The Memorial Day weekend turned on me. This happens sometimes. I tend to get so excited about the first official long weekend—the first paid break from the constant, weekly, forty-hour robberies of time and life—that I over-plan, smoke out, and go up in flames. This was one of those times.

I could feel the depression coming on by mid-Sunday, and by Monday morning I was crippled with angst and pain, barely able to pull myself from the recliner in the carport. Eventually I dragged my pathetic carcass onto the couch where I watched a barrage of war movies, fading in and out of consciousness so that I might miss the end of one film and tune in a third of the way through the next. By early afternoon I made the time-tested decision to try to drink through the depression, and it seemed to work, until I blacked out.

But retribution was swift and sure. The morning after, in the process of jockeying the two cars into position, I realized the right rear tire on the truck was flat. The Toyota has a full-sized spare, but it took me about half an hour to figure out how to free it from its position under the truck’s bed. I resorted to the owner’s manual, but in my addled state even the simple pictograms were confusing.

The attachments I had before me didn’t seem to match the ones in the book. After piecing the thing together, I jammed it into a hole and twisted it and lo and behold, the spare tire lowered. There are some crafty engineers over there at Toyota, or at least there were back in the late 1980s when this particular truck was manufactured.

Once I finally managed to free it, I learned that the spare tire had no air. White as a ghost, hands shaking, sweating profusely and on the verge of vomiting, I made my way down to the gas station and aired up the spare. It held the air and so I made my way back home, jacked up the truck, and switched it out for the damaged tire.

I took the bad tire down to Quality Used Tires (probably my favorite business in Chico) and because I get all of my tires there, they fixed it no charge. It turned out to be sliced, as opposed to punctured, but they were able to patch it with no problems.

All said and done, I rolled into work Tuesday morning at 11:30 a.m., just short of lunchtime.

Overall, the weekend was a complete bust. I dug a few holes for Trish, but otherwise failed miserably to make any meaningful forward progress on any of the many projects I currently have going. I didn’t fire up the weed whacker, the lawn mower, or the tractor. I mostly laid around, feeling bad and drinking myself stupid.

I’d be inclined to lay off the sauce for a spell, but with the 2013 Bike Races just around the corner, I figure this is no time to let my tolerance drop.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.