Monday, August 26, 2013

A Painful Break Up


"You getting ready to work?" My 86 year-old neighbor said clutching his newspaper.
"Yes, Harold," I said spreading black plastic on the driveway.
"This job going to be a big one?"
"Yes, Harold."
"You have all the tools you need?"
"Yes, Harold."
"Can I watch?"
"No, Harold!"


Mr. Wonderful and I were embarking on the biggest DIY job we'd ever done on The House and the last thing I wanted was an audience. If Harold had offered to help us with the work, that would have been a different matter. But I didn't know how much weight his 86 year-old arms could carry, how much stress his 86 year-old heart could take and how much white wine his 86 year-old liver could digest. Yep, on this morning my spouse and I began with a glass of Chardonnay then promptly put on our boots and went to work.

We drank before noon because we believe in pleasure before pain. And oh boy, the pain was coming. In steps.

Since our entire backyard was covered in hard surfaces--concrete, brick, titanium--we'd decided to remove some of it, specifically the concrete slab which used to be the foundation for the pool's original filter. You know, the one the Ancient Egyptians installed. 

Here was our day:
Step #1 Went to The Home Depot to rent a circular saw with diamond tips.
Step #2  Back at The House Mr. Wonderful steered the saw, cutting through the concrete. He followed the straight lines we'd made with the sidewalk chalk. We're very high tech.
Step #3 Went back to The Home Depot to return the saw and and rent a jackhammer.
Step #4 The jackhammer weighed 25 pounds but felt like 160 pounds. It broke up the concrete successfully turning the formerly flat surface into a pile of rubble.
Step #5 Mr. Wonderful went back to The Home Depot to return the 25 pound jackhammer, meanwhile-- 
Step #6 I loaded concrete rubble into a wheelbarrow and dumped it on the black plastic in the driveway, meanwhile--
Step #7 Harold looked on with excitement wishing he could participate!
Step #8 I lifted out the last of the broken up concrete chunks and underneath discovered… more intact concrete. Arrgh!
Step #9 Mr. Wonderful returned to The House, saw the extra concrete that needed to be broken up then collapsed on a lounge chair. Arrgh!
Step #10 Harold wanted to get his hands dirty but couldn't. Arrgh!
Step #11 Mr. Wonderful's stiff arms were in pain, meanwhile--
Step #12 I experienced burning back pain, meanwhile--
Step #13 Harold felt massive mental anguish at not working our job.


I crawled to the fridge, retrieved the Chardonnay and despite our sweaty clothes and dirty boots, we drank the wine because it lessened our misery. Although Harold remained sore from being 86 years old and not toiling away. I grabbed a juice glass and poured our neighbor a splash of Chardonnay. He sniffed and drank it. The beverage helped him, too.

We survived an agony-filled DIY day. But realized we'd have to get up tomorrow and do it all over again. But then, that was tomorrow. Today we'd worked well and drunk Chardonnay. Yep, the pleasure eased the pain.