Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009
Dear Diary:

The summer of '09. Oh, where to begin?

Do I mention the time when I was working on a stone retaining wall and a hornet flew up my left nostril, stung me, and opened my eyes to a shiny, new example of the words "world of pain"?

Or, how about the time I was struggling with an enormous rock and thought I had managed to set it in place on the wall, only to somehow drop it on my left hand and give my middle finger a good enough smashing that I thought I might have broken it?

Oh, and let's not forget the fact that it rained daily for something like two and a half months. No, let's not forget that.

Then, as the final icing on the cake, when the rain finally broke I had to get up on assorted ladders and porch roofs to stain the second storey of our house. The spousal unit did the very highest bits that I couldn't reach, but he couldn't take on the whole job. The rain had backed him up and left him with a buttload of whining carpentry clients.

What's the big deal with a little painting?

Well, I have a crippling fear of heights. How bad is my fear? At one point my knees were shaking so hard that when I went to brace myself against the ladder the darn thing was actually vibrating and making a soft thrumming sound against the house.

Our motto this summer? Let the good times roll.

Wait! There's more! The new pond is still not quite done, a year after we started it. We are 90 per cent of the way there, but there are still electrical and filter issues to sort out.

The two of us are so tired of wrestling with this project that we're going to wrap it up next spring when it's again shiny and new. This is one of the wonderful parts of aging. The memory weakens. You forget the pain. You can go on.

Part of the problem here is that what should have been a simple project became insanely elaborate, an exercise in intricate fitting of ginormous stones. For example, the waterfall.

Stupidly big rock waterfall.

Was there any need for this to be so elaborate? Was there any need to wrestle with rocks weighing many hundreds of pounds? No, no there was not. And yet we did.

As you can see from this view of the pond from my bedroom window, there are elaborate sets of stairs to get up to the pond. Not all three sets are visible from this shot, but believe me, they are there. Again, this is unnecessarily elaborate, and also involves the placement of rocks weighing many hundreds of pounds. Could I help myself? No, no I could not.

No need to be this elaborate.

Oh, and did you notice that really, really, really long stone wall behind the pond? Yes, the last 80 feet of that wall are new this year. Because, you know, there really wasn't enough effort in shifting tons of rock to the new pond. Hey, why not throw around a few more tons of rock for the sheer fun of it?

My thoughts, exactly.

Then, just to utterly sap my will to live, I had to tear down and rebuild the right half of an existing retaining wall that was in front of the pond so that we could thread electrical wiring under it for the pond waterfall pump and also insert the staircase on the right.

Oh please let this be the last time I dick with this wall.

That right there was the absolute low point, the point where I'd spent a huge part of the summer trying to get the pond done and actually had to undo existing work, making the property look worse than when I began.

The summer of '09. I am so over the summer of '09.

As I type this, the spousal unit is hammering away at the beginnings of my garden shed. Where he finds the grit to start yet another project during such an intense summer, I have no idea. Believe me, I am worn to a smooth nub and at the moment I'm a grit-free zone.

No new projects for this buckarette. I plan on cruising through the fall.

There is huge frustration is not finishing the pond, in not achieving the water music I hoped to hear this summer. When the spousal unit and I realized, though, just how sick we were of wrestling with all the technical issues of such a big, elaborate pond, we had to stop. This is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be a hobby.

We'll finish next spring. One more season is not the end of the world. Let me tell you, it felt like the end of the world a few weeks ago, when we pulled the plug on pond progress, but now it's in perspective for me.

Fingers crossed that the summer of '10 is a whole lot less frustrating, that '10 is the year that the spousal unit and I finally learn to not bite off more than we can chew.

Hey, it could happen.


Mileage on the Marnometer: 138 miles.

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2008: 500 miles

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