Work, work, work

(NOTE: The following was previously published in the April 18, 2012 edition of the Franklin Township Informer).

                  How do I get caught in these things?  My wife had just informed me that it was I who would have to clean out the cat’s sandbox on a daily basis, ad infinitum, as her doctor had recently advised her against this practice.This was to be another one of those jobs that foisted on me since we became empty nesters.

It is an interesting thing how this shifting of responsibilities happens when the kids leave home. First, it was dragging the laundry basket downstairs. It was then decided that, since I am the first one up in the morning, I would be the one to feed the cat and empty the dishwasher. It stood to reason, I was further told, that the additional chore of cleaning out our old cat’s sandbox in the morning made perfect sense and even more so since her doctor had advised against her dealing with the cat’s business. In view of the fact that she has been faithfully taking care of me these thirty-three plus years and being as how I am used to her cooking, I agreed to her proposal. The aforementioned morning jobs were added to the already long list of projects and responsibilities that I had to resume when the last of our offspring flew the coop.  It already fallen to me to do all of the yard work and keep both cars clean. I am also supposed to maintain the garage in an orderly manner (a task which I have been able to evade largely because the wife dare not enter the garage). I am sure there are more jobs and projects that are coming my way. I am not asking.

Now that I have all of these extra responsibilities, I am charged to ensure that no more come my way. That is not as easy as it sounds. There are few methods available to the average guy. There is not enough space in this column to develop the subject fully, but I will give you one tip that you will no doubt find useful in your effort.

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Landscaping time

(Previously published in the April 4th edition of the Franklin Township Informer).

               This is the time of year that some of us get the wild itch to go outside and fancy up the yard. As if cleaning up one’s yard from the ravages of winter is not enough, there are those of us that get the notion to start larger than life landscaping projects. It has been thus true with me, dear friend. Let my story be instructive.

                Some years ago, I engaged the services of a landscape designer.  After some consultation, she presented me with a very nice blueprint that would turn my little home into a veritable Garden of Eden. Her company slogan “Our Plans, Your hands” should have been a warning.

                I have taken that plan and have worked in my yard with relentless drive to transform her plans into reality. I am bound to say, I am proud of this project beyond measure. There have been times as of late that my body has rebelled against me, though, and that brings me to the latest outdoor project.

                My plan indicated to me that I was to construct two retaining walls in my backyard. These walls would solve a drainage problem and needed to be done sooner than later. As I am a notorious tightwad, I decided I would install the wall myself. You know that little guy in your head who is supposed to be watching out for you? Mine took this particular day off. Furthermore, he did not inform the rest of my body of my intentions.  

                My shoulders were the first to rebel. I had lugged all of the stone from my truck to the backyard. I estimated the weight to be roughly five million pounds. When I got that bit of pack mule work done, my shoulders went on strike. They responded well to ice and an evening of watching a movie. I went to bed with the self assurance that I would make short work of the wall the next day.

                Sometime during the night, my body got together and decided to put a stop to what they regarded as nonsense. The little guy in my head came back to work and convinced my knees to go on strike the next morning. When morning did arrive and I rose to start my day, my knees decided not to join me. Their rebellion was joined by the rest of my body and we all stayed in bed. We stayed there awhile until my stomach convinced everybody that he needed to get up and get something to eat.

                My knees punished me all the way downstairs for my insolence. They even went so far as to force me to go to the Doctor and get them some medicine.

                Two days later and my knees have come down from their high horse. I have not told them that I intend to finish the project this Saturday come what may. My shoulders know I think. They keep reminding that I am not a kid anymore. I’ll show them.