OR
Liz Attempts Yard Work As It Is Spring and Her Grass (read: WEEDS) Is Beginning To Grow

OR
A Wheel Pin and a Pin Wheel Are Two Entirely Different Things, No Matter What You Might Think

OR
My Dad Is Terrific But We’re Both Unobservant As Heck

OR
Yard Work Is Just as Crappy As I Thought It Would Be, and I Will Continue To Avoid It If At All Possible

Ok, I think that I’ve sufficiently titled this piece. It should be known from the start that I loathe yard work, despite rather enjoying being outdoors when it’s nice weather. It is entirely possible my loathing of yard work stems from only on the rarest of occasions being asked to participate in that activity during my formative years, and witnessing the sweaty, exhausted mess my dad always looked upon completion of these tasks.

In the last year, however, I’ve had to put in a little effort to make the outside of my house (halfway) presentable. I can now confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that yard work does indeed suck and I tend to look much like my father looks after spending much time at it.

It should also be known that my dad is an amazing man who is making up for his failure (just joshin’, Dad) to teach me about how to take care of one’s property as a youth by making the two-hour trip down from Birmingham to help me with the disaster the Ex and I created over the last three years in this home. He’s had a few month reprieve with the wintry weather, but spring has officially sprung and my weeds are again thriving and in need of a trim. So Dad drove down to teach me how to use my riding lawn mower on Saturday.

Some things you should know about this mower:

  • It is about nine years old.
  • the Ex was formerly jumping off the battery and pumping up two of the tires before each use.
  • Neither Dad nor I have any idea how to use it.
  • It has had nothing but the most basic maintenance paid to it since the Ex and I obtained it seven years ago.

Dad had excellent intentions at the outset: get the tires patched so we don’t have to pump them up before every use. Last time he was kind enough to replace the battery, a generally successful venture. Saturday, it was to be the tires. And they were! Oh, those poor tires were beautifully whole again, and the only expense was $30 and a couple of trips to the tire shop.

And the tires went back on the mower with a fair amount of ease. And we filled the gas tank. And we cranked it up. And we engaged the wheels. Aaaaaand… nothing. The mower did not move. Dad and I, not being small-engine savvy, were a bit stumped. But as I say, my father is something of a genius, and after we found the owner’s manual online, Dad did a little hunting and discovered that the problem was probably a missing Wheel Pin.

Ten minutes and removal of both back wheels proved that this theory was correct. When the back tire was removed, the wheel pin (a little rectangular metal pin that fits into a groove on the axle) had fallen out. Fine and dandy, just search the driveway and it shouldn’t be too hard to miss, right?

Wrong. I have a gravel driveway, if you recall. Once lost, one might as well be hunting one’s teenaged daughter at a Justin Bieber concert. Or perhaps an autographed copy of the Bible. It just isn’t likely to happen unless you are extremely, extremely lucky. And of course, Dad and I are not known for our abilities to find needles in haystacks (or even boxes of cereal in small pantries), so our efforts (long though they may have been) were for naught. No wheel pin was located. And sadly, it was really too late in the day to acquire a new one.

And so, my weeds live to grow another week. Or two. Or ya know, until someone complains, which in my neighborhood, isn’t likely to happen until August, if ever. Viva la Weeds!