Knowing when to stop. A big issue for me, really. Especially when it comes to trimming stuff; bushes, grass; hair. Memorial Day Monday is the day where, every year without exception, I find myself out in the yard doing what I hate more than anything, yard work. Mostly trimming overgrown stuff and trying to put a neat and tidy appearance on the house to beguile opinions of neighbors. Let them think that on the inside we’re just as neat and proper as we appear to be on the outside. Please overlook the 25 year old rider mower on the front lawn that as of 2:00 on Monday afternoon stopped working. It’s not all that neat.
Hold the “told ya so’s”. it’s a simple thing.. drive belt for the blades needs replacement. And something needs to be done about the starter, but other than that its. Oh and new battery. And uh, the gear shift mechanism has some issues, doesn’t like to go from neutral to forward for some reason. Have to really wiggle and pull on it. But, other that those minor inconveniences, runs like a top. Cuts the grass really nice also, at least it did the two times I got to use it. We’ll have the issues corrected soon. I promise. And, we’ll post the bill to the neighbor across the street who has yet to buy into the mower pool.
I hate yard work, a fact recognized by the family, so when I grabbed the lopping shears, sunscreen and 12 back of bottled water and headed for the hated island in the middle of the lawn, the one with the really hated junipers, Mrs S met me at the door. “Remember the golden rule of family yard work Sank”. I never remember rules very well. You could say that I look at rules, especially artificial rules imposed by the family Warden as “guidelines”. Rules have to be followed or severe consequences will be incurred. Guidelines, well guidelines should be followed, for harmony, but should something interesting or should the pain in the ass factor dictate otherwise, I never feel all that compelled to adhere to guidelines.
Mrs S’s “Rule/Guideline”, THAT WHICH THOU STARTEST, THOU MUST FINISHITH”. She proclaimed said guideline/rule in pretty much those exact words. Well, first of all I’m not Finnish I’m French and as such this doesn’t even make sense. And, like all good men with adult onset ADD, I’m very likely to work in a fury for about 20 minutes or until a tool is discovered to be inadequate or something I need isn’t right at hand, at which point I’m likely to go off into the garage and become distracted by any of number of neat things, including the beer fridge. Mrs S is aware of this and was trying to say, as she did later. “the kids should see you finish something, not see you come in to yell at them to finish it.”
I have no idea what she’s even talking about.
Then, “guideline/directive” number two- KNOW WHEN TO STOP. This one I get. Every year, at trimming time I cut. I cut overgrown branches, I cut dead stuff, I shape shrubs, (does that make me a “shruberer?”) I trim stuff. When you have a set of pruning sheers in your hand and you’re up to your ample butt in overgrown bushes you sometimes lose sight of the big picture. Well I always lose sight of the big picture and this year is no exception. Cut cut cut, snip snip snip.. OK this juniper thing is hanging over the border here and here.. and moving in on this plant here, and “Sank, enough” and I’ll just clip these dead things here. .”OK Sank, looks good now.. “ and cut here and here. “Sank.. nice job.. love it.” And then these need to come off, and this top growth here should be trimmed and, “Hey Scissorhands, looks fantastic, be done”. And one last branch.. and this should do it. .
And with that last snip, literally… one half of the bush, or one whole side, fell over.
I’ ve done it again.
“Sank..” and a glance to heaven and a head shake was all she could come up with. Good news, this year, while using the hedge trimmer I did NOT cut through the extension cord.. I’ve done that almost every year for the last 15 years. So I’m making progress right?
I was done. Fine. I stopped to admire my work. Other than the big hole in the middle of juniper I thought the yard looked pretty good, except for the huge piles of brush and leaves all over the lawn. Kids can get that. I went inside and poured myself a soothing adult beverage. Kids were sitting on the sofa watching more Futurama reruns. “Get out there and help would you.. I’ve left a pile of brush for you guys to pick up.”
Mrs S made came in from the yard and started in on the Scandinavians again. She must not like Finns for some reason because she was once again yelling at me about being Finnish and not Finnish and making kids Finnish. It was all very confusing and had to lay down until my head cleared.
Speaking of heads-
So I went too far on the pruning, it’s a problem, I don’t know what to do about it. Before settling in for my afternoon nap I decided to give myself the bi-weekly haircut. Yes fans I cut my own hair. I keep it nice and tight and because of that, have saved my family thousands of clams in hair products, haven’t worried about my own graying hair and picked up about 20 minutes in the morning since I have to do nothing to my head. If you can mow a lawn, you can cut my hair. It’s not rocket science; just mow it with the clippers.
In the summer I cut it outside to save the mess of little hairs all over the bathroom. I grabbed the shears, put the #2 guard on it, plugged it in and applied the device to my scalp. First pass.. “reeaow” down the side of my head. Another. And another. Hair is falling on the deck, nothing unusual. Switch hands.. bit of fumble in the transfer, didn’t think anything of it. Apply device to scalp and make a pass. This time “BZZZZRRRPPPP” much louder. That was weird. Second pass.. wow. That time, the clump of hair that came off, MUCH bigger than the previous.. longer too.
There’s a weirdness that occurs when a adult male brain, dulled by years of slow pickling and nonsensical conversations with family members about confusing topics like children’s “rights”, things that are “fair” and non-existent Finnish connections, when that brainputs together all the evidence in front of it and serves up too the consciousness a correct interpretation of events. In this case..that something had gone terribly wrong with my clippers. There on the deck, at my feet was laying the guard, the #2 guard that cut my hair to a ½ inch height. It was lying in a pile of hair which was about 1 inch long. I did the math.
I cut my hair at about 1 inch. I cut it back ½ inch to keep me from having to brush it. If it was at 1 inch and the guard is missing, 1 inch long minus the 1 inch on the ground..
Yeah.. the result is BALD. I’d basically shaved my head. In two spots.
You have two options in this case. Follow Mrs S’s advice and “be done”. The spots will grow back and no one will notice, well they’ll be polite enough not to say anything if they do. I hope. OR.. “Get’r done” which I did.
Had to match the grass all around.. shaved it off to a decent 5:00 shadow. Actually it looks and feels like my old GI Joe with the King Fu Grip. He had a brillo hair thing going too.
After I finished I went back the house and to the fridge for another soothing adult beverage. More soothing now I hoped because my scalp was experiencing some weird sensations of air and sun and other stimuli which heretofore were unknown to it. Ran into Mrs S in the kitchen. She stared, shook her head like one does when one suffers fools and remarked “Seriously Sank. Seriously, KNOW WHEN TO STOP”. Oh and FINNISH.. Again with the Finns.. “Kids- go clean up my hair out there and bring in the clippers would you, they need to sit on the sink in the bathroom for a week before I put them away”.