It’s hard to believe that nearly a decade and a half could take such a toll on a woman’s body, but it’s true.
Fourteen years ago, I crawled out of bed with nary an ache, not one single catch and (this is huge) I didn’t moan as I moved.
I use this dateline as a guide because 2004 was the year that my husband and I, along with our four sons, spent the bulk of our time building our new home.
My husband, Pat, is a builder and as such, he was the supervisor and we were his crew. I wouldn’t say that the boys and I whistled while we worked, but we certainly got the job done and I reminded him every so often that he was so not the boss of me.
Pat called us the “B” crew because we worked the evenings and he had the “professionals” work during the day.
We framed, insulated and painted the walls, laid the wood floors and grouted tile like it was our job and I’m here to contend that the “B” crew had it going on!
The last, but certainly not the least of the tasks that the “B” crew tackled alongside their illustrious leader was the flower beds, and Pat, being a man who doesn’t like sprinklers “liming up” the bricks, put those beds all around the house.
“Let’s hire someone to do it,” I suggested over a “kitchen table” that consisted of a 2-by-6 sitting on two sawhorses.
His response was, “You’re crazy!”
To the tune of “Alrighty then!” the boys and I helped him create those beds posthaste and in doing so, placed and dispersed landscaping fabric and river rock all around the premises.
As a woman, it was my God-given right to step back and watch my family of men toil the soil and tackle this tedious task, but I jumped in with both feet, and although I felt I was working like a man, I was criticized for wearing cute flip-flops.
Working like a man doesn’t mean you have to look like one.
In the years that followed, I utilized those four sons of ours every spring to deadhead the flowerbeds, cut back the overgrowth and tackle the weeds.
They hated it to say the least. But I held things like Playstation over their heads and threatened to hold back life-sustaining things like ice cream from them if they refused to free the mums of winter’s debris.
Oh, how I long for the day when I could hold video games over their heads in exchange for hard working labor. These days they’re off and working their big boy jobs with yards of their own.
This year, once winter finally released us of its nasty clutches, I walked out into what looked like a jungle in the flower beds. The creeping Charlies had all but choked out the hydrangeas, the crabgrass had taken over the spotted nettie and worse yet, dandelions had an all-out invasion going on where the butterfly bushes had been.
Unlike my vibrant and energetic self those many years ago, I looked at the task that lay before me and I have to tell you, I wasn’t feeling it.
Back in the day, I would have pulled the weeds and felt refreshed and renewed. “Look!” I would have exclaimed to our four sons as I did my best to push them on, “Why, it’s practically addicting! We’re giving the flowerbeds new meaning! We’re breathing new life into the Jack Mantis Clematis! Whatever could be more rewarding?”
This year as I wore my sweatpant shorts that sport a pocket to hold my sunblock, Chapstick and a Kleenex to dab at the parts of my face affected by my recently obtained midlife allergies, I looked at an obnoxious weed that had the audacity to grow up in the middle of a rose bush and asked, “Really?”
I could tackle those flowerbeds and do them justice. I could spend eight hours a day, four days a week and have them looking nothing less than the phenomenal. But the fact is, the mind is willing but the flesh is weak and she has a bum back.
I could do it, but I just don’t want to.
“Let’s hire some help to weed the flower beds,” I told my husband of many years.
His response was, “You’re crazy!”
Looks like we might be living in our newfound jungle for a while. But I’m not playing Jane to his Tarzan!