Fifty Shades of Stuck – Arguing Semantics with a Teenager

Every year, hubby has to leave for a few days during calving season and attend his company’s annual meeting. Most years, it means several things fall through the cracks as I am working and the kids are at school.

This year was a bit different as Son 1 graduated from high school and was finished with classes. This meant he was around all day to check for new calves and get them tagged right away.

It didn’t go exactly as planned.

Day One involved Son 1 misidentifying the wetlands part of the pasture and attempting to cross a particularly soft spot with the four-wheeler. The machine was soon hopelessly mired deep in the mud.

To his credit, Son 1 attempted to fix his mistake on his own by getting the tractor and pulling the four-wheeler out of the wetland. Unfortunately, he got that in too far and was unable to back the tractor out of the muck. Fortunately, it wasn’t in as deep as the four-wheeler.

four wheeler and tractor stuck in mud

He returned to the house on foot. “Hey Mom, I might need your help getting the tractor and four-wheeler out of the pasture tomorrow”.

“So, the tractor’s stuck too?” I asked.

“No, the tractor’s not stuck,” he replied.

“Why do you need my help then? Can’t you just bring the tractor around to this side of the fence and pull the four-wheeler out?”

“When I back the tractor up, there is a ridge that keeps the wheels from getting traction and I can’t back it up further.”

“So, it’s stuck.”

“No, I can drive it forward and backward, but the front wheels sink too much if I go forward and I lose traction when I go backward,” he said.

“Soooooo, it’s stuck.”

He sighs with exasperation, “No, it isn’t. You don’t understand. I’ll show you when we go out there tomorrow.”.

“Can you drive the tractor up to the hay pile right now?” I ask.

“No, I told you I can only move it forward and backward a few feet.”

“So. It’s. Stuck.” (Yes, I was being difficult.)

“I don’t want to argue with you Mom, but it isn’t stuck-stuck. I can move it forward and back. I just can’t get it completely out of the trench from where the wheels sunk in,” he says as he starts to understand the difference between his definition and my definition. “If we wait until tomorrow, I think it will dry out a bit and make it easier.”

The next day, Son 1 and I headed out to the pasture with the pickup. We loaded a few chunks of broken concrete to put in the wheel track – where the tractor totally wasn’t stuck – to give it more traction to get back out.

As we approached, he asked me how close he should get. I pointed out a few clumps of dark green grass to him, “That is Garrison Creeping Foxtail. It likes to grow in wet areas and when you see it, you should be cautious about driving in that area. Stop here where it starts growing. We don’t want the pickup to end up not-stuck.”

I deserved the eye roll and exasperated sigh.

The concrete chunks worked like a charm and the tractor was soon out of its muddy trap. Son 1 drove it around the wetland and pulled the four-wheeler out from the drier side of the waterway. Most of the mud had even flown off by the time he drove it triumphantly back up into the yard. The concrete chunks were returned to the pile but the deep wheel ruts are still in the wetland. Once it gets dry enough (probably mid-August) to approach it again with the tractor, son will be asked to haul some dirt to fill them in and smooth them out.

I will try to refrain from making any snarky comments about getting stuck. No promises.

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3 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Stuck – Arguing Semantics with a Teenager

  1. Great column, Jill!

    No matter their age, men love to challenge wet spots in a pasture. My husband, who has been a horseman for over six decades, recently decided to nudge his horse further into a boggy area than even the horse knew they should go.

    Long story short, the horse started to sink, freaked, and my husband bailed just in time.

    Anyway, I have a feeling that the definition of “stuck” will be a source of humor in your family for generations.

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