This week I learned:

1. How to weed-whack. Calmer Half got an electric one that’s light enough, and low-vibration enough, I can manage it even with all the old injuries.

2. That weedwhacking is a severe forearm workout. Ouch. Even splitting it over multiple days and switching hands, I still have a third of the fenceline to go before everything in the backyard is done.

3. That when I grumble “No wonder men are so much better at yardwork than women! They do forearm workouts regularly!” and make a certain motion with my right hand in the vicinity of my groin, the men in my life really shouldn’t be drinking anything. Sorry about the sinal rinse, there!

4. There comes a point in every adult’s life when they should admit that no matter how they try to clean and fix something, it’s never going to happen. And that, funds permitting, just getting a replacement is the far wiser choice.

5. How many calendar weeks and manhours have been fruitlessly sunk into denying this fact is… usually more related to pride or sentiment than budget.

6. Next time I assemble a new cat tree, I’m bloody well locking the cats in the bathroom first. Trying to assemble a cat tree? Easy. Trying to assemble it with very sore forearm muscles? Hard. Trying to assemble it with a proper ratcheting wrench with the right socket and bit instead of the Chinesium allen wrench included? Far easier. Trying to assemble it with a ratcheting wrench with the proper socket and bit and two cats’ “help”? ARRRRGH!

7. And last but not least, quite disconcertingly: my habit of making notes to self on obscure federal regulations and checklists to remind myself of how to do common and uncommon things… in the absence of any other guidance at Day Job, and given they were stored in a folder on a shared server as backup, have somehow become a manual. I… I think I need to go back through the entire collection, expand shorthand to self into complete sentences and clean out all the numerous typos and accidental dual capitals, the sarcasm, the military-origin acronyms and black humour…

Even though it’s too late. I mentioned to New Boss that I’m dyslexic, and got this smile. “I know.”

When I’m done, especially if I assemble it into a coherent structure that flows from subject to subject, it’ll look like I meant to do that. Which… is not that far off the last manual I wrote, either. Or for that matter, the one before that. Or…

Sometimes adulting is not so much the smooth coherent competence that it appears to be, and rather a whole lot of ad-hoc engineering, entire sets of coping mechanisms built into habits, a healthy fear of second-order consequences, some black humour and some daydreaming to cope, and exhaustion.

What’s that got to do with writing? Eheheheheheheheheh. Funny you should ask… Yeah, sure, looks like I know what I’m doing, we’ll roll with that!

15 comments

  1. Over the last few years I’ve managed to acquire most of the Black and Decker series of 20 volt cordless lawn and yard tools. Weed whacker, hedge trimmer, light duty chain saw, and cordless drill. They do make so many chores so much simpler around the homestead. Even splurged a couple of years ago and treated myself to a Ryobi electric riding mower. The mower has an internal rechargeable battery but the B&D all use the same 20v detachable batteries several of which sit at a recharging station I created ready to grab as the one in current use gets depleted.
    Having spent most of my life with the manual, gas engine, or corded versions of such tools ig gives me just a smidgeon of delight that I now have such help with common tasks. And think a small thought to those folks who developed the new batteries and much more efficient electric motors that make such possible. Many of those advances as a result of requirements coming from our adventures and experiments in the space business.

    1. That’s what we have. I *heart* the cordless drill; it makes so many things take so much less muscle, and go so much faster. The chainsaw-onna-stick I have a wary respect for, because electric and scaled down or not, it’s a chainsaw. I am not yet good or experienced with it to make it do exactly what I want, where I want, every time. On the other hand, between that and the lopper, I managed to trim the low-hanging branches on the shade tree such that it will be much easier to mow under it that ever since we got the house, and clean most everything up to the size of firewood.

      I love technology. G-d bless the engineers who make my life easier!

      1. I love the power tools that make up for my weaker arms. What I hate is the strange pains that crop up after I use them, that are connected to my fast aging body issues.

    1. Yes. And convey the humour at the same time! Thankfully, my readers don’t much seem to mind my sense of humour when it leaks out in the pages. Which is good, because I have a hard time squashing it… even when I probably should…

  2. On the weed-whacking, I use a long, cheap dog leash (or two depending on length) in a loop attached to the weed-whacker to carry the weight. It fits over my head and shoulder so I mostly use my strength to balance and aim. It’s not perfect, but it makes a big difference.

    1. And I realized that the single point sling intended for AR pattern rifles works a treat for my line trimmer

  3. I’d say, keep the sarcasm and black humor, but expand the acronyms unless they’re really common. Anybody reading about government regulations will need the sarcasm and humor to maintain sanity.

  4. On an entirely different note… the string used for te weed trimmer is also used for certain folk harp strings. A hint from a company that sells kits for harp making…

    1. Because strings break, and no matter how many spares you have, you don’t have *that* length. (Or how Alma transposed on the fly because of a broken F string . . . )

  5. Not just for weed whackers, a shoulder strap is essential for me on both our leaf blower and yard vac. Without being able to offload the weight from my bad shoulder joint I’d find using either for more than a few minutes impossible.

    I use a of 2″ web strap, I put a nylon tie-wrap on the tool to clip it to.

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