Cut Electric Cord = No Power

It makes no difference how new, how shiny, or how sharp the electric hedge trimmer is if there is no power behind it.

When I first turned it on – WOW!  My 200 ft extension cord permitted access to the entire yard. The electricity running through it kicked power to the trimmer each time I pulled the trigger on the hand grip.

Cutting hedges was quick work as the super sharp blades sliced quickly, cleanly and easily.

“Like a hot knife through butter” is how I described it.

That’s exactly how it sliced through the bright orange extension cord, too.

Yep.

I watched it happen.

And, I was amazed by the whiffs of white smoke that curled from the cut cord.

As I stood staring at what I had done, the kitchen door opened and I heard Mom call out.

Apparently cutting the cord had done more than cut the power to the trimmer.

It had also blown two fuses in the house.

The cut cord was of no concern at the moment.  The blown fuses had cut the power to just about everything, including the extension cord.

To be on the safe side, I unplugged the trimmer from the extension cord and the extension cord from the power source that was no longer…and headed into the house. (With the power restored, the cut cord would become dangerous.)

“Did you cut the cord?” asked Mom.

“Um…yeah,” I replied. “Do you have any fuses?”

“Yes, but I don’t know how to change them,” Mom said.  “Your daddy always did that.”

“Believe me, I have a lot of experience with fuses,” I glumly told her.

With power restored to the house, I headed out to the patio where I had placed the cut cord and the now powerless trimmer.

Mom joined me.  I asked for the key to Dad’s “barn”…to look for something to repair the cord.  She assured me I would find no electric tape, but went back inside and returned moments later with the key.

I entered Dad’s “barn” – a barn in looks, but more a workshop in function.  For the most part, it was as he left it the last time he had walked out and closed the door over a year ago.

Mom was right.  There was no electric tape there, or in the corner cabinet of the washroom where he had kept such things…or in the “junk drawer” in the kitchen.

I returned Dad’s key and grabbed my house keys.  I knew there was a roll of electric tape at my house – and I knew there were some wire caps as well.

With “I’ll be right back” thrown over my shoulder, I headed up the hill for what I needed, shaking my head as I walked.  What a day it had been so far.  Nothing had worked out as I’d planned – the afternoon was nearly gone and the hedges were trimmed only 1/5 of the way around the yard.

I wanted to sit on my porch and cry.  Frustration and anger tugged at me.

I had a decision to make – would I own the frustration and do something about it by collecting what I needed and go back to repair what I’d broken and finish the job?  Or would I feed my frustration tears and indulge in a pity party that wasted more of the precious daylight left in my day?

It took me only minutes to grab what I needed and in five more I was back on Mom’s patio working on the cut cord.

I’d seen Dad repair cut cords when I was a child.  And, I’ll admit…I’ve repaired a few of my own.

With the cord safely repaired, I plugged all back in and prepared to be electrocuted as I pulled the trigger on the trimmer.

It buzzed to life, eager to slice and dice again.

Darkness was gathering as I finished the hedges and there were no shadows as I put away the trimmer and cord.

What a day it had been.  What hope I’d had for it.

Though my plans and schedule were turned upside down, all was not lost as I feared it might be.

I learned much about myself, about choices, accidents and carelessness, about saying “if God wills I will do such and such”, about acting instead of reacting, about hitching up my pants and doing what’s necessary to get the job done, and about facing my fears and pushing through when I’d rather sit down and cry about it.

It was a not so very bad, could have been awful day.  And, I probably wouldn’t change anything about it.

Why?  Because Someone other than I orchestrated it and because all didn’t go according to MY plans, I received more from the day than I would have ever offered myself on my own.

Truth is I am powerless until I plug into the Almighty.

Like a Hot Knife Through Butter

Every other Monday I cut Mom’s hedges.

Did I mention she has hedges all the way around her yard?  Some are taller than I and wider than I can reach across.

It’s a several hours event when using an electric hedge trimmer, two full days of clipping with manual clippers.

Cutting hedges is not my favorite chore but this summer I’ve learned to become quite proficient with electric trimmers.  I’ve only cut the cord twice – the first time I used an electric trimmer and the last (yes, yesterday).

Until yesterday, the trimmers I used were old.  Dad had several in his shed and I burned through them.  The edge was gone on them and though they cut, it was a slow, tedious job.

And, the old trimmers were heavy, the blades long.

But, they cut (for the most part) and cutting was what I wanted them to do.

Last week, four of the old trimmers refused to do the job well, and so they found new homes – hopefully with someone who will appreciate their years of service and know how to sharpen them for more service.

That left three – and, a huge gas powered trimmer with a L-O-N-G blade bar.  Did I mention the thing is heavy?  No, I didn’t.  It is.

I had not yet used the three remaining trimmers, so I wasn’t sure they worked and if they worked, how well.

Mom and I discussed the need for new ones.  It was agreed that we would pick up a set the next time we were at Walmart.

“The next time” was this past Sunday.  The only trimmers available were HUGE.  Not something I wanted to lug around and hang onto for several hours every other Monday.

I shook my head and said, “These are way too big for me to use.  I won’t make it through.  I’ll have to stop and rest often.  I need one smaller – a lot smaller – so I don’t have to stop and rest…just keep on cutting until the job is done.”

Mom suggested Lowes or Home Depot, but I shook my head.  She was tired and it was time for her dinner. I told her we would look another day – that I was certain there was something in the shed that would work okay for one more cut.

She reluctantly said “okay” and we headed back to her house.

Though I told her I was certain, I truly wasn’t.  And, I dreaded finding out just what was available and how well it would work.  I was seriously thinking of trying out the gas powered trimmer (it was new – had been used only one time) but was afraid I might cut my head off just pulling the cord to start it.

Monday loomed large on my horizon.  Rain was forecast for today and I knew hedges HAD to be cut because Tuesdays are for grass cutting – and there wouldn’t be time to get both chores done today before rain arrives.

My online work ran far later than I expected, well beyond noon, and it was 2:00 pm before I arrived at Mom’s ready to begin on the hedges.

When I walked through Mom’s kitchen door, I saw an orange Black and Decker 17 inch hedge trimmer box standing in the corner.

It was just my size.

I inquired about it and Mom said, “Your brother brought it over this morning.”

I could have danced a happy dance right there.

A quick text thanking him for the trimmer prompted one from him that read, “Somebody said you needed new exercise equipment.”

Like a child at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to open the box and try out the shiny new toy.

I was amazed by how well it cut – like a hot knife through butter. Wow!

Mom issued the usual warnings – don’t cut the fence, don’t cut yourself, don’t handle the blades, don’t cut the cord, watch your fingers….and I was off to trim.

About dark, I put away the equipment and closed the door to the shed.  The hedges were cut and they looked GREAT, thanks to the brand new electric trimmer!

Mom asked me where I hurt and I assured her I had no pain.  The trimmer was the perfect size and weight for me.

This morning as I type this, I think of my surprise and joy at seeing the trimmer sitting there in the corner.  And, the ease with which it cut still amazes me.  And, the fact that I’m not stiff and sore this morning makes me smile.

Thank you, Brother, for the new exercise equipment!  I appreciate it – and I appreciate you even more!

Stained Glass Reflection

As I sat in church one bright sunny Sunday morning, a flash of light captured my attention.

I glanced to my left, one row up and across the aisle, to see where it came from and noticed Ron with his tablet on his lap.

I could not take my eyes from him or his choice of Bible.  I wondered what version he used and if he found it easier than flipping through a book.

And, I wondered why the screen was so colorful. I’d not seen scripture display such beautiful, rich colors before.  Usually the background is white and the words black or dark gray.

But, from where I sat, this one had brilliant blue, royal purple, bright yellow, bold red, verdant green….

Curious and, I’ll admit, a bit mesmerized, I continued to look at the colorful display.

Then, it dawned on me – what I was seeing was the reflection of a stained glass window as the sun kissed it and shown through.

Scripture that attracts, dazzles and mesmerizes – now there’s a thought. And, a far more interesting thought it is than Scripture bound by black and white, hidden and confined within the covers of a book.

How much more appealing would Scripture be if it lives and speaks and dances in living color?

Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament, understood the need for Scripture that was more than written words on paper.  He spoke of living tablets that display Scripture for all to see, and hear, and understand.

Imagine what it would be like if everyone who professed to follow Jesus reflected his light as clearly and as beautifully as Ron’s tablet reflected the colors of the stained glass church windows.

What difference would it make in the lives of those around me if MY life openly and beautifully reflected Jesus’ beauty, justice, equality, mercy, grace, patient understanding, peace, joy, love, acceptance, purity, humility…?

I am silenced by that question – and deeply humbled, for I know my life is more like the Scripture bound by two covers, written in black on white pages, and kept closed until someone opens me.

What of you?

Are you a tablet openly reflecting beauty? Or, are you a closed book dealing only in black and white, bound by two covers: law and tradition?

Before you answer – think about it.  You might be surprised by the answer.  I know I was.

…known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2b-3 NIV)

Invalid Username/Password

No matter how many times I put in my correct password, “Invalid Username/Password” popped up.

So, I tried other password combinations, thinking I must have forgotten my password.

I even looked up the password and typed it in.

And, still I received the message “Invalid Username/Password.”

What was I doing wrong?!?

I sat stupefied, staring at the computer monitor.  “Invalid Username/Password” I repeated out loud.  The password was right.  That much was certain.

“Invalid Username…” I said aloud, and looked at my username.

It looked okay. It was my email address – everything was spelled right.  Mentally I typed out my email address as I carefully followed the letters typed in the “username” slot.   When I got to the end, my mind said “.com” and my eyes blinked. There was no “.com” at the end of my username.

I quickly typed that in, then my correct password, hit Enter, and guess what?!?  I was IN!

Passwords are important to internet access.

My computer requires a password and so does my email – and everything online that I’ve personalized in some way, or asked for access to.

Usernames are important, too.  It’s what identifies us to others online, and how we identify ourselves.  And, as I experienced all too well, using the correct username is important to gaining access to what’s ours.

What about life?  What usernames and passwords do we employ to gain access to what we feel belongs to us?

Usernames state who we are, who we perceive ourselves to be, or who we want others to see us to be.  Passwords are what we use to access what our username gives us implied right to.

Usernames (feel free to add your own)

  • Daughter
  • Son
  • Grandaughter
  • Grandson
  • Mother
  • Father
  • Grandmother
  • Grandfather
  • Friend
  • Boss
  • Doctor
  • Patient
  • Customer
  • Manager
  • Wife
  • Husband
  • Boyfriend
  • Girlfriend
  • Teacher
  • Student
  • Pastor/Clergy
  • Child
  • Teenager
  • Citizen
  • Sinner
  • Friend
  • Officer
  • Prisoner
  • Personal name/designation

Passwords (feel free to add your own)

  • any username listed above (when personal name is username)
  • rich
  • poor
  • please
  • thank you
  • hungry
  • bored
  • help
  • tears
  • sick
  • educated
  • illiterate
  • healthy
  • PMS
  • tired
  • frustrated
  • tantrum
  • teen
  • baby
  • child
  • $$$
  • $#!+
  • I’m sorry
  • forgive me
  • family
  • love
  • Jesus
  • member
  • friendly

How often do you use a username and password to obtain access to something or someone? How many times in the last hour?

Usernames and passwords are a way of life – have been since way before the advent of the computer/internet.

  • Followers of Jesus used usernames and passwords before the term “Christian” was coined.
  • Sentries demanded (and still demand) a “watchword” before allowing entrance.
  • “I come in the name of the king” provided both username and password.
  • Entrance into clubs and secret societies required usernames and passwords.
  • Signatures and identification/taxing numbers/symbols have served as usernames and/or passwords.
  • Signet rings and wax seals served as both usernames and passwords.
  • A baby’s cry says to her/his mom, I am needy (username) and I am yours (password).

Think: What usernames and passwords gain you access to the world you travel daily? What usernames and passwords allow others to gain access to you?

Beeping Alarm

I woke a little before 7.  Daughter had been up for almost 2 hours and was nearing her departure time. Work called to her and writing called to me.

Upon removal of my ear plugs (Hubby snores, remember?) I heard an incessant beeping. Hubby roused when I left the bed, so I asked him, “what’s beeping?”

“I don’t know,” was his sleepy reply.

I headed into the communal part of the house, passing Daughter’s room on my way.  She was sitting on her bed so I asked “what’s beeping?”

“I don’t know,” was her reply.

Into the living room I went.  It wasn’t originating there. Next, I scoured the office area – nothing beeping there either. That left the kitchen as the only possible source of the loud, irritating beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep….

As I walked in the door I KNEW it was coming from something within the kitchen.  But what?  And, where?

Was there a watch hidden somewhere among the stuff on the kitchen table?  Was it the microwave? Was it the smoke detector? What was it?  What was beeping??

I looked all around on the table, picking up Daughters things and moving around my own items.  I unplugged the microwave and stuck my head into the fridge.  Nothing.

As I turned my head, the sound seemed to be coming from above me.  The ceiling???  Attic????  What would be above me that was giving alarm?

Whatever it was – it was beginning to cause me alarm.

As I stood there in the middle of the kitchen floor, trying to zero in on the origin of the beeping, I looked down at the kitchen table.

There, not a foot from me, was Daughter’s iphone, propped nearly vertical on its hands-free stand.

The reason the sound appeared to be coming from the ceiling was because it was.  The iphone’s alarm was going off and it was bouncing off the ceiling.

I called to Daughter – “Um, I think the beeping is coming from your phone.”

Daughter asked if I was sure and I assured her I was.

She asked how it was that the alarm was going off.  I assured her I didn’t know.  I can’t even turn the thing on –  how would I know about alarms and such?

It was such a relief when she punched whatever it was that she punched and shut off the beeps.

Daughter pointed at the coffee pot, filled with freshly brewed Maxwell House French Roast.  “Coffee’s ready, if you want some.”

“Thanks,” I said.  I poured a cup, but didn’t drink it for a while. My heart was already racing and my mind whirling.  If I’d poured a cup of hot black coffee into the souped up mess of me at that moment, I would have been beeping, “Warning! Warning! Warning!  Overload! Danger, Will Robinson!

Speak English

The words CLOTHING DRIVE stare up at me in red letters from the bold yellow postcard on my desk beside me.

The postcard sits slightly askew and the letters are more vertical than horizontal as I read them.

My sleepy brain picks up C L O T H I N G and asks “what’s CLO THING?”

I look again.

CLOTH-ING – what’s CLOTH ING?

CLOT-HING??

CLO-THIN G ?

CLO-THING? Hmm, that sounds familiar.  CLO-THING…ah!  CLOTHING!

What’s clo-thing?

Oh, yeah…clothing…like clothes…like things I wear…like…clothing.

Cloth-ing? What…?

(Time for a cup of coffee.)

Is it any wonder many find English so difficult to learn?

I think back to when I taught my children to read phonetically.  One grabbed onto the ideas, embraced them and read everything in sight.  The other couldn’t make heads or tails of it all and didn’t read until age 12.

Phonics were not in vogue when I learned to read.  We learned to read by sight…or was it site?  We knew the present tense and past tense of read. We learned past, present and future participles, along with their passive, progressive, and perfect forms.

We learned the forms of “be” – such as: am, are, is, was, were, been, being (“bes” was not among them) and when to use them. And, we learned that “be” is a verb and “bee” is a noun and they will both sting you if you aren’t careful.

We also learned that a noun becomes a nun if the “o” is removed, and that a nun is a noun, but a noun is not necessarily a nun.

A quick check of the clock reveals I’ve reveled too long in my writing and it’s time for me to change cloths, I mean clothes, and embrace the ours, I mean hours, before me.

Wow, this post has elf (oops) left me in a days…I mean…daze.

Sometimes I wonder what drives me to write such drivel. 😉

The Storm and the Tomato Stake

“I need a tomato stake,” I said to Mom as I surveyed the garden.

Tomato plants were outgrowing their ties and growing beyond their stakes.  I managed to secure all but one of the plants.  The stake beside it was too short.

I needed a taller stake.

Into all of Dad’s little cubby holes and corners, I poked and prodded, turning up nothing I could use as a tomato stake.  Everything was too short.

“God, if there’s a tomato stake around here somewhere, it sure would be nice if you showed me where,” I whispered.

Thunder rumbled.  Lightning flashed. Wind danced in the tree tops. Rain began to fall.

We headed indoors to wait out the storm and watch Dr. Phil.

Rain beat against the house and the wind howled.  Mom expressed concern about the big tree in the neighbor’s yard.  I assured her it was still standing.  We’d heard no crash…and her house was still standing.

The storm blew over about the same time Dr. Phil signed off.  I ducked out the back door to survey the damage.

Limbs were down in Mom’s back yard.  Thankfully, they weren’t huge ones.

As I worked to remove the limbs, I pulled them away from the fence, off of the table they had fallen onto. out into the yard where I could maneuver them out the gate, and out to the street for pickup.

When the last limb lay by the street, I grabbed a bucket and headed back up to the fence to clean up the glass (the table top that the limbs crashed onto was glass) that lay scattered on the ground.

As I picked up the final piece of glass and tossed it into the bucket, I noticed something leaning against the fence, half hidden by the hedge…apparently dislodged when the limbs fell.

It was a tall wooden stake – a tomato stake over 6 ft tall.

I grabbed the stake, took up a hammer and headed to the garden where I pounded it into the soft ground.  It was the perfect height and sturdy enough to support not one, but two tomato plants.

After the storm passed, I had grumbled about the clean up that lay before me.  I didn’t expect the blessing and answered prayer that lay hidden beneath the damage.

God is faithful even when I grumble.

Be Yourself?

A quote on Facebook read:

Be yourself.  An original is always worth more than a copy.

At first glance, I thought – nice advice.  Second glance prompted two questions.

  1. What does it mean to “be yourself”?
  2. How many of us would recognize our true self if we came face to face with it?

A friend recently said:

This is who I am.  Deal with it.

My question…why should I have to?

Or…why would I want to?

Quotes encouraging us to “be yourself” abound.  A quick online search reveals site after site dedicated to collecting quotes about being yourself.

To save you the trouble of googling, I’ve selected a few.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” ― Judy Garland

“About all you can do in life is be who you are. Some people will love you for you. Most will love you for what you can do for them, and some won’t like you at all.” ― Rita Mae Brown

“Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.” ― Lady Gaga

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” ― Henry David Thoreau

“Just be yourself, there is no one better.” ― Taylor Swift

“Never complain, never explain. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses.” ― Brian Tracy

“The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position.” ― Leo Buscaglia

“Do your own thing on your own terms and get what you came here for” ― Oliver James

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” ― Dolly Parton

“You are you. Now, isn’t that pleasant?” ― Dr. Seuss

“To be one’s self, and unafraid whether right or wrong, is more admirable than the easy cowardice of surrender to conformity.” ― Irving Wallace

“Oh, never mind the fashion. When one has a style of one’s own, it is always 20 times better.” ― Margaret Oliphant

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that’s perfectly valid – but don’t go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.” ― Tom Robbins

Ah, and the quotes go on and on…so many interesting things said about “being yourself” and being wonderful you.

I wonder….

  1. How can I be anyone other than…ME?
  2. What “me” do people see?
  3. Would I be able to pick my self out of a lineup?
  4. How well do I know my self?
  5. Why do I prefer to be like someone else and not embrace who I am?
  6. Who am I?  And, why?
  7. Why would I settle to be me when I can become better than who I am?

For those who claim the Way of Jesus, it’s not a matter of being more yourself, or of embracing the “real you.”  It’s more a matter of setting self aside and becoming more like Jesus.

Why settle for being yourself when you can be so much more?

Instead of self discovery, why not invest in Jesus discovery.  Find out what Jesus taught, how Jesus lived, who Jesus was…is.

Be myself? No thanks. Why would I want to settle for that?  I’d rather be Jesus. You would probably prefer Jesus’ way to my way, too.

Of June Bugs and Boredom

As I sat on the patio, I heard a familiar clunk and looked up in time to see a green June Bug recover and buzz off after smacking into a beam supporting the roof.

A smile picked at the corners of my mouth as childhood memories of June Bugs danced across my mind’s eye.

That same clunk alerted Brother and me, countless times, to the presence of a stunned June Bug.

One of us would rush from the patio into the yard and pick him/her up.

June Bugs were one of my favorite summer insects and I eagerly awaited their propeller-like buzz each July – their arrival was timed a week or two before the peaches ripened.

Lidded glass jars were my laboratory where I observed and learned about them.  The backyard was perfect for field study.

A slice of watermelon would not sit out long before it was covered with green, iridescent June Bug beetles and butterflies.

You will think me cruel as you read, but I didn’t know it was at the time.  Children don’t see things as adults do.

Children want to have fun – and it’s often through play that exploration and learning opportunities come about.

Dad taught us to tie a thread to one of the legs of a captured June Bug and attach the other end of it to a safety pin.  We would then pin the string to our shirts.

The captive June Bug was placed at the bottom of my shirt and he/she would climb up, up, up to my shoulder and take flight.  Once it reached the end of the thread it would circle tirelessly above me until a gust of wind drove it to the ground where I would retrieve it and begin again.

It was of great enjoyment to me (and to Brother), and a great source of information and knowledge – not just of June Bugs, but of nature, air currents, flight, sound, light….

It was in this manner that I learned that cold air takes the flight out of bugs.  I took my captive June Bug with me to the grocery, expecting it to circle above me in the store.  In the hot air, the June Bug was quite active, but after we entered the store (and the air-conditioned air) it was like she/he ran out of gas.  The colder it became, the less it moved.  Concerned that it was dying, I took it back out into the heat/sunlight where it revived within seconds.

In researching for this post, I came across a bit of interesting information.  The beetle I know as a June Bug is also called a Fig Eater.  And the term “June Bug” actually applies, more commonly, to a smaller brown beetle that is commonly seen at night around lights in late Spring and early Summer.

As a child, I thought the June Bug should have been called the July Bug because it didn’t crawl out of the ground until well after June had melted into July.

Childhood play outdoors taught me more and gave me more hands on experience with the world around me than sitting in a classroom ever could.  Don’t get me wrong – book learning is great, but there’s something to be said for discovery, activity, curiosity…play.

Play is what happens when children take mastery of their world.

After Dad’s death, Hubby, Daughter and I moved back to my childhood neighborhood.

It was a place where Mothers turned their children out of the house by 8 in the morning and called them in as twilight faded and lightning bugs twinkled.

We were loud.  We were active.  We were full of life and the living of it.  We whooped, we hollered, we played – and when we exhausted ourselves, we sat in the shade and drank hosepipe water until we revived enough to explore our world and our place in it again.

My childhood neighborhood crawls with kids.  This is my first summer back in my old neighborhood.  I expected to see a lot of activity when school ended and the kids were unleashed.  But, to be honest…I wasn’t sure when summer vacation began.  It was quiet.  There were no kids to be seen.

Where were they?

They were INSIDE in air-conditioned comfort watching TV or playing video games.  All…day…long.

Two days after school ended, Hubby and I happened upon a Middle School aged boy as we took our early evening “daily constitutional.”  With basketball in hand, he stood in his driveway and looked up the street.

“Are you glad school’s out?” I asked him.

With a shake of his head and a crooked grin he replied, “No, I’m already bored.”

“Bored?” I quizzed. “How long has school been out?”

“Two days,” was his reply. “There’s nothing to do.”

Bored…. Nothing to do.

I know…the school year brings structured activities.  But, what about unstructured time?  Don’t kids know what to do with that anymore?  Unstructured time taught me as much about myself and my world around me as structured time…perhaps more because it gave me time and incentive to explore, observe, learn about, discover, pretend, and do what I wanted.  Not what someone else told me to do, set up for me to do, provided for me….

Unstructured time taught me to focus myself and my energies, taught me to organize, taught me to dream and wonder, and encouraged my creativity.

Bored?  I don’t understand that term.

I can’t remember the last time I said “I’m bored.”

Oh, yes I can…I said it to my mother when I was not yet 12 (expecting her to entertain me, I guess) and she promptly and forever cured my boredom.

She handed me a broom and told me to get busy. “Busy” would cure my boredom.

It did. I swept as quickly as possible and escaped to be busy with my own plans – usually down the hill in the creek.

Childhood and its wonders were left behind as time crept in and grew me into an adult with full grown responsibilities and a family of my own.

But, now I find myself coming full circle. My children are grown. Hubby and I are facing retirement age in a few years.  Our first grandchild celebrates her 2 month birthday this week.

I’m beginning my second childhood – the joys of June Bugs and wriggling my fingers in freshly turned soil are very real to me and I find myself wishing I could run off to the creek and spend the day exploring, pretending, looking under rocks…getting all the good out of the day before light slips away and I’m called in for a bath and bedtime.

Operator Error

Plastic lawnmower front wheels + a metal drive gear turning the wheels = unhappy and difficult work delays.

Why?

On the inner side of the plastic wheels are plastic cogs/teeth that match the cogs/teeth of the metal drive gears that turn the wheels when the self propel option is engaged.  Cogs interlocked in cogs = motion when the power switch is flipped or the lever pulled.

However, when the metal teeth on the drive gears grind instead of interlock, the plastic cogs/teeth are worn smooth.

Plastic vs metal.  One would think that having a plastic wheel and steel gear that mates with it would = disaster every time.  Apparently, that’s not the case in most instances, which is a surprise to me.

So, what caused the plastic cogs in the gear within the wheels on the mower to wear down to nothing?

Apparently the operator…ME.

It seems most devices that employ plastic and metal gears have no problem as long as they are turned on and left to themselves to turn and work and be productive without operator interference.

Enter Operator (aka ME).

So, caused the cogs to be ground away?

Good question.

The answer?

Operator error.

Yep.  My fault.

Apparently, when you don’t squeeze the lever that engages self propulsion all the way against the mower handle, the metal gear doesn’t engage fully with the plastic one in the wheel and it just chews the cogs/teeth out of that plastic one until they are worn smooth.

At least, that’s one line of thought.

Who’d have thunk it, huh?

So, what’s the solution?

Buy more front wheels and hope there’s not a repeat. (Apparently that’s what the company intends – they are available where the mower was purchased.

Enter Brother.

Brother has a mower just like the one I push.  He’s the one who discovered the answer to the problem with the mower. He pulled off the front wheels and found there were no cogs/teeth on the inner plastic gear.  Sheered cogs = no way the gear can turn the wheel, which means the mower doesn’t pull its own weight..

His solution?

Get more wheels.

His advice?  Pay attention to what I’m doing (and not doing) when engaging the self propel option.

Good advice.

Great Brother.

Why do I say so?  Well…Brother was willing to take the wheels off of his mower (round trip of an hour’s drive) and bring them to me so I could use them and not have to push the now non-self propelled mower with brute force.

(I nixed that idea.)

Then he said he would swing by the store on his way home from work, pick up two wheels and drop them off later in the week.

Bless him.

The store was out of stock (no real surprise there…apparently they are in high demand because of operators like me).

The wheels were ordered and scheduled to be in sometime this week or first of next. Not to worry, Brother said. He took the wheels off of his mower after he cut his yard Saturday and brought them to me.

Those he ordered?  I told him to put them on his mower.

Why?  I’ll just chew through these of his until I figure out what it is I’m doing wrong.  I’ve driven self propelled mowers before and NEVER had this happen.

Brother said thanks but no thanks and put the new wheels on the mower I push.

Yes, he did.  You see, he stopped and checked on the wheels he had ordered. Surprise!  They were IN!

Brother arrived with the box containing new wheels AND his wheels in hand. After putting the new wheels on the mower, we checked the mower. This one is equipped with levers that allow for speed to be adjusted and it’s not necessary to keep full pressure on the levers to activate the self-propulsion thingie.  So, that’s not what caused the problem.

Brother said the only thing he can figure that would cause this problem is…making the mower go faster than it was pulling itself.

Um…oops.

I do tend to push it faster than it will pull sometimes.

Looks like I will be dropping back to the leisurely pace of the mower.

Oh, after the new wheels were placed on the mower, we started it to see how it pulled.

Wow…dropping back to the leisurely pace of the mower?  I was running behind it just to keep up!!

Thanks, Brother!  I owe you one – big time!!