Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grumbling and Grunt Work

Peter in the hole Daddy dug for our new tree.
Summer 2009
This summer, my family has begun a number of home-improvement projects. Remodeling our garage into a game room. Removing 30 year old UGLY junipers from the front yard. Planting our flower beds. Installing a new patio. Replanting our lawn. The list has been long. Bob has been working really hard to complete the projects so that we can start the school year with our house back in order. He is such a hard worker. And a really nice guy. And the bread winner in our family. And a wonderful daddy. And my best friend, my favorite peron. And a hunk.

And a hard taskmaster.

I love him. I do.

But he is brutal when it comes to manual labor. Immovable.

When Bryan and I were pre-teenagers, my dad insisted that we help out in the yard one weekend. In our rural childhood home, there were slopes covered with iceplant. Mixed with a bunch of weeds. Dad required us to get up early one Saturday morning (can I say that I was not/am not/will NEVER be a morning person?) to share in the family responsibility of caring for our home. Bryan and I were less than cooperative. We grumbled and groused. We wheedled, whined and whimpered in unison.

But it was effective.

Man, we were good. When Bryan and I collaborated, glory, we were quite the team.

My poor daddy never asked us to work in the yard again. From that time on, Dad always recruited undocumented migrant workers to do the grunt work around our house (oops! there goes his chance to run for public office! ssshhh. don't tell.) These hard working men would ride their bikes to my house knowing that my Dad would feed them lunch and pay them fairly. Poor, poor daddy. I guess this way was easier than coping with the incessant complaints from his ungrateful children. The very ones he pinned his hopes for his old age on. His firstborn. And his son. We were supposed to work the soil along side him in harmony and helpfulness. Not.

Fast forward to this summer. Bob is working relentlessly without a word of complaint, making our home lovely. And he expects his wife and kids to pitch in as well. On one of the 100+ degree days, after planting for hours, I snivelled that he didn't love me like my daddy does:

"My daddy always paid someone to do my hard work for me. I'm hot. I'm tired. I don't want to do this anymore. Can't we get someone else to do it. Pleeeeeeeeease?"

Dear husband of mine didn't even skip a beat before letting me know that he would happily hire someone to finish up our planting. But he would have to take all the plants back in order to afford it. Drat. The scheme that Bryan and I had perfected as children didn't work on the overseer in charge of yard work around here. Not on my man. No way. Not a chance. All my best bellyaching (and I am good, really good at complaining--huh Meredith?) didn't affect Bob in the least. I finished the planter projects. In the heat. Hard work is good for character building.

Okay, I need to finish this quick. I don't want my kids reading over my shoulder and getting any ideas. Of revolt. Of staging a mutiny of hard work. Yammering just isn't as effective as it once was. Drat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What my honey purposely leaves out (thanks babe) is how I keep mentioning that I'm just not as young as I once was (can't keep track of the aches and pains in my arms, legs, and many other parts that I forget I had muscles there). So thanks for keeping that silent and showing my best side, but I am a complainer also!

WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!