Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do you need a license to work in the yard?

You just can’t be too rich, too thin, or own too many extension cords. I’ll explain.

A year or so ago I got the bright idea that it would be fun to, ah, start doing my own yard work. It’s an opportunity to get outside, back with nature. I could tap into that part of me that I’ve pushed away for years, that guy who loves to play in the dirt and get his hands a little dirty.

So I grabbed Miss Wendy and we headed over to that warehouse place, filled with just about everything you need to keep a yard spruced up and shiny. We bought a lawn mower, trimmer and hedger, weed whacker and blower, grass seed, fertilizer, potting soil and a bunch of plants.

I also bought an extension cord for the hedger, long enough when coupled with a cord I had bought years ago to reach just about any spot in my yard – front, sides and way into the back. We’re talking 150 feet of the stuff, enough cord to whack away at the hedges anywhere on my property.

Did I mention that you just can’t be too rich, too thin, or own too many extension cords? Why yes, I think I did. The problem is that when I get into my hedging zone I have a tendency to focus on the foliage and not on the cord. That’s what I was doing Wednesday afternoon when I caught sight of a spark arcing in my direction.

The crackling sound only lasted an instant. After all, once the hedger cuts through the cord there’s no more juice to keep things up and running. That’s the good news. The not so good news is my new extension cord was now in two pieces.

This, ah, has happened before. In fact, since Wendy and I bought that first 100-foot cord last spring, I’ve managed to cut my way through not one, not two, but three cords in less than a year. I’ve spliced a few back into shape, only to butcher them again. Truth to tell, I’m probably not the guy you want handling power tools around your family.

I’m thinking seriously of replacing the electrical hedger I have now with a gas-powered model. If you happen to be around my neck of the woods and smell smoke, call 911.


  1. Ron, very funny! I've been there, and done that, too. It should be amusing (and it is in your essay), but usually not so much when it happens. Hope all is well with you. Amanda

  2. I love this post. I can just hear you telling this story and I can picture Miss Wendy's face (all 3x this year). Thanks for giving me a reason to chuckle today!