Before I get to today’s post, I’d like to announce the winner of the giveaway hosted by the fantabulicious Daisy Harris last week. Ciara Knight, you’ve won a copy of Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous! Drop me an e-mail!
Thanks to everyone who participated!
Now back to our regularly scheduled program. You remember how Ralphie’s dad on A Christmas Story had a hate-hate relationship with the furnace? Well, that’s the same kind of relationship my brother has with our generator. Granted, we’ve had the thing for nearly 20 years and it’s a little outdated, but it still works. When it wants to.
First let me explain about my brother. You know how most dads spend time teaching their sons how to fix things? Engines, change tires…use a drill, things like that? My stepdad had no patience to teach anyone anything. He was going to teach me how to drive a stick shift and spent the whole time fussing me about grinding his gears. Needless to say, I have never driven a stick shift and now have a complex about it.
My brother’s upbringing was pretty much the same. Of course, he helped by being deliberately obtuse. When he was being taught something, he would purposely mess up so he could be excused and return to his computer games. I never said he was stupid.
Anyway, since my stepdad’s death nearly 10 years ago, my brother has had to step in and be the man of the house. This means fixing things. He’s learned a little at a time. He’s helped replace a hot water heater, replace a bathtub and toilets. He’s had to learn how to build things. But that generator has defeated him every single time.
With hurricane season approaching, it became necessary to drag the beast out to see if it works. Surprise, surprise, it didn’t. He could have gone to our neighbor and asked him to fix it, but that would mean paying him…probably in beer, but still. My brother slapped on his man hat and decided to fix it himself. For two weeks, he tinkered with it. He called our uncles. I made my godson come over to look at it. He replaced everything on the engine, but it still wouldn’t work.
On Saturday, he pulled the beast out of the shed and decided this would be the day he fixed it for good. My godson came over to visit and the two of them bonded over the sputtering, not-quite-fixed engine for two hours. I have no experience with engines, but something about the way it sounded seemed familiar to me. I looked over at my godson’s girlfriend.
“It sounds like the idler, like the engine can’t get up to speed. I wonder if they’ve checked that.”
Just then the nephew came back and sat down. I told him my theory, but was shot down because he said, “There’s no idler or throttle on that thing.”
Well, there went my theory; one I was very proud of, mind you. Then the mother lode steps out of the house with the lost instruction manuel for the generator. She flips through it for about five minutes and says, “Have you checked the idler?”
My brother, with a big sigh, called our brother-in-law and spoke with him instead of listening to his mother and sister. And guess what? Yeah, you know it. There is an idler on the bloody machine. With one flick of whatever tool he was using, the engine sputtered to life and roared to full power.
We stared at each other in stunned disbelief. Mom started clapping and cheering for him and ran inside to get her camera because she just had to get a picture of her baby with his repaired project. What did my brother do? No, he didn’t run, or say shucks or anything. No, he posed with the generator. Big cheesy smile, his arm draped over it and thumb in the air.
I was proud of him, but if he would’ve listened to me…ah well, I’m just his sister after all. So yes, my brother did indeed make his mama proud. His sister too.
Of course now he’ll be in demand by the other females in the family. My aunt, his godmother, has already asked him to look at her generator because it won’t start. I wonder if this was the reason he avoided fixing things in the first place? I wonder if I could use this same method to make it seem like I don’t know how to wash dishes? Hm.
P.S. Wednesday I’ll have the awesome Olivia Cunning, author of the smexy Sinners on Tour (that’s a fictional heavy metal band, by the way), stopping by for a quick interview. I hope you’ll check it out!