Peggy has been away for a week and, my pain level having dropped precipitously over the past several months, I’ve been working almost every waking hour at jobs that I couldn’t have imagined doing six months ago. Replacing soffits for example. Try that with bad shoulders. Unfortunately, I still have bad shoulders, and the pain still wakes me during the night, but it’s not so severe that I can’t work. Here are some of the items I’ve checked off my list so far this summer.
Install sidelight by front door.

Install security lights at front and back corners of house.

Replace drain from kitchen and laundry room to where it enters the house drain.

Replace drain from bathtub to house drain.

Replace drain from lavatory to house drain.

Cut old galvanized pipes into lengths suitable for use as levers and rollers.

Disassemble garden box and put the dirt in compost bins.

Cut Ponderosa stump to grade.

Power-wash house, front fence, and patio.

Paint front fence.

Replace soffit on west side of house.

Plant shrubbery in back yard (My “shrubbery” includes five giant grasses, two clumps of bamboo, a Gulf Stream Nandina, a Japanese Fatsia, and the Silver Queen Euonymous in the photo).

It’s been years since I could really work, and I can’t get it out of my head that I need to catch up with everything today because I sure the hell don’t know what kind of shape I’ll be in tomorrow. None of us do, but it’s easy to get into the habit of imagining that we’ll wake up to the same world we went to bed in. When you’re forced to face your vulnerability, it tends to make you sadder and more fearful. At least, it did me, and living with these feelings has been the hardest adjustment I’ve ever had to make. For one thing, it has turned me into a loner. Pain has put such a gulf between me and everyone else that I see them all as inhabiting their own little planets, and I have no idea how to reach them. I think they imagine that they can reach one another, but I picture them as already being in their graves without even knowing it. All the years of our species is but the impossibly short flicker of a meaningless dream. It is only the possibility of kindness that makes life worthwhile, yet I must confess that the more I recede into myself, the less even that seems to matter, although I still practice it.

About halfway through the week, I realized that I was working too hard, and this made me feel old, hopeless, and thoroughly depressed, although not enough to slow down. I decided to get wasted. "I deserve this," I told myself. "I'm in pain and I've been working really hard, and I have earned the right to chill out." I took 40 mgs of oxycodone (4-8 regular doses), a big chunk of a marijuana cookie, and a slug of 190 proof. Even then, I couldn’t stop working, although I was rather proud of the fact that I even could work. If it hadn’t been nearly midnight, I would have been outside running power saws, but as it was, I went to bed at 1:00 and slept ten hours.

Now, Peggy is home, and I will allow myself to rest. This is resting. 


Marion said...

Wow, that's one impressive list, Snow. Good for you! I'm so glad you're feeling somewhat better. Can you come by my house? My backyard looks like a jungle and my gutters are falling off the back of the house. (Both of our lawnmowers are in the shop.)

I tend to get more done when I'm home alone, too. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that. LOL! Happy almost September. xo

rhymeswithplague said...

What a great photo that is of you, Snow. I only hope it wasn't taken in your wasted state.

Work has always fascinated me -- I can sit and watch it for hours.

Helen said...

I have a few jobs you could master over on my side of the mountain!! Seriously, so happy your pain has subsided, that Peggy is home ... all's right with the world.

AND Ashton Eaton is an Olympic Gold Medal Champ!!!

ellen abbott said...

this seems like exceptionally good news. pain levels dropping enough for you to get out and do physical labor. now you will have to discern the pain of sore unused muscles from the pain you have been suffering. I can understand the feeling of wanting to make a huge dent in the list of chores that have been piling up but you don't want to overdo it and take ten steps back.

Snowbrush said...

Thanks, everyone. Many a woman has asked Peggy if they could take me home with them because they too had a lot of work that needed doing and a husband who either wasn't good at such work, or else was too tired and or too lazy to get it done. Now, I have a new neighbor three doors down who is a single woman who is willing to tackle projects that most men wouldn't do.

"What a great photo that is of you, Snow. I only hope it wasn't taken in your wasted state."

I really wouldn't know, although it wasn't taken on the night that I wrote of if that's you mean. Despite what many would claim, marijuana doesn't diminish my desire to work. I tend to work more slowly with it, but then I also have more patience, which means that I don't mind my slowness. It is good for me to go slow. My father used to chide me for working too fast, and he was right.

kj said...

you look great and i am glad you are better and more able. this reinforces my belief that often (not always) things improve in time.

an impressive list, snow. maybe easy peasy for my 35 year old son in law, but not for most of us and not for the faint of heart or shoulders.

happy for you.


Charles Gramlich said...

I'm glad to hear you are feeling somewhat better. Definitely you accomplished a lot in a short time. I was not nearly as productive in that same time.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

This makes me painfully aware of all the chores I've let go due to pain....sad.

Katherine said...

You've been through a lot recently! Take care of the shoulders if you can.

I know the feeling of a desperate desire and pleasure of catching-up with chores. Three years full-time study...

Putz said...

come to my blog and read what i have been up toooo<><>,no good with the devil making me do it

Putz said...

oh and i did want to say><<><>i feel good for your work and your abilities><><<>i won't say thank god><<>

PhilipH said...

Massive job list Snowy. Most satisfying to complete such tasks.
My wife and I are trying to move back to live closer to daughter Clare and family and the list of jobs that need doing first is quite scary - but will be done!
My biggest fault is trying to do it all in one go, and at 77 this is foolish - MUST slow down!!
I'll be sorry to leave the peace and quiet of Mellerstain but need to be there for our daughter and grandkids as the future is so uncertain for them.
You look quite handsome in this photo. Well done for everything!

The Elephant's Child said...

That is a truly impressive list of achievements for a man with bad shoulders. Hell, it sounds like a truly impressive set of achievements for anyone.
I am glad that Peggy is home, and that you are learning (albeit reluctantly) to live with your pain.
I have missed you in my absence from the blogosphere, and will now go back through your posts to see what I have missed seeing.

lotta joy said...

Thanks to google, your last post kept showing up until I started wondering if something was wrong with my internet buddy.

I keep telling Joe to stop making plans for us! I can only run on spontaneity from one moment to the next. I can feel good, then within an hour I'm 'out of it' for the next 20 hours. No rhyme or reason.

Joe has had his first encounter with "not good enough anymore". He has SEVERE degenerative disc disease and I put a permanent stop to him raking leaves and climbing around the gutters to clean out the leaves.

And here you are with new soffets. You are a dynamo, no matter what.

All Consuming said...

You are a one man band Snow if this list is anything to go by, and I'm hugely impressed that you've completed it all, there are guys I know half your age who couldn't manage all that wasted or not, so be chuffed with yourself! I know it's hard hon, but you're doing so very well xx

A Plain Observer said...

there is something liberating about working outside or inside if it means fixing something or building something. And why does everything have to be done today? I find i make that mistake often.
Rest is good, although hard to succumb to, it is necessary

Snowbrush said...

Thanks, everyone, for your congratulations and well wishes.

"I'll be sorry to leave the peace and quiet of Mellerstain but need to be there for our daughter and grandkids as the future is so uncertain for them."

I'm sorry, Philip. For those who don't know, Philip's young adult daughter has been facing some severe health challenges for a couple of years maybe.

"i won't say thank god>"


"And why does everything have to be done today?"

For one thing, I don't like getting behind, and I'm years behind. For another, I don't want to risk dying tomorrow and leaving a lot of unfinished business for Peggy.

"there are guys I know half your age who couldn't manage all that wasted or not"

Yeah, but they're not me. It's not just the pain, it's the age-related deterioration. I'm not doing well with that, and I know that staying active can postpone it.

"He has SEVERE degenerative disc disease and I put a permanent stop to him raking leaves and climbing around the gutters to clean out the leaves."

Now, THAT'S sad. Unless I was actually recovering from one surgery or another, I raked my own leaves, at least to the extent that my helpful neighbor would let me. I'm so very sorry to hear the bad news about Joe.