So yeah, I’m just gonna say it… my body hurts!… but all my winter wood is neatly stacked and tucked away in the lean-to keeping it safe from the rain… and snow… and out of site! I’ve been looking at the piles on the other side of the driveway for about two months now. I was just never motivated enough or had the time to stack it, so I made it The Agenda for this weekend. My plan was to get out there just after the sun came up and have it done by early afternoon, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. However, I’m happy with how the day went… besides being reminded that I’m getting older and that I haven’t taken care of my body in the last year and a half or so! Oh well, that’s why I did it yesterday… so that I could recover today.
Generally, I love stacking wood. It feels good being outside and doing something that helps prepare for the quickly approaching winter. I love that it warms you twice!… or three times… or four… depending on how many times you need to move it. I love that it is such an ingrained part of life here in rural Vermont. I love that people have their Wood Guys and that there is always someone looking for a Wood Guy 3 months too late! I love shooting the shit with my guy in my driveway while we sum up a year’s worth of experience in half an hour. I love that I simply tape an envelope with cash in it to the top of the chest freezer in the garage and when I notice it’s gone… my wood is paid for. Yup… the Vermont invoice! I love the memories of friends and family helping with the stacking over the years, in all the different places Kateri and I had lived… and I’ve gotten satisfaction when I’ve done it by myself. This year was a little different, though.
My idea was to stack this year’s delivery by myself since I never really asked for help or got my shit together enough to plan it out. Last year I stacked it all by myself… on one of the hottest days of the summer… because I felt I needed to prove something to myself… that I could be self sufficient. I had just learned that life can take things away pretty quickly and I was freaking out about not knowing if I would be able to stay on top of everything, so I just tried to do everything on my own. Not to mention, it always feels like you are working harder when you sweat and when you stack two cord of wood on a 97 degree Vermont summer day… well… you sweat! This year, although the wood was dropped in August, I’m glad I waited till October when it’s a tad bit cooler!
My approach to the stacking of the wood was a little different this year, as well. Almost 18 months into this new life puts me in a different space than I was last year. There has been a shift in some of the things in my life… how I view things. Although I love stacking wood and everything that I attach to it, this year it just felt more like a chore… something else that I simply have to do. It felt good to be outside and doing something that will prepare me for the future, but there wasn’t really any excitement behind it except to get the job done so that I could move on to the next project on the list. You would think after almost 18 months that I would be more on top of everything, but the onslaught of widowerhood wears you down over time and quite frankly, going from a household of two to a household of one is a lot to take on! Attach the emotional/psychological reminders you are surrounded by everyday… even more fun! But, everything still needs to get done… so I keep doing it.
Yesterday, even though I felt like the stacking of the wood was more of a chore… it turned out to be a much better day than expected. This is where I feel the need to fill you in that I did not stack ALL the wood by myself. About two thirds of the way through my neighbor Bobbi pulled up to the mailboxes to see if her tax bill had come yet and after sitting on a rock… her still in her car… and shooting the shit for a few minutes I asked if she wanted to some up to the porch and catch up. So we did! It was nice. We hadn’t seen each other in months… and she’s always entertaining! After about an hour she said she needed to go because of a FaceTime date with her kid or something, but said she would be back to help! I told her she didn’t need to, but I would take the help if I was still stacking when she was done. It wasn’t a half an hour until she came back… ready to stack some wood… thin black leather driving gloves in hand (I mentioned she’s entertaining)! It was wonderful.
For me, it was a nice surprise to end the day hanging with someone… a neighbor… when I thought I would be spending the day alone. Yes, I took more breaks as we stacked the last quarter of the pile (Bobbi happens to be in her sixties… I think), but the conversations, laughing, and reminiscing was worth the slower pace. I guess that’s one of those “sometimes it’s good to smell the roses” type things. It simply felt nice to sit on the plastic Adirondack chairs that my father had bought when they came for Kateri’s Kick-Ass Party last year, waving to cars and trucks as they drove by, and to thank a friend for taking the time to lend a hand. It was a perfect end to the day. Plus, the sun was going down at that point so I’m glad we finished it by the time the day ended! And although it felt sorta like a chore… it definitely feels good to know that my wood is stacked and I’ll be warm this winter.
Widower Notes n Thoughts:
- It was also nice seeing a co-worker and friend drive by my house in his little red Mazda Miata with his wife as they were out for an Autumn Sunday drive. Yup, there was a honk… a wave… and he kept driving!
- It’s always fun to try an figure out how many wheelbarrow loads you have left when the pile starts to get to the end!… Bobbi and I where way off.
- I understand that it’s all part of my life… but I’ve really had to separate work life/life with Kateri/life without Kateri just to keep my head on my shoulders. It’s all sorta mingling together, but each needs their own times of attention here and there. That whole “Balance” thing can be a challenge sometimes.
- Luckily, I only saw one 8 legged demon while stacking the wood… and spent the entire time freaking out about the possibility of one attacking me while I hurled logs into the wheelbarrow!
- A hot tub would be nice right now… I could dig it.
ps… to let you know… it makes me feel good when people follow the blog… just sayin’.