A husband and wife have different ideas on efficiency.
Women just don’t understand efficiency. In this case, I’m speaking specifically about my bride of 17 years, Maeve.
It’s not as though I haven’t tried to give her the benefit of my years of time-management skills, but for all my careful and loving instruction, it just seems to blow right past her.
Today was a perfect example. It snowed last night. Not a lot of snow by northern Idaho standards, but there was a stiff wind blowing at the time, and it drifted the snow a few feet deep in multiple places along our 300-foot-long driveway. Normally, that would mean getting out the old tractor and bucketing the snow off, or even using snow shovels, thereby wasting a couple of hours of valuable time. But not today.
I’d finally convinced a friend of mine to sell me his old snowplow. From the standpoint of efficiency, it couldn’t be better because it was made for the tractor I’d bought from him the year before. At first, he wouldn’t sell the plow because he planned on modifying it for his new tractor, but he never got around to it and finally just purchased a new blade.
So, I now owned a snowplow that fit my tractor exactly. That’s efficiency. Unfortunately, I didn’t have it at our place yet. I had planned to pick it up today, because I needed to go into town to get some chicken feed and figured picking up the plow and the feed on the same trip would be a more economical, some might say a more efficient, use of my time.
Well, I wasn’t going to let a little snow in the driveway get in the way of sound efficiency. I called my friend with the plow and told him I was on the way.
“Maeve, I’m off to go pick up the snow plow,” I said.
Maeve looked up from her book. “How are you going to get the truck out with all those drifts in the driveway?”
“I’m not. I’ll use the tractor to push through the drifts, then borrow Tom’s truck to pick up the plow, bring it back here, use the tractor to offload the snow plow at the end of the driveway, and install it there.” I gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and added, “That’s called efficiency, honey.”
“Wouldn’t it be faster just to use shovels to clear the driveway?”
“Honey,” I said fondly. “Why waste all that time and energy shoveling when we own a snow plow?” Women! You have to love them, but they don’t understand efficiency at all.
It took me about 30 minutes to push through the drifts and get the tractor down to the end of our driveway. Then I hiked over to Tom’s place to borrow his truck. Fortunately, Tom’s truck has four-wheel drive with good tires. The road to his place was icy, and I slipped and fell a couple times on my way over.
I didn’t spend too long at Tom’s place because I really wanted to get my road cleared, so after removing and stacking the cord of wood in the back of his truck, I got ready to go. Tom stopped me just before I drove off. “Oh, I almost forgot, you’ll have to hit the gas station at the crossroads first, or you won’t make it all the way to town.”
Tom was quite correct. I would never have made it to town. He was, however, too optimistic, and I didn’t make it to the crossroads either. Half an hour later, I finally hitched my way back to the truck with five gallons of gas. I had to buy the can, too, which hadn’t been part of my plans, but I reasoned that a new gas can might be an efficient thing to own ... someday.
I knew I had to make up for lost time or my friend with the plow might get tired of waiting for me at his place, so I hit the road and sped into town.
An hour and a half later (I tried to explain my theories on prudent time management to the state trooper, but she just handed me the speeding ticket and told me to have a nice day. Women!), I finally got to pick up the snowplow. Driving (slowly) back home, I congratulated myself on overcoming these minor obstacles to efficiency and mentally prepared myself for the joy of using my new snowplow.
I had to chuckle to myself about my wife’s idea about shoveling the driveway. You’d think she would be able to see the benefits of the efficient use of time. You’d think she would finally gain a clearer understanding of a systematic and logical approach to work. You’d think that five gallons of gas would go further.
Two hours later, after hitching my way back to the truck with another new gas can (in my haste I inadvertently left the first one at the truck), I was finally headed home. By then it was starting to get dark, and I knew I would have to hustle if I was going to get the plow on the tractor and the driveway cleared. I was in such a hurry that I drove right past the tractor at the end of the driveway and got all the way to the house before I realized that the driveway was already plowed.
“Maeve!” I stormed into the house. “You didn’t shovel the whole driveway by yourself? What did I tell you about efficiency!”
She looked up from her book and said, “I wanted to check the mail so I called Annie Kaplan, and her son came out with his ATV. He cleared the driveway in about five minutes. I gave him $10.” She put down her book. “Did you remember to pick up the chicken feed?”
Women! They expect you to remember everything.
Humor writer and woodworker Don Lewis keeps the snow off the lanes around his family’s small homestead in Northern Idaho. His website is www.DonLewisDesigns.com.