When the **it hits the fan

April 6, 2009


I had today all planned out. I would have my coffee, of course, or at least half of it before Linen woke up or else it would end up like every other cup… missing and found later 3/4 full and cold because I was chasing her around or getting something for her. I got her up, fixed her cheese grits and got her started on some fresh blueberries (known as ‘poppin berwies’ around here), blackberries, grapes and strawberries (which always ask if she wants 1/4s or slices- surprisingly she alternates pretty often) while I made her pure grain fed, organic chicken eggs (I am sure $1 of the price was marketing and packaging-it’s like an unfolding transformer to get one egg out).

So, while she finished eating and watching George and the man with the yellow hat make compost, I cooked my bacon and eggs to eat before my only chance disappeared. My plan for the day was to get Linen painting in the morning, followed by an inevitable bath and then to Target to get some play-dough for an afternoon activity. While she was down for the nap, I would cut the grass and then give the dogs a bath.

Things were going well. No finger paint was consumed. The bubble bath went well, and I even blew bubbles for her in the bath with the foam number 8 and a precise mixture of shampoo and water, something I haven’t done for her in a while because she always catches the bubbles and eats them… which she did today. While in the bath, I told her we were going to Target. Eyes grew three times their normal large size and she was ready to go; so, I dried her off, put on a pull-up (I could devote a book to why single dads don’t have what it takes to pottie train) and got her dressed. Her hair was extra curly, even in the front, so I just let it go and crimped it a bit with a few grips from the hands. I got her out the door with a cup of grapes in one hand and the Dora juice cup in the other. Target went well… no screaming and I always notice that I am the only dad in the middle of the day hanging out with a kid in the store. Play-dough, hair-clips and bands and a dog brush. When I got her out of the car and into the house, she was getting whiney, so I went ahead and put her down.

Now, I am thinking… “I’ve got 1-2 hours to get the grass cut, wash the dogs, finish the laundry and clean myself before she wakes for an immediate lunch… man, I hope it’s 2.” This is not unlike a decision that has to be made every day by stay at home parents everywhere.

I get my boots on with my shorts and long socks (Carla always hated this combo) and head out the door to the garage to fill up my double blade system Honda push mower that I was just bragging on not even a week ago. I am recanting my statement, Ben. I was telling my brother that when I started that Honda last time, it had been 11 months and it only took one pull. It was one of those moments when a guy looks around to see if anyone is looking, eyebrows unconsciously go up and the chin slides forward, like… “Ha, Ha… Did you see that?” Like anyone would have known but me. No such luck today. Pull after pull after pull and choke and pull and oil check and pull and full tank and pull and gas line check and pull and frustration. I was reminded of the joke that a pastor told me just last week about a boy trading his lawn mower for a bike to an old man. The quick and dirty of the joke is that when the man arrived to the trade with the bike, the boy told the man that he had to cuss the mower to make it work and the boy went away to test drive the bike. When the boy got back from testing out the bike, the old man told him that he had pulled and pulled on the cord and the mower didn’t work and the boy responded with “Have you cussed it yet?” the old man said no and the boy said “Keep pulling on that cord and you will.”

The joke wasn’t that funny until today. So, I ended up getting out my weed eater to cut the yard… my trusty cheap Homelite weed eater. 8 primes and 2 pulls with the choke- like a charm. Luckily, I had enough mixed gas to make it through my small yard. I hit the side yards and the tall stuff in the front and went on to the back where it has been heavily fertilized by Quincy and Roxy, my two Boston Terriers. Linen has never seen the back yard, because it’s smaller than a postage stamp, but more because of the land mines. The thought crossed my mind that I may run across a few turd-bombs but the majority of them would be hard and below the cut line of weed-eater.

About 5 minutes into the back yard, I get hit with something in the face and it wasn’t your normal weed, grass or even dirt. It was wet and it smelled immediately. I am not that big on clichés or sayings but IT hit the fan created by the whip of the weed eater cord. I knew that I caught some on my right eyebrow, they’re long enough to use a weed eater on them too and I got some on my clothes but the smell was ridiculous. My thought of just keep going quickly dissipated as I realized that I had a piece just to the right of my right nostril. Good thing I had my mouth closed. As I washed my face via the hose outside, I almost vomited by the combination of smell and sight of chunks of fresh dog excrement coming off my face and onto my fingers. This was another one of those moments you look around to see if anyone is looking.

The dogs can wait until tomorrow. Besides, I may sub-consciously scrub them a little hard right now. I always take thorough showers, but this one was like what I would imagine the sanitary cycle on our washing machine to be. Linen woke and lunch was ready, the yard was finished and I was decontaminated. I had a few things that didn’t get checked off, but I had a new story and a small grin on my face. I think there’s another saying that might fit here too.

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One Response to “When the **it hits the fan”

  1. Al said

    So funny! I can hear Carla now laughing and telling me about it on the phone!

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