Fixing The Barnyard Gate

Zinnia (looking up at the pigeons on the barn roof) and Liam hung around while I fixed the gate.

Fate cut the pad on her back foot so it was just me and Zinnia in the barnyard this morning. I put antibiotic cream on it and gave her a treat inside her crate so she wouldn’t howl when I left the house.

The gate leading into the barnyard has been giving me trouble for a while.  The gates and doors inside and out are constantly swelling, shrinking and shifting with the seasons.  The gate to the barnyard was so bad I had to lift it up to close the latch, which is hard to do with an armful of hay.

So this morning I decided it was time to fix it.

I’d tried to move the latch before, but one of the screws holding it was stripped so I couldn’t get it out. Not even my new more powerful drill.  But without any other ideas, I thought I’d try again.

Jon came out as I was fumbling with drill bits and not having any luck.  He saw how frustrated I was getting and asked if he could help.  “What are you going to do?” I asked him rather cruelly.

But he wasn’t bothered by my remark. “I’ll take a picture,” he said, “and call Mike to fix it if you can’t.”

It was only later when I was working in my studio that I realized I had behaved just as my father used to. I get edgy when I’m trying to fix something and it isn’t going well.  Mostly because I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it.

Maybe that’s how my father felt when he was changing a tire or fixing something in the house and he demanded that one of us bring him that “thing,” the tool he needed that was just out of reach.  How scary it was to me not to know what or where that “thing” was. He was always angry, but maybe he was really feeling inadequate.

Whatever he was feeling I know I don’t want to be like him.  When Jon and I talked about what I had said to him he was again unfazed.   But then I did apologize and didn’t mean to hurt him.  Also, Jon isn’t afraid of me. I think that makes a big difference.

I was able to fix the gate without any help.   I used a hacksaw to cut the screw so I could move the latch.  Then it was just a matter of getting new screws and putting the latch in the right place.  I was able to do both and what a treat it was to open and close that gate with just a touch of the hand.   I did feel pretty good about figuring out how to do it.

And I’m also going to try to remember the next time I take on a job I’m not sure I can do, to try not to get frustrated and feel bad about myself by when it doesn’t go as I want it to.

And if I do, not to take it out on the people around me.

2 thoughts on “Fixing The Barnyard Gate

  1. Funny how those behaviors gets repeated and show up in one life unexpectedly and the insights they give. Jon is right; you are not your father.

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