Monday, June 28, 2004
The day is still young, So I think I'll scrub the back deck and re-paint it with stain. The front deck was a real doosie because I wanted to scrub it down to the bare (untainted) wood. Here, I just needed a good soaping and let it dry out. That took very little time, except trying to move 5 bags worth of play sand in the Great Haupertonian Desert across the Deck 'outback'. With a bit of effort, I managed to get it into the corner of the deck ... looks like that part will not be treated today ... or tomorrow, or probably until sometime beyond the 4th of July. It took a while to get the whole deck done, but about the time I finished, it was time to feed the little cranky ones and send them off to a mid-day slumber. Thankfully, it went quite well. They ate some, drank some, protested, chattered and eventually nodded off. Ahhhh, some more time to ... well, do more work. Off to stain the deck! Wo-hooo! Open the can of stain and find that the pigment had settled to the bottom in a pasty, hardened cake ... argh. Just shaking this like a 8.5 on the Richter will not re-constitute this mess. But wait, I'm an engineer ... I know EXACTLY what to do. Take a bit of wood from the dowel I used for the stair-rail and make it into a mixing wand by hammering a piece of wood to the bottom. Put it in the drill and let her rip! SPLOOSH! Well, ok. It seemed like a good idea. I just need to keep the variable speed drill at a more reasonable speed other than full-twirling-dervish-speed. Friggen stain everywhere, mostly on me. Ack, it isn't water soluble either ... Thompson water repellent stuff. Nasty. Well, ok, I can survive. Lets just get the deck done and move on. Well, its about 1:30pm now and the sun is about 3 inches from the deck. Hot, hot, hot and me with bare feet. I whiz through the can pretty quickly and have just enough to finish the portion covered by the Great Haupertonian Desert when the time comes. It looks real nice. No more stains or mildew. Of course, All I was wearing was a pair of shorts. My Milky white back was ... HA-HA! I listened to the Mrs this time and she slathered my back with sun-block ... and since I was hunched over the whole time, by chest and abdomen are still a nice brilliant white. Well done on one side, raw on the other. Nice. Deck done, yet another victory ... a vindication of sorts for the Super-dad of lore.
In celebration of my victory, and given the dryness of the day, it would be a good time to, ugh, wash the dogs. Now washing Thor is akin to washing a bison. Wads and wads of fur, punctuated with the occasional goober of jelly-like slobber. He is compliant, but rather annoyed. I know not where this lab came from, but for his size and disdain of any volume of water, I really think is not a pure-bred Labrador retriever. Perhaps something more in the line of a long extinct branch cousin of a wholly mammoth. Katie is a different story all together. Washing her is like trying to shave a weasel. She too, is un-impressed with water, but will take every chance she can get to dart off and roll in the nearest mud-hole. With one hand on her mane and one on the sprayer, I managed to polish her off in half the time it took to wash her mammoth brother. Not before she got a few good shakes off that pretty much took care of the sun-block I was wearing. And the dog-hair. I will be pulling little strands of white hair out of my mouth, off my arms and from my hair for days. Once the dogs dry out a bit, they will be allowed back inside. The Mrs will have a chance to brush off some of the 2-3 hairs that are not embedded on my person and then they can go in an play with the kids when they wake up.
Okay, I'm on a roll so lets go clean up some dog poop. Yeah, my favorite. Thor, in his weirdness, likes to spin around when he relives himself. No big pile of logs for him, his centripetal force sends them flying all over the place, so I have to hunt them down and incarcerate every little lump, watching my step every for God only know where this stuff lies. Katie, on the other hand is even stranger. She will ... ummm, disposed of pre-enjoyed dog food twice every time I let her out. So, there are little piles all over the place for her. Fortunately, I mark the deposits with little orange flags whenever I notice the activity. Its just the surprise piles that catch me off-guard. I will be so much happier when we get the play-set for the kids built and I will have 600 square feet less to patrol for doggie-dip.
Ok, time for a victory lap. I walk through the garden and admire my lush tomato plants ... and then my towering peppers. Ohhh, lookie here. One of my Gypsy Sweets has produced some peppers large enough to pick! I snap one off and bite into it like an apple. It is heavenly. I then realize I am a bit thirsty. Perhaps I will go get a drink ... and then it catches my eye. My three rows of green beans are being devoured by Japanese beetles. The leaves look like stain-glass windows. This will NOT be permitted. I run into the house and grab every chemical and insecticidal soap I can find. I'm going to make Saddam and Chemical Ali look like high-school chem lab flunkies. As I gather up the armloads of toxins, I come to and realize why I have a garden to start with. Not to save money, but to have some produce that is not bathed in chemicals and other assorted compounds never seen by man in his entire evolutionary history. I set down my insect pogrom in the making and bring with me a sniper, a pair of gloves and a basket. I walk through the garden and slowly, patiently, cautiously, CRUSH EACH AND EVERY BEETLE WITH MY WRATHFUL HAND! DIE! DIE! DIE!!!! Bug guts spray everywhere and they crunch and snap between my fingers. All they way, I pluck the largest beans and drop them un-molested in my basket. After the battle, the carcasses of the enemy cover the field. Not a one was spared. I leave them behind as a warning to others that trespasses will not be tolerated. It will be rebuked with final force! Then I set up a Beetle trap on the other side of the lawn. Take THAT! And then, only then, do I fill my 2.5 gallon sprayer and proceed to drench the flowers with a layer of insecticidal soap. There will be NO survivors. While I'm at it, I get some Weed-be-gone and take my wrath to the horticultural kingdom. Weeds shall perish too! HULK SMASH! Ahem ... yes. As an act of attrition, I plant 18 mums in memory of the displaced and the vanquished. That, and they look pretty.