Did you ever have one of those days when you suddenly found out that you were older than you remember, a lot older? Yeah, me too. It happened just a couple of weeks ago and man did I ever pay for it. As a matter of fact some of that reminder is still lingering around and hops out when I least expect it.
Until I look in the mirror, my mind still believes that I am in my mid-thirties. When I open my eyes it is almost like “who is that elderly gentleman looking back at me?” Then reality sets back in. I recognize me and have to accept the fact that I’m over twice thirty, and I no longer have the same body or strength as I did twenty-five years ago when I was still in the military. I’m no slouch, and can usually keep up with the young dogs, it just takes me a while longer to recover.
A couple of weeks ago, when we had a break in the rain, I decided to replace a French drain at the side of my house. A contractor crushed it while replacing a patio in my backyard. The crushed drain caused the area right outside my front door to flood. During the previous deluge the water came within an inch of coming in the front door. I knew I had to do something.
I looked at renting a trencher but decided that I was too cheap (frugal if I may). I had a mattock and a spade so I was set. I just had to buy the piping and some connections, so off to the local big box to shop.
It took about an hour to remove the grass from a fifty foot section. Well, about seven hours later I had a trench that was around eight inches deep and a little over fifty feet long. That North Carolina topsoil also known as red clay kicked my behind. I installed a tee connection in the existing pipe and laid in the entire run of pipe in a short while. I wrapped the pipe in material to keep the dirt out and filled the trench back in. I replaced the sod and reseeded the area. By this time it was dark and I was so tired I was about to drop.
There was only one problem. I still had around thirty-five feet to go in the back yard in order for the drain to work properly. Luckily, we had very little rain during the next week, but it really wouldn’t have mattered. I was so sore I could hardly move. My back, my shoulders, my arms and my legs ached. Finally, by the following weekend I could move enough to start back to work and finish the drain. Within a few hours I had the next thirty-some feet trenched and ready for pipe. Since I did not have to remove and replace the grass (natural area), it didn’t take long to complete the job.
I was tired, sore and extremely dirty, but I was done. I had a good sense of accomplishment. I also had several hundred dollars left in the bank that I didn’t have to pay to have someone else do the job. It felt good.
I thought about hiring some teens to help but quickly put it out of my mind. The last guys I hired to help ended up tearing up my lawnmower. Others only want to get paid and not have to invest any time or energy. Not my idea of a bargain.
Anyway, my front porch no longer floods and the drain is working really well. The grass that was removed is starting to take root again. Plus the soreness is gone. It even gave me the incentive to go back to the gym. Now, several times a week I’m sore on purpose.
***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.