Spring Fever

Like the rest of the city of Asheville, as soon as good weather hit, I jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of mowing my lawn. Chalk it up to my obsessive brain if you want, but before I even started the mower I was problem-solving for how I was going to pattern my lawn. I was thinking that fancy checkerboard pattern would be a breeze. 

Soon I came head-to-head with the randomly sloping terrain and the natural landscaping of our new Asheville home. 

I have come to discover that this type of thought process is similar to the approach I use when I am working with a patient; I always formulate an exact plan of action based on what I have found during my examination process.

While I am most certainly a better physical therapist at this time than professional lawn caretaker, I enjoy the process of thinking a treatment will be relatively straightforward, and problem-solving through obstacles when it is not. 

Trial and Error

This leads me to my next point. My most recent home-repair undertaking was to replace the doors on my shed. These bad boys were sadly neglected by the previous homeowner and in a state of near rotting off of the shed. So I set out on my first major DIY project in our new house.

Here’s what I learned on day 1:

  • A 4×8 foot piece of plywood won’t fit into the back of a Forester
  • People at Lowe’s with jacked-up trucks WILL laugh at you as you try to force said plywood into your vehicle
  • Lowe’s has a saw

At the end of the weekend, and wading through this process with frustration and delight, I finally finished my new shed doors. They looked great and fit the frame perfectly, I was thrilled.

The sun was shining, I was felt accomplished, and it was time to put my mower into her cozy new home.

After all of my meticulous planning, measuring, sawing, hammering, and lifting, I cannot tell you the depths of my embarrassment at what I discovered next. 


There I am, standing in my yard grumbling choice words and scratching my head, cursing myself for the oversight, when my 82-year-old neighbor comes strolling up to say hello. She does this often when I am working outside and it’s adorable. Today, I do not think she expected to walk up to the storm of these choice words, and I’m pretty sure this nice lady has never said a bad word in her life.

However, she gave me a kind smile and told me about how the old homeowner never used the shed because their mower didn’t fit. Low and behold, the dilapidated state I got it in. I had to laugh. She suggested that I park the mower under the carport like the neighbor before me and then complimented my handiwork on the new doors.

Problem Solving for the Journey

I’m no longer kicking myself about this oversight or the fact that I simply didn’t even think about it being a problem. But, I do use it in a way that helps me learn and develop in other areas of my woodworking and my physical therapy career.

In the same way, treatment plans with a patient are often very well guided based on general history taking during the examination process, but it is common in this field to have a small level of trial and error. I think that this is how I model my life and that it is an effective approach, as it forces me to think on my toes, works the creativity muscle, and forces me to enjoy the journey, rather than just the destination. 

Emerson Talbott, DPT

Emerson believes that as a physical therapist, it is his job to help guide you down the right path to address the issues you are facing. He will help you reach your goals, and challenge you accordingly, while making those goals attainable. Outside of work, Emerson is an avid outdoorsman. He loves to hike, fish, hunt, and just spend time outside. He also enjoys building things and refinishing old furniture. "I believe in trial and error. Never be afraid of making a mistake!"