I found out on this last trip home that my mom has a favorite quote. It goes like this:
"Live every day as if you will die tomorrow - Learn every day as if you will live forever"
Today, in an effort to learn my bit for today, I was pretty sure I wouldn't even live through the rest of today.
I learned to use the weed whacker.
Ever used a weed whacker? Why did I think that it was going to be like vacuuming the outside? I really thought I'd just go out to the side of the mountain and Hoover a little. Not exactly.
First clue was when David told me to put on "real clothes" before we started. "Get out of that sun frock. You'll want to be covered."
Ok, I don't mean to give the impression here that I'm completely illiterate of garden power tools. I have SEEN weed whacking before. David's been known to do his share of whacking. And I see the guy across the street doing it every spring. David usually wears jeans, an old shirt, boots and sun glasses...that's it. The guy across the street dons the full meal deal - neck to ankle rubber apron, rubber gloves that reach his elbows and a mask that makes me think of Jennifer Beals in Flashdance...when she was welding, not dancing. Judging by the neighbor's outfit, I was aware that accidents could happen whilst whacking. But, well, dude is also an 8 fingered carpenter so I figured he was just being overly cautious.
Dressed like my husband, I headed outside. David taught me the oil/gas mix thing, and the different buttons that need to be in different positions to start and make it go. He taught me how to change the plastic string stuff that actually does the cutting. He told me never to lose the spring that's inside. He showed me what to do when the string stuff gets too short. He demostrated how to hold it. I was getting a little impatient...let's whack! I just want to clean the mountain!
I was already thinking to myself "I don't think I'll be doing this a lot."
Then, he put the thing on the ground in front of me and told me to start it. I flipped all the right switches (both of them) and grabbed that little handle. I used my whole body and jerked up, with all the quick pulling force that I saw David use. The handle came roughly 6 inches out of the machine, not even close to the 3 feet required to get the beast going. 10 minutes later, and with a bit of a sore arm, I got it to kind of make a noise. The motor wasn't, by any means, running but it did give a little burp like sound. That's when I said aloud, "I don't think I'll be doing this very much."
A few more pulls and I got it going, with a little help from David. Finally!...Let's whack!
David shows me (again!) how to hold it, and then starts whacking - demonstrating the side to side motion of the machine. Showing me how close to get to the ground, etc.
Friends, shit started flying every where!!! Little pebbles, bits of dried weeds, branches. I ran into the house to get MORE covered.
Returning to the front yard dressed like David if he were a weed whacking devout Muslim woman, I proclaimed, "ok ok! My turn!"
David turned to me, "Do you mind ruining that scarf around your head? 'Cause you will."
I grabbed the machine and found a comfortable position to hold it (which, given the difference in my arm strength to that of David, was different than the position he uses) and started.
It was great. I was clearly better at this than David (or the frightened neighbor) - nothing was flying anywhere. Not dangerous at all. Cool, I can do this.
Then David took the whacker from me, "Lynn, you're supposed to be cutting the weeds - a crew cut, not a bob. You have to actually touch the weeds with the machine."
He showed me again. Again, shit started to fly every where. Again I thought, "I won't be doing this too often."
Then the whacker stalled, out of the magic gas/oil mix.
"So that's all for today?" I asked, a little too hopefully.
"That's too bad. Let's go have a beer."
Tomorrow I get to learn if that tube in the engine of my car with the hole in it is the reason it won't start. Not as dangerous as garden power tools but exciting all the same...and I can wear my own clothes. I can't wait!