get a working combo. Hmm. Fine, she could continue with looking for that, I would look for the trailer.
This had all started around 2pm and by 3pm, she had found a dandy Ford 9n tractor with mower and brush hog and blade for a decent price in Hutch. I had found a nice used 18 foot flat bed trailer for a great price. She called the guy, I e-mailed my guy and started scheming/hatching plans, another sometimes great feature of mine, depending on your point of view. As they say, a little goes a long way.
Her guy said he had someone interested in the tractor combo, but that was yesterday and he had not heard from him again. The wife plied her charm on the dude and he said if we could get up there with cash, he would cut us a deal. My guy e-mailed that the trailer was still available and he was firm on the price. No problem. I told him I would like to come up and see the trailer, tomorrow, if possible and gave him my cell number.
It was getting on to evening and my mind was in high gear. For this deal to work, we would have to get the trailer and then drive to Hutch and get the sweet tractor combo before the other interested party got their sticky fingers into our soon to be stuff. Lots of spinning plates on poles, dominoes to tip over in the right order, that kind of thing. I have always felt it is good to be good, but it is way better to be lucky. And I was feeling lucky. Why? Well talking my wife into eating squirrel and her liking it enough to not utter the deadly words of “It’s not my favorite.” Yes sir, as fickle as the female sex can be, when you pull the wool over her eyes and she buys it, that’s not skill, that is luck. A whole steamy pile of it. And when you’re running with a hot hand, sometimes your previous luck rubs off a little on your future luck and well, fortune favors the bold.
Kinda sounds like I am leading up to a country western song. Nope, just scheming my schemey schemes and thinking I can pull this off. You are probably still wondering how this helps us get moved back home. Well, since we started this gypsy cavalcade back in ’98, we’ve always moved ourselves. Bought a stock trailer back then, had the family help me load up everything we wanted to take with us and hit the road. Always had a trailer to move with and needed another one to finish getting out of here. Sold our last trailer to my brother in law and didn’t even have a horse trailer to our name, so we were trailer deficient. The brush hog is needed because we need to mow all the dang mares tails and sumac down to make the place pretty and to attract the wild life back to the place. Since we sold the horses, the place went wild without something to chew it down. I mean 8 foot high weeds do nothing for your curb appeal and the wildlife does not like a mono culture. Getting it shaped up will help and it needed a brush hog to do it.
It was a very restless night. Got up at 2:23 when I was tired of trying to sleep while the mind went over every little detail, over and over again. Let’s just do this thing. Checked my e-mail; nothing from my trailer guy. Hmm. I would email him again when it got to be a decent hour. The Mrs got up, not sure why, and made squirrel and eggs for breakfast. Better than you think it was. And then we waited for the sun to get up. At 7:30 am got a call from the trailer guy’s wife, giving me the details on how to get to their place. Nice lady. The wife called her guy and left a message saying we are coming up today and bringing cash. She heads off to the bank to get the loot and I pace back and forth in the yard. She gets back at 9:20 and we hit the road.
Now, I have neglected one small detail in this telling that had some bearing on how this whole deal would play out. My truck, the truck that has brought us hither and yon and will take us home has had some age related issues with its brakes. Took it in, got the brakes fixed along with a few other things. Got it home and the brakes worked for a bit and then not very much, so took it back and had the master cylinder replaced. A common malady. Got it home and I don’t use the truck all that much. So the few times I did drive it, the brakes seemed to decline, just a bit, until a couple days ago, nada, nothing, bupkis. The best way of coming to a complete stop was to open your window, stick your hand out and catch some wind resistance, that and putting your foot out will eventually get you stopped. Not elegant, but you do what you got to do to get the job done.
So the Mrs asks me, that morning, before she leaves to go to the bank, “Honey, do the brakes work?” “Sure dear,” I replied and went out to put some brake fluid in and see if that did anything. And it did, sorta. So, I got a hitch in my whoa, but that ain’t gonna squelch the deal, so let’s ride. And we did. Nice and easy. No sudden moves and nobody gets hurt. This ain’t my first rodeo when it comes to adverse travel conditions. You just got to know your limitations and that along with your lucky squirrel’s foot will get you though. I think my wife was praying, a lot. Kept her quiet, at least. I keed, I keed.
Got to the trailer place, coasted to a stop like I meant it and made the deal. Like I said, nice lady and oh, no title. They never had one, not even a license plate. She did give me a bill of sale though and we were golden. When you’re running hot, you just keep running. And the lighting hook up did not match my truck’s setup, but hey, don’t let a detail like that slow you down. We hit the road with our new used 18 foot flatbed trailer and the Mrs asked me if this would be a problem with the added weight to stop now. I gave her a look like “a little late to ask that now,” and told her “No honey, we’re doing fine, just fine.” She laughed, a bit nervously and I think went back to praying. Worked so far.
Got to Hutch and did you know there are 2 parts to Hutchinson Kansas? Yeah, we didn’t either. South Hutch and Hutch. Our GPS told us we were there but it didn’t look like there, so we called and got a rambling set of instructions that did not convince my wife of anything, but he did say we had to cross the river. So we did and found another duplicate set of streets that eventually got us to the desired place. I was worried, just a bit, that this foolin’ around would cost us time and the other evil interested party to this sweet deal would show up before we did and that would be that. Nope, didn’t happen.
Met the guy, an old hippie, nice one though. I circled the tractor once and said lets load her up and we did. We couldn’t fit the 2nd mower deck and blade on the trailer. The tractor and brush hog just fit on with the back wheel to the brush hog kinda dangling in the wind. No problem, told him we would be back next week when I had brakes to get the rest of the stuff. He looked at me and said, “You mean, you don’t have brakes now?” Nope I smiled, and he asked how that worked. I pointed to my wife and said she prays a lot and I put my hand out the window to catch the wind, seems to work. “Cool man” was all he could manage and we hit the road. The Mrs didn’t even ask if this added weight changed things. Lets see, the tractor weighed in at 2340 pounds and the brush hog was pretty close to 500 pounds so no, it would have no impact on my ability to stop. We were good to go.
On the road, I mused on how our society works. Craigslist has had some horror stories of how some people have been swindled, robbed and I think one or two people might have been killed in bad deals. Yet, we had just completed deals with 2 different people, total strangers and they were good as gold. Friendly, neither one of them even counted the cash when we handed it to them. This is how I have found most people, give them a chance and they will treat you as good as you want to be treated. It gives me hope in these troubled times that those kind of things are not yet lost. Another thought was how Hutchinson Kansas, the south part, was a dump, a comfortable dump though. Looks like the place was somewhat abandoned and very worn down. I did not expect that.
We had to stop at an auto parts store before we left Hutch, to try to get the trailer lights working. The guy behind the counter was the owner and knew the guy we bought the tractor from. It was like every small town business transaction I have ever had. Friendly, helpful and knew his stuff, fixed me up, didn’t even raise an eyebrow when we asked if he knew of a sneaky way back to Winfield. He got out his atlas and gave the Mrs a magnifier so she could see the fine print and chatted about how a guy needed to know how to get around the back way now and then. Never know when you might run into a Revenuer, or so it seemed. He got us going, the lights mostly worked and we headed home. It was a long uneventful trip and we got home around 3 pm.
Went in the house and had a celebratory brew, wiped my mouth, went outside and backed the tractor with brush hog attached off the trailer, and started mowing. 10 minutes after being home and mowing. The weeds flew and it was a good feeling. I slept like a log that night. The Kansas 2 step and there was no stopping us. Really.