Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Do something, even if it’s wrong

By Curt Swarm | Nov 15, 2017

If there’s one motto I’ve lived by all my life, and especially now that I’m a (ahem) “senior citizen” it is, “Do something, even if it’s wrong.”

I often get caught up in the morning in the myriad things I want to accomplish. First and foremost, I need to get in my 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, then I need to do the chicken chores, then I need to shower, then I need to eat breakfast. Then the phone rings and it’s the pharmacy reminding me of a prescription I need to pick up. Then insurance appointments come in on the computer and I need to call the prospective clients and they’re not home so I leave a message.

Then “breaking news” appears on the television that captures my attention (usually a mass shooting). Then Ginnie texts me to see how my morning is going and we do a “back-and-forth” for 15 minutes. Then one of the prospective clients calls back to tell me they have to “think about it,” and then some passer-by on the highway pulls in and asks how much my metal pheasants are. He has some idea for a rusty-metal sculpture he wants built, and we spend half-an-hour drawing rough pencil sketches and b.s.’ing. Then he tells me he will have to “think about it.”

I look at the clock and it’s 11:30 a.m. I haven’t accomplished a dang thing, and it’s time for lunch (dinner in the country).

That’s when I tell myself, “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” I heard it from my dad.

There were two major projects I wanted to accomplish before snow flies, both of which I had been putting off. I wanted to insulate the chicken house, and I want to give the grass its final mowing.

Mowing is a major project on our two-and-a-half-acre Empty Nest farm. I have a 60-inch deck on the John Deere, but it still takes a full day to do the mowing and trimming. If I had a zero-turn radius mower, I know I could reduce the mowing time by half. Seeing how it’s November, I thought I could get a real good deal on one of those fancy, zero-turn radius mowers.

I texted the dealer and spent half an hour figuring out how to use the voice message feature. I told myself if I didn’t hear immediately back from the dealer (he will never figure out the voice recording), I would interpret it as a sign that I didn’t need a new mower. I didn’t hear immediately back. Ahh.

I had to get the hen house patched up and insulated before the cold wind starts blowing. There were gaping holes in the north wall and I needed to set bales of straw around the foundation. What to do first? Stop it! Do something, even if it’s wrong.

I went to town and to get the insulation. That shoots a day. It was too cold and windy to do anything more.

The second day, I patched the holes on the north side of the chicken house and placed bales of straw around the foundation. That’s enough for the second day.

On the third day, a Saturday, Ginnie and I watched the Iowa/Ohio State and Iowa State/West Virginia football games that were on at the same time, different networks. I spent an hour trying to figure out the split-screen feature on the television. I gave up and decided to switch the channels back and forth between the games. Iowa upsets Ohio State and Iowa State is embarrassed by West Virginia. Excitement and disappointment clashing together left me feeling — uh, blank. And I had accomplished nothing.

On the fourth day, I pulled the guts out of the chicken house so I could hang insulation on the west wall. The chickens were beside themselves with curiosity and were a nuisance underfoot. I uncovered a mouse nest, and the chickens went berserk catching mice. Hilarious!

Then the mower dealer texted back (he figured out the voice message after all) and said he had a real good deal on a zero-turn radius-mower and he would deliver. Dear god, do I stop everything to play with a new toy? No, a job started is a job worth finishing (also, from my dad). I texted the dealer back, “I’ll think about it.”

I finished hanging insulation. The chickens seemed to think they are owed the warmth and comfort of a newly insulated hen house and showed no appreciation whatsoever.

Unannounced, the dealer showed up all smiles pulling the new zero-turn radius mower on a trailer. It’s a beauty. He started it up and backed it off the trailer. I gave it a spin around the barnyard. It turned on a dime.

It starts to spit snow. The dealer looked at me, I looked at him. He said, “Do something, even if it’s wrong, Curtis.” I pulled out my checkbook.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or find him on Facebook.

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