Learning to Acquire Patience

Print this entry

Acquiring patience has been a lifelong struggle. One reason I took up woodworking was to learn patience. One cannot get in a hurry building furniture without messing up or losing a finger. However, it’s been a decade since I have had the space to actually build stuff and haven’t really needed to do so. Now I have a dream shop on our country place. It’s huge, insulated and far enough from our only neighbor to run power tools, such as my planer, without disturbing anyone. And I have several projects in mind for our House on A Hill — a toy box for Molly the Maltese; a barrister bookcase to house books I own that are signed by the authors; a pair of Adirondack chairs to replace the set stolen off a porch.

The latter still chaps me. Those chairs and the coffee table were heavy. It required the thief, or thieves, to pull up in a truck or with a trailer alongside my modest house in Nugget Hill, sneak onto the side porch while I was sleeping, and cart them off. So, a decade later, I found the plans and hardwood patterns to rebuild them. They were my second woodworking project when I took up the hobby more than 20 years ago. I don’t want to talk about the first project. It was pretty ugly.

Earlier this week, I finished putting everything away in the shop, puzzling over jigs I built over the years and will have to figure out their uses all these years later. With everything in its place, there is space aplenty for woodworking equipment, the zero-turn mower and the Mahindra tractor. I am a lucky man.

However, at the moment, the tractor is stuck outside the shop. After using it for a few hours on Sunday afternoon to box blade some gravel onto the dried-mud trail leading to the shop, I hopped on it about sunset to move it inside. Nothing happened when I turned the key. I grabbed my phone, YouTubed how to find the battery, and the next morning began disassembling stuff to get to it, taking photos along the way so I could get it put back together. When I finally got to the battery, I realized the positive terminal was nearly rusted in two.

This is where acquiring patience becomes key. I went to the tractor shop, about a 30-minute drive, and was sold a generic terminal that is too small, since the starter wire is also attached to the same terminal. Next stop was an auto parts store, which sold me something that could handle three wires, but none of the ports was large enough to fit the fat battery cable. Back to the auto parts store to buy the largest terminal they had.

In between trips to stores, I was standing in the tractor’s bucket, bent over into the engine compartment, sweat pouring out of every pore as the dog-day August sun beat down. I had to stop every few minutes to mop sweat that was obscuring my vision. I finally realized the new terminal could not be tightened down enough to hold in the cables. I called the tractor store to order a factory-made terminal. “No problem,” the nice fellow said. “It’s $110.”

Whoa, I said. I can’t just buy the terminal? Of course not. First, I didn’t want to spend $110 on a cable when the terminal I was trying to use cost less than five bucks. Second, the notion of winding the cable through the mysterious engine compartment all the way to the starter is daunting to someone with near-zero mechanical ability. I headed to the hardware store up in nearby Diana, which was a godsend to find a few weeks ago, since it’s about seven minutes away and well stocked. I bought an eyelet to crimp onto the starter wire, which can then be bolted to the terminal.

By this time, I was getting a bit punchy from the heat and decided to call it a day, retackle this project in the morning, when the weather is more tolerable. That is part of acquiring patience, knowing when to quit, take a shower, enjoy the air conditioning and accept that the broken tractor will still be there tomorrow.

Print this entry

Leave a reply

Fields marked with * are required