Archive for May, 2016

Lessons from The Garage

13315589_10208253948338211_1695274950127848744_nToday, I changed the belts on my ’98 4-Runner. To say that in so few words doesn’t really give justice to the whole ordeal. I mean, the YouTube video guy said he did it in about 45 minutes. My brother said it should take about 20 minutes. Well, it only took me about FOUR hours, but I got it done! 

I used to work on cars a lot with my Dad and brother – a loooonnng time ago, and I’m a bit out of practice. But I actually ended up enjoying the experience in the end. Yes, I saved about $250 by doing it myself, but it was more than that. Even though Dad passed away over 5 years ago, it was like he was right there with me today. 

The memories were so real… him telling me where to shine the light (turns out – not in the trees)… raking through my scattered assortment of sockets and wrenches, trying to find the one I just had… washing my greasy hands with Gojo and Lava soap, wondering if they will ever come clean again… missing his knowledge of how to do just about anything.

But, the greatest memory of all was somewhere in the middle, when I got really discouraged. I couldn’t find a couple of bolts that I needed to loosen to put slack in one of the belts. My arms were all scraped up from working in close quarters around the fan blade that I had to remove. It just…wasn’t going well. That $250 price was looking pretty good right then and, well – I wanted to quit. 

I just sat on the garage floor, frustrated and tired… and then God started to bring to my mind all the projects my brother and I had helped Dad with over the years. I remembered that they rarely went perfectly and I remembered my dad’s tenacity – he just didn’t quit. He couldn’t afford to and he wasn’t going to let his family down, even in the small things. It wasn’t in his nature. When something had to be done, he pushed through.

And so did I. It took another 2 hours and I think I made up some new cuss words (just kidding, Mom!), but I got it done. And the car runs and everything!

Next time, I’ll probably shell out the money to have somebody else do it, but I think God carried me through this project today to remind me of a principle that Dad and his generation held onto with both hands – whether it’s cars, or relationships, or governments – when things are broken, you work together and fix them. Never give up.

The Case of the Missing Lawn Mower

So, this afternoon, I edged and mowed the front lawn, emptied the grass clippings into a paper lawn bag on the edge of the yard and went to weedeat the back yard. 15 minutes later, I came around front to push the lawnmower to the back yard to mow. 

No mower. I looked in the side yards, the garage, the back yard, under the trampoline – NO mower. I wondered, “Is punking people still a thing?” I traced my steps and I was certain I had left the mower right by the leaf bag on the curbside. Cuuuurbside… In a panic I looked down the street for a neighbor’s old grill I had seen earlier – gone. 

I remembered seeing a fellow driving a white truck around collecting scrap metal and other items of value on this day before trash pickup. 

Then it hit me – my beloved $300 Husqvarna lawn mower had been trash picked right out of my front yard. 

I blurted out what had happened to Penny. She took off in the golf cart and I screeched off the other direction in the van. I drove down every street in my half of the neighborhood and then started back the other way. I wondered what I would do when we found the truck…if we found it. I wasn’t all that mad at the guy – I think it was mostly a misunderstanding. 

Well, a few blocks down, I came upon the truck and a car and a golf cart with a blonde lady gesturing and pointing at the guy’s truck and sure enough – Penny had the guy cornered – with our lawnmower perched on top of the cab of his truck. 

The guy was very apologetic and swore that he doesn’t steal and it *was* on the side of the road. I said it’s OK and clarified a few points for him – it was on the side of the YARD…with a mostly full tank of gas…and a hot muffler…next to a lawn bag. I advised him – next time just ask. 

We shook hands – the universal gesture acknowledging, “We all good, but don’t touch my lawnmower no more.” Penny took the van home and I drove the mower home on the back of the golf cart so I could finish mowing my lawn before dark. 

So watch where you leave your stuff, folks, or you might find yourself wondering whose lawnmower you could borrow to finish your lawn.