A few months ago, my third old, reliable slider phone died. When I went to the Verizon store, I discovered that it was considerably cheaper — my phone bill would actually go down — to upgrade Lucy to a new iPhone 6 and inherit her old iPhone 5c. I did so, with reluctance and suspicion. (If my husband and children are “early adopters” of new technology, I am “late while kicking and screaming.”)

I have not really learned how to use the amazing device. I can answer the phone and laboriously type very short texts. I listen to my music, and I take photos. I leave all the internet capacity alone. What I liked best about the trade-up was its case. When I bought this expensive phone for Lucy two years ago, I bought her a LifeProof case, warrantied to provide “waterproof, dirt-proof, snow-proof, shockproof protection.” In my farming life I am so hard on phones (and cameras), I knew such a case would now be perfect for me.

When I received it, the phone looked nearly new. A few months later, the LifeProof case is cracked, scratched, and coming apart at the seams. It occurred to me belatedly that “LifeProof” did not mean the case could endure riding in the deep back pockets of my Carhartts along with my usual load of bolts, screws, wrenches, utility knives, and the occasional hammer.

I have bought a new case, and have vowed to treat it more kindly. But I do think the manufacturers might consider a new level of protection — FarmProof.

*   *   *  

I have been on the road for the past two days, and will be again tomorrow. Today is my day to get a huge amount done on the farm. I find myself looking at the calendar anxiously. I know my mind is playing tricks on me. I know that at any other point in the year, 2.5 weeks of vacation would seem like relaxed riches of time. Right now, however, I’m feeling pressured and a little breathless. The summer list is still so long.


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