Month: July 2017

Lawnmower Man

Lawnmower Man

We’ve never had a lawn mower.  In the 10 years we’ve lived in our handy-dandy little two-story townhouse, we’ve either paid a neighborhood boy $5 to mow the lawn or got by with a weed whacker (hey, it’s a small lawn!).

Well, all the neighborhood boys have grown up now and gone off to jail, so there’s no one to mow my lawn.  And the homeowners association gets a little uptight when your grass is so tall you can lose a toddler in it.  Trust me, we have a toddler — had a toddler.  He got out a week ago.  Everytime a patch of grass moves, we throw food at it and just hope. …

Anyway, something clearly needed to be done — and I SO hate the on-your-knees-with-scissors approach to lawn care.

So enter John, stage left.

Stacy has this friend, Sue.  And her husband, John, is a tinkerer.  He especially loves fixing up old lawn mowers that people discard and then giving them away to people who need them.  And people who need them, well, them are us.

So John gave us a lawnmower.  It’s nothing fancy.  In fact, it’s partly held together with duct tape, a nice patch of which is currently plugging the hole through which rocks went flying the first time he cranked it up.

And did I mention the kill switch?  What lawnmower would be complete without a kill switch?  Except the old one didn’t work. … which is why John came into possession of the mower in the first place.  So he replaced it with a new one.  Left the old one on for pure aesthetics and plunked a brand new one on the other side of the handle.

Except it’s backwards. … well, it works backwards anyway.  “Start” is actually “stop,” and vice versa.  And that’s an important piece of information to pass on to the person to whom you’re gifting this new old lawnmower.

Imagine, if you will, a man of girth with an aversion to sweating standing out on the sidewalk yanking furiously at the pulley starter of a derelict lawn mower.  I’m telling you, I pulled and pulled, and I yanked and yanked.  I yanked until there wasn’t an ounce of yank left in me.  And that made me a southerner, I guess, ’cause I got all rednecked and redfaced and was on the verge of some serious down-home swearing, when a four-year-old child walked up to me and innocently insulted my manly pride: “Hey Mister.  You probably just need to pull it stronger like my daddy does.”

Bug-eyed, and with a vein already bulging on my forehead, it took everything within me to not throw this child back to his daddy.  “Why, I’m sure you’re right,” I seethed through clenched teeth, noticing the child’s bare feet.  “Now run along.  If this thing starts up, I don’t want it accidentally chopping your feet off.”  Actually. … well … nevermind.

I watched him traipse along and shook my head, knowing that in a couple of years he’d be mowing my lawn before going off to jail himself.

Two days later, Sue informed us that she’d forgotten to tell us about the backwards installed kill switch.  So I went outside, switched it to “Stop” and gave it another round of pulling and yanking — with my yank leaving me quicker than it had before.

I was just about to give up when my neighbor, Greg, came outside.  Himself a tinkerer, he asked about the lawnmower, and I told him everything you now know.  He fiddled with a few things and then said, “Oh.”

Between his two fingers he held a thick wire with a loop on the end — a loop that fit nicely over the end of the protruding spark plug.  With a drawl that betrayed the lump of skoal in his lip, he said, “Yep.  You’d have never got it started without this attached.”

Summoning every bit of strength left within me, I gave the pulley starter one mighty pull and, “Voom, vooom, vooooooom,” the mower started.

I don’t know how I found the strength to mow my lawn, but I did.  I even found enough strength to mow my neighbor’s yard as a “thank you.”

This morning, my legs hurt. … My arms hurt. … Mercy, even my fingers hurt.  But I’m happy.  We have a lawnmower. …  We have a mowed lawn. …  And we even found our toddler.

Thanks, John.

Note: Names changed to protect the innocent. … Except for Greg.  Nobody knows him anyway.

The Man with the Plan

The Man with the Plan

So I promised a plan, and I have one. This worked for me several years ago. It’ll work for me again. I maintained it for a year. Then I fell off the bandwagon. Why? Because this is the most extreme form of my eating plan. I never got around to doing one that I could maintain once I reached my target weight. That one would have been a medium-carb diet as opposed to a low-carb diet. So, I need to work on that, and I’ll post it once I have it. But enough of that. Let’s dive in!

Things you need to know

I didn’t come up with this on my own. There. I said it. I’m not a diet guru. Good heavens! Would I weigh almost 280 if I were? Anyway, that being said, my source material for this diet plan — Ugh! I hate that. “Diet Plan.” Let’s go with “Paradigm Shift” or “Eating Plan” or something else — comes from two books: Sugar Busters and Transcend.

Sugar Busters was a good book. Very readable. Easy to understand. I liked it. You’d learn a lot just from picking it up.

Transcend was fascinating. You have to look past a lot of the caveman blathering (much like you do with Paleo blogs), but the science and medical portions are well written and engaging. How does a heart attack actually happen? What starts it? Fascinating chapter. I wish I’d paid more attention to it. I might have avoided my double bypass.

Anyway, what’s done is done. Let’s move on from here to a more healthy you (and me!).

Download the Live and Flourish Eating Plan. [Update: I’ve tweaked it slightly and made a low-carb version (the original) and a moderate-carb version (which really only includes the addition of whole grain breads and pastas).]

~ Live and Flourish ~

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the Live and Flourish blog.