Change of pace from last night's "big ideas" post. This one is a simple diary post.
It's been a full three days in my world. Friday and Saturday I picked up a couple of days work for the doctor in Shepparton I worked for once before. Once again, it's gardening and garden maintenance work. He wanted a very very extensive creeper trimmed and pruned, various garden beds weeded and raked, the pond cleared of leaves, the lawns mowed and the paths weeded.
It was a big job - really more than two days worth, because Lord knows I wasn't idle and barely finished what he wanted (and even that with a few cut corners). The work itself wasn't bad, although he had a tendency to ask me to go back and do this or that a little bit more. This was frustrating. The only repellent bit of the job was trying to clear the pond of leaves. It's fairly poorly designed and even with the pump going the water is largely stagnant.
As you can see, it was basically black and anytime I went near the bottom with the net it swept up a fountain of rotting leaves. In the end I got everything off the surface I could and agreed to come back later in the month and empty it of water and clean it properly.
I'm still a little puzzled why I'm being given the work at all. Shepparton is not short of gardening contractors, so I'm not sure why the doctor has chosen to employ me, who is basically a labourer and little more. One side of me says that he's trying to give me a break. The cynic in me suggests that it's because I work for quite a bit less than the contractors.
Be that as it may, when I walked into the shopping centre partway through this exercise buy sunscreen, it felt strangely good see myself in the restroom mirror and think: your hands are dirty. There's half a back yard under your fingernails. Your jeans are grubby and you can't plan anything more than a few days in advance. You, sir, are a regular working schlub. There's no need for artifice in saying along with Al Bundy -
So you think I'm a loser? Just because I have a stinking job that I hate, a family that doesn't respect me, a whole city that curses the day I was born? Well, that may mean loser to you, but let me tell you something. Every morning when I wake up, I know it's not going to get any better until I go back to sleep again. So I get up, have my watered-down Tang and still-frozen Pop Tart, get in my car with no upholstery, no gas, and six more payments to fight traffic just for the privilege of putting cheap shoes on the cloven hooves of people like you. I'll never play football like I thought I would. I'll never know the touch of a beautiful woman. And I'll never again know the joy of driving without a bag on my head. But I'm not a loser. 'Cause, despite it all, me and every other guy who'll never be what he wanted to be are still out there being what we don't want to be forty hours a week for life. And the fact that I haven't put a gun in my mouth, you pudding of a woman, makes me a winner.
In other developments, on Friday night the unit took part in the Tatura Primary School fete. I'm really happy to report that we were a hit! We gave away tons of showbags with SES stuff in them and set up (a great idea by one of our DCs) the spreading tool on the table so that the kids could operate the jaws without having to take their considerable weight. They had to close the jaws to pick up an egg without breaking it. The kids absolutely loved it! It felt good to share what we do with them and their parents. Tatura's not my home town, and never will be - I'm too rootless for that - but it's what a home town should be.
One of the advantages of all this outdoors work has been that I'm losing weight. As of yesterday I'm down to 85kgs, and closer to my goal of 75kgs. I'm not sure gardening burns as much energy as myfitnesspal says, but it certainly burns a lot and gives me an excuse to give lunch a miss.
Today the food situation was a little different: we're cutting hay in the paddock behind the shed and Barry the mechanic came over to keep the hay roller working (in return he gets a share of the hay rolls). I volunteered to make biscuits and corn muffins for lunch using some of my long-hoarded American packet mixes. The biscuits went well, but the corn muffins were showing their age and tasted pretty tired. You can probably tell from the phot overlays that I was talking on Messenger as I made them!
I knew it'd be a high calorie dinner tonight and so I made certain to get in my Sunday long run. This time, just on 16kms / 10 miles. It felt good to be out there, even though my legs were tired and took a while to loosen. Lately quite a few things are bugging me, and the hour plus I spend running is a complete break. I can't be called on the phone, and the world shrinks to the sun, the ground, the music and the air. When I run I feel very human.
No more for now. Tomorrow I'm working with Darryl the gardener for probably most of the morning. In the evening I need to go to Benalla for a peer support education session. Tuesday is the blood bank.
I hope all of your days are going well!