Monday, September 15, 2014

At 40, there's still things to learn

After Sunday church, we ate lunch at a nearby restaurant.  Caleb ordered a steak (Papa's paying, right?).  When his meal arrived, I watched him laboriously chisel the meat and succumb to frustration.  He asked for advice and I (the vegetarian:)) coached him on cutting a steak.  As I doled out tips, I wondered how my eleven year old reached his age of maturity without learning proper cutting technique.  How did this training fall through the cracks?  Wasn't it one of those skills, like tying a shoe, that children must acquire before earning a voter registration card or a driver's license?

It's funny what skills one may not amass as a child and into adulthood.

I, for one, never learned to mow the yard.  I blame my brother, the one who snagged this paid gig first.  That left me with perfecting the art of folding laundry and scrubbing pans (skills that unfortunately I continue to build on today).

For years, my husband tackled the yard.  It was his baby.  He worried a newbie mower like me could give our yard the lawn equivalent of an unrecoverable mullet. He wasn't ready to risk it.

But then we had four boys.  And he had a busy job.  And we were too cheap to pay the neighbor boy more than minimum wage.  And our yard became less important.  And suddenly I became the most attractive (free) landscaper around.

The problem was training.  My husband can handle cardiac arrests in the ER without breaking a sweat, but the thought of training his wife to mow the lawn put him into a panic.  He didn't know if he had the iron nerves to watch his wife wield a mower over his innocent blades of grass.

Fortunately, my Dad agreed to provide instructions.  He, after all, taught three teenagers to drive and was still standing!

Dad pulled the mower out of the garage and we (Caleb and I) huddled around the machine like doctors inspecting a sick patient.  He pointed to the parts and with the patience of a kindergarten teacher identified the gas nozzle doodad and the oil stick thingie.

He then taught us the one and only difficult part of mowing a lawn: turning it on.  After a few attempts, the mower roared to life with me at the helm.  I couldn't suppress a smile; at the tender age of 40, I was finally mowing the lawn!  I watched with satisfaction as I created a path in the grass and because of my efforts the yard became a little less unruly.

I discovered that mowing the lawn is not hard, just time consuming and monotonous.  It felt a bit like vacuuming the yard for an hour, but I grew to enjoy the hum of the mower teamed with the feel of fresh air. I thought, Perhaps I will like this new gig.  Why didn't I do this earlier?

I determined that it's never too late to learn a skill.  I'm motivated to continue to learn new things.  Next stop: the grill.  Dad, I'll be calling.


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