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The Mechanic’s Wife

Whenever my truck is getting winched onto a wrecker here in our small town, the driver usually says, “Isn’t your husband the mechanic over at Such and Such?” Yeah, yeah he is, never mind, just tow my truck back to town, please. And thus is the life of the mechanic’s wife. Just like the wife of the builder is the last to get baseboards, the wife of the mechanic is usually the last to get her vehicle wrenched on.

I should have known something was up when our third date was me sitting in the grass watching him lay under a car that was on a ramp. But being young and stupid I didn’t read the writing on the wall and all these year later, here I am married to man who has a fork in one hand and a wrench in the other. As I trip over things in this bone yard of Chevy parts that has accumulated over the years I often wonder why I didn’t marry a lawyer like my dad told me to? Or better yet, BE a lawyer like my dad told me to. I never had the brains for it.

I’ve picked up the odd bit of information over the years, most of it useless. For example, I can tell the difference between a mid 80’s half ton and ¾ ton at a glance. Don’t even have to count the bolts in the rear. This is an utterly useless skill and yet one I am surprised I have. If you asked me how I know the difference, I couldn’t tell you. I just know. Guess I absorbed this being the mechanic’s wife.

I have not absorbed specific language the way I thought I would. I still have to explain things by saying, “The motor went chunka, chunka, chunka, then quit!” I realize this is not a correct diagnostic description. Yet this is often all I can say as the wrecker deposits my truck and the driver gives Hub a skeptical look. But I have learned that oil pouring out is very important and I am to report all pouring out oil immediately.

Hub is a very educated man. He is ticketed in three trades. He’s a millwright, a HD mechanic and a 3rd class steam engineer. I tell him he could go to Alberta and invent his own job. But he likes to stay where he is. When he reads that some work places send out their rebuild work he thinks, no thanks. He does his own rebuild work. Usually laying in the mud or snow under a loader that is being held up by another loader. I worry every day and the sound of the ambulance makes my heart stop.

He is in the last leg of his work life, not old, but not young. The body is starting to hurt. Spending hours contorted inside a machine is not fun and taking its toll. We don’t know what will come next. But whatever does come, I’m along for the ride. I have shared his life from this side of the toolbox and hope to share some of it with you. My perspective on what it has meant to be the mechanic’s wife.