THE WANNABE PRINCESS
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.