Saturday, May 26

I'm Blaming It All On My Dad

I'm going to blame my father for why I am so completely unprepared for this stage of my life. The stage were I am single and will have to do everything by myself.
It's not because he never hugged me, or told me that I was a beautiful princess who could do anything she wanted. It's not because he did not paint my toe nails, brush my hair or because he did not have tea parties with me. Although I imagine, that would have been nice. Nor do I  blame him for forgetting to give me a heads up that I was going to be a total failure at any sort of male/female relationship. I could blame him,  he did live with me the longest. He probably had a pretty good idea that I would be rubbish and NEED to know practical life skills for WHEN I became a single mother of 4 at age 33. He could have said something like, "J, I'm just saying..don't be surprised" That would have been nice. You know what else would have been nice? Being taught how to fix a leaking tap, paint a wall...hell, mow the lawn. He could have at least taught me how to mow a lawn. THANKS DAD!

This morning Maclean and I woke up late. It is nice having a weekend when the children are with their dad, it allows us both to sleep in and start the day slowly. I have not been sleeping well but it was still nice to lay in bed, listening to the birds outside and smell the lilacs in the breeze that came through my window.

We did our workout this morning first thing and, like always, swore at Jillian Michaels the entire time. It's very therapeutic to yell at someone and not have them do anything back - I highly encourage it! When that was all done, I decided that today I needed to mow the lawn. It's one of those jobs that has been a "blue" job all my life. When I was growing up our lawn was always perfectly manicured. My father would spend HOURS trimming, spraying, watering, and tending to our front lawn so it was (and I am being very serious) equal to any golf course I have ever seen or played on. We were never allowed to use the mower because he took such pride in his yard and he knew that Dawson and I would just screw it up. I remember at dinner some nights we would be eating and he would comment, "Did you see so-and-so's yard? What a mess." It was like a silent competition among the home owners on our street as to who had the nicer lawn. Saturday mornings they would all be out early mowing and tending their lawns and smiling at each other and waving, saying, "Good morning" and other fake pleasantries. 

One time, a few years ago, I thought it would be a good idea to get a push/manual lawn mower. It ended up being useless and did not even cut the grass.  I returned it the store next day, bought a high powered gas guzzling beast, and allowed the job to return to being a "blue job"and have not touched a mower since. Until this morning, that is as much as I have ever done. 

At first, it seemed rather easy. I pulled the mower from the shed and parked it in front of the house. Maclean and I figured that it couldn't be THAT hard, could it? My first accomplishment in this task was figuring out how to lock the handle so it would not bend when I pushed it. Premature satisfaction set in and I thought, "Pft...who needs a man? I can do this." 

Then we both just sat there and stared at it.



"How does it turn on?"
"We just pull that thing." 
"Ooh okay, does it have gas?" 
I unscrew the thing, "Yup gas is in!"
"Okay lets do this!"
So begins the pulling... 

Now, Maclean and I are rather strong women. We have been working out every day, we can now both do real push ups and no longer have to do the modified version. But even with our new found biceps, neither of us could pull that damn thing hard enough to get it started. 





This lasted almost 30 full minutes. A truck with two men in it were parked across the street watching us and laughing. I had a fleeting thought to go and ask them for help, but my female pride instantly throat-chopped that idea and stepped on it's head. YOU CAN DO THIS, YOU DO NOT NEED A MAN!

After our 100th tug on the cord, still nothing happened (that's what she said) we decided to take a break and go get a Starbucks. 

Sigh...Starbucks fixes everything. 

Once we returned, we resumed staring at the lawn mower. The longer we stared the more confusing it got. The thing is covered with pictures that may as well be in Latin.



 I did, however, understand the picture that informed me of limb loss if I were to stick my fingers or toes under the blade when the machine was on! Other than that, I was stumped. 
Twitter became an unexpected source of help at this point, with people offering some advice. After trying a few things, pushing a few things, and really just getting mad, the mower finally started. Maclean and I roared with cheers! We were giving high fives and jumping up and down.  I noticed the two older men across the street, who had been watching the events of the past hour while building a fence, started to chuckle. It was a glorious moment. Now that we had gotten this pig started, we could cut the lawn! So I pushed it annnd...NOTHING??!! 

The blade was not cutting the grass. It took almost a full hour to start the damn thing and now we needed to figure out how to make the blade lower? So began another 20 minutes of staring at the mower, which, I have now renamed, "Joelle hater" and trying to figure out how to lower the blade so that it could actually cut! I was getting really angry now, I even caught myself threatening it.

I decided that in order to avoid looking like a complete pyscho to my neighbors I should walk away from the mower. I wanted so badly to beat it with a baseball bat, but fearing judgment, possible gossip, and a visit from the 5-0 for disturbing the peace I picked up the weed whacker instead. At least I could get something accomplished for the time that I had invested thus far. The weed whacker helped calm me down a little - it was nice not be completely inept at everything yard related. After my brief timeout from the "Joelle Hater", I tried, once again, to see if I could make it work. That's when the universe took pitty on me and showed me what needed to be done. One little switch and VOILA, a functional lawn mower!
Other then the burned parts from salt in the winter, not too bad.

It felt good to finally have everything done. I don't think it looks great, but I didn't cut off any fingers or toes, I didn't ask a boy for help, and I didn't cry or feel sorry for myself! So, as far as I am concerned, a complete and total success all around! 

Today:

I am so grateful Maclean is here with me. We are becoming so very close and I really appreciate the support and love right now. 

I am grateful for trying new and hard things. 

I am grateful for hard work and sweating. I prefer the water come out of my pours and not my eyes. 

**I am grateful for my Dad. I tease and make jokes but his example is why I am still standing when it would be so easy to just crumble. My dad taught me about music, how to change the oil in my car and how to speak my mind. My dad is a really great guy!!


J





3 comments:

ken said...

It's funny how I looked at the picture and new imediatley it was to turn the choke on and off. Thing is I have to ask my wife how to use the oven?

Our lawn is the lawn covered in golf clubs, hockey nets, and dog crap. As ugly as it is, it's still a lawn that says, kids live here and I like that a bit for now. :)

ken said...

OH DEAR! i read your post on my phone earlier and didn't watch the videos. Came back later and checked them out on the big computer......i' thinking, No no no!, you've got to hold down the handle lever! ACK! Feel free to tweet me in situations like that, i'd be happy to help. :)

Princess Leah said...

Oh honey!! Thats fantastic!! I'm sooooo glad that you finally got the job done, yay for you!! Now, go trim the trees, or hit something with a hammer. Well done!