Jul 28, 2014
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Embracing the Arrival of Spring

When a rite of spring goes terribly wrong.

Embracing the Arrival of Spring

Dear East Meadow,

Ah, spring is here!

How do I know this? Because the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and my husband is about to trim our hedges. You know how the bulls run in Pamplona every year, and the crazy young guys run after them? These men know the risks, they know they stand a large chance of being gored, yet still they run.

Well, my husband, like those crazy Spanish guys, is about to risk his annual run at electrocution. It takes a few weeks, until the hedges have really grown (read: wildly overgrown). When he can’t take my nagging anymore, he gets out ye olde trusty electric hedgeclipper and, like a man on a mission, off he goes.

In a normal household, this wouldn't be cause for alarm. In MY household, panic sets in. "Daddy, no, don't do it!" my daughter wails. My son chimes in: "Hey, Dad, should I go get a new cord now at Home Depot, just to save time?" My husband ignores them and goes about the appointed task.

Hedgeclipper in hand, with the 12,000 foot bright-orange, can't-miss-it extension cord trailing behind him, he sets off. In moments, the not-unpleasant whir of the clipper is heard, with my husband whistling cheerfully as he starts trimming. I sit on the edge of my chair, and I wait for it. For it always comes; like death and taxes, it is inevitable. Any moment now, the pleasant spring air will be filled with the sounds of...

"AAARRRGGGGHHHHH! *&$*!@@$$%##$#@%$#!" my husband screams. Right on schedule.

The kids and I exchange glances; here we go again. We rush outside and there is the all-too-familiar sight: my husband, the hedgeclipper, and the 12,000 foot bright-orange, can't-miss-it extension cord, now severed in two.

"Calm down!" I admonish him, "the whole neighborhood will hear you!" "I don't care!" he yells. "I was so careful! I had it over my shoulder the whole time! How the $#%#@ did this happen?" "Um, you cut the cord?" I reply. He stomps into the house and prepares for the annual replacement extension cord trip to Home Depot.

My next-door-neighbor Dennis, who is very handy and helpful, hears the commotion and runs over to see if he can help us. My husband goes out and tells him the story, gesticulating wildly. He has cut through an extension cord once annually every year for at least five years; he is NOT happy. My neighbor tells my husband that he can actually reattach the severed pieces and splice the wires together and it will work again. I am doubtful; my husband is hopeful. The neighbor gets it to work again, and it looks like Home Depot can wait.

Yes, Home Depot waited. About 20 minutes. You see, my husband went out to finish the trimming, and a short while later, the air was filled once again with his melodious swearing. "Awesome, Dad - twice in one year!" my son exclaims. "NOW do you want me to go get a new one?" My husband replies, "NO! I'm gonna fix this myself--Dennis showed me how." I beg him not to attempt this; he and electricity are not friends, or even acquaintances.

When he changes a lightbulb I am actually amazed when it works. He is no match for this task. "No!" I shout. "It's not worth it. A new cord only costs 15 bucks!" "Oh yeah?" he answers. Step back and watch THIS!" He has finished taping and splicing the cut cord, and proudly plugs it into the living room outlet.

After the sparks die out and all the lights in the house blow, he sets off for Home Depot, dejected and alone. The new cord costs only 15 bucks. The electrician, $125.

We have since had all the hedges ripped out. Concrete needs no trimming.

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