Mar 17, 2005

TANSTAAFL

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

But you see, what they've got here is not lunches but free woodworking plans. ROXOR! *lol*

"I am but a geek," with humblest apologies to Valentine Michael Smith. Thou art god, VMS.

Free woodworking plans. I was sent this by my favourite Enabler, which in her defense they ARE free, as long as you don't venture into the Buy Plans Now sections. The thing that gets me is that she knows my main afflictions--painting and woodworking, and every chance she gets she's finding a sale and buying me tons of canvases or finding sites like the above (which I am now passing along to you) to further enable the complete and utter spending of all my free time on my hobbies while I cannot pick her out yarn or knitting needles to save my life, because I wouldn't be able to tell yarn from string, nor find the right kind of needle in, well, a needlestack.

Nuts.

So anyhoo, speaking of addictions, I spent time in the flowerbeds today. I had a particularly long day at work today--I found that all the bits and pieces I have been learning are starting to congeal into a picture, a picture that I can point to now in the tight sweaty confines of my own mind and say "Okay, Irrelephant, HERE you are." Now that I sorta know where I am, and am starting to get the idea of how integral my job is, the pressure is on now to really do a bang-up job. And right now I have just enough knowledge to profoundly F things up if I'm not careful. Nothing is quite habit yet, it's all sort of still getting there, but it IS getting there, which is a good feeling. Tomorrow marks the end of my first week. Blue Jeans Day, can't beat it.

As I was saying, I was in the flowerbeds today after work unwinding. When I was but a young spoiled brat of 19 or thereabouts, working in the Federal Civil Service system as an all-about sort of janitor/gardner/maintenance man/etc. at the local Air Force base's MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation, I worked at the Recreation Center there) one of my jobs was to garden. Well, you could call it "gardening." You could also call it "being the yard man" there. I cut the grass, trimmed hedges, and in general kept the wildlife from becoming too wild. We had sort of a back patio thing out there that never got used, but which did have sort of an "L" shaped hedge of very sickly little boxwood bushes, each a spindly foot or so tall, struggling valiantly to become a solid hedge and losing. Part of my job on that patio was to weed this hedge. I did it because I had to, didn't much care for it, but what stuck with me was that the Rec Center Manager's son, Rodney (can you believe I still remember his name? Rodney Frisbee. I kid you not) came out one day to watch me weeding in the summer heat, and this skinny, pale, sort of effiminate drink of water told me that he envied me. I offered him a weed, which he declined. He went on to tell me that weeding was his idea of therapy.

I think I laughed at him. I wouldn't have been surprised if I had.

It's likely that he tried to explain his idea to me, but I'm certain that I had tuned him out by that point. Rodney was useless, and old (likely a ripe old 39 or so at that time) and so he had no idea what he was talking about.

What happened, tho, is that the idea stuck with me. The idea that working in dirt could be therapy. I think it might have been around that time that I realised that working in the dirt, planting and nurturing and growing things was slightly more than just something I could do once in a while and leave alone. I could actually get out there and WORK at it, and the results would, in some cases, be dramatic and instant. Work, reward. Pull weeds, attractive presentation. And the best part was that it was work that really felt good.

Fast forward about 21 years to find me squatting in the yard right up against the edge of the flower beds, ripping out years and years of overgrown St. Augustine grass that has wandered in from the yard. I managed about 12 square feet this afternoon, in about an hour. Therapy. It really is. I put in some finger and arm strength, a little sweat, and I'm rewarded with the sight of rich black dirt, some rolly-pollies, a millipede or two, some crazy long-legged bugs with black and red bodies and great big wavy antennas, a lovely little wiggly orange skink, and a beautifully clean flowerbed, ready for a layer of rich yellow cypress mulch and the flowering plants of my choice. Nice.

I cannot believe it's become therapy, but it has. I guess my father's genes are holding true. And I guess Rodney Frisbee was right all that time. An old guy, right. What are the odds of that happening?

*shudder*

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