posted by Joe Anaya on June 3rd, 2013

My wife’s car got the latest registration sticker in the mail. So, I went out to put the new sticker on her license plate. I have to remove the license plate because the top corner of the sticker is underneath the plate frame. That’s when it all went south and “turned into a thing.”

The first bolt came out no problem. The second bolt, well, no. The first thing that happened is the bolt got stuck. Having experienced this type of thing before, I simply get some spray lubricant and soak the bolt, wait a few minutes and have at it again. I can now work the bolt back a forth a little but it seems to be stuck. Being a guy, I think the best course of action is now brute force. Uh, not so much. The head of the bolt snaps off. Well at least I can get the license plate off and put the registration sticker on.

Now to fix the busted bolt. Also having been through THIS a few times before, I get my drill and screw-extractor set and work on removing the broken bolt. After much grunting, groaning and swearing, I finally get the rest of the bolt out. So, I head off to the hardware store to get a replacement bolt. My wife decides she wants to come with me, so she can check out some plants for the garden. I have a general rule about not taking my wife to the hardware store. Mainly because she’s bored easily and when she’s bored she gets impatient. I like to cruise up and down the aisles looking at stuff I might need in the future or going over all the features of an item to determine the best value for my needs. But since she’s just looking at plants I figure, “What the heck, sure come along.” I chose poorly.

I have the one good bolt with me and land at the section of the store where all the bolts and screws are displayed. I find the bolts. They have a handy display that allows you to test the gauge of thread on the bolt you have. But the bolt I have doesn’t fit quite right in any of the samples slots. I double check. Two are close, but nothing is quite right. I triple check. I’m puzzled. Then it dawns on me, “It’s a foreign car. It’s metric.” I go to the metric section of bolts. Bingo.

At this point my wife finds me and gives me a scrunched up nose, “You’re still here? Just get a bolt and let’s go.”

I explain to here, “I have to find the right width of bolt, the right length, the right head type, the right head size. That’s just the bolt shape.”

“It’s not rocket science,” is her dismissal.

“Then there’s the thread count and the thread coarseness, metric or empirical. That’s about seven categories, each with multiple variables. So, as a matter of fact, it’s pretty damn close to rocket science for one bolt. And you’re welcome.” I grab the bolt I need and walk to the counter as if I’m alone, reminding myself that I make rules for a reason.

File Under Jack of all Trades