Living the “3 Simple Rules”

Learning to live the Methodist “General Rules”

A Day That Tested My Resolve!

Posted by Bob Johnson on July 27, 2008

Last Tuesday, Susan and I drove to Abilene to help our oldest daughter, Michelle, move into her new digs. (She’s a pharmacist going on the faculty at Texas Tech’s Abilene pharmacy school.) While I was thrilled to have Michelle back in Texas from Atlanta where she did a residency, several things happened to test my experiment to live by the 3 rules.

When we got there, the house seemed hot — yup, 87 degs in the living room is HOT! It was so hot in the guest bedroom, that we slept in Michelle’s room while she slept in her office. The next day, we discovered that much of the food we had just bought and put in the refrigerator had spoiled. For you see, the refrigerator quit working! (The house was built in 1996, so it’s not that old.) So it’s hot in the house and we can’t even get a cold bottle of water to drink! &J^%KLL!! Fortunately, a call to Michelle’s leasing agent — Ken — quickly resulted in both an A/C guy and a refrigerator guy getting both problems solved.

Wednesday, Michelle had some dental surgery. Yup, 2 days after moving cross country she had dental surgery! (A bone graft which wasn’t as bad as it sounds.) So we kind of laid low that day.

But on Thursday, we went to town trying to buy and get curtains put up. Now, I know you’ll be surprised to read this, but I am not in the least mechanical. I know I was an engineer — but I did molecules! I was a chemical engineer. The idea of trying to get curtains put up scares the heck out of me. And for good reason as it turns out.

The first trip to Lowes — can you sense where this is going? — went fine. Michelle picked out curtains and rods. Having forgot to bring my power tools, the day before I had bought a power screwdriver for just this task. So we get back to her house and I start to hang some bamboo-like curtains on her French doors. I read the directions carefully. I measure and mark. I start to use the electric screwdriver to put the first screw in. Turns out the thing won’t even scratch the metal door! OK, so I need to go back to Lowe’s to buy a power drill.

Trip #2 to Lowes. I pick out a drill — which conveniently has a couple of drill bits and screwdrivers in the set — and go to pay for it. First, this Lowes no longer has any real person type cashiers. They’re all self-serve. The $(*FJ# thing won’t read my credit card. So the “floating customer service cashier” comes over, pushes some buttons, and I scan my goods. Then, when I try to sign for the total, it does some kind of “beep” thing, and locks up. Again she comes over and we finally get my goods paid for. How do these retailers get off trying to convince us these are for OUR benefit!!??

Well, at first, success. The drill works. I get the curtains up on the French doors. So I next tackle the curtains in Michelle’s bedroom, which are by far the most exotic and expensive. There are two windows in her room. The curtains go up fine on the first window. Now I’m starting to get my confidence up! I tackle the second window. As I’m drilling the hole for the screws, my drill hits something. I push harder. And then, SNAP! The drill bit breaks. In the hole. Where I can’t reach it to pull it out! So I move over a little and start drilling another hole with the only other drill bit I have. SNAP! *K@L&^%$!

Lowe’s trip #3. As I walk in, I notice a TV crew interviewing some guy. I think, “Boy in the mood I’m in, I’m glad they’re not talking to me.” So I go to the drill section and pick out some new drill bits. I’m dreading the check out machine. I picked a different machine and by some grace of God, it worked. As I’m leaving the store, I see the guy with the microphone approaching me and I hear, “Hey, sir. We’re from channel 13 and we’re doing a story on……” I beg, “PLEASE, not now!” So he leaves me alone and I go back to Michelle’s.

To make the rest of the story short, I got the holes drilled and the second curtain rod hung (but don’t pull on it too hard). On the rest of the windows, I also hit something solid — there are only 3 possibilities when drilling holes to hang curtain rods: 1) You drill right through the wallboard meaning there is nothing solid to anchor the rods to, 2) you hit wood which is the ideal case because now your screws will anchor, or 3) you hit something solid. Of course, #3 is what happened. But I outsmarted it this time. I had bought a Titanium drill bit and with a little push, the drill finally got through whatever it was each time. I finally got all the rods hung.

Whew. Hanging curtain rods is not a job for a chemical engineer-turned preacher! I did express my frustration a couple of times, but I didn’t throw, break, or dent anything, and both Michelle and Susan were still speaking to me when it was over so that is a good thing.

“Do no harm.” Sometimes it’s harder than it looks!

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