Barry came to me with a long face. “Er, I have some bad news.” He paused, leaving me to wonder just how bad this news was going to be. Sometimes, I wish he would just blurt it out, instead of making me wonder how bad it was. I found myself checking to make sure all his fingers were still attached.

“I killed your Dremel.”

Well, that wasn’t so terrible. I was a little sentimental about it, because it was a gift from my sister, and it was the only power tool in our arsenal that Barry and I both called “mine.” But we could easily buy another one.

So the next day, we got in the van and drove to the hardware store, about 15 miles, to buy another Dremel. Mission accomplished, we headed for a nearby restaurant for lunch. I was driving, and then Barry said, from the passenger seat, “Uh-oh.”

The only thing I hate more than “I have some bad news” is “Uh-oh.”

And one more thing we both hate is power windows. Unfortunately, the Squid Wagon has them. For months, I’d refused to use the one on the driver’s side. It was so slow, I was sure it was going to break and get stuck in the “down” position, and then it would rain. Now Barry followed his “Uh-oh” by telling me that the passenger window was stuck in the down position. This was followed by a rumble of thunder.

The window was going to be a much bigger headache than the Dremel. Frantic, we drove to the nearest Ford dealer.

“We don’t keep such old motors in stock, but I can order you one,” said the parts manager, smiling.

“I’m not certain the motor’s what I need…” said Barry.

“Electrical parts are non-returnable,” said the parts manager, and I realized the smile was robotic.

“I’ll go home and figure it out, and we’ll call you to order it in the morning,” said Barry.

“Nope, I can’t accept a credit card over the phone,” said the smiling, robotic parts manager. So we’d have to come back in person to order it, then come back in person to pick it up? At this point, Barry had to leave the store, unable to say anything besides, “Grrrrrrrrrrr.”

Luckily, the motor was in stock, cheaper, at an auto parts store.

The rain held off; it hadn’t actually rained in two week. Then, that night, before Barry could figure out how to install the new motor, it poured buckets on our sorry plastic-covered window. He finished the installation between showers the next day. He said “Grrrrrrrrrr” a lot.

And then it was my turn. I was using our tiny, lame saber saw to cut some aluminum backing plates. The motor started running more and more slowly, until it couldn’t cut any more. Well, it might still cut butter, but only if it was soft, and you wanted to cut butter with a saber saw.

This was turning into a bad week for motors.

At this point, I had to decide what to say to Barry. Should I start with “I have some bad news,” or simply “Uh-oh?” I opted for a different method.

“Barry!” I hollered. An alien looked down at me from the deck, wearing a white Tyvek bunny suit, full-face respirator, and ear muffs. His mouth was invisible behind the respirator, but I saw his jaw move. I guess he said, “What?”

“I killed the saber saw,” I shouted, twice, three times, waving the dead saw at him. Suddenly, he took off the respirator and the ear muffs. He was grinning.

“You killed it? Really? That’s great!”

He’d been wanting to replace that lame piece of junk for years, and I had just given him the excuse. The next day, he was exceedingly cheerful as we got into the van, and I got into the mood by playing with the passenger window. Up, down, up, down…wheeeee! We tooled around town and finally chose a 6.0 amp Skil brand saber saw. Then we rewarded ourselves some more with dinner, internet, and a phone chat with a Seattle friend. A lovely day, unlike the one when we replaced the Dremel.

It would have been an appropriate coincidence for the driver’s window motor to die that day, but it’s still working, although only fast enough to cut soft butter. So maybe our run of bad motor luck is over. May all the other motors on the boat live long and prosper, and best of luck with your motors, too.