There's no place like home

February 16, 2013 

I always have trouble leaving Columbus.

You may remember that last year I had a 6 a.m. flight out of town and discovered while backing out of the driveway that I had a flat tire. My wife was out of town, so I called my neighbor, who's a Ranger. Who else would pick up the phone before 6 a.m.?

He took me to the airport and when I got home later that week I took a certain quantity of Red Stripe across the street and left it at his house. When he found it, he brought it back across the street and we sat out on my back deck for a certain amount of time.

Rangers are cool.

Earlier this week, I had an afternoon flight to Dallas-Fort Worth. I took one of my kids to school in the morning and then drove back home to pack. My plans were to drive to the office and get some work done before my trip.

At the house, I backed into one of our parking areas. As I've mentioned before, we have a house previously owned by professional gardeners, who designed a parking area that blends nicely into a thicket of trees and plants.

I was in a hurry, and I backed my truck over the railroad tie designed to keep vehicles out of the thicket of trees and plants. I've done it before, but this time it had rained heavily the night before and the tires were spinning and the truck wasn't going anywhere.

And my Ranger buddy had moved out of town to do a job that he could only tell me about if he killed me afterward.

Fortunately, my wife was home this time. I use that word "fortunately" loosely. That's because five seconds after my tires starting spinning my wife was standing in the yard talking about calling roadside assistance.

That's not how I roll. I don't call roadside assistance to get my truck unstuck from my own driveway.

No, I can get my truck unstuck myself.

So I climbed into the thicket and pushed the truck while my wife threw it in drive and gunned the

engine. This filled the air with the scent of burning rubber and caused my wife to mention roadside assistance.

I tried various other strategies, each ending with my wife bringing up the topic of roadside assistance.

At this point, the logical approach was to jack up the back of the truck. The owner's manual warns that any attempts to jack up the back of the truck from any spot other than the approved jack mounting position on the axle could result in serious injury and probably death.

But the approved jack mounting position was covered up by the thicket of trees. So for the next hour I tried to jack up the truck from another spot, and I also used the jack from our minivan, and a tower of bricks.

That's when my wife said she didn't plan to raise four children alone, and she went into the house and called roadside assistance.

Yes, the tow truck operator was amused.

Then I took a shower, packed and drove to the airport in my mud-splattered truck.

The thing that kept me in good spirits was the prospect of eating some brisket or maybe a big steak or maybe some really good Mexican food.

But in Texas the two people I was meeting for dinner were both in the mood for … sushi.

I should have stayed home. But I knew that already.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com

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