One, Two, Three, Four…

Yesterday I carried paint supplies down the driveway, dug up my enchanted sign, laid it on the ground, and began repainting it. Many of the wooden letters that I used for my sign last year fell off in the winter’s cold and summer’s heat. So earlier this summer I knocked off the letters that were loose. I had outlined the letters last summer and the outlines were still visible, so I filled them in using paint pens. However, the paint from the pens quickly faded. So the last time EJ and I went to the hardware store, I bought small cans of sturdy exterior paint that should hold up in Michigan’s weather. Live and learn.

It was pleasant at first painting at the bottom of the hill because I was surrounded by beauty and I enjoyed listening to the bird songs. However, it didn’t take long before my position became uncomfortable. I knelt or sat on the ground and I imagined the snakes we have sometimes seen in the area sneaking up on me or the many ants crawling on me–not to mention spiders. I became hot and thirsty and I imagined trudging up the hill each time I wanted to take a break…Ugh. I decided it would be better to take the sign up the hill to the deck where I could take breaks in the cool house whenever I needed to–and also sit more comfortably on the deck or an overturned kitty litter bucket. We use kitty litter buckets for just about everything.

I walked up to the house with my kitty litter bucket filled with paint supplies, and then back down the driveway to retrieve the sign. The sign is heavy and very awkward to carry, which makes it feel even heavier, and the driveway is long and all uphill. Whenever I have to do anything that takes a measure of strength and endurance, such as carry a heavy awkward sign up a hill, I begin to count to count my steps. It helps me focus on steps instead of how far I have to go: “One (step), two (step), three (step), four (step). One (step), two (step), three (step), four (step).” I count only to four before repeating because it seems to help me focus on just taking one step at a time. I don’t want to count actual steps. I don’t want to know that it takes 500 steps or 1,000 steps to make it up the hill. That makes me feel more tired, not less.

I made it up the hill with the sign, leaned it against the deck, took a break in the air-conditioned house to cool off, and then went back out to paint. I sat on the deck or the upturned kitty litter bucket. I painted all the red letters, took a break, then repainted the red letters, and took a break. Each time I quit painting, I had trouble straightening myself up and walking–I felt so crippled. Ugh. Sometimes it sucks to get older.

I wanted to continue painting, but I decided to go to the hardware store to buy some more little paint brushes. They are just cheap ones and I throw them away when I’m done painting for the day because they aren’t worth trying to clean. I don’t need expensive brushes; I’m not painting a masterpiece. This was the first time I went to this hardware store without EJ. I finally learned the way to get there–usually I’m so busy looking at the beautiful lake as we drive along that I forget to learn the route. Plus, I have a terrible sense of direction. It was very simple to get there, especially with Ziva, my GPS, telling me the way.

When I got home, I went out to gather chicken eggs, do a few household chores, and fix supper. If EJ isn’t home from work by 5:30 p.m. I eat without him because I never know when he is going to get home–sometimes it’s quite late and I don’t want to starve waiting for him.

After I ate, I went back outside and began to paint the yellow letters. EJ came home and after I greeted him, I continued painting because I wanted to make some progress. It was very nice sitting outside enjoying the quiet beauty around me and listening to the birds sing. After a bit, I heard Hannah in the house bark, bark, barking. “What’s up, Hannah?” I called. Then I glanced up and saw the turkey family walking along the forest edge coming up toward me. They passed by only about 20 feet from me. They didn’t seem at all scared even though I had called out to Hannah. They just meandered calmly past me and into the back yard. I’m delighted that they aren’t nervous around me.

I got half the yellow letters painted before I decided to stop. I noticed the outside of my ears felt itchy and sort of burn-ish. I had put my hair in a pony tail to keep it from blowing in my face while I worked, and I’m pretty sure I burned my ears while I was working all those hours in the sunshine.

After a short break, I chatted with EJ while he worked on the floor. He got all the strips of wood up where the carpet had been stapled. Tonight he’s going to check that no staples or anything are sticking up. He might put sealer on the stains tonight, he said, or maybe tomorrow night, or maybe both tonight and tomorrow night.

Before EJ went to bed last night, he carried my enchanted sign into the garage. The forecast called the possibility of heavy rain, hail, and wind, and I didn’t want to risk getting my sign damaged. I would have carried the sign into the garage myself, but I was very tired.

When I went to let the chickens out of their coop this morning, I saw the ground was damp, but I didn’t hear any bad storms in the night so I don’t know how much rain we got.

It was very cloudy this morning. It looked as if it was going to rain, although the forecast said that it would be partly sunny today. After EJ went to work, I went back to bed for a little more sleep. When I woke up again, it still looked cloudy, but radar didn’t show any storms, so I took my sign out of the garage and lugged it over to the deck and began to paint again. Sometimes I heard the sound of rain and I looked up into the sky to see if my sign and I were going to get wet, but it was just the trees shaking off last night’s raindrops.

It felt hot and very humid today–almost tropical. It was very uncomfortable working outside and I took frequent breaks in the air-conditioned house. I also sometimes got up and walked around to get rid of the crippledness in my body. The sun beat down on me and I felt my ears itchy and burning again, so I went inside and got EJ’s big black floppy hat to wear. I have hats, but they are all baseball cap style and don’t protect my ears from the sun. I think I’m going to have to get myself a floppy straw hat to wear when I work outside.

I painted the other half of the yellow letters that I hadn’t painted yesterday. Then I painted all the yellow letters a second time. Then I outlined all the letters–both red and yellow–with paint pens. I outlined the red letters with white and the yellow letters with red. Outlining the letters gave them a more finished look. I think my sign looks even better than it did before. I also walked down the driveway to paint my enchanted address sign, which points the way up to our house.

After I had cooled off in the house, I took Hannah down the hill to get the mail. It was after 3:30 p.m. by that time, and she hadn’t been out since morning. While we were at the bottom of the driveway, I checked the hole where the sign post had been to see if it had filled in any over the night and whether or not I needed to dig it out again. I decided that I probably should take the post-hole digger down just in case. So I walked Hannah back up the driveway, put her in the house, went to the garage and got the post-hole digger, and walked back down the driveway. Then I dug out the hole for the post. I stood the post-hole digger in the sand nearby in case I needed it again.

My re-painted enchanted sign.

I staggered up the hill, pick up my heavy, awkward sign, and walked with it down the driveway. I was exhausted from working in the hot sun all day, and the driveway is very, very long. Stopping often to rest and reposition my grip, I counted my way down the driveway: “One (step), two (step), three (step), four (step). One (step), two (step), three (step), four (step).” When I finally reached the hole, I heaved the sign into it, and then kicked sand around the post until it stood firmly. Whew.

I grabbed the post-hole digger and staggered back up the driveway with sweat pouring down me.  “One (step), two (step), three (step), four (step). One (step), two (step), three (step), four (step).”

I put away the post-hole digger, and made it into the house. I rested a bit in the cool house with a glass of iced tea. Then it was time to gather chicken eggs. Then I had to fix supper. And clean the litter box. And set up tomorrow’s coffee; it turns on automatically at 5 a.m. so we have coffee by the time we get up. I washed dishes. Paid bills. Finally collapsed in my chair for a longer rest.

Tomorrow, if I am not crippled, I plan to mow the lawn.

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2 Comments on “One, Two, Three, Four…

  1. I marvel at your stick to the project til it is done attitude, you amaze me. By the way your sign looks beautiful and serves a wonderful purpose. Take care and get some much needed rest.

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