The spring thaw floods a street in Soldotna, Alaska, in March 2019. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

The spring thaw floods a street in Soldotna, Alaska, in March 2019. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Unhinged Alaska: Break up, let’s don’t rush it

I should have never asked for his help in hauling off some yard debris

  • Saturday, March 23, 2019 10:54pm
  • Life

This is a tough stretch of time for the testosterone tribe. Winter storm damages must be assessed, tires changed over and oil changes completed. Missing gardening tools must be tracked down before one’s bride discovers they are missing and then, most importantly, fishing gear retrieved and sand blasted for rust and solidified organic material — including the tackle boxes that may have living organisms just waiting for a bit of sunshine and warmth to make things really ugly when their lids come off.

Obviously, this volatile stage of the year puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the ability of the male species to make quality decisions. We don’t need any unexpected trials or tribulations invading our rugged karma. At least, I don’t.

Enter my bud, Willie.

I should have never asked for his help in hauling off some yard debris after my old chore truck came close to coughing up its clutch and went on strike for at least one new spark plug. It’s perplexing. I never ran out of steam when I was 18 years old.

Anyway, I forgot that W.W.’s latest pickup makes my oxidized little beater look like a new 2500 Dodge Ram.

He lives 4 miles away and I swear I heard him leave his driveway. I spotted the black exhaust when he was about a quarter of a mile out and wondered how many concerned citizens called in a fast-moving spring brush fire heading west on East End Road.

When he finally started down our gravel access, there was so much smoke, roaring backfires and sparks flying that he would make the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse look like a pony ride at a school carnival.

As he careened into our front yard, he suddenly slid sideways toward the cabin and then spun into a 180-degree turn, neatly coming to a stop, back end first, against the brush pile.

“Wow, that was some kind of drivin’ Willie!” I grumped while trying to extricate myself from a batch of dried thorn-enhanced rose bushes that I launched into when realized my butt was occupying the same garden space that his rig had been skidding toward.

“What are you talkin’ about bro?” W asked while fussily wiring his driver’s door back on.

“That cool back-spin up to the trash heap.” I answered. “Where did you learn that?”

“What trash heap? Hell, I couldn’t see a thing there for a minute, too much smog in the cab. I was just hopin’ I had enough brake pad left on my left front wheel to slow the beast down and kick it sideways ‘fore I ended up in your front room. Ain’t got nuthin’ left on the other three but some serious grindin’ noises. Guess I should get them buggers fixed when I get my PFD, unless I need it for bail again.”

“Willie, we can’t use your heap to haul trash. The thing looks like a leftover obstacle course chassis from a monster truck rally. I can see the transmission case through the truck bed.”

“You sayin’ my righteous ride t’ain’t safe, Nicko?” Willie barked.

“Well, let’s just say I never seen a vehicle before with more holes in it than Bonnie and Clyde’s getaway car running on tires patched up with duct tape.” I shot back. “I think I’ll just burn the junk.”

“You ain’t touching my truck, you ungrateful #%&@*le!” Willie snorted.

“Chill out, Willie the Wiz, I was talking about the brush, although now that you mention it…”

Just about the time W.W. started to turn as red as his glowing engine block, Jane stuck her head out of the door to remind me that a basketball game that I had earlier deemed “momentous” would be starting soon.

Willie and I immediately declared a truce, shot into the cabin and assumed proper horizontal snacking positions while cracking a couple of cold ones.

A few minutes before the opening jump ball, I picked up the distant thunder of some really colorful vocabulary emanating from the basement where my love was starting the laundry. Her heated soliloquy was spawned by the fact that our water pump had blown its pressure switch hose. I immediately responded in a manly manner by initiating a shutdown of the water storage feeder pipes and stopped the flooding of the lower floor before the water level got deep enough to qualify for a tide book. Not only that, I was able to contact an excellent plumber with a 30-minute response time (a fishing buddy) and barely missed five minutes of the game.

As for the brush removal, that will be taken care this Monday when they release my fossilized rig from rehab. W won’t be able to make it. Something about his truck and an officer without a sense of humor.

I hope things slow down a bit around here. Wives in hip boots and heavy-duty rain gear battling an errant pressurized hose while their hubbies check their basketball bracket scores have been known to cop an attitude.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t still swamping out the basement.

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