Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday PUN-ishment: I'm screwed

Sunday morning I went to see Riley before going to my barn job -- it was time to change the gauze in the hospital plate. The gauze change takes some setup: sweeping the shavings from a portion of the stall, giving Riley hay, assembling the materials, etc. Once everything was in place, I picked up Riley's foot in one hand and unscrewed the hospital plate. Holding the screws between my fingers, I removed the old gauze and reached for the clean gauze.

Riley ruins the routine
Suddenly Riley jerked his foot, and instinctively I grabbed his foreleg with both hands. In doing this, one hospital plate screw flipped out of my hand, and out of the corner of my eye I saw it land fall outside of my swept area, back among the shavings.

DAMMIT! DAMMIT! There are only two screws holding the plate in place. I'm all too familiar with the "the want of a nail" proverb. When I first saw the plate I noted those itty bitty screws, and I'd asked New Bolton for a few extras. In the flurry of activity that day, I managed to leave the clinic without them.

I reattached the plate with one screw and wrapped it up with duct tape. For about an hour I sifted through the shavings, first with a pitchfork, and then with gloved hands. Riley "helped" by nosing me and stepping into the space I was working in. No. screw. anywhere. I searched until the barn workers came to clean his stall.

The situation

  • I couldn't take the remaining screw to a store to find a match.
  • I had to go to work at Harv's barn -- in fact I'm now 45 minutes late.
  • Hardware stores are closed now, and would be closed by the time I'm done with barn work.
  • The duct tape patch wasn't good for much more than a few hours.
  • Bandaging over the glue-on shoe would add too much height, like wearing one platform shoe. Not really an option.
Bob to the rescue
I called Bob. Over and over and over. He was at the gym, but finally he called me back when I was at Harv's barn. I tried to describe the screw. He said, with confidence, "It's okay, I've seen the screw." He saw the screw once, almost a month ago. Good Lord, I thought. The male ego knows no boundaries.

An hour later Bob came to Harv's barn with a bag of 7-8 screws. We went together to Riley's barn. As he drove, I looked through the bag. None of the screws looked right. I fretted.

We went to Riley's stall, and I pulled off the duct tape (which was worn through anyway). Bob started handing me screws.

The third screw we tried fit perfectly.

Bob's cleverness knows no boundaries. We got home from dinner about 2 hours ago. It was my treat :-)


  1. Ya gotta love the man's "bag of miscellaneous screws." My dad left me one or two in the basement. Somehow the right one always seems to be there.

    Did you ever see "A Christmas Story?" There is a scene where the father is changing a flat tire and the son, "helping" manages to flip the hubcap holding all the lug nuts--into the snow. When I pictured you, Riley, and the screw in the shavings, I couldn't help but think of that scene.

    A bit of depressing humor in the whole situation, I fear.

  2. Aw, aside from a mini-panic attack in the early am, it feels mostly humorous to me now :-)

  3. Next time, just run to the hardware store and get one of those magnets on a stick gadgets. Sweep that magnet through the stall, and voila, screw will be picked up. We use it in new paddocks to make sure there aren't sharp pokeys and if we drop screws or other small metal objects. I think ours cost $25. Very handy gadget to have around! Every barn should have one.

  4. Someone at the barn mentioned one of those, I've never seen one. Something to check out, for after farrier visits and indoor ring safety...

  5. A good bag of misc screws and nails is a necessity in a barn.

  6. Oh goodness, you've been through a lot. I'm half way through reading your Riley posts and have to break; haven't gotten a chance to ready the surgery post yet. I'll continue later, but wish you and Riley the best...and no more lost screws. That magnet gadget sounds like a must-have for every barn.

  7. Oh my do I feel your pain. I have had that happen when medicating horses eyes, with itty bitty tubes of ointment that I have set down on stall walls, doors, in feed pans etc... while medicating, only to turn around and find my tubes gone. Ugh! The worst is trying to find an expensive shoe that one of the horses have lost within minutes of the farrier showing up.

  8. Aren't husbands funny? Seeing a screw once a month ago and having a match in a miscellaneous bag? Seems like something mine might have too.

  9. I groaned when I read about the screw disappearing, but I smiled when hubby came to the rescue. Men love to be heroes. Men are from Mars, and thank goodness for that.

  10. I think I heard the collective groan from your readers as the screw went flying...that's always the way isn't it? At least it all worked out in the end.

  11. I have a coffee can full of screws of all sizes. Probably could spend the same amount of time sifting through the shavings vs sifting through the can o' screws. My dad also had a coffee can of used nails. One of my jobs when I was little was straightening the nails while he repaired the fence. Yup, I still have a coffee can full of nails.


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