Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Meet Mr. Murphy

As you all recall from Friday’s episode, the kids who were not going to be soccering were going to be spending the day with Reba’s mom and dad so she could go get her afternoon at the spa and not have to cancel her appointment, while I took Middle Girl to sit out in the blast furnace all day.

Got in Friday with the intention of changing the lawn mower blade and was met with, “WELL, I’m gonna just have to CANCEL my appointment!” ::sigh:: And much angst ensued.

Come to find out, Reba’s folks were going down to the country for a family reunion, so were going to be unavailable for guard duty. Reba was all put-out and put-upon and pouty, and I first volunteered just to take them all with me to the tournament. A risky gambit on my part, I admit, being that she might have just said okay. “Do you REALLY want to take them all with you--and CATHERINE?”

Obviously not, but short of getting someone else to watc…Hmmmm. Wonder what Granny Jean is doing? So, I got on the blower and called my mom and asked if she would be willing to tend to them--actually would be pretty convenient since she only lives about two miles as the crow flies from the park. Thankfully, she agreed. Whew.

So, I was sitting downstairs watching the news and taking my lovely new mulching lawn mower blade out of its plastic case when Oldest stomped down the steps. “REBECCA SAYS…that YOU just called YOUR MOM and WE are ALL going to GO OVER THERE SATURDAY. Is this TRUE?!” Yes, it is. So she gave me the “I Hope You Die Before My Eyes” look that she has such a firm handle on. “Well, I wanted to go with MOM!”

“Look, this was a gift for Mom, so she could have some peace and quiet and not have to mess with y’all--is that not okay with you?” And it should have been--except she’s fourteen and I’ve been told that nothing in the world is more self-centered than a fourteen year old human female.

She turned with great flourish on the stair tread, thrust her nose high into the air, and stomped back upstairs, “Oh, NO! That’s. Just. FINE!”

I looked at Reba and asked what the deal was with her. She just shrugged her shoulders and moped out to the garage. You know, for this to be a nice thing for her to get away for a little while, it sure is creating an awful lot of ill will.

Being a guy, I chalked it up to hormones, which is what guys chalk things up to when logic fails. I went outside and got my lawn mower out of the shed and started the blade removal process, which required that I go back inside and get the wrenches that I had forgotten to get in the first place, due to hormones. Went into the garage, there was Reba still acting mopey, got my wrench--“What’s wrong, Sugar?”


::sigh:: It’s never nothing.

Back outside, oomph the bolt loose, take the old blade off and admire the mangled tips--amazing the thing still cut. Looked around a bit underneath and found that the area where the drive belt connects to the little transmission to make it propel itself was all clogged with grass. Started grabbling that mess out, and then a small bell rang inside my head. Something like a desk bell. Or it could have been the sound of a 1/2 and 9/16 box end wrench hitting concrete. Whichever.

I dropped my stuff and dusted some of the grass off of me and went back inside, where Reba was STILL in the garage, sitting on the exercise bicycle. “Had you told Ashley she could go with you?”

“I said I didn’t care if she did.”

Oh, good night, Irene! No STINKIN’ wonder! You know, we’ve been married a long time, and we just don’t have fights of any sort. Just not our way of doing things. If one or the other is mad, we let it blow over and then fix things, but such lack of willingness to be confrontational sometimes leads to stuff just like this. Had I only known, much sturm und drang could have been avoided all around. And for one of the few times I can ever recall, I was mad enough at being made the jerk in the equation to actually make a fuss about it with Miss Reba.

“Next time, TELL ME when you’ve agreed to something with her! I’m tired of always winding up looking like an irrational [expletive denoting the southernmost extreme end of the alimentary canal]! Next time, don’t make me have to figure this stuff out!” (It is all about me, after all.)

Yes, I know--someone out there is probably thinking it, and I’ve heard it a million times--‘but she shouldn’t have to tell you.’

Possibly not in a perfect world--one in which I have more than three brain cells that function normally. By now, though, it should be perfectly obvious that not only must I be told, often, but it would also help to occasionally have some nice diagrams.

SO, up the stairs, where I have to explain to Oldest that I did not realize that Mom had told her she could go--as well as a terse primer on the necessity of not acting like a selfish, spoilt, two year old if one wishes to be treated as anything other than a selfish, spoilt, two year old.

Back downstairs, back out to the porch, back to the lawnmower.

Unscrewed the various sheet metal screws and unbent the bits of tin surrounding everything and uncovered a big compacted mass of grass clipping that had been clogging the parts that make it go. Started digging that mess out, and as I did that, Miss Reba came out and sat beside me in the rocking chair. Which meant that whatever had happened earlier was now done with. I showed her the mess of grass, got her to hold down the drive handle while I jiggered with the various springs and levers inside. After a while, she went on inside to get supper started and I got everything buttoned back up, attached the blade, swept up the loose clippings, gathered up the tools, and dusted myself off.

Suppertime, kids bathed and in the bed, pack Rebecca’s stuff for the park, then to bed.

Up early Saturday.

More about which, in just a little while.

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