I was a lazy kid when it came time to do physical labor.
I loved to ride my bike, run, play, swim, sleep, or just about anything else that didn't involve real manual effort for anything other than my personal enjoyment.
I thought I liked to cut the grass, but that only lasted a very short while. As in, about two weeks, when the weather turned hot.
And the riding lawn mower broke.
I never did take to weed eating like by brother, who once decided it was the way to cut the grass in the dog pen until he took the guard off and covered himself in grass & dog poo. He changed his mind about how to cut the dog pen, but still loves weed eating.
I still prefer Roundup.
These days, I enjoy manual labor. We bought a little house on 5 acres out in the country that quietly yelled "This place means WORK!" from the get-go.
We just weren't listening.
Mind you, I didn't realize just how much work, but it endures, for certain.
Our first home purchase was a 1920's era 2-story mill house with one bathroom. That one bathroom was a shambles - exposed beam from encapsulating the "hallway" into the bathroom to re-route traffic and enlarge said bathroom to nearly double the original size.
We moved in the first week of November. By the weekend after Thanksgiving, the tub was on the front porch - it was cast iron and that was as far as it needed to go in order to be out of the way. Three of the walls, the ceiling, the floor, and all the associated mess went out the window. Then the window went out on top of all of that. It was bad.
And a lot of work.
So much so that my appendix decided to give out on me after shoring up the floor joists and a few other unexpected repairs that lasted until early January.
Remember - ONE BATHROOM.
No tub, no shower. We were 2nd shifters and would drive over to my parents' house in the mornings to bathe ourselves and our, then, only son.
I bought a case of wax rings so when I had to yank to toilet out, I could reset it and never fear I wouldn't have what was needed. I can remember setting it 3 times one day and many days it moved back into its spot more than once.
I distinctly remember setting the tub on Valentine's Day and working on the tile surround before and after my normal job as well as days off until we could shower (somewhere around the beginning of March). That's probably the only Valentine's Day "gift" my wife will ever get from me.
We painted, re-did the heart-pine floors, re-roofed, landscaped, insulated, and a host of other things that a 70-year old house requires.
A highway expansion (and my burgeoning
desire to re-connect to my rural roots) drove us to search for some place away from town. We looked up in Pickens but the bobcat skin hung on the stretcher frame in the backyard was enough to convince my wife we were not living in that particular neck of the woods.
So, we started searching closer to her folks - the totally opposite direction for this mountain stream-loving country boy, for certain. It made sense, though. Her parents were caring for two elderly family members and had expressed an intent to stay in their 5-bedroom home as long as they could keep up with the 5 acres, so we decided being nearby would be great for us, them, our kids, etc.
When we found this little place in the country we both thought, "It doesn't need
That lasted less than 6 months.
We ripped out the gray shag carpeting from the master bath and tiled the floor, the tub surround, and the shower surround.
Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER
overlook the need to replace the shower pan when you have everything else in the bathroom torn apart. Acrylic and fiberglass fail a lot sooner than one thinks.
Which led to remodeling the same bathroom again. This time with a larger shower, smaller tub (think not
6' oval and pink, like the original), new double vanity, lighting, mirror, ad infinitum
Of course, we've re-roofed the house, tiled the kitchen, rebuilt the kitchen deck, replaced doors, lights, landscaping, painted (every room at least 3x in the almost 10 years since we moved in), repaired plumbing (especially the well!!!!!), and a myriad of other activities that my mind has blocked from my memory.
We recently completed remodeling the kids' bathroom - built a shower, installed a new vanity, tile for the floor, new vinyl window for the shower - and the best part . . .
I got to project manage!!!!
The boys did the majority of the work, including the tile.
Of course, they couldn't reach to the ceiling, so I got to be hands-on for parts of it (plumbing notwithstanding - I HATE PLUMBING!).
Then there's the stable roof, the garage roof, the driveway that's being chewed up by tree roots, the need for pond aeration, weed eating, and (I'm certain) plenty of mentally repressed and yet-to-be-discovered projects just waiting for me to undertake.
I learned to enjoy cutting grass. Maybe it's the 2-3 hrs of white noise murmuring through the sound attenuators with no interruptions, so long as the mower doesn't break. Maybe it's the accomplishment. Maybe it's knowing that nobody else wants to do it. But I do enjoy it. When we do move away from this place, I will miss cutting grass.
All-in-all, I'll never not have work to do, based on the way things keep multiplying.
And that's a good thing.