• author
    • Donald Sanders

    • March 25, 2016 in Columnists

    I need to follow my own rules

    I have several rules about developing good habits. My rules are probably pretty much like your rules except for the fact that you probably live by them and I don’t.

    There are times I wish I’d followed my good habits rules but didn’t. One of these times occurred just a couple of weeks after I met my wife Therese. This particular story happened a long time ago when everybody had to fix their own car when it broke down. It didn’t matter much if you knew how to fix a car because there were books that would guide you step-by-step (easy to follow) to auto repair.

    Rule number one: Never Volunteer for Anything!

    So, when Therese’s car broke down, I volunteered to fix it for her. The book said that the timing chain had broken and it was an eight-hour repair job. I had a perfectly good reason for wanting to fix her car as I liked her a lot but I don’t think she cared too awful much for me. I’m almost sure this is the case because she turned me down for dates the first 10 times I asked her out. I figured I could find my way to her heart by working on her car, thus becoming indispensable.

    Rule number two: Never Assume Anything!

    Her parents were in Hawaii for a week, so I assumed I could finish the repair job long before they came home. I also assumed they wouldn’t come home early. Another thing I assumed was the fact that I could actually get the car to run when I was done. Finally, I assumed I could do it without making a mess in her father’s garage. So, I jumped right in to the job and everything went well for the first week except that when I tried to start the damn car, it wasn’t getting any fuel.

    Rule number three: If All Else Fails, Read The Damn Instructions!

    When I put the car back together, I neglected to follow all the steps. How was I supposed to know that Fords needed a little thing-a-ma-jig on the front of the whatever to make the fuel pump work. So, there I am, trying to figure this out, when lo and behold, her father walks into the garage and I meet him for the first time. OK, I am covered from head to toe with grease and oil, as was his garage floor, the walls, and all of his tools that were scattered around the garage.

    Rule number four: Never Make Excuses!

    Rule number five: Speak Properly!

    I don’t even want to get into these, because I simply mumbled and shuffled my feet in the slippery oil. I don’t know what I said, but it didn’t matter because he was very cordial and nice about the whole situation. He knew exactly where I had gone wrong with the repair job and told me how to fix it. This took me another week, but I finally got the damn thing back together and tried to start it.

    Rule number six: Have a Sense of Humor!

    OK, it was time to start the damn car, so I sprayed about a half a can of starting fluid into the carburetor and then reached over to pump some gas into it. I bent waaaay over to look inside to see if it was actually getting gas. When I did this, my hand hit the distributor, causing the points to fire, igniting the starting fluid, causing it to blow up in my face.

    Rule number seven: Show Your Human Side!

    At about this time, the phone rings in the kitchen and Therese’s father answers it. So then the guy that lives across the street from Therese’s dad tells him, “There’s a guy on fire in your garage!” So now, Therese’s father comes out to the garage where I’m standing, grinning like an ape, with my eyebrows, mustache and part of my hair burned off. What could I say but, “Want to see if she will start?” To my amazement it did start!

    Rule number eight: Take The Initiative!

    Looking like an idiot, I had to clean and paint part of the garage to get it into the condition it was in when I started, and I still don’t think Therese liked me all that much because while I was fixing her car, she was going out with someone else. That turned out alright though, because I don’t think she liked him either.

    Rule number nine: Learn Continuously!

    Well, what could I possibly have learned from this whole whatever it was? I learned I am not a mechanic, working on a girl’s car will not make her like you, and when you think a girl doesn’t like you she probably does. After all, she did marry me, didn’t she?

    Rule number ten: Forget Perfection!

    Nothing will go the way it’s supposed to go. There’s no perfection except for the fact that life itself is perfect. My life, every day from that day to this one has been perfect. My marriage is perfect, my wife is perfect, and my love for her is perfect. Now it has been well over 30 years and she still hasn’t dumped me, but when I turned 60 she said she was going to trade me in for two 30-year-old guys. That was just a threat. It turns out that she did like me!

    • Donald, you crack me the hell up! Therese’s sides must hurt all the time! 🙂

      • Ralph Kelley

      • March 25, 2016 at 2:27 pm
      • Reply

      Yeah, for some strange reason, we all like you Don….

      • Jody Burton

      • March 27, 2016 at 11:06 pm
      • Reply

      Don, it’s hard to believe that Dad was not really pissed off that you had his garage and tools messed up! But I can see that he would want to let the scene play out to check out your character. In the end, he really liked you, Therese married you, and you became a member of our family. A good thing for everyone. Great story!

      • Maya Spier Stiles North

      • March 28, 2016 at 8:36 pm
      • Reply

      This is utterly charming. <3

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