Sunday, May 15, 2005

Man DIY...Murphy's Law Rides Again

Do you ever have one of those days? One of those days when, not only do your plans go awry, the go wrong in the most annoying way possible. Or in other words, the smallest possible thing that can go wrong, goes wrong, but that tiny little imperfection brings your day to a grinding halt?

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let me begin.

Saturday was an important day, being the day before my first anniversary. This was made even more important by the fact that my wife has to go to work on Sunday. Therefore, we planned to celebrate our first anniversary the day before. (People assume that the important anniversaries are ones like your 50th, this is true...however, if you f**k your first one up, you're in deep ka ka for the rest of the marriage.)

The day actually got off to a good start. For the first time in as long as I remember, I actually managed to get out of bed early without feeling tired as a one-legged marathon runner, or as grumpy as a eunuch at a Playboy shoot.

The plan was (...and I think this is where I went wrong, never make plans in advance, they invariably go wrong.) To wake up and do a little gardening, followed by a walk around downtown, a little window shopping, followed by dinner at a nice restaurant. Not too much to ask, is it?

To be fair, let me explain what I mean by 'a little gardening.'

Many of you are probably picturing me planting some bulbs, or mowing my back yard. You know what I'm talking about, the husband on his knees pruning the roses, while his loving wife brings him freshly made lemonade.

Not so.

We actually live in the middle of about 14 acres, which is split up by a few members of the family. My Father-in-Law's area is immaculate, my Stepdaughter's area is tidy...

My area is so overgrown, you need a machete and a Sherpa guide to get you to the car in the morning. We're talking the kind of grass you could get captured by cannibals in. With enough time you could probably discover a cure for AIDS somewhere in the wilderness that is my lawn.

Not so much gardening, as going to war with nature.

Let me explain, however, how it got like that. I don't want any of you assuming I'm lazy.

First of all, I'm new to this country, and spent the first 23 years of my life as a suburbanite. I am not a country boy. I have no idea how to run a tractor, and gardening has never been my forte.

Also, in England, the grass doesn't grow during the winter, and has a little growth spurt in spring.

In South Carolina, the grass doesn't grow during the winter, but it seems to take the grand total of 45 seconds for winter to end and summer to appear. You look at your lawn, turn your back, andthen you hear a kind of 'Whoomph!' sound (imagine a spring loaded umberella unexpectedly opening on its own) and the grass is so high it blocks out the sun.

Okay, so my grass is so high that the lawnmower won't handle it. So I have a flash of inspiration and borrow a strimmer/weed whacker from the father in law to trim grass to where the lawnmower will manage the job.

Sounds simple?

Well, it should have been. However, what actually happened was this:

1) I attempt to start the Strimmer.

2) About 45 minutes later, I make the astounding discovery that garden strimmers do not run on good intentions but actually have to be filled with some sort of fuel.

3) Fill strimmer with gasoline.

4) Spend further 45 minutes pulling starter no avail.

5) After making sure wife isn't watching, I slyly read the instructions on how to start it.

6) After 20 minutes, and a lot of cursing, finally get the damn thing started, however, I am so surprised at this that I drop it, causing it to cut out.

7) With strimmer finally running, Approach grass with the demeanour of The Terminator facing a group of inferior enemies. (Hey the thing looks a bit like a gatling gun, which I'd need if I ran into the cannibals.) So I start cutting. Hasta La Vista, Baby.

8) 5 minutes later dicover that the Gatling Gun, sorry, Strimmer will not cut the grass just by making a noise, it also needs a supply of cutting wire to actually cut the grass.

9) Explain to the wife that Of course I realised it needed cutting wire, I just needed to make sure the thing would run before I bothered going to the expense of buying any. She doesn't buy it, and I can tell from her eyes that she's laughing at me.

10) Go to hardware store

11) Leave hardware store with string (price $2.88)

12) Arrive home, explain to wife what I 'need' the other $35 worth of merchandise for...(God Damn Salesmen!)

13) Attempt to fit the cutting wire.

14) Realise, with sinking feeling, that I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing.

15) Attempt to covertly read instructions, discover that there aren't any.

16) Fit the string in the most complicated and contrived way possible. Assure wife I know exactly what I'm doing. Cutting wire looks like one of those chinese puzzles where you have to untie a really complicated knot.

17) Start strimmer (see steps 4-7)

18) Knowing that this time around those smart-ass, smug-bastard blades of grass are going to get their comeuppance, I begin cutting. I also laugh manically, Bond villain style.

19) Curse loudly as my botched job off fitting the string has caused the strimmer to not so much cut the grass, as homicidally tie itself to it.

20) Remove end of strimmer, clear tangle, notice with a 'duh!' moment, the correct way to fit cutting wire, which I do

21) Attempt to place end back on strimmer.

22) Notice tiny bolt that holds the cutting wire in place is no longer present.

23) Look downwards at long grass

24) Let fly with a string of expletives that literally turn the air blue. The cannibals that live in my grass relocate to somewhere safer.

25) Spend nearly 2 hours on my hands and knees, in 95 degree heat, alternating between cursing in pain at the sweat stinging my eyes and looking for the bolt.

26) Fail to find bolt. Curse at whosever idea it was to make lawns out of grass instad of concrete.

27) Sulk.

28) With flash of inspiration, head over to Father-in-law's junk pile. Find old car headlight with a bolt that may fit the strimmer.

29) Spend further 45 minutes with can of oil, wrench and hammer trying to remove a bolt that has rusted shut. Bolt suddenly turns, causing me to fall over...The cannibals consider moving to a whole new country.

30) Test fit new bolt, discover it has the right diameter, but is about 6 inches too long.

31) Unpack dremel, and attempt to cut bolt to size.

32) Forget basic laws of physics, such as: a) Metal is an excellent conductor of heat. b) Bringing a grinding disc spinning at 60,000rpm into contact with said metal will cause said metal to heat up...a lot. c) Having fingers in contact with aforementioned metal will result in pain.

32) Say "Owwww!!! You MOTHER&$$#^@!!! YOU ABSOLUTE!&%$&! Son of a @#!$#! MOTHER#$%@*!!!! ...The cannibals actually move to another country.

33) Hold bolt at other end, much further away from grinding site, finally get the damn thing cut.

34) Relax a little, marvel at my own genius at finding and resizing said bolt to perfect size.

35) Attempt to fit bolt.

36) Fumble bolt

37) ...Drop bolt in tall grass.

At that point, somewhere, in one of the 7 Circles of Hell, the devil himself paused in his activity of shoving a pineapple up Hitler's ass, turned his head and said: "Who is that potty mouth! I've never heard language like that in all my life!!!"...The cannibals change their names, swap their loincloths for suits, get jobs and spend the rest of their lives in therapy.

Needless to say the grass is still waist high.

To make a long story short, the rest of the day didn't go so well either. Our walk around Downtown felt like a death march in 100 degree heat, 150% humidity. The meal, it has to be said, was fantastic, but resulted in the worst stomach ache since Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel drank battery acid.

Oh, and to top the day off, we came home, fell asleep, and the house got struck by lightning.

Every get the feeling that someone up there, doesn't like you?

Incidentally, Does anyone know where I can buy a glowing bolt that whistles when you drop it?

No, didn't think so...


Vada said...

Too funny!!

On the upside- things CAN'T get worse.......
Or can they???

serendipity said...

DIY...the bane of my life! My friends find it highly amusing that my tool kit consists of a stilleto heel for a hammer and a butter knife for a screwdriver!