The Lazy Solution

DSC_1449There I was, at home after being gone for a glorious long weekend, and trying to finish a sewing project that is supposed to be a gift for a bridal shower in two days (no pressure, right?).

The project half sewn together when I needed to iron several parts in order to finish. I grab the iron, plug it in and wait for it to warm up. <crickets> It doesn’t warm up at all. Stone cold. Hmm. I turn it on and off about 19 times, put it on different settings, plug it into a different outlet all to no avail. Noooooooooooooooo. This particular iron is rather old, I bought it for $3 from a thrift store when my last iron stopped heating about a year ago. It has worked just fine since I bought it and lived up to it’s $3 price tag quite nicely. Well… until now, on this cold snowy day, when I have an urgent project to finish.


It was still snowing outside and having braved the roads home from work, I knew it wasn’t pretty. Not to mention cold and gross. And there’s that gift I need to finish tonight. I calculated driving to a nearby store, the fact that it would take a chunk out of my evening and I just did not want to go out.


I begin to wonder if a pancake griddle can work as a reverse iron. And then I notice a little screw on the bottom of the iron. Can’t hurt to open it up and have a look-see, right? I assume, of course, that I will just open it up, admit defeat, and put on my snow boots and head to the closest store that could sell me an iron…


ironfix2Lucky for me, I never put my drill away, so it was within reach and seconds later I’ve removed the screw, pulled off the back of the iron and I’m staring at a singed electrical nut. Hmmm. Suspicious. I pull it off, grab my wire cutters, trim the end off a rather messy looking wire, put on a new wire nut, and replace the iron back and screw. 2 minutes (most of which was spent locating my wire nuts and wire cutters).


As I was screwing the iron back together I had to chuckle as I realized what I was actually doing. My dad and his dad have been known to take apart appliances for years to repair them. Spending far more time and energy than the appliance is worth in many cases. I have been made to poke fun at this very tendency. And yet there I was, doing exactly the same thing. It’s a family thing I guess.


ironfix3After that two minute fix, I had a working iron again (which still feels rather miraculous) and was able to finish my sewing project, without a snowy trek to the store. And all in the name of extreme laziness and being unable to escape my last name.
iron fix1

More awkward

And in case one awkward “Take down the sign” moment wasn’t enough, a few days ago I got an email that stopped me in my tracks.  

At my last job, when I first started, back when there were four partners, the general manager’s mom was working there. She was very emotionally invested in the business, and had picked up a lot of slack when the companies were merging. She brought her own set of um… , she was rather disorganized, often did things the hard way (instead of finding new and efficient ways to do the same tasks) and she refused to change how she did anything. But she was very well meaning and when I started, she felt like she finally had an ally. We worked together on a lot of stuff and I took a lot off her plate. What can I say, clearly we were office BFFs. In the midst of that, of course, I got a lot more personal information than I was hoping for… all the details of her divorce. Her current relationship. Her kids (including one of my bosses). Her grandchildren. Her friends at the club. Everything. In excruciating and sometimes horrifying detail.

So we worked together probably 4 months before the bottom fell out. Her son, the general manager, stopped coming to work for a couple months. So all communication went through his mom, which made it even messier. And there was fighting among partners. And then the general manager had some sort of mental breakdown and was in the hospital. Next thing we know he’s suing the company with a rabid lawyer who is doing it all pro-bono as a family friend. He sent me an email saying it wasn’t personal and don’t take offense. And then threatening emails. It was messy. Not a little messy, but incredibly messy. And at this same time, his mom stopped working for us, for obvious reasons. And everything she had been doing dropped onto my already full lap. The whole thing was stressful and messy. The legal settlement nearly sank the company and the payments over the next year were maddening and damaging.  

To make all of this worse, the general manager who sued the company lives on my street, 2 blocks down, but on my street. I get to drive by the truck he stole (through legal settlement) from the company. And it was a struggle for me to fight bitterness whenever I drove by. Thank God for the grace to see that this guy isn’t my job- God will deal with him in his own time and I was able to let go of the anger and move on with my life.  

Anyway, that was all a year and a half ago. Ancient history. Today I get an email from this woman. She somehow heard through the grapevine that I am no longer working at the company. She’d love to get together with me for a glass of wine and to catch up. She really enjoyed my company when we worked together and was sorry we haven’t kept in touch…. 


Take down the sign Reenie

Earlier this week, my dad and I went out to a job site to take some elevation shots on some pavement that wasn’t draining properly. It is in a wealthy subdivision nearby and we do a lot of work in this community.  So we’re getting ready to take the shots– keep in mind my main task here is to hold a survey rod so we can get the elevations– and the lady whose home is right in front of us comes home from the grocery store. She comes out to chat- she saw us at the meeting last week, thought the road plan and presentation was marvelous, blah blah blah. We start chatting- she’s new to the area, came from the east coast a few months ago. She’s probably in her mid-sixties. She asks about the driveway, so Ken starts telling her what she can do to fix it.

Then she tells us about her kids- three of them. None of them stayed in their hometown, which is why they moved out here- to be closer to the grandkids. Her husband comes out to join the conversation and ends up walking to the end of the driveway with Ken to talk about curb modifications.

I turn to the lady (is it bad I don’t remember her name?) and she says to me, “I am so happy to be closer to family, but (she tears up) it was really hard leaving my friends of 40+ years and trying to start over here.”  That’s right folks. A simple trip to take some elevation shots– to hold a survey rod– and there I am, standing in the driveway with a sweet lady who is tearing up about missing her friends and their community. Unexpected to say the least.  

But seriously, take down the sign Reenie.