Saturday, April 18, 2009

Busier than Busy and Contradance

Did I mention that I finally got my chainsaw and feel like real man? I asked my kids if I looked like Paul Bunyon and they said, "Who?"

The thing is, now that I've got my saw, it's one more thing to deal with, and I'm not exactly swimming in time. Yesterday we had a busy day, and even though you're tired of hearing about it, I'd like to share with you what we did. We were supposed to have HS tennis in Hanover, but weren't feeling so well because it's been a busy, social week. There are two major immediate projects on the home front and they both take a lot of time.

First, the woodpile. It's going to take me awhile to get through that, and I can only squeeze in a couple of hours each day, if I can even do it each day. And then there are the clapboards on the back of the house, which will eventually all have to be painted. Yikes!

So yesterday, knowing that we had all these things to do, not to mention being exhausted and having contradance that night, I made the executive decision that we were not going to make it to tennis. I knew the kids wouldn't be broken hearted, and sense that they were almost dreading it.

We had breakfast as usual and then we went outside. N wanted to play games but I told him I had real man work to do, and being the real man that he is, he said he'd join me. I spent the morning hours cutting wood, but at some point around noon, I knew I had to stop to make lunch. Since the weather has been so beautiful, the kids always lobby for the picnic lunch, which I dread because it's more work for me. And, of course, I always relent because it is nice out, and it's not such a big deal, reminding myself that life is about the little things.

After lunch, I had to wash dishes and then go to work on the clapboards. The one bonus was that we were planning on going to contradance so I didn't need to make supper. As much as I love to cook, I find that making meals (and the subsequent cleanup) takes a huge chunk of time out of my day, not to mention the disruption in the flow of my work.

Anyway, enough of my whining. After lunch and doing the dishes, I did a quick cleanup of the house, which is much tidier when the kids play outside, and threw in two loads of laundry because the weather was so warm and breezy and I couldn't pass up the chance to dry them on the line outside-our first time this season. A seminal moment, though hanging clothes on a line takes up a lot of time. Just for the record, we don't have a dryer (our conscious decsion), so have little choice in the matter.

I then set to work on the clapboards, knowing that I had about three hours before having to get my act together. I spent a lot of time last year learning to do clapboards, and though I'm still a novice of the highest order, I at least have a better sense of what I'm doing, which streamlines the process immeasurably. I know what I'm looking for, and thankfully after taking off a few layers and peeling back the Tyvek, the plywood underneath was not rotting. In fact, it was in surprisingly decent shape, so I set about applying the ice and water shield.

The day was beautiful, but my daughter, who has been tracking and studying the weather as part of her HS science work, told me it was going to rain on Saturday, so before getting the kids ready for the dance, I had to haul pallets and tarps over to cover the exposed frame. Life in New England never lets you slide, but it makes you a better person for it.

I still have a lot of work to do on it, not to mention needing more i&w shield and clapboards. We have my mentor #1's truck, so I can jet over to Brittons and get them, though I'm staying away from cedar and will go with primed softwood. A lesson I learned last year, go with primed clapboards, they save you time and money in the end.

By 4:30, I had to round the kids up and hound them to get dressed. Just a quick note, life was actually easier when we did everything for them, like putting on their clothes. You'd think it would be simpler to have them just get dressed, but it always involves a great deal of coercing, wrestling, and finally breaking out the bigs guns, i.e. threats, bribery, and extortion, to get them to do what you want them to do, even if it's something they really want. How ironic is that.

We drove out to Woodstock for the dance and the kids really have a good time. I'm sort of mixed on the whole thing. We have some really good friends that go and we love to see them, but the dance is really a Waldorf scene, and as I've mentioned, I feel like a persona non grata in Waldorf circles, mainly because I don't talk the talk. They don't go out of their way to make me feel this way, they just are adept at completely ignoring me and excluding me by default. No malice involved, just lack of sensitivity. Mind you, they are not all like that.

That may be changing, however. There was definitely a more mixed crowd than usual there, with what looked like a large contingent of hip, consumer-conscious kids, some of whom had cell phones that rang during the dance. Scandalous! Maybe contradance is heading in a new direciton, the result of its growing poplularity.

I also wanted to mention that my wife and I (while holding our son, mind you-he refuses to dance) danced with the son and daughter of a family that comes regularly and has something like ten children. I don't know anything about them except that I've been told they are a "sect" family and it's clear that they are religious. Whatever be the case, the kids are really nice, and very mature. I've actually danced with one of the boys, who is I believe a tween, and we had to hold hands when we danced - this is the nature of contradance, lots of hand holding and switching partners. To his credit, he didn't blink and eye and just went with it. When I was his age I would have run from the room screaming. We also danced with the one girl in the family, a teenager I believe, and she was very sweet and very spunky. A really cute kid, with loads of personality. Go figure.

Today is Saturday, market day, but I've got to also stop by Lavalley's and get more i&w shield, and then to the WRJ Coop to get our copy of Transition Towns. Later in the day we'll head over to Hanover for some work and library time, then off to our favorite eating digs, Boloco. We love those Summer and Classic burritos. It's when school's out so the place isn't such a zoo.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to our kids for the great pics.

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