Wall Street Steward Blog

Prime, Choke, Start: Saturday adventures of a spoilt yuppie.

Fair warning: this blog will take some time to read, but if you are willing, I think it will make you laugh at my expense.

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I grew up as part of a family of 5. My father was a traveling salesman, so I was essentially raised by my mom and my two sisters. I was spoilt. Not spoiled. 
There is a difference. Spoiled is getting everything you want. Spoilt is getting everything…whether you want it or not.

Spoilt example #1: My mother used to draw my bath water, make sure the lights in the bathroom were dim so they wouldn’t hurt my eyes, and then gently wake me up. Then, once I was in the bath, she would put my towel in the dryer to warm it up for me. She did this until I was in Middle School. Yes, it is pitiful.

Spoilt example #2: I had the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. It was on my Christmas list one year, but EVEN I didn’t think I would actually get it. It cost hundreds of dollars and was 6 feet long. It was unreasonable. But, I asked…and my folks bought it for me.

I have hundreds more, but then you, the reader, would hate me even more, so I will save them.

Some have said that my childhood never had a hard day’s work. 
Work was never part of the equation.
My childhood never had a hard day. My hands are so soft that when I apply lotion, the lotion says “thank you.”

In addition to being spoilt, I was also exposed to all things girly at a young age. My sisters taught me how to treat women. How to open car doors, how to not be nervous around girls, maintain eye contact, etc. They basically equipped me to be the biggest lady killer of all time. I never abused this though, because they also taught me to respect women. 

The downside to this type of rearing is that I never learned any of the manly stuff. How to work on cars (change oil, check tire pressure, etc.), how to grill burgers, how to operate a weed eater, etc. You see where this is going…

To this day, I am more comfortable drinking a martini while having a conversation about designer jeans than I am downing a beer with the guys standing around the grill.

Some would call me a pansy. Others a yuppie. I would say that I am a confident, self-deprecating metrosexual who knows his strengths and weaknesses and is honest enough to tell you about them.
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Saturday started off well: slept in, hot coffee, BoJangles for breakfast. Very relaxing. Then, I remembered that I needed to mow the weeds. 

You are probably thinking that mowing the lawn is no big deal, but for me, tis. As I stated above, I don’t have the normal manly inclination to grab the mower and go. I’d rather save the callouses and pay someone else to do it. I’m not proud of this…but I am just being honest.  In addition to my apprehension, this task has a few other obstacles:

First of all, my “lawn” is a tight knit group of weeds residing on the largest red ant population known to man.  Think of it as the Manhattan of red ants, with about 4 million procreating weeds on top. I have never mowed the yard without getting bit at least one time. At this point, it is a rite of passage. I know I have finished the yard when at least one limb is itching profusely. 

We used to employ a yard service (“hey boys, keep the phone lines open, because after today I have a good feeling that we will be rehiring you”). While utilizing this service, our lawnmower and weed eater sat idly in the garage, so we decided to sell them. Then, about a year ago we shifted gears, and fired the yard service as part of a cost cutting initiative. Now, I mow the yard. However, I have no mower or weed eater…I borrow them.

My kids play in the backyard almost daily. Imagine if a Toys R Us warehouse detonated, sending hundreds of toys sprawling all over your yard. Yep, that is my yard. So, proper preparation for yard mowing requires a 30 minute cleansing of said toys.

Whine, whine, whine…I am whining. Suffice to say that I abhor mowing my own grass. 

The adventure began at 9am when I secured the needed equipment. Normally, I only mow the yard. No weed eating, blowing, edging, etc. 
Hey, when your yard looks like someone planted weeds in Afghanistan, who cares if the edges look neat? 

It has been at least 6 months since the edges were done, so today I decided to add weed eating to my workload.

I asked my neighbor for permission to borrow his weed eater, and my brother in law’s permission to borrow his mower. Both agreed.

My neighbor (we will call him Shawn) is a cool guy. Military veteran (Desert Storm). Man’s man. He knows how to do all the things I don’t. I’m betting he can operate a grill, and run a weed eater. 

Apparently, he knew that I needed instructions on how to start it. He said “just prime, choke, and start.” He might as well have been reading me a Russian dictionary. I had no clue as to what he was talking about, but wanting to maintain my “man card,” I acted like I knew exactly what he was saying. Then, when he walked off, I picked up the weed eater and began to read the small print on the side. After 10 minutes of trial and error, I figured it out. 

After eating weeds for a bit, I decided to turn off the device to take a break. When I did so, the entire spool came off in my yard. Uh oh. I had just broken my neighbor’s weed eater, and he happened to be ex-special ops. Wonderful. What happened next is so embarrassing that I hesitated to even include it…but it is funny so I had no choice. 

I rang the doorbell. While I was thinking through how to explain to SEAL TEAM 6 that I did nothing to break his weed eater, his son opened the door.

“Hey Drew, is your dddddd….dad home?”
“Nope, they’re not here.”
“Hey, ok….do you know anything about y’alls weed eater?”

Drew is 10. I am a grown man, and I just asked a 10 year old if he could help me repair his father’s weed eater. What is wrong with me? 

Weed eater one dead. 

Plan A failed. Plan B was to ask bro-in-law to borrow BOTH his mower and his weed eater. He agreed.

After reading ANOTHER set of starting instructions, I get his going. The weeds are falling like flies, but after about 2 minutes, the cables fly off of the device and strike me in the shin. His spool was empty. 

At this point, SEAL Shawn walks over to get the explanation about how I had devastated his equipment, and he sees me struggling with a different weed eater. He wasn’t armed, thank goodness, and he decided to spare my life. He saw that the spool was empty and took the remaining spool off of his own weed eater and gave it to me to use in the other one.

“But, the little cap is gone, which means this is going to feed the spool out automatically, and it may run out, so be careful.”

Again, it was Russian. I only heard “be careful.” It lasted approximately 5 more minutes. Then, the weed eater had eaten all of the new spool…we were empty again. 

It is now 11:30am and I have spent 2 ½ hours to weed eat about 20% of what is needed. Also, I have exhausted not one, but TWO weed eaters…neither of which was mine. I decided to cut my losses…weed eating just wasn’t in the cards for today. Time to move on to mowing. 

One detail I didn’t mention was the heat. It was a brisk 95 degrees outside, with a heat index of 104, which made for a damp shirt or three. 

Finally, I finished. It was 1:20 pm.

I learned something about myself today. That I have the knowledge of a 5 year old when it comes to all of the “manly” things in life, but the knowledge of a 40 year old woman when it comes to the “girly” things in life. 

In other words, I am pretty screwed up…but that makes for an interesting blog, right?

Thanks for reading.