I started painting the deck early in the morning. I was going to go to the gym first, but I thought to myself (for who else?) you'd better do this now or you won't. There was really much to do beforehand. I drove to the paint store and got all the supplies--brushes, rollers, long handles, paint, paint trays--the works! Back home, I prepped myself in paint-worthy clothes, got my brooms and painter's tape, and then tried to get down on the deck. Holy smokes, kids, my knee won't bend like that. I tried getting down one way, then another. Finally, I kind of tumbled and fell. I rolled around on the deck trying to find a position from which I could tape the bottom of the exterior wall. I must have looked a sight. Finally, painfully, the tape was rather in place. It was the best I could do. Now the opposite problem--getting up.
I am sure I will need to buy a new knee.
Once up. . . are you still with me?. . . I swept the deck clear of leaves and pollen. It was the perfect day to paint in terms of weather. It was the worst day in terms of falling things. No sooner had I swept than I needed to sweep again. There was only one solution, of course. I had to sweep and paint nearly simultaneously.
But the paint went on easily over last year's coat, and soon enough, I was done. It was fairly disappointing. The deck looked just like it did when I started. There was nothing wrong with the old paint. This was solely preventative.
And since things had gone so swimmingly, I decided to paint the stairs to the apartment.
That took the live-long day. I finished painting the railings, landings, and stairs around two. I would wait to paint the rest of it. I was shot and my knee was on fire.
But. . . BBC and all, I decided that like so many others, after a long day of work, I would hit the gym, and so I geared up and went.
There came a point when I thought I truly would just start crying. Fuck me, I was tired. I struggled through something of a workout, though, and headed to my mother's house where I collapsed into a chair and complained. I would listen to my cousin and my mother for a bit, then I would complain some more. I was tired. I was whupped. I was going home, I said, to make a cocktail.
I was too tired to shower. I was too tired to cook. I was too tired to get in the car to go get takeout. But I wasn't too tired to make a Margarita. And there I sat on my newly painted deck, collapsed but suddenly happy. But it didn't last long. I made another.
And that, my friends, is the story of the Margarita. Drinking the second one, I relaxed and realized that I had probably averaged less than five hours of work each of the last three days. Long days? I hadn't put in two real days in three. I thought about the crews who were digging the trenches in the street to run the underground cables. I thought of roofers. Eight, ten hour days, every day. The HVAC guy told me when he was here that temperatures in attics here in the summer reach 130 degrees. They are crawling around in small attics all day putting in the heavy units, running the tubing, etc.
I was beat from head to toe. I laughed remembering what I told the nice lady at the Club Y when I checked in.
"How're you doing C.S.?"
"We'll see. I've been workin on my house for three days, and I'm whupped. I shouldn't be doing this. I'm a thinker, not a worker."
Her eyes lit up. I'd never used that line before, but I can tell you I will again.
"I'm a thinker."
I slept until eight this morning. I feel fine. The sky is clear and blue and I can do what I wish. I can work on the fence or not. I'm going to repair it and repaint it, maybe today, maybe not. I bought a machine to convert all my old 8mm films into digital files. It came three days ago, and I have yet to open the box. Before I get too tired to read the instructions, I think I will set it up and see how it works. Yes, that is what I will do before I decide on the rest of the day.
The big pile of mulch comes on Tuesday. I go back to the doctor sometime next week. I've made a detailed log of my blood pressure. It was at its lowest reading this morning, well within normal limits, almost perfect. Maybe work is good for me. At the end of the week, I figure to have saved well over a thousand dollars in labor costs if I had hired people to do this.
"Hello, handsome. What is it that you do?"
"Look at these hands, Sugar. I'm a thinker."