Thursday, August 13, 2015

Big toe and lawnmower repair

“Bless my heart”

Oh, yeah, like this is gonna work. I’ll be sawin’ on this space-aged titanium piece of -- What? You’re gonna hafta speak… I-- Oh, excuse me. Ear plugs. Let me, uh… There. A guy could go deaf in this kitchen.

No, no. I’m quitting with this. My toe is beginning to throb, so I’ll meet at the dining table. Chunk one of those coffee doohickeys into the new Keurik and brew you a cup. I’m trying to push the French Roast. Tastes like French Burnt, you ask me. But, you’ll like it, I’m sure.

One or two of you may need to get chairs  out of the study. I’d do it, but my toe’s throbbing. Remember? That’s one of the reasons we’re not climbing on the roof this morning. That and the fact that we’d sweat buckets. Maybe do the rooftop thing some night in the next couple of week. Do a lightning bug search. Firefly. Whatever.

No, we’ve got no cookies, donuts or anything good. We do have at least one can of bean dip, though. I kicked the daylights out of it earlier in the week. You wanna see? No? Just as well. I about passed out when I looked at it.

Why? Why what? Oh, why did I kick the can? Reflexes. I’ve got the reflexes of a fly on meth. I was moving stuff around in the cabinet up there looking for a jar of jam. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something jump out of the cabinet. Since I had jam on the brain, I envisioned being a jar of jam.

I was not in the mood to spend the better part of the morning cleaning glass shards of jam from the kitchen floor, so my foot shot out to slow the jar’s decent. I caught the jar with the top of my foot, but my foot didn’t instantly stop until it hit the corner of the bottom of the cabinet.

It felt like someone had blown off my big toe. Most of you know that a stumped toe is the fifth worst agony you can encounter. It’s just under stick-in-the-eye. I hobbled to the side of the refrigerator that didn’t have all the magnets on it, and I beat my head against it. It did nothing to redirect the pain.

What? The bean dip? Oh, right. Turns out it wasn’t a jar of jam that lept out of the cabinet. It was a can of bean dip. Bean dip! Kay bought two cans of bean dip and no Fritoes. Who does that? There’s no way my reflexes would’ve gone to action over a can of bean dip. I was bamboozled. Hornswaggled!

I refused to look at my toe till bedtime. Too scared at what I’d find. Kay would probably want to drag me to the emergency room. When I finally examined the stubby digit, the toenail where it was supposed to be, it just wasn’t connected to the toe. A day later I told Kay about kicking the dip and stumping my toe.

You know what she said? She said, “Well, bless your heart.” Bless my heart? That means nothing anymore. It’s the qualifier you use after gossiping about somebody. You can make up any kind of nonsense and it’s perfectly all right if you bless the guy’s heart either before or after. -- “By the way, did you know that Phil is a chronic bed-wetter? Bless his heart.”

I told Kay it was the worst pain I’ve had since sitting on the hands-in-prayer bookends. Who lays a set of bookends on the couch while dusting and forgets to pick it up? Bless her heart.

The smashed toe was the beginning of one miserable week of bad stuff. Have you ever tried to saw a drill bit in two? Well that was what was making all the noise when you came in on me. I’ve been trying to fix my self-propelled lawnmower, so it’d go back to self-propelling.

I managed to take the thing apart and find the problem. What I needed was a three quarter inch rod that was 11/32 of an inch in diameter. I couldn’t find one on-line so I went to the lawnmower parts place in tow.

I showed the guy the gear that needed the tiny rod in it, and he said, “Ah, you need a key.” I didn’t know I needed a key, but I’d play along. He said, “I don’t think I have one, but if I do, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to find it.” .

That was the coolest thing a parts person has ever said to me. He wasn’t rude at all. He was just matter of fact. He didn’t try to bamboozle or hogswaggle me. -- I don’t think I have it, but if I do, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to find it? That’s gold.

He went on to tell me to find a drill bit with the same diameter and cut the end off. He said it’d be almost impossible to do without the proper saw. He told me the saw I’d need, but I quit listening to him. The man obviously had no idea who he was talking to. “Almost impossible to do?”

And, yes, he was right. I’ve been using my hacksaw on that thing for thirty minutes, and have only managed to scratch it. (And those two prisoners in New York, sawed through inches of steel and concrete and what all with a hacksaw blade? I thought the story of “The Count of Monte Cristo” was far-fetched.)

Well, that’s just part of the week. I’ll have to finish the rest of the story another time. Yeah, maybe when we’re firefly gazing. – Say, before you guys head out, how about one of you taking my mug and brewing me one of those canisters of Newman’s Own. – What? There’s none left? I told you I was pushing the French Roast! Boy, you’re just adding to the misery here. –  No, I’m joking. A little.


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