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The final week of the Apartment Therapy January Cure and I was IN THE ZONE boy. Over the weeks, I’d organized, polished, cleaned, dumped, and managed to keep the house that way. I was on a rampage. I could see the finish line!

The final big weekend project was the living room. Mine is all part of one big room comprising the kitchen, a dining area and living room. With the kitchen sparkling, my desk organized, and once the dining table was cleared off, there really wasn’t much left for that room. I keep it dusted and picked up because it’s where all visitors land. My long bookshelf/plant stand by the picture window needed attention, but other than that, the room was good to go. I figured 3 hours tops would take care of it. Thus, I commenced with the before pictures.

bookjumblediningroom(That mess was NOT my fault. My son needs to set up a drop zone of his own, in his room instead of using the table as a drop zone. The dastardly rug rumpling dachshund duo need to… well nothing I can do about them except continually straighten rugs.)

livingroom1(No, we’re not protecting the living room from alien brain sucking waves. Aluminum foil works like dastardly dachshund kryptonite to keep them from jumping on and off the furniture. Yes, this is my life.)

So, a couple of hours work should have handled this. I could get more things done than just the living room like continue work on the laundry room and add a single shelf in my bedroom to replace the sad little faux wood bookshelf that is no longer needed. I was confident. Too confident.

Friday, my son and I went to town to pick up a board and a couple of decorative wooden corbels. I had a couple of other errands to run and we stopped in at a Sonic Drive in to grab lunch to take home. That’s where the demise of the weekend began. My son and I have done so much DIY wood working over the past year, that we cannot see a pile of wood without stopping to gawk and dream up ways to use that pile of wood. Well, that very Friday morning that very Sonic drive-in was doing some remodeling and had piled a whole mess of wood in one of the parking slots. We just HAD to ask about it and early Saturday morning we were back with a big trailer.

freewoodThat is a 15 foot trailer. We filled it.

It looked like a lot of wood in the parking slot. It was even more than we thought. It was also heavier than we thought. The winch on the trailer proved to be non-functional so John had to haul these LONG pallets up onto the trailer manually. I can lift, but I can’t carry. All I could do to help was lift and shove from the back, while John dragged from the front. Nothing, at least for us, is as easy as it first appears. Which should have warned me about the rest of the weekend.

I, and this WAS my idea, decided that the easiest and fastest way to unload these mega heavy long pallets was to chain them to the tractor, haul them off the trailer and drag them to a designated “stuffwewillprobablyuse” pile next to one of the corrals. It sounded like a good plan.

My tractor in a memorial to my hubby

tractorandstarsMy tractor is a 1957 Ford 800 series. Thank goodness. I’m not sure if some shiny new green monster would have had a sense of humor about what we did. Because she’s a mature girl (old), she pretty much demands fresh gas if we haven’t cranked her up in a while. We thought we had some. One gas can was empty but the 2nd can was near full (“2nd can” should have been a damned good clue for me, but I wasn’t paying attention and we were rushed for time) and John poured about a gallon into the tank, way more than enough to do this job but I figured I’d drag down some weeds around the property when we were done with the wood.

We tried cranking the tractor, she was reluctant. Very reluctant. Only with a LOT of coughing, sputtering and a cloud of smoke… wait.. I don’t remember her smoking before? But she eventually started. I backed her out into the middle of the backyard, John positioned the truck and got the chain attached to the pallets. I put the tractor in gear to haul the pallets off the trailer and the engine conked out. Starting efforts proved fruitless and drained the battery. This meant we had to move a car around to charge the battery. Starting efforts remained fruitless which meant we had to call a neighbor over for advice. It was while awaiting the arrival of the neighbor that my brain coughed up an old factoid. Wasn’t there a can of old boat gas in the garage? “JOHN? What was in that gas can you put in the tractor? Was that boat gas?” “Dunno.” facepalm. Boat gas, requires added oil. Tractor engines don’t appreciate oil added to their gas. This would explain the smoke. This would also explain the dark blue colored gas my neighbor found in the sediment cup.

The neighbor, kindly, chained the pallets to his truck and we did get them unloaded. He didn’t laugh. Much. The remainder of Saturday (not much left of it by then) and most of my Sunday were spent adding small amounts of good fuel to the tractor, and then draining out the oiled fuel over and over and over because, of course, the tractor had quit on a slight hill and wouldn’t fully drain. The best we could hope for was to weaken the mix enough for the tractor to start. As I said, thank goodness they made tractors the way they did in 1957. I was born the year before this tractor and I’m thinking it’s not a coincidence that they made my tractor well enough to stand up to me. They saw me comin’. The tractor finally cranked up Sunday afternoon, although her gas is still faintly bluish. Bless her.

This incident was followed by two days of rain, the discovery of a leak in the ceiling over my kitchen sink, running errands for my heroic, engine expert neighbor’s wife, and then post rain clean up of the barn and corrals (yes, the tractor is still running). My entire final week of the Cure was shot. However, I did manage to clear out and organize the bookshelf, vacuum it thoroughly (including the books) pitch the old non-working stereo and untangle all the plants that had gotten so happy they’d started moving into each others pots. My son also cleared all his dropped items off the dining table which is now, serving as a temporary surface for a craft idea I decided to work on yesterday so it’s still non-functioning as a dining area.

As for my laundry room and that shelf I was going to build in the bedroom, well, to quote Albus Dumbledore after working up the courage to try a Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean, “Alas, earwax”.