I suppose I shouldn’t use Lund at Large as a vehicle for confessing my shortcomings, but I’m Lutheran and sometimes we just need to get a few things out on the table without bothering the minister. Don’t worry, I’m nearly 68 years old and there’s nothing too saucy about my existence that would require an intervention by the church council or oil anointing of any kind. No, my primary problem is, and pretty much always has been, procrastination and the trouble it gets me into. I could run for office and feel right at home, I suppose.
I have a rich history of stories involving the use of short cuts in order to cover my procrastinating tendencies. My kids don’t mind sharing those stories at family gatherings which always brings loads of laughter and,I admit, a smile from me too..even though they were not all that funny at the time. Like when I brought home a bunch of dried corn on the cob to feed the squirrels in our backyard. I needed to drill a hole through the middle of each cob in order to attach them to the tree for maximum viewing enjoyment. Rather than take the time to set up a vice, I held the corn in my left hand banking on my reflexes to avoid any mishaps. But one ear was a little flimsy and I would have crucified myself had my leather glove not tangled up the power drill bit long enough for me to let go. There was also the time I didn’t figure it necessary to turn off the electricity to the whole house in order to free a broken plug from a kitchen wall socket with a screwdriver. Whenever we watch the movie “A Christmas Story” together on TV and they come to the scene where the old man overloads the outlet while plugging in the Christmas tree sending sparks flying and the smell of ozone into the air..my kids, who witnessed my own close call with electrocution, look at me and smile.
And so, it came to pass, that when it snowed earlier this week, I was not going to be the last guy in the neighborhood to fire up the blower. No sir..as soon as there was a break on the weather radar screen..I was heading out. Now, I had meant to change the oil in my now aging snow thrower before winter but put it off. I hope it’s not dangerously low. It seemed fine; a little dark but fine. I meant to fill the gas can after the last mowing too. Oops. There’s still some in the snow blower from last winter maybe it’ll be enough to get me through. Now, this is the part where everything is supposed to…and usually does..go haywire. .but nothing did! Thanks to the electric starter, it took off like a champ and I finished in less than an hour..even did my next door neighbor’s. So, it was with a bit of a swagger in my step that I entered the back door and with a manly satisfied lion-like roar demanded “coffee woman.” I think Linda said something like “Settle down there Simba. I just did the kitchen floor so please leave your parka and wet shoes in the garage.” Okay, so my pride was a bit shaken but I could find solace in my man cave where the computer and window to the outside world live. Big disappointment, though. It had started snowing again..even heavier than before and the Keloland Radar showed a new swath of white moving into Sioux Falls.
See, I thought, being the early bird is for the birds. You won’t see me out there again until the snow is done and the street is cleared. If I need to get out, I can easily use the big red Lincoln to blast my way through the winrow left by the city plow; one withOut a snow gate, which is exactly what I did.. making trips to the barber, grocery store and gas station..including fuel for the snowblower. But that’s when the temperature dropped like the Times Square ball on New Year’s Eve. There was no way I was going outside to finish the snowblowing when there was a good chance of me perishing..frozen solid..right in the middle of an auger spout crank.
It’s supposed to warm up some on Sunday, I said to Linda, I’ll finish then.
That was Saturday. “Don’t we have tickets for that Gordon Mote concert tonight?” she asked. Since It’s a Christian show, I refrained from saying the word that first came into my brain, the one that seems most satisfying. So, when 5:30 rolled around, we were bundled up and ready. I’ll go warm up Big Red, I said. But when I opened Red’s door, my heart sank. No Interior Lights..which can only mean one thing; someone left a light on and the battery was as dead as Paula Deen’s TV cooking career. Oh, man what now? Well, the Camaro is sitting over there.It hasn’t been run in a while..sure hope she starts. I hate driving her in the wintertime because she doesn’t handle snow well. But she roared to life and I cranked the heater on full. Linda had to carry a flashlight into the garage because..well, I still haven’t replaced those burned out bulbs in the ceiling . Procrastination penance. As she got into the Camaro, I decided I better hook Big Red’s battery up to the charger. But when I opened the car door to release the hood…POP..the interior lights came on big and bright. The battery wasn’t dead after all. The cold must have caused the switch that controls the inside lights to stick. Well, that’s a relief, I guess. Oh, well, the Camaro’s all warmed up so we might as well take it and go. As I’m backing out Linda says, careful a car is coming . So i stopped on the driveway but after it passed, I’d forgotten about the big snowbank behind me and had zero momentum to break through. With my little car’s extreme low clearance I came to a crunching halt totally hung up. Snow had gotten so deep under the axle that the rear tires were clear off the ground. The only thing they grabbed when I revved the engine was air. Once again, my vocabulary was hardly fitting for a man headed to a Christian concert. We left the Camaro sitting there like a lump jumped in Big Red and high tailed it to the show in time to find somebody else in our assigned seats.
The seating issue was quickly resolved without any punches thrown..even though I’m sure I could have taken that seven year old kid. The concert was..well, just great and worth the headaches to get there.
Sunday morning it did warm up above zero and, determined to procrastinate no more, I was among the early ones in the neighborhood out there directing cascades of snow into proper piles with my machine; first doing the walks then the driveway carefully working around the Camaro which was still sitting there; a cruel reminder of my stupidity from the night before.
I had no idea how I would get her out by myself but then a Christmas miracle. My three next door neighbors all came over at the same time armed with smiles, shovels, a pickup and a rope. Within just a couple minutes the car was loosened from its frozen bonds and I was able to put her back in the garage where she belongs until the next emergency.
God really is good, I thought. And I’m really going to try to be better..not only about this horrible habit of putting things off but in the language I use when things go wrong.
That lasted until the fourth quarter of the Vikings game.