Feats of Strength

For the past year or so, we’ve been suffering an increasingly debilitating case of atrophy. Or, well, our car has. Our hatchback, to be specific. The StrongArms have been slowly losing their strength, resulting in quite a bit of frustration and hilarity.

At the supermarket: Use one arm to prop open the hatch, while using the other to load groceries into the back of the car. You can’t actually do that if you’re loading large items, say like a case of water. So you let go and move really really quickly to grab the case of water with both hands, while the hatchback thinks about collapsing. You turn around, you reach inside the car, the hatchback bonks you on the head. And laughs.

See? I’m getting frustrated (and bruised.) And the hatchback thinks it’s funny.

So. We talked to our mechanic about it, and they want to charge us a couple hundred bucks to replace two hatch lifts. We come home and consult Dr. Google, who tells us we can buy two new StrongArms for under $40 total, plus we’ll need an extra special $5 screwdriver with a star-shaped screw head. (This is where that math degree comes in handy.) $200 versus $45. Easy to see who wins this match-up.

We order the lifts and super-special screwdriver. And this past Tuesday night, we did it ourselves. Let me tell you about that.

We pop the hatch, and I’m given the enviable job of holding up the back while Handsome handles the tough stuff, like unscrewing a couple odd-shaped screws. Anyway, I’m standing there, gently holding up the back, when he finally wrenches the screw free from the body. And that’s when then the full weight of our hatchback fell on my back. Arms straining, sweat pouring, back muscles crying in pain.

Do you know how heavy a hatchback is? Friggin’ heavy, people! Heavy like there’s a reason we call them StrongArms. Because they’ve gotta be. They’re even gas charged, says so on the label. I am not gas charged; I am weak. I am not powerful enough to hold up a giant chunk of metal, over my head, without moving lest I crush my husbands skull.

And you do know what happened next? Well. We may be weak, but we’re not stupid. And by “we,” I mean “I.” I grabbed a rake and used it to help prop open a giant piece of my car. So me and the rake, we’re holding up the car while Handsome reads the instructions to figure out how to install the new StrongArms.

We’ll pause just a moment while you read that last line again.

Anyway, after a few minutes, he finally gets all the bits and pieces arranged in the proper configuration and attaches the first shiny, new hatch lift. And lo, the weight was lifted and I was free, or almost free. Because you know what? It takes BOTH lifts to hold that sucker up, and the crushing weight returned the moment he got the second dead StrongArm free. But this time, we’ve got a system, and it works because in less than a quarter of the time it took to install the first one, the job is done!

And then we spent the next half-hour opening and closing the hatchback for the sheer pleasure of seeing a hatch hold itself up. (Sorta like the first time your toddler figured out how to flush the toilet.)

It was a Christmas miracle!

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2 thoughts on “Feats of Strength

  1. We did this a few months ago with the van. Ronnie, the smart one, used a 2×4 to hold up the hatch back, because he figured it was gonna be too heavy for me to hold up alone. 😉 I woulda just held it up with no thought about the weight of the mighty venture hatchback weight, but my beloved thought ahead, since it is rather heavy when the strong arms only half-work.Imagine carrying the weight of a minivan hatchback! Oh my goodness!

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