Sunday, May 29, 2016

Some Time in the Garden

The Kitten is a wonderful gardener of flowers, shrubs, and vegetables. She is keen to have me join her in this pursuit, but I have lo these last nine years managed to find something else to do, and my excuses are never really that good to begin with. Yesterday, I was cornered. It being her birthday, She was She Who Must Be Obeyed, and her wish was to spend the day in her garden with me as her helpmate. Complicating this was the fact that several years ago, I had given her as a birthday present a "Three Hours in the Garden" certificate as one of her presents. She has mentioned the certificate a few times over the years, but I always pointed to the codicil contained therein that it was to be "...executed on a mutually agreeable timetable..." and to this point, we had not reached such agreement. But it was a gorgeous day, and it seemed my luck had simply run out.

I had only a few simple things to do. I dug up two bushes and then replaced them with two other bushes (I don't ask questions, I just do). And then I mostly moved dirt around in a wheelbarrow. I'd go to this wonderful, loamy pile of compost/soil, shovel a load full, and then move it to where it was needed. Then I'd unload it before repeating the process.
The Kitten's Vegetable Garden

I've written here before of my envy of the dudes on the Zero Turning Radius mowers, men of action and result. The thought of having a job with such instantaneous results has always fascinated me, and I have to this day, never seen a man on a Zero Turning Radius mower look unhappy. Not only do they get instant or near instant gratification, but they don't appear to have to think a whole lot in order to get that work done. In fact, my guess is that there is a TON of thinking going on, but little of it is about politics, or force structure, or weapons systems. This was the essence of the joy I beheld yesterday as I filled and dumped from the wheelbarrow. For hours (in excess of the promised Three), I just moved dirt. It was blissful.

I've discovered after nearly a decade of domestic bliss that when it comes to "chores", there is an art to my happy participation. Bottom line--give me a job that will keep me busy for a few hours, let me know what success conditions are, and then leave me be. Or, if there are a ton of little things to be done, give me a list and then allow me to plan and execute in the manner and order I wish. Where I find myself sometimes a bit...unhelpful...is when the tasking involves a lot of stick and rudder applied to an endless array of small bite tasks. I find it hard not to ask "why?" or "why this way?", which invariably is not a question that brings cooperative energy.

I think The Kitten has figured these things out. I have her right where she wants me.

Oh, and by the way. I told her when the day's labor was done that making her spend her Three Hour Present on her birthday was ungenerous, and so she still has it for a mutually agreeable time.

2 comments:

JB said...

Back in my days working as a "support contractor" in the Pentagon & the Washington Navy Yard, I remember telling someone that I found mowing the lawn relaxing. They thought it odd at first, until I explained it to them. After a usual day at the office, it was gratifying to come home, do manual labor, and make actual visible progress on something.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Very well said.

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