process of elimbination -
Tons of debris.
Tons. And we've been buried beneath it. I haven't had the time to sit down and pound out any entries here. If I go more than a week without updating my mood starts to curdle and my attitude sours.
So before I hang the cat, I'll just say that Viv and I have been playing a chainsaw duet over the last several days, hewing the mighty ash tree into three large piles of firewood. To dispose of the unusable leftovers, idle garage effluvia, and years of kitchen cupboard overload, we rented a 40-cubic-yard dumpster, filled it halfway, and then gave the neighbors the run of the rest. We still have more sawing to do but the rain yesterday afternoon cut our workday short.
So we went to the beach.
It was Amy's idea. She's been on spring break this week, watching us sweat, and after the big truck came to haul away the dumpster, she declared that we should celebrate by hitting the surf.
"C'mon, guys." she yelled from the swings. "Shake some fun into your bodies."
It was drizzly there, my favorite type of beach weather. Despite our urging the dear girl to keep her pantlegs pulled up, down they came and wet they got. No big deal. No schedule, no place we had to be, so bring on the waves. Get wet. Have fun.
We ate an early drive-thru dinner of In-N-Out burgers and shakes, fed french fries to a few seagulls, and just generally squirmed around in the cozy confines of the car as the rain came down. It was all very vacationy.
Viv has had most of the last two weeks off work so that we could get as deeply and irreversibly mired in the landscaping as possible. With most of the tree limbs transformed into heaps of small, medium, and large pieces of firewood stacked out behind the orange trees, I was able to kill our lawn with planet-destroying chemistry in preparation for the tilling and soil amending required before the new grass goes in. I'm also digging around the sprinklers to find all the water lines so that I can mark them to prevent their destruction with the roto-tiller. I'm also digging a trench to run 50 feet of conduit out to the pool area. Sounds like I should be wearin' big ol' manly muddy boots, doesn't it? Well I am. My arms are gashed and scarred. My goatee is 15% sawdust and wood chips. And my Velcro-powered back support device is a monument to bio-mechanics. Not to mention oh so slimming.
Nice vacation, eh? None of that pesky para-sailing or room service for us, no sir.
Two elements of recreation have managed to sneak past our puritanical yard work ethic -- rollerblading and skateboarding. Not that we do them. We just have the gear now. I was feeling whimsical and generous last week and surprised Amy by caving in to her year-long campaign for a skateboard. Partly to introduce her to the real difficulties of balancing on a rolling piece of wood, and partly to stop the whining, I laid down some cash for what is essentially a wood and metal invitation to the world of orthopedic medicine. It's only a matter of time before we meet a new board certified specialist of one kind or another despite all the accoutrements we attach to Amy's body. Wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads, helmet; we've done everything but stick a phone book down her drawers to save her backside.
It's therapeutic physically, of course, involving stretching and balancing and spatial orientation, but it's also a way for Amy to feel a tangible scale of development. She sees other kids doing things on wheels and will strive to match their performance. She proved herself on the scooter we got her a few months ago, and she really made great strides, literally and figuratively, after she put on her first pair of rented in-line skates at the Rollerdome in February. Skateboarding takes a little more to master, and it may be discouraging at first, but she's growing in so many ways, I'm not too worried about raising the bar.
Besides, I got some skates for myself, and I definitely need a phone book. I'm sure that seeing her dad humiliated and bruised will do wonders for her ego.
Since our path to suburban infrastructural paradise is now so deep and irreversible, I can't say when I'll be making my next appearance here. I guess it'll be sooner than later, mostly because Amy will be back in school this coming week and I can resume something close to my normal schedule of soap operas and bon-bons. But I still haven't done my Spanish homework, the darkroom is feeling neglected, and my thrice-weekly physical therapy is about to start.
I hope I can get back before things start to curdle again. This recitation of the doings outside is all a bit dull. I miss my insides. Exploring my inner workings is not a luxury, but the time has come in my life where rumination has to take a back seat, however briefly, to trenches in my dirt and cricks in my neck.
"Start Walkin', Stop Talkin'" -- Eddie Jefferson/Irv Taylor -- THE BEBOP SINGERS
"It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
- Oscar Wilde