It was a good day in Biffville (Population: parched). However, it did not start out that way.
Or, more accurately, yesterday did not end in a way that gave me a lot of optimism for today. For some reason, at around 5:00 yesterday evening, I broke out in some sort of rash. I had large red splotches all over my skin. It was like certain parts of my body had gotten very badly sunburned. But only certain areas. The rest of it remained its usual pasty white. My skin was very itchy and just felt … I don’t know … tight, I guess is the closest word I can find to describe it.
I finally took two Benadryl and went to bed so that I wouldn’t have to listen to my brain telling me that I had shingles or perhaps plague. The sheets were very uncomfortable and scratchy against my skin, but eventually I was able to drift into a light sleep.
When I awoke this morning all the redness and splotches were gone. Very strange. My skin still felt a little sun-burn-ie, but was a lot better than last night.
I went back over the past 24 or 48 hours in my brain and I couldn’t recall eating anything that I haven’t eaten hundreds of times before. I hadn’t been anywhere new or unusual. I hadn’t changed laundry detergents or soap or shampoo or wore any new clothes.
Luckily, I have a very short attention span and so soon enough I was getting on with my Saturday and telling my inner hypochondriac to sit down and shut up.
The morning was filled with the usual Saturday morning events, which I won’t bore you with. You can pick randomly from among my old blog posts and you have an excellent shot of finding one that recounts (ad nauseum) what I do on Saturday mornings.
Later in the day, I was able to convince myself to get out in the yard and do some work. I also nearly convinced myself not to, but I filibustered and eventually won. Or did I lose? Well, however you look at it, I was soon enough outside.
I decided that the first order of business was to de-thatch my lawn.
With a de-thatching rake.
For those of you not familiar with this particular type of futility, it involves dragging a rake with half-moon shaped blades on it (designed to cut through thatch) back and forth across the top of your lawn. This slices up the thatch, which looks a lot like Berber carpet, so that the new, living grass can emerge and flourish. The trick in using it is to not destroy the live grass, but to only pull up the dead stuff.
It reminds me of the scene in the comedy movie “Top Secret” where there is a close-quarters melee between the Nazis and the Resistance where they are engaged in hand-to-hand combat. One of the Resistance fighters picks up a machine gun and sprays the skirmishing cluster of Nazis and Resistance fighters liberally, and, miracle of miracles! Only the Nazis fall to the ground dead. There was nary a scrape on the Resistance fighters.
There you have the principal behind the de-thatching rake in a nutshell.
So that is what I did.
And that is when I realized how out of shape I got over the winter.
Still, I managed to get about a third of my various yards de-thatched which isn’t bad for a man of my age and for the winner of an Olympic Gold Medal in Being Sedentary.
I will finish the lawn tomorrow.
But I was not done yet!
There were some trees in the back yard who were looking a little, um, past their sell-by date. Though some of them had little flickers of life in them in the form of little clumps of leaves, it was quite obvious they did not have any long term viability (much like my retirement plan.) Another clue to their non-viability was that their hole-riddled trunks had become the home for about 5 different variety of ants. (Again, much like my retirement plan.)
First I went at them with my limb-cutting saw, but then I remembered I have a chain saw. I bought it about 8 or 9 years ago after a ferocious storm toppled a Bradford pear tree in my back yard and so I had gone out and purchased an el-cheapo chainsaw so that I could carve it up the fallen tree into pieces small enough to put into the back alley.
It has not been used since then.,
But I got to use it today!
Is there a greater feeling in the world than putting the business end of a chain saw against a tree and letting ‘er rip?
(Note to Black & Decker: Please reverse the direction of the chain so that the wood chips and sawdust fly away from the user, not right into their face.)
I felt like quite the lumberjack as I reduced these “trees” to mere stumps. And then I took my trusty ax and made short work of the stumps.
It is definitely a good day when one gets to use both an ax and a chain saw!
Not so great when one has to use a de-thatching rake, though.