Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Whole Hole

This month we did some digging in our yard.  [By "we" I mean almost entirely "he."] The need for the digging is still as murky as the backed up septic line that was unearthed.  However, the term "back breaking labor" has been clarified for me. 

Boots muddy from backyard projects
The man of the house was kind enough to share his reflections on messing around with the septic and water tiles that criscross our back yard:

First, "I would hate to dig my own grave." Really? Why would that be so bad?
Then, "Can you imagine what it would have been like to dig out the basement of our house by hand? I've only dug a little hole five feet deep." Trust me, it isn't a "little" hole, but a large scar in our back yard.

Finally, "If I had to bury someone, I don't think I'd dig a rectangular grave. I'd just dig a 6 foot hole and crumple the body down into it." Good to know you're thinking ahead.

And then he called his brother and his brother's bobcat to come and help with the rest of the job.  Weilding a shovel is not fun.  When I helped him fill in the holes I decided that if I were in a forced labor camp I would probably be shot for stopping to wipe the sweat off my face one too many times.  Hmmm... it seems that hard work brings thoughts of death to both our minds.

But let's not dwell on death or septic systems.  Look what I found in the barn:

130 year old spider webs.  Fresh eggs.
Ok. So I put the egg there after I retrieved it from the outcast hen (she can't be with the other hens and their rooster because they pick on her. We have a strict no-bullying policy around this barnyard).  I was checking for Charlotte, but I think these webs might be as old as the beams they are built on.  Just kidding.  The German immigrants that built this farm would never have allowed spiders in their barn.

Hanging on another of our ancient out buildings is a thermometer that the Man of the House says doesn't work and I say does.  Regardless, we have had a few scorching days this week and I've watched the red line move further and further in the clock-wise direction.  I guess that's why I think it works.  Would Germans put a thermometer up that didn't work?  Did they even have plastic 130 years ago?  This came with the house, so either there was a bit of time travel involved by the original owners to procure this tool, or it is a later addition.  I don't know where they would have found a Delorian in 1890.

I took this picture at not quite 10 O'Clock AM yesterday. 
My children and I slept in our living room last night, near the window air conditioning unit.  I went to the boys' attic bedroom to retrieve their pillows and decided that no one built this house with the idea of humans occupying the attic.  130 years ago, people survived summer time in NorthWest Ohio without air conditioning or hair conditioning.  And they dug their basements and graves by hand.  And they built their barns without modern machinery.  And they wore more clothing than we wear.  And they probably smelled a little bit more sour than we smell.  And they probably didn't yell at their children much.  Not that they didn't want to yell, (remember most of the residents of NorthWest Ohio were German imigrants) but they just didn't have the energy to raise their voices. 
But you know what? I don't feel guilty that I live now.  With air conditioning and hair conditioning. With shorts and bobcats and deoderant and running water and energy to yell at my kids.  I don't feel guilty about that at all.
Not much guilty.
Maybe I should go find my own Delorian.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rats and Spiders, Our Childhood Friends

Overhearing a loud fly-buzz in my kitchen this morning, I scanned the room until I found the culprit snagged in a spider web.  I could have taken a fly swatter and demolished both victim and aggressor, but I let the situation follow its natural course.  Either I'm lazy or cheering for team spider.  I guess my childhood influenced by Charlotte's Web explains a lot about my life.  No, not the book, as charming and classic as that is, but the movie.  No, not the beautiful Dakota Fanning version, but its corny, animated predecessor.

I'm sorry, but what's not to love about a rat that sings about gorging himself on trash?

After that edifying little tidbit of cinematic wonder, I'm off to fix my kids' some breakfast.  It will be a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord, I'm sure.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Walkish Run

I've been feeling an urge to run lately, but not an urge stronger than the desire to get 30 minutes more sleep.  Yesterday I remembered that I was going to run  a 5k July 21.  I have 3 weeks. "Not a big deal," I explained to my husband. "I can already run 2 miles without stopping, so I just have to work up to a third mile."  He asked what my time was the last time (the only time) I ran a 5k.  My running time is of little consequence to me.  As long as I'm not dead last, I will be happy just with going three miles without stopping to walk.  But he's not the only person that has asked how fast I can run 3 miles.  Do I look fast,  people?  I wear children's shoes; I move at children's speed.

Fresh and early this morning I went out for a run.  As I laced my shoes I told myself, "This morning I will push myself.  Instead of walking 4/10 mile, running 2 miles and walking 4/10, I will run the whole time."
I went outside.
"I will run most of the time."
I strode purposefully to the road.
"I really want to run, but I should warm up  my muscles first. I'll just walk the first 4/10, then run the rest."
I stepped out on the pavement. I walked the magic 4/10 mile to the nearest stop sign and followed the traffic laws.
"Well, if the cars need to stop, I should too."
Then I turned south and began running.  One mile, no stopping, to the next stop sign where I didn't stop but just turned around.  Somewhere in the second mile, with pickup trucks (so many pick up trucks!) zooming past me, my chest began to hurt.
"I wonder if this means I should stop.  I don't want to hurt myself.  Although, if I collapsed on the side of the road, I bet that would show people how committed I am to being healthy. What would my [farmer] brother-in-law think if he saw my sweaty and crumpled form as he drove to feed his cattle? Would he stop? Would he know it was me? Would he be impressed?" 
Because, you know, it's impressive to be so out of shape that a little exercise renders you unconscience.

I did not stop.  In all my medical wisdom, I decided that the chest pains just meant that I needed to take deeper breaths.  So I did.  And I felt better.
I reached the original stop sign without collapsing. 
"This is it. The final 4/10.  I can do it. I can. Do. It.  Oh look. I've stopped."
But I had gone 3 of the 4/10, and was almost in front of my house, so I didn't beat myself up about it.
When I got in the house, I checked the clock.  And guess what? I ran roughly a 15 minute mile.  I think I might have to change my mind about last place.  Better last than dead, right?
I actually don't know what I mean by that. Probably that I don't plan on crumpling my sweaty form by the side of the road anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Smarts vs. Silliness

smart mommy takes snacks to the beach.
 A silly mommy takes chocolate cookies.

A smart mommy dresses her children in coordinating outfits for things like Memorial Day.
 A silly mommy expects them to enjoy it.

A smart mommy documents the every day experiences of family life, like practicing baseball.

 A silly mommy includes the baby in baseball practice.

Monday, June 25, 2012

It Matters (To Me).

I love making lists.
It's probably one of my greatest talents.
Right up there with turning every conversation into one about my hair problems.

In case you were wondering, I did not get the Saturday Laundry or Wash Kitchen floor done until the next week's list. But Make Jam should have been checked, because I did that.  Go look on my canning shelves.

But seriously, I love lists. I just don't love how long my lists become.  Somehow, my "I'll keep my expectations low for today" intention turns into 30 tasks in increasing levels of importance. 

The check-marks in the little squares I draw?
Those matter.
Those matter a lot. A week left with empty boxes feels so defeated. Yes, I always often start my list off with something I've already done so that I automatically can fill in a square.

Beneath my calendar hide some half-dozen post-it notes with "Honour's Goals for June 2012" scrawled across the top of each one.  Note: half a dozen monthly goals are about four too many.  I have a few post-its to go.  I do not know if I like the post-it notes standing in for a list. I do know that anything hand-written is more satisfying than something typed. One of June's accomplishments didn't even get included on the little notes: Family Vacation. 
Should one approach vacation as a task? 
Probably not.
Unless you have five kids.
Trying to arrange an end-of-vacation family picture. I think I should work on my relaxation techniques. I'll add that to my list.

Anyway. I'm off to create a list for today.  Or maybe this week, if today gets too short and my list grows too long.  I wonder if there's anything I could check off right away? Drink coffee? Get dressed? Maybe I have a few issues...