Baby Driver

Posted in Family , OldBlog with tags Quin -

“They call him baby driver.” My dad used to sing that song to us when we were young. I don’t know if I ever heard the real version, but I remember it almost as well as him saying “wake up and piss, the world’s on fire.” Anyway, I digress…

It’s been a busy spring here at the Grady house. So busy, in fact, that we really haven’t had time to do any yard work besides the required lawn cutting so far. This past weekend, that was about to change. The weather was nice, we were going to be home for a whole day after ditching on our original plans to be in Neillsville for the whole weekend, (we opted for an up and back on a single day trip instead), so the stage was set. Jenny went out and bought some annual flowers to plant in the various places throughout the yard. Ethan’s and my job was to obtain some mulch and fill in our weedy, mulch-bare flower beds.

My plan was sound. In year’s past we have had mulch delivered and dumped in our driveway. We would then spend the next couple of weeks shoveling it into a trailer behind the yard tractor, driving it to a flower bed, then shoveling it out of the trailer. Why waste all that time? This year I was planning to just get as much as would fit in my pickup and drive that on the lawn to the beds - the ground is dry and compact anyway…

Step 1 almost failed miserably. Ethan and I got in the truck, buckled in, and I turned the key to find the battery was once again dead. Something wrong with the truck… No matter, I will give it a jump and we’ll be on our way. And indeed, that minor setback proved to be just as minor as I would have thought. In order to let the battery charge a bit, though, I decided to leave it run while we had the load operator load up our 3 yards of mulch and while I went into the office to pay.

Back at home, the plan continued to work just fine - I drove the truck to the various beds around our front yard (the goal for the day) and unloaded mulch directly from the truck to the bed - 1/2 the work of the normal method!

After my first three beds, the truck seemed to be losing some steam again. I don’t know cars very well, but I figured that I should probably let it run and let the alternator do its job and charge the battery. So I figured I would do just that as I finished the 4th and final bed of the day. Prior to moving to that bed, however, Jenny informed me that she was going for a run and that Quin would be working with me for the next hour. No problem. Quin climbed into the truck cab with me and sat on the bench seat beside me as I maneuvered the truck onto the street and back onto the yard near the fourth bed. Quin loves the truck, so I decided it would be easiest to just let him play in there while I prepped and filled the bed. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

I started to edge and weed the bed, every so often looking back to see what Quin was doing. Remember, though, that I was leaving the truck run so it could charge the battery. Well, at one point I looked behind me to find the truck slowly moving towards my neighbor’s house! The truck being a 1990 model, it was not yet equipped with the safety feature of requiring the brake to be depressed before putting it into gear! I remember being quite annoyed by that “feature” on more than one occasion, but now I see the logic! Anyway, I rushed to catch the truck, flung the door open, knocked Quin out from behind the wheel where he was grinning and doing his best truck driver impression, and finally engaged the brake just as we were about to hit the trunk of Harry’s pine tree! Honestly, I was pretty lucky Quin decided to steer in a slight arc to the right, because if he would have kept the wheel straight, he would have almost certainly hit the side of Harry’s house right where the gas main comes in!

Moral of this story - always engage the parking break if you are letting your 2 year old play in a running vehicle… Of course, on a 1990 truck, I’m guessing that wouldn’t have prevented a damn thing…

Written by Brandon Grady
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