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Wednesday, September 14, 2011



I call my daughter the Wannabe Princess as if it weren’t for three children under eight years old and a limited budget, she could easily fit the bill.  As it is she is forced to maintain a fabulous home, raise three great children, learn classical piano, train for a marathon race, and work on being a gourmet cook.  Being a princess takes a backseat for now.
Recently the Wannabe Princess has had to learn some new very un-princess-like skills.  Due to an unfortunate turn of events the WP has had to maintain a rather large yard on her own.  This maintenance involves three power tools.  She has had to learn to operate a John Deere tractor/mower, a walking mower, and a gas powered trimmer.  I was never a very good father in preparing my children for do-it-yourself skills, so the WP is learning on the fly.

The first obstacle she faced was filling the mower with gas.  Faced with two choices on where to add the gas, she proved the 50/50/90 rule.  The 50/50/90 rule states that if you have a choice where there is a 50% chance of making the right pick you will be wrong 90% of the time.  The gas could either go in the gas tank, or the oil chamber. 

I received a panicked call from North Carolina to my New Jersey home, “I put gas in the oil thingy what do I do?”  I assured her that it could be easily flushed but she should probably have a lawn mower specialist do it for her.  I then gently reminded her that the lawn mower manufacturer in their infinite wisdom label each cap either “OIL” or “GAS.”  The oil generally goes in the hole with the “OIL” label, and the gas follows a similar pattern.

The mower guy wanted to charge $68 but the WP using her charms and a timely pout talked him down to $10.

This weekend Mrs. Cranky and I visited the WP in North Carolina where I was recruited to help with some yard work.  The tractor would not start.  I had to show the WP how even though it looked like there was gas in the tank it was in fact empty.

Later on the tractor was broken again.  I showed her how the battery cables loosen up from all the vibrations.  We tightened them up and the broken tractor ran again.

The weed-whacker was next.  I showed the WP how to pump gas in the engine, set the choke, pull the cord, rev it up and take it off choke.  I then showed her how to tilt the trimmer to edge and reload the line when it got worn down.  The WP was then off and trimming and seemed quite happy with her new found skill.

As I watched I thought back to when my dad showed me how to start the lawn mower, how to operate the controls, and demonstrated the importance of a tight clean battery cable connection.  This is stuff all dads need to pass along to their children, even their little girls. 

The WP recently turned the big 4-O.  It may be late to pass on my daddy knowledge.  I never thought my little princess would need these skills.

It is as they say, better late than never.  


  1. I could use some help in the yard too... Thank goodness my husband or son use all the 'tools'. I have been frightened of lawn mowers ever since at the age of 9 I watched in horror as a friend lost her foot. I wish someone would have taught her to at least wear shoes when cutting the grass.

  2. Hi, I'm a new gfc follower of your blog from the wednesday blog hop :)

  3. i applaud your daughter/WP, lol. takes a lot of guts to do anything with the lawn, thank goodness for home owners association fees, or i'd be screwed. so would the lawn.

  4. It is so important to know how to do things yourself! Not to say I always want to, but it's good to have the knowledge in case you need it.

    New follower from the hop. Hope you can swing by

  5. I guess I was kind of lucky and unlucky in a way. The eldest of 3 daughters and very much a tomboy, my Dad taught me basics for car repair like changing wheels, spark plugs, oil filter and fan belt. Then he had me help him do the timing on the car, fix holes in the exhaust and all that kind of stuff. He showed me how to use power tools like a drill and jigsaw, and then I was chief lawn cutter, so learnt how to use the petrol mower and how to maintain it.

    This has been beneficial to me over the years because it has meant that I do not need a man to fix my car and do jobs around the house.

    It has also been a bug bear because I don't need a man to fix my car or mend things around the house - my ex said I made him feel surplus to requirements and inadequate in these roles.

    Thankfully S has not such problems and like my Dad relishes that I am actually useful to have around.

    Good on your daughter for doing all this stuff...Lets hope she take sit all in her stride and learns to do even more


  6. Well, NOW she knows and that is awesome. There's that role-playing stuff again. Many boys don't learn how to do laundry and clean toilets. That's why they get married.

  7. JH, reading between the lines, I understand what happened to your WP. Good job in your role as "dad". Damn proud of you. Plus you got some good content at the same time. Wondering if your cel phone and the soda can made it there and back without any surprises.

  8. I'm so glad I have my honey to take care of those things, otherwise I'd be in trouble!

    I'm a new follower. Hope you can stop by

  9. dear anon, cell & soda got there & back safely! he wasn't alone so there was someone looking out for the items. can't believe you remember that. see you guys soon! mrs. C


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