Thursday, July 19, 2012

I wouldn't do that if I was you!

How many times have you heard that in your lifetime?

A couple of weeks ago I received my annual weed abatement notice from the County, instructing me to clear my property of weeds, fallen logs, debris, and general fire fuel, I have until the end of this month to comply, so as per usual I ignored the written notice, but filed the mental note in my overflowing brain, under "Don't Wanna, But Must Do," file.
Yesterday was my day to sort out that file and since weed abatement was the last thing in, it naturally became the first thing out.

The Correct way to Weed Whack
I put on a pair of old tennis shoes, WITH socks, ankle socks, and my favorite faded blue Life is Good short sleeved tee shirt, my threadbare khaki Cargo Shorts and my sunnies, not for protection but because it was pretty bright outside and then armed with my battery powered, newly acquired, 24volt Weed destructing, brush mangling stick of power I headed out to do battle with my sticker patches and weeds.

Jon's way to Weed Whack.

Now, while I was getting dressed for said assault on the hill I kept hearing Patty's voice rising from behind my "Don't Wanna, But Must Do," file and it was saying, "I wouldn't do that if I was you!" along with "Maybe you should wear long pants and long sleeves and how about a dust mask, eyeglasses and gloves? "
To which I of course replied, "Ha, long pants, long sleeves, pfft, dust mask? phooey! gloves? can't find em! and eyeglasses? whats wrong with my Oakleys?"

Two hours later after tearing of half my thumb nail, inhaling copious amounts of dust and debris, rubbing my contact covered eyes till they were nearly as red as my well scratched up and bleeding calf's and shins, I thought to myself, "I wish Patty was here to make me put all that junk on."
Just about then I heard the unmistakable buzz of a bee, followed very closely by the unmistakable buzz of a couple of hundred bee's and then like some old grainy black and white Tom and Jerry cartoon I was being chased and stung multiple times by this angry mob of pissed off bee's, they got me on my wrists, my neck, my chest (through my favorite faded very lightweight t-shirt) my head, sucks having a bald spot, ok I should say area rather than spot, and they tried for my mouth, but seriously I managed to flick them away like a Wimbledon Champion, wielding my hand instead of a racket.
I charged up my pretty steep hillside, bee's following me, dive bombing me, driving me to get my fat arse up the hill and I complied in a manner that could quite possibly have put me into the Olympics for the Triple Jump event.  I made it to my driveway T-shirt ripped from my body, shoes kicked off, shorts half way down to my ankles, still swatting at imaginary bee's, my chest heaving for air, all the while wondering if I might die from this killer bee attack and not noticing the elderly couple that regularly walk their very cute Alaskan Malamute past our house daily. Of course I politely nodded in their general direction as I ran in my front door big white arse halfway out of my undies breathlessly trying to find the Benedryl and Patty's Epi pen. The Benedryl worked and here I sit still quite sore from the stings, but alive and wondering why did I do that?

This whole episode started me thinking of other times that I did really quite stupid things with complete and total disregard for my personal safety, like...

While finishing the partial remodel on our house here in Arrowhead, (I'm beginning to wonder if the house doesn't want me here,) I was using my table saw to cut the hard wood floor boards for the kitchen and was nearly finished with the project, when I heard not only Patty's voice, but my dad's as well saying "I wouldn't do that if I was you."
Of course I knew better so why shouldn't I remove the safety guard on the blade, it was just getting in the way of things and I was moving at a seriously professional pace, the floor was only four cuts away from being complete and the dogs were getting tired of being outside, so why not let them in while I make the final cuts? I'll tell you why, because dogs can get rambunctious and safety guards are there for a reason and when the rambunctious dogs mix with guard-less table saw blade, dismembered thumbs are pretty much the norm.
Just as I'm cutting the wood plank, one of the dogs decided it wanted the Plushie Killer Whale that the other one had and they banged into me, and my thumb banged into the blade that spinning pretty bloody fast and the next thing I know I have a trail of blood up my faded green Life is Good t-shirt and I'm looking at my thumb bone, it's really amazing how white bones can be while they're still attached to your body. Anyway I didn't quite loose my thumb but it was a close call. Now that I think of it, maybe I should stop wearing those Life is Good t-shirts?

I could go on and on about other times that I should have paid attention to the voice in my head, a voice that sometimes screamed at me "I WOULDN'T DO THAT IF I WAS YOU!" like the time I was working up in a gold mine outside of Meekatharra with my younger brother Adrian, we had been sent out to a mud field where the plant discharged waste from the gold treatment plant and our job was to rotate the pipes so they didn't wear out on one side from the abrasives in the discharge, (NO, I'm not talking sewage!) we would have to wade into these huge fields of mud in wellington or rubber boots and spend the day just turning pipes in knee deep slop, I'm not sure why we weren't issued waders, but we weren't.
The end of our shift comes and I had snagged and cut my palm on a piece of metal and needed to get it seen to by medical, so I wander over to the first aid building in my boots full of mud and ask the nurse to check out my hand, she tells me to get outside and take my mud filled boots off, I try and do just that, I go out sit down on the steps and can't for the life of me get the boots off since they were full of mud and creating a vacuum that I couldn't break, I stick my head back inside the door and ask for a Stanley trimmer or box cutter, she doesn't even ask why as she hands me a scalpel.
Are you already seeing the end of this anecdote?
I sit back on the step and proceed to cut the first boot from my leg which I do without a hitch, the whole time ignoring the voice in my head... I get to the second boot and as I'm slicing down the side of the boot I hit a weak section of rubber and it flies down the boot and right across the top of my big toe, slicing to the bone. Adrian looks at my toe and says, "Should I go grab you a bandage mate, looks like you might have cut the bugger off!"
I was worried that I might actually get fired for being so stupid so I pulled my toe toward my ankle  and taped it up with electrical tape and to this day the bloody toe still works and I have barely a scar to show for it.

So as I sit here at my computer waiting for "Home Defenders," to come and rid me of the angry bee's so I can retrieve my weed whacker and get back to work I wonder how many times you've ignored that voice in your head saying "I wouldn't do that if I was you?"

I should really be out there watching the bloke eradicate the bastard, bloody, bee's that caused such embarrassment to my elderly dog walking neighbors, but since I haven't posted in a week I decided instead to sit here and "Write in Spite of Myself."


  1. Jon, this is an absolute gem. I love your stories and I love your voice. They are uniquely yours and they suit each other perfectly. I think Bill Bryson's fans (with me very enthusiastically among them) will soon have another author beside him on the bookshelf.

  2. Lynda,

    I'm sitting here smiling bigger than the Laughing Bell Cow --- Bryson is my all time favorite author, I love his sense of humor and his story telling ability is amazing.
    I'll never forget reading Sunburned Country and afterward telling Patty "This bloke writes like me!" of course I wish I had a quarter of his talent. So for you to compare me to him is an amazing compliment and I think I'm just going to read your comment a few hundred more times before closing this page :)

    Thank you so much



  3. I'm totally off home improvement projects now.

    1. My pain is no excuse for you Ann... :) get stuck into those projects :)

  4. I feel for you, mate. The last time hubby and I aggressively cut back the forest that is constantly trying to overtake our house, we both got nasty cases of poison ivy. His required steroids and resulted in bursting boils. And it takes FOREVER to get rid of. Who ever says poison ivy doesn't spread is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Patty is right. Covering up is good!

    1. I totally forgot about your poison ivy episodes!!! I'll take the yellow jacket stings :)

  5. Jim sends his sympathy. He's had the yellowjacket stings, & he should have heard the voice in the back of his head when he tried to get off a 12-foot roof onto a 10-foot ladder. You know how that ended. He's still in pain 16 months later.
    PS. I love your blog!

  6. Okay, I'm laughing pretty hard right now at your expense, Jon! Did my husband Rich ever tell you about the time he thought he could cut off a tree limb WITH AN EXACTO-TYPE KNIFE?? There's a whole blog in there I'm sure--complete with plenty of screaming & poked eyeballs.

    Anyway, I can't imagine being stung by so many bees.(Can you believe it, I've never been stung by a bee?) And just think of that LIFE AS GOOD T-shirt as saving you from far worse. Good thing you're getting all this done in time for the KARDASHIANS, though. :)

  7. Jon, with all the adventures you have been on, I'm very happy you are here to tell us about them!!! :-D