Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Favorite Brother

Have I ever mentioned that I have a favorite brother?

I do!

He is my big brother.  He is a whopping eleven years older than I am.  Therefore, when I was in elementary school, he would pick me up.  He was well into the driving age, and he would let me hang out with him in the afternoon.  Even if he had to go back to his high school, he would take me with him.

Pretty cool, huh?

There are a number of things that he did with me when I was younger that sealed the deal on being my favorite brother.  He would make me a snack in the afternoon when we got home from school and watch cartoons with me.  This was back in the day, before cable and satellite and even remote controls.  I remember that we had a huge console T.V.  Remember the kind?  You know, with the knobs that you actually had to get up and manually turn to change the channel?

Some of you younger readers probably think that I have been moving the ladder with tools on top of it again. 

Not the case - they did exist! 


I remember that our television had a particular issue with the channel that cartoons came on.  Sometimes it would work and sometimes you couldn't get them to come in clearly.  But, if you held the knob where it was actually between the numbers...

Presto - Cartoons! 

The problem was that you actually had to hold it there.  If you didn't, it would turn to one or the other number and no cartoons.  Sometimes you could get a piece of paper and fold it and slide it behind the knob and it would hold it there.  Other times, you were forced to sit on the corner of the coffee table and hold it yourself. 

The latter was always a bit controversial because we were constantly told that if we sat too close to the television, we would go blind.

My brother, my much older, way cooler, favorite brother that would do anything for me, regularly risked his vision so that I could watch cartoons after school. 

I wonder if he thought about that when he was having LASIK Eye Surgery?

It is not that there weren't hazards to hanging out with your older brother.  As I recall, he could have a pretty demented sense of humor at times.

My own children will read this and go, "Ohhhh...now I get it!"

I can vaguely remember times when we would play a game where he would take a small piece of rope and tie me up.  This usually meant tying my hands to my feet.  The game then was that I was supposed to get myself untied.  Well, you can probably see how this one went.  The funnier thing was that, somehow, he always convinced me to play it again. 

I also remember that when I was a little girl, I used to have a bad habit of sitting in the front car seat facing the driver with my back against the door.  You know, back in the day, before seat belt laws were implemented for our safety.

Yes children! 

This too is true!

Well, my brother broke me of that bad habit one day.  We were cruising around doing, I don't remember what, because I was a little kid, and what did I care?  When all of a sudden we made a left turn through a busy intersection and the door flew open and I flew out!

Now all of you are going, "Ohhhh...now I get it!"

I remember tires squealing and brakes screeching, and then landing on my face on the pavement.  I also remember a short amount of time, and then my brother ran and scooped me up from the middle of the intersection.  I then remember that he threw me in the car and we got the heck out of there. 

I, in no way, bare ill will toward my brother for this little act of negligence. 

I know that he did not do it on purpose.  I also know that it scared the crap out of him.  The only other thing that I remember was that from that day forward, I did not lean against the door anymore.

The same brother, my all-time favorite, also was the only living soul that could buy clothes for me as a gift and I would actually love them and they would be perfect.  This may not seem much to some of you, but I tend to be a little picky, and I am positive that this used to irk my Mother to no end.  She would buy me things and they would end up in the bottom of my closet.  My brother would buy me things, and I would wear them to shreds.  I can't explain it.  He just has great taste.  You should know that this has continued on into my adult life as well.  I don't recall the occasion, but the last gift of clothing from my brother was given to me when I was well into my 20's and this still holds true. 

No complaints. 

Perfect fit. 

The item quickly became one of my favorite things to wear.

Now some of you may be wondering why such a lag in the gift giving when it comes to clothing?  Before you judge him too harshly, you should know that he still gives me gifts, but of a different variety.  He helped us build doors for our barn in February, in the snow one year.  He also helped paint the trim on our barn in July one year.  He is always handy for a task.  Most recently he called me up, and asked me if I would like to have his old lawn mower.  Seems that he had purchased a new one, and he needed some garage space.

Well, of course I wanted it.

My old mower is from 1952 or something, and the only reason that it is still running is because I found a lawn mower repair guy that was in his 80's. 

He loved working on that thing.

It is sad, but at the same time that I retire my old 1952 model, I also find out that my repair guy is no longer with us.  It seems fitting, but still...

So, there were a lot of things that transpired, and well, let's just say that I got the mower home, and all was well.  The part that you really need to know is that the new mower is a Zero-Turn Mower.  I found that to be very exciting right up until the first time that I actually got on it.  You see, along with the absence of a steering wheel, there are no brakes either. 

It took all of two seconds to figure out that this was going to make the chore of mowing a lot more interesting.  At first, I tried to go slow.  Trying to steer and go straight and not hit things.  The most important thing being not hitting things.  Of course, I was not following any of the posted instructions on the equipment.  You know, like the big sticker that was right in front of me that clearly stated that I should first try my new mower in a flat area that was free of obstacles.

Whatever...who needs safety instructions?


I am happy to report that I did not hit anything of real importance in my first outing on the new mower.  I did quickly learn that it is a lot easier to go straight if you are going fast.  I am not sure why this is true, but it seems to be the rule to follow.  After mowing the yard the first time, I happily reported to my favorite brother that all was well.  The mower was great and I felt like it would add some excitement to an otherwise boring chore.  I also reported that I was certain that I was going to hit a lot of things in the near future.

My next outing on the new mower and my predictions were right on the mark.  Going faster still seemed like the better option, but by the end of the excercise, I had hit our horse trailer, only a little bump with the back tire, and I had hooked myself on a small tree trying to make a close manuever.  The tree really jerked the heck out of me.  It seems that when you are making a Zero-Turn, there is the possibility that you can turn too close.

The tree suffered a minor scrape, but seems to be okay.

I reported my activities to my brother, and he seemed to feel that with a little practice, things would work out.  He really seemed to have no concerns about my safety or the safety of things in my yard.  His major concern had become the fact that I was aware that he owned a bagger attachment for said mower, and I was doing my best to get him to hand it over.  He seems to think that he can modify it to fit his new mower.  I am still not sure about this, therefore, I am not looking into one for my mower.  After all, I would hate for him to not be able to modify the old one, then have to purchase a new one, then what would he do?

Garage space is at a premium at his place. 

We have regular conversations about this, and at one point he actually wondered, out loud, why he hadn't considered giving this mower to one of the other sisters.

Borderline rude...considering he pushed me out of a moving vehicle when I was little.

Anyway, there is still time to deal with that later.

Last week, I had a huge list of things to do.  I was having a couple of visitors, and we were expecting rain.  Time was of the essence.  On Monday, I got right to it and decided to mow first.

New Mower.

You have to go fast to go straight.

Piece of cake.

I started mowing, and managed to maneuver the front yard and the side yards with little trouble.  I did steer clear of the little tree with the wound from the previous mowing.  It was when I got to the back that it got a little interesting.  I was at the front of my barn, near the horse trailer, and I was trying to get as close to things as possible, without hitting anything, and that's when it got weird.  It all seemed to be happening in slow motion.  I was turning to make another pass in front of the barn and for some reason it wasn't Zero-Turning.  My hands were in the right position.  My brain was wondering what the problem was and instead of a sharp turn, I was making a wide sweeping right turn.  Again, slow motion in my brain, not in reality, because going faster is better, right?  I see the fence,  I am not Zero-Turning, my hands are in the forward, high-speed position, but something is not right.

What the heck is happening here?

My brain is wondering what is wrong.  I know this mower can easily make this turn, but the mower is not making this turn.  My brain is then telling my foot to brake, but guess what?  No brake!  Too new to the mower, too old to learn new tricks, in the absence of a brake - WHAM!

I plowed into the fence head-on.

Now, you have to experience the jolting, sudden stop, and still, my brain is like,

"What the heck happened here?"

The mower was still running, so I put it in reverse and finished the small area that I had left to mow.  I then drove the thing into the garage and went into the house to grab the camera.

This Blog is informative, if nothing else.

Luckily the wire took the brunt of the impact.  The post was pushed in pretty far, but it wasn't bent.  I was able to straighten it up, and, unless you are looking for it, you don't even notice it.  Which is good, because I have not shared this news with everyone that I know.

Now the funnier thing is that I still couldn't figure out what the heck had happened.  Instead of launching an all out investigation, I decided that I would run the weed-eater instead.  I dig the thing out of the barn and dust it off.  I haven't used it yet this year, so I find the gas and fill it up.  Well, guess what?  It won't start.  I have a hate/hate relationship with this thing anyway, and now I am just mad!

Are you kidding me?

I get it started, but it won't run.

More frustration.

The man in charge comes home, and sees my frustration.  He asks a few questions, and then wants me to start it to show him the issue.  Well, as you can imagine, I start it and it runs fine.

Stupid Weed-Eater!

Totally off topic:  We have an ongoing argument here on the farm.  Is it correct to say, "I Weed-Eated today."  or should you say, "I Weed-Ate."

I will let you talk amongst yourselves on that one.

Please, feel free to comment anonimously.  We will take a poll and tally the results.

After using the weed-trimmer, I decided I would finish the mowing.  I had recovered from my jolt, and wanted to get it done before dark.  This is what I found.

Did you know that a flat tire can completely disable the Zero-Turn capabilities on a mower.

You should know that my favorite brother also gave me this attachment...

It is time to mow again.

My Full-Timer keeps trying to nail me down on a date and time.

She won't admit it, but I am sure it is because she wants to sell tickets.

P. S.  For those of you that may be feeling sorry for my other brothers, because I have so publicly stated which one was my favorite, you should know - I only have one brother.


  1. I remember the falling out of the car incident so well and I wasn't even in the same town. I guess it was a big trama for the whole family. I remember Pat saying that he too you to her and he was right next to a fire station when it happened. So glad that it wasn't any more serious than it was.....angels watching over you, thank God.

  2. You are killing me. So glad my other half isn't here because he would have to know why I am laughing so hard. He might not let us go off anywhere by ourselves for fear of some kind of harm.
    PS you didn't tell your readers he is your only brother and that he has been know to take care of your menagerie so you can come to West Texas, man my sides hurt

  3. Too funny for your older readers you may want to use a bigger font. I missed the only brother thing at the end. Yesterday 111 at my house 109 officially 5% humidity. July is going to be fun.