On the way to Type B

The transition from perfectionist to laid-back was bumpy, but at last she's made her life more low-key.

I confess I was what's called a Type A personality. But when I moved to a beautiful mountain town in Idaho, I thought this was my opportunity to change.

Being realistic, I didn't expect to become totally low-key and blasé, or turn into anything resembling a couch potato. But I did hope to move more slowly, look around, smell the roses. Downgrading to a Type B was, I thought, a realistic goal.

It was also a time to get back to nature. My job had been a rather cerebral type of enterprise (though many would dispute that description of a lawyer).

This would be my time to engage in physical labor, tone the muscles, join the ranks of the hardy stock here who battle the elements and take care of themselves.

So I bought a lawn mower. Unfor­tunately, my inexperience led me to choose one that wasn't self-propelled. (I did get a power mower, though, seeing that my neighbors considered that an acceptable sort of thing to do).

The slight incline on my lawn made mowing it more challenging without a self-propelled mower, but hey, that was the idea.

I planted vegetables and salivated at the thought of the taste of those vine-ripened tomatoes that would eventually appear. None of that cardboard-tasting stuff for me.

If my crop were plentiful, I would even do some canning. After all, I had memories of all those jars stacked in my mother's pantry. Back to basics. This was going to be wonderful for my body and soul.

As winter approached, I went down to my local hardware store and purchased a snowblower. Then I went home and started reading the directions. Does anyone read these things, or do they automatically expect that anyone buying a snow blower is a man, and they know men never read directions?

Well, it actually wasn't too difficult to assemble, and then I was ready. The first snow arrived. It was beautiful. I put on my boots, thick warm gloves, an old jacket belonging to my son, and a baseball hat. (I had to at least look the part).

I plugged in the blower (I had the sense to buy one with an electric starter – I was learning), pushed the button, and held my breath.

It roared, and off I went. The snow flew in great arcs. My dog was in heaven – jumping, tongue stretched out trying to lap up all that white froth. Up and down I went, nice neat rows, down to the pavement, which was soon glistening through.

Back and forth I maneuvered, making sure that I cleared a perfect line right to the edge of the driveway.

Where the snow stuck and white still covered the ground, I went over it again and again, until my driveway stood out, clean and meticulously swept. I stood back and looked at my work with a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

Then I looked at my neighbor's driveway. It was cleared, but there were great clumps of snow, no neat lines along the edge, with patches of pavement showing through here and there. It was functional, but it wasn't perfect.

Suddenly I realized that, despite my best efforts, I was still a Type A.

My longed-for tomatoes weren't as successful as I'd hoped. Just as they were popping out on every vine, growing exponentially each day, and the deep green was slowly changing to red – they were covered with snow.

I'd been told to wait until after Memorial Day to plant or the frost would destroy everything. No one told me tomatoes would take five months to reach maturity and that they did not like snow.

But there is a happy ending. I moved a little farther south and now have a driveway of dirt. The snowblower doesn't like little pebbles, and so I can't plow down to any shiny asphalt, but must leave a layer of snow. Now there are snowy clumps in my drive, and I actually enjoy looking at them. I think I'm on my way to becoming a Type B, although there are still no preserved tomatoes on my shelves.

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