April 1, 2012: Piles of…everything

I live for the weekends. No, it’s not for sporting events on TV; no, not for sleeping in; no, certainly not for time to work on my car. [Pardon me while I choke back a snort. Previous blogs will explain why. :)] No, I live for the weekends because…I have junk piled in my yard. I like having some of it, and I like dealing with all of it. I hope to get rid of most of it, and put the rest to good use. Lemme ‘splain.

First, I have grass; well, not entirely grass, in my yard. Here in Oklahoma, we cultivate a rare, unstoppable, aggressive version of Bermuda grass. Don’t let the name fool you into thinking of soft, green, tropical carpets near the beach. No, this is the stuff that will grow in your laundry if you let it, and cannot be kept out of a garden bed, even with atomic radiation. It will find a way into every place with soil, including your child’s shoes, if given half a day. Its roots are hard to extract, and they can grow in the dark for weeks. We shifted our duck’s hutch and the hay bails around them this week when we moved their fence to surround our newly planted garden beds, and there were Bermuda roots, completely white, growing underneath the bails. It’s like they don’t need anything to grow; the undead grass…zombie grass!

So my grass, and the weeds that keep it on a leash, grew a lot with the recent deluge of rain and sunlight we’ve had, so I have purchased a wide variety of tools and equipment to keep it from growing up through our floor. I really like using them, especially the mowers. There’s something incredibly satisfying about mowing, even more than vacuuming. My wife agrees, and she loves to use the riding mower even more than I do. I decided to spray her with the hose I was using to clean out the ducks’ swimming pool, and I almost got her good. I decided to shoot a warning shot across her bow as she drove up to me, but then the mower shot a piece of something that hit me in the forehead; I decided not to contest the authority of the mower. It seems to like my wife better.

I also have piles of uncut branches trimmed from our trees in February, piles of branches trimmed from other trees last summer, rolls of fencing in various states of rusted decay, a pile of tires that block one end of a bin, made of railroad ties, that keeps our spare dirt for the garden (we planted things in it, too), a busted grill tipped on its side, a pile of cans, foil, and other metal objects soon to be recycled, a pile of cardboard boxes, piles of scrap wood, a pile of pvc pipe, a pile of steel pipe, a pile of junk left on our hill when we moved in (which includes two toilets), a pile of the stuff I’m keeping from the junk left on our hill when we moved in, and piles of trees cut from our hill and the surrounding area since last summer that need to be burned. Oh, I also have three barrels to be burned clean so we can use them to collect rainwater, and a pile of toys my kids haven’t put away yet. Just call me a pilot (pile-it here, pile-it there…:)

And I used to think of myself as a neatnik, one of those picture straighteners who can’t stand things to be out when they should be put away. Since having children, that part of me has been gradually beaten into submission, and since moving to the country, is in danger of disappearing completely. Everyone in the country has piles. The only difference is how you hide them and what is in them. We have so many that we can’t hide them, and probably have at least one of every kind of pile our neighbors would claim. We even have some friends named Pile. They are very neat. :)

So this week, I had a list of 17 tasks to try, and we got through about 7 of them, me and my wife. She planted our garden, and got a burn/tan on her shoulders, we both mowed, she started two fires in barrels, I emptied the duck pond and moved the fence, and I painted the last window border that had been redone when we got our new windows last month. I had to do this so I could install the window unit AC back in the upstairs bedroom because we both swore we wouldn’t face a near-90-degrees today without the AC in our bedroom. Oklahoma weather certainly keeps you on your toes.

I got the window unit installed after much fitting, cutting, measuring, and cutting again. I even painted the wooden platform and supports to match our window border, which was a major improvement over the multiple random 2x4s and rusted metal struts that were supporting the AC previously. I have my standards, after all. It works, and we live in much improved comfort…ahhhh. Just like the car. No, our van; my car is named “The Rattler” for a reason.

We were so sore today.

Being the sane, reasonable, and patient man that I am, I was tempted to finish cutting the branches today…and God in His mercy pulled me aside, and suggested that, maybe, since I was already tired, and the day was so nice, and my kids were looking to my example, and BECAUSE HE SAID SO, I might want to consider resting today instead of working more. I decided He was right. He usually¬†always is, though I don’t always agree with Him.

I was reminded that I am not a machine, something our school systems, businesses, and culture in general ought to recognize more frequently. Even machines need regular maintenance and some rest, or they die sooner. We should take a cue. Our pastor, Craig Groschel, is fond of reminding us that we are human beings, not human doings, and he is also right. And yes, God and Pastor Craig can both be right. :) Just don’t ask them to agree about cats.


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