Bruises. Bites. Cuts. Scrapes. Blood. Sweat. Curses. Tears. Blisters. Burns. Rashes. I had a great long weekend for July 4th. Thanks for asking.
No, I didn’t get into a fight and no, I didn’t injure myself performing my own personal pyrotechnic display for the kiddies. I had 4 days off – so there was yard work was to be done!
To refresh your memory, or for those of you new to us, I live on a farm with my wife. She is the farmer, but when I have time off – I do as much as I can to help out. Add in the usual things necessary for owning a home, and that’s a lot of outdoors work.
We had new trenches dug at the farm this weekend for an irrigation project. Some of the dirt taken from the trench was put onto the hose that I run to the pasture where the chickens are. So, I had to shovel through the mountain of soil and rocks to find my hose – I pulled a muscle in my shoulder.
The summer heat has arrived, which is great… for the bugs. I have bites the size of quarters on my arms, legs and neck. They are hungry little buggers!
A little bit of tractor work in the noon-day sun to move some of the aforementioned dirt… hello Mr. Sunburn.
I was fixing a piece on the chickens’ movable coops and a piece of chicken wire got caught on my arm – a lovely little slice from my wrist to my elbow. Thank you tetanus shot!
I did some string mowing (weed whacking) on an overgrown hillside and at one point lost my footing and tumbled down the hill like Jack and his pail. There goes the ‘trick knee’. It’s a great trick by the way – I have it perfected through a lot of practice.
Also, apparently something “poison” (take your pick, ivy – sumac – whatever), must have been on the shoulder of my shirt that I used to wipe the sweat off my face, because I look like I took on Rocky with the rashes under my eyes and alongside my nose.
All that said – I. LOVE. IT.
This is my home. This is a big part of what I get to contribute to my family – I’m a part of the process, the business, the day-to-day. I don’t always take my time off and sit on the couch and in a hammock. This is my time home, and I use it. I think a lot of Modern Men are the same way – if we don’t get to be home all day every day, make the most of the time you are. Of course, for July 4th – we pretty much took it easy – breakfast on a beach, reading in the afternoon. Was very nice. It’s not ALWAYS work work work here.
There are no gender roles in our home. She does much more than I do when it comes to the yard work (she can mow the whole farm on the tractor in no-time flat!) and often times when I’m home on the weekends, I will be with the kids while she’s toiling out in the heat. But it’s a fair game – we trade off. We make it work – here are the jobs to be done, let’s figure out how to do them.
Of course, hindsight being what it is, there are things I could have done differently to make life easier on me this past weekend. Being the Modern Man, I kept a stubborn head about some things that, looking back, I should have changed up. I now offer them to you – to give you the ammo to not make the same mistakes.
1. Sunscreen. You always remember to lather up the kids, but what about you there, genius? Your skin burns just as easily. Put it on. Then put it on again. Reapplying is the thing we always forget to do. Smearing it on at 8am doesn’t help when you’re out there again after lunch.
2. Watch your damn step. I can’t tell you the number of times I trip or slip cause I’m just not paying attention. I’m not a clumsy guy – I’m quite coordinated, but damned if I don’t find every hole, divot or soft ground to step on cause my eyes and mind are looking somewhere else. We aren’t 20 anymore – stop falling.
3. Bug spray. It’s right there on the shelf. Going out for a walk or to play in the twilight hours – PUT IT ON!
4. Set your alarm. At 8am it’s 63 degrees and overcast. When do I wait to do my string mowing? 1pm of course. 85 degrees and blazing sun directly overhead. Do your strenuous work as early in the morning as you can, without pissing off the neighbors – of course.
5. Just keep going. It’s going to happen. You’ll get cut. You’ll get bruised. The Modern Man just keeps going. The job has to be done – let’s do it right.
These cuts, bruises and aches are badges of honor. It means I got the job done (mostly, anyway). They are there to remind me – hey – sleep well tonight, you earned it.
What tasks drive you insane to do around the house? Share with us in the comments below!