Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Safety Not Required

Well, it finally happened.  I ran over my husband.  This comes as no surprise to family and friends and most importantly, everyone is fine.  Mostly.  The day began with my husband tinkering about the yard as a heavy rain of Autumn leaves began to fall.  In order to beat the fall cover, he decided it was time to seed the yard with winter grass.  He called for my help and this is when the plan began to go south.  

I was instructed to drive the 4-wheeler while he sat on the front rack pushing the lawn seeder.  I knew immediately that this would not end well and voiced my objection to this plan, "You know I'm going to run over you, don't you?"  He filled the seeder and jumped on front.  Six foot two with heavy camo' jacket, he blocked any view I would need to steer the vehicle on a safe course. "Go," he instructed, as he lit a cigarette and pushed the seeder with one hand.   "Go left", "Go Right," "Watch that tree," he called from his perch.  Now standing while driving, in order to see anything, I was completely unaware that the vehicle would not leave second gear. Any shifting of gears was useless, but the most important piece of information I should have received in our our pre-flight meeting was that the vehicle would not go in reverse, even if I hit the button with the large red "R" on it. 

We sailed around the yard several times, with the seeder going one way, the vehicle going the opposite way, me standing and driving, and my husband trying to keep us on a straight course. The corners of the yard were the biggest challenge and often required my husband jumping off the ATV to grab the seeder as it headed for the parked cars.  He would return, lift the front of the vehicle, putting us back on course and we would continue on.  This worked 99% of the time.  It was the 1% that did us in. 

As we approached another corner of the yard, we moved along fairly quickly in second gear and I felt confident that I could master the curve without stopping or readjusting.  The seeder started to veer to the left and my husband pulled sharply to the right.  The seeder was headed under the front left tire and as my husband jumped off to save the seeder, I threw the unit in reverse and hit the accelerator. It seemed like slow motion as I watched legs go under the ATV first, then I heard a giant thud and some curse words not to be repeated in a Family Friendly blog.   Then, it all went quiet. 

Afraid to look, I knew that I had surely broken both of his legs and the winter would be spent with a half green yard as we would never finish what we had started.   Standing, while still holding onto the brake, uncertain what gear we were in, I peeked over the front to see my husband lying on the ground lighting a cigarette.   "What were you thinking," I questioned, shifting the blame before he had the chance to.   He shook off the dirt, jumped on front again and off we headed.  

Unable to see where I was driving, I picked leaves off the back of his jacket and steered left when he said left and steered right when he said right.  This lasted about two more rounds in the yard before I ran into a parked vehicle.  It was then, while attached to the bumper of a large van that he jumped off, took the seeder in hand and began walking the final laps in the yard.   I left the ATV where it sat, rumbling in second gear, and headed inside to familiar territory where it was fairly certain there would be no one to run over.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Face In The Dark

Forty years or so ago, I sat on the living room floor, in front of the console tv, watching Jane Jetson make video calls with George.  He would often call from Spacely Space Sprockets before jumping in his flying bubble car and heading home.  If Jane wasn't looking her finest, she would step behind a mask which featured perfectly coiffed hair before addressing the caller on the other end of the video phone. As kids, we dreamed of the day that we would own such a device and be able to fly around in little space cars.  It would surely be magical.

Today, while it is nothing short of magic, the FaceTime Application on my Smartphone live streams my child directly into my life at any given moment.  At 2:00 a.m. my tiny beauty will ring in and suddenly appear in the dark above me as I attempt to wake from a deep sleep. She can see nothing but darkness and the possible reflection of my phone screen bouncing off of my pupils, but it doesn't stop her from going on and on about whatever fabulous event has just occurred. She pops in and out at odd times whether I'm ready or not.  I get to walk to class with her on cold mornings while I hear her talk about her day and see nothing but feet moving quickly across the ground.  I've spent hours staring at the roof of her car as she talks to me from the driver's seat of her car while her phone sits safely in the passenger seat.   I've seen close-up views of her forehead, her chin and one eye as my tired girl drifts off to sleep in mid-sentence.  

It's an odd reality having your children drop in and out as if they are still there in the house, ready to help with preparing dinner, folding clothes or just sitting on the edge of the bed late at night.  Unfortunately, distance and a tiny glass screen stand between us.  While she can't actually reach a helping hand through the screen, she brings me such joy as she chooses to stay connected from so far away.   I feel it deep in my soul that we are one step closer to flying autos that fold down into a briefcase and I fully expect to wake one night to a hovering craft above my bed.  It won't be aliens, much to my husband's chagrin, but will simply be my Spacely Sprocket child ready to include me in her next adventure.  

Early Retirement and the Great Resignation

        At the age of 57, I stared at my 35 year career, whispered a polite thank you to the heavens and hit the send button on my retiremen...