And It Shall Come To Pass

Two weeks ago, I drove my wife to the airport for her trip to Texas. Last Wednesday, I did the same with my son. Tonight they come back.

Now read the above paragraph but hear it in the voice of Don “The Movie Guy” LaFontaine. That was completely unintentional.

So, what have we learned here in Oz, Dorothy? Been a while since you’ve been on your own for a few days. Like? Dislike? Plans for the future?

I think it was fine, but enough. I missed my son more, and that’s not shocking or shouldn’t be—my wife is gone a lot, and I’m used to her jetting off for a couple of weeks every June for a seminar or a class or just to visit her mom and our daughter. I’ve sensed my son a lot this past week. It’s been 28 years; I’m going to hear footsteps, just gonna happen.

But he had a good trip, it sounds like, and the other night on FaceTime he gave me a pretty nuanced and fascinating take on his particular experiments in socialization on this trip.

As for the loneliness, it helped that I knew it was temporary. It helped that I didn’t have a particularly stressful period with a lot to do (i.e., it helped that it was the start of summer). My energy waxed and waned, and I’m pretty sure it corresponds with my sleep. I’m beginning to believe that this is the most useful thing wearable technology will give us, insight into our sleeping habits.

For the past few weeks, I can tell from this Fitbit app that I’m sleeping less. I might attribute a bunch of this to the extra daylight. And I tend to sleep poorly when my wife’s out of town. I keep an eye on it. Mostly, I tend to wake up early and not feel inclined to go back to sleep, and yet something feels wrong about hitting the sack before 10pm (at the earliest). Just wrong, somehow.

Not Sunday night. Sunday night, I was asleep by 9:15. I ended up with 8 hours and 20 minutes of Fitbit Sleep (it has a name) and also ended up having the most productive day in forever. I wrote a column I was proud of, one that managed to keep the rage and frustration over this crazy world at bay and just ended up being fine, really. No complaints. And I got it done fast.

And then, I’m not sure. I spent an awful lot of time in the yard, digging and hoeing and raking and weeding. I dug up roots that looked ancient, almost primordial. And after years of whining, griping, acquiescing, and supplicating to the higher life form that is blackberry brambles, I think I won. I honestly did not believe this was possible, but I may have eradicated the blackberries for the time being.

Not completely, and I’d never claim that they’re not only an unattended spring away from resurrection. There’s an annoying strip of land on the edge of my yard, about a foot wide and 15 feet long, between two fences where the stuff is growing like crazy. I don’t know how to get in there to deforest without tearing down one of the fences (a remainder of my chain link one, much of which was removed by the contractors).

Enough of that, though. People in other areas don’t quite understand my hatred of blackberries. I won’t even eat them, and blackberries are good. It’s just that they take over, quickly and without warning, and they’re dangerous. Worse than trying to trim rose bushes, by far. I always end up bleeding profusely, and I know what profusely means.

So, yeah. The combination of the clearing the construction guys had to do in my yard to level things off for drainage and prep for the fence, and then my impetus from this nicely delineated backyard to start cleaning up myself is all it took. I’ve got a ton of dead vines, petrified and not dangerous at all, ready to be hauled away, and otherwise the vines are pretty much gone. In fact, one of those primordial roots I dug up? Looked suspiciously like it might have been the head honcho.  I may have discovered the Queen Bee of blackberry brambles, and I dug her up and tossed her unceremoniously in the yard waste bin, without so much as a second though.

OK. Now this is creeping me out. I probably should have said a prayer or something. This might not end well.

But hey. It was a sense of accomplishment. I’m not going to get crazy here about landscaping; I’m not going to spend the money, for one thing, when this house is going to be torn down at some point and, you know. It’s just me. I don’t have a thing for landscaping as a creative outlet. I just want the blackberries gone.

And I gotta give credit to sleep, I think. That was an amazing day, yesterday. I took one short walk, I think, just about a mile, up to the store later in the day when I just felt like stretching my legs, but apparently (once again, thanks Fitbit) did a lot of activity.

I’ve also been drinking an extra cup of coffee in the mornings, for some reason, and eating food I don’t normally eat. The latter makes no sense; I can eat what I want anytime I want. It’s not like I have to hide chicken wings from the family; they’re usually happy just to see me eat. Just a change, I guess. I’ve got some ice cream in the freezer that I’ll throw out, though. I think my days of gorging ice cream are over. They were good days, though.

All in all? I think I may have learned a few things about solitude and love and family. Yards. Certain flora. I have another dessert night to provide treats for tonight, and since I’m trying a chocolate cheesecake that has worked in the past but was a little rough looking, I’m doing that again but I backed up with cookie dough and ice cream. People will eat something sweet tonight, so help me God.

And I’ll hang out with nice people by the fire pit until it’s time to head for the airport, where I shall retrieve my wife and son and all shall be, as my wife says, well. Here’s to endurance and survival. Here’s to good sleep. Here’s to the end of blackberries.

Damn. Gotta stop talking that way. Just asking for it.

I don't really have a "before" picture, or one I can easily find, so there's not much to see. Which is sort of the point. The whole fence line was a mess o' bushes and brambles. I feel pretty good about this.

I don't really have a "before" picture, or one I can easily find, so there's not much to see. Which is sort of the point. The whole fence line was a mess o' bushes and brambles. I feel pretty good about this.

Chuck Sigars1 Comment