Going For Parts

Nothing makes me more nervous than when a piece of machinery breaks down. My nerves have nothing to do with slowed progress or the cost of repairs. No, my nerves are because I might be asked to “go for parts”.

Growing up, I can remember accompanying my mother on more than one “parts run”. At a time before cell phones this might go smoothly. Or, it might entail several trips back and forth to multiple implement dealers until Dad gave up and went to get it himself. With cell phones, farm wives put on less miles, but most will still admit to being nervous when asked to go for parts.

When I need to go on a parts run, I  study like I am expecting a pop quiz. Make, model, year of manufacture, engine type are all memorized quickly. I do not want to look like a rookie after all….

–Walk in to dealership–

Friendly parts sales person: “Hello, what can I help you with?”

Me: “I need a hydraulic coupler” [Show him note written by hubby as though it had magical powers to help figure out what part is needed].

Friendly parts sales person: “What is this for?”

Me [relieved, I studied for this one!]: “A disk. John Deere. Smaller one from the early 1980’s.”

Friendly parts salesperson [typing on computer]: “Do you also need any adapters?”

Me: “I’m not sure, sometimes he flips a switch by the steering wheel when he is using the hydraulics.”

Friendly parts sales person [staring at computer]: “So, the system may have been changed from its original factory set up?”

Me: “I think I’ll call my husband.” [Grabbing cell phone]

Me [talking to hubby on phone]: “Hi honey, I’m here at Northeast Equipment and they want to if there are any adapters on the hydraulic system and I remembered you had that switch……OK, that isn’t an adapter, that is the conversion kit, the adapters are on the other end of the hose……..so you do have adapters? That wasn’t on the list….yes, I’m sure it is easy to forget those are two separate pieces.”

Me [to friendly parts salesperson]: “Yes, there are adapters” [Hang up the phone.]

Friendly parts sales person: “What type of tractor?”

Me [relieved, I studied for this one too]: “An International 1086”

Friendly parts sales person: “Was the tractor made before 1977 or after?”

Me [ecstatic, I am three for three!]: “It was made in 1977”.

Friendly parts sales person: “Mmmm, the list tells me before or after 1977. It doesn’t say what adapter is needed for that model year. Let me do some more checking”. [typing on computer and finally calling over the sales supervisor. Whispering ensues.]

Friendly parts salesperson: “OK, we know which one will work. How many adapters do you need?”

Me: [staring at note written by hubby–realizing that I forgot to study for a very basic question]: “This says “hydraulic coupler, not coupler-s, so I think he probably only needs one adapter too….Do they wear out alot? Are they expensive?”

Friendly parts salesperson: [Quotes price and then adds…] “They have a tendency to fall off or get lost sometimes, but they’re not hard to track down. I could send an extra one and you can always bring it back if you don’t need it.”

Me [to friendly parts salesperson]: “Those aren’t that expensive. I’ll take two adapters.”

Friendly parts salesperson: “Do you need us to put the coupler on a hose or will you be doing that yourself?”

Me: “He didn’t say anything about needing a hose, so I’ll just take the coupler and two adapters”.

Friendly parts salesperson [sensing a bigger sale]: “That is fine. The hoses sometimes get damaged and they do wear out.”

Me [nervous, but determined to make a decision without calling hubby again]: He would have said sometime if the hose needed to be replaced. I’ll just stick with this.”

Friendly parts salesperson: “OK, that will be $_____. Have a good day.”

–Exit dealership and drive home–
[Debate whether to stop at cafe and pick up some food, but decide to get right back home because hubby is probably waiting anxiously for the part so he can get back to work.]

I return home to hubby who was disappointed that I did not stop at the cafe and bring home food. After cooking him lunch, he is in a better mood and he heads out to make repairs. After he gets out to the tractor, he wonders why there are two adapters in the bag but puts one in the ashtray in case one ever gets lost. He returns to disking after making repairs.

–3 1/2 hours later–

Panicked feeling returns as hubby walks toward house with something in his hands and the “damn, it’s broken” look on his face. I am not sure I can handle two parts runs in one day.

Hubby: “This hose is cracked. I’m going to need to replace it too.”

Me: “They have plenty at Northeast Equipment. I have a circle meeting at church, so I won’t be able to get the hose before they close. Why don’t you go in?”

Hubby: “Can you skip the meeting?  I really need to get the field disked.”

Me: “Oh, I would, but it is my turn to lead the discussion. I won’t even have time to pick up the groceries I need. Will you stop at the store after you go to get the hose?”

Is it wrong that I enjoyed the panicked look on hubby’s face as he recalls the last time he was asked to “go for groceries”?

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About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at http://aldersonangus.wordpress.com.
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3 Responses to Going For Parts

  1. Pingback: Cigars and Farm Trucks Don’t Mix | Fence Post Diaries

  2. Almost word for word my experience every time I go for parts. Well written.

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