“Fish out of water” – Musings of a Big-City Small-Town Girl
by Lara M. Robbins
“The Last Four Screws”
Cheeky title, yes? Sorry to disappoint those readers looking for “pure filth” (you know who you are—and I do, too!), this entry is about what I did during my summer vacation. The Missouri days were filled with many firsts and the company of many wonderful and kind friends, so what follows is just a few of the highlights…
The first Friday night, I attended the auction at B&B Auctions in Elsberry. If you haven’t been, go. The floor show is worth the price of admission (there is no cost). Walk right in and then go to the side of the auctioneer’s stand, get a number and have a seat on one of the church pews. Trust me when I say: This is NOT a silent auction. The entertainment crescendos from time to time, especially when the audience gets tired of the “Bickertons” loudly discussing an item and yell for them to “SELL IT!” already.
Friends and I explored the Elsberry yard sales the next day—not a big turnout. Then again, that could be because everyone was at the grand opening of Broadway Flowers & Fountain. The dancing HotDog was a superstar. Days later, I checked out the place sans the crowds and had the best THICK (emphasize that!) chocolate shake ever—ask for Nick (aka the dancing HotDog!) it’s his speciality (sic).
There were firsts out on the Wee Farm, too. Number one on the hit parade: My amazing friend (The Man, The Myth, The Legend—we’ll call him “The Man” for short), finished building my laundry room. Those who have never schlepped unmentionables and additional lbs. of dirties multiple blocks to a Laundromat through rain, snow, and sleet—not to mention heat waves, blizzards, and hurricanes!—have no idea what this room means to me. Most folks in NYC do not have cars; fewer still have washer/dryers in their apartment buildings, much less inside their own home. Keenly aware that The Man was wrapping up The Room, I brought every stitch of clothing I could pack—clean, dirty, or otherwise. And when I retrace the 1,052 miles to Brooklyn, I’ll schlep it right back—Snuggle soft and deliciously scented. Least cost-effective laundry service ever, but I am one happy chickadee!
Another first was learning to build things for myself like patio chairs and a dump cart for a lawn tractor. The chairs were easy enough. But the cart—oy! It took two days for me to reach the last step of the instructions—only to discover that they were for a by-hand pushcart and if I wanted a tow-behind cart that attaches to a tractor then I must use the directions that apparently accompanied the tractor.
I. Nearly. Cried.
But then I remembered I am technically a grown-up and that I’ve already seen what the end of the world looks like and this wasn’t it. So I bucked up, found the OTHER instructions and went to town on the redo—not so hard. Finally I was at the last step again: The last four screws. There were multiple levels of metal and thick, hard plastic and each time I got a screw in what seemed to be all of the convergent holes, one of the levels would shift and I had to start all over again. Rather than taking my frustration out on the cart—mainly because I do not yet own a sledgehammer—I set down my tools and walked away from the project. I mulled it over and slept on it for a few days. And then the answer appeared as simple brilliance: A little Scotch tape around the first two levels forced them to stay in place as I affixed the last four screws and nuts, loosely at first and then went back and tightened everything. My friend Christie helped me by holding the levels while I taped like a demon and then the screws went in like buttah (sic)!
Sometimes all it takes is a little time and distance to catch up to an answer that was right in front of you all along.
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