A TOUCH OF SILVER: Building Up & Tearing Down

Yesterday provided a much-needed cathartic start to the week.

Mondays and Tuesdays have been tough the past few weeks. I’ve spent my weekends pumping the brakes on stuff I do during the week, both to prevent burnout and to maintain some sense of Saturdays and Sundays still being special days. Then I’d get back into the work week and find myself unable to hit the goals I’d set, and I’d get frustrated and stew in my self-imposed judgement. 

When I woke up yesterday morning, it was another cold day, with snow flurries drifting through the air for the third day in a row. In May. I’ve written before about how the weather impacts my mental health, and I decided right off that I needed to get out in front of things yesterday.

I began with my usual routine of drinking coffee and putting together the regular and Flashback Care Packages (those are here, for the uninitiated). After that, I opted for zagging where I’d normally zig. I spent the day working on a couple of non-writing-related projects.

A couple weeks ago, my wife and I found a two-person, Adirondack-style bench someone had put out beside the road. It wasn’t in great shape, but we’d been talking earlier about wanting something like it for our backyard. We decided to take it and see if we could fix it up. The biggest issues were busted seat slats and a bit of rot. The slats were easily replaced with some scrap lumber I had, and we cleaned out the rot and were overly generous with wood fill. We also got a coat of fresh paint on it, but it and another outdoor chair still needed a second coat.

So I spent the first part of the afternoon working on that. After a couple hours, the bench was looking unrecognizably new. I don’t know how long it’ll last, but it was a fun project, and bringing something in rough shape back to life – even if only for a season or two – was a fulfilling experience.

Before and after

The painting done, I decided to take a crack at revising my manuscript and/or doing some research for other writing projects. Forty unproductive minutes passed, and I decided I could either remain where I was and achieve nothing, head to bed for a depression nap, or tackle another project. I opted for the third choice.

When we first bought our house, there was a busted clothes dryer in the basement. Because we’re pushovers, we didn’t insist on it being removed. Figured we’d get to it sometime. 

In fairly short order, that dryer’s replacement broke, and the population of useless major appliances doubled. A couple years later, the washer went to hell. It got shoved into the corner with the dryers, and there they remained. I hoped maybe they’d haul themselves up the basement stairs or maybe get sucked into a wormhole. 

Those things did not happen.

Every year, there’s a huge dumpster the local waste district brings to our town garage for disposal of metals. It’s been a goal the last three years to get those dryers and the washer out of the house and into the dumpster. Much like sentient self-removal and wormholes, it didn’t happen. We were too tired after work to wrestle them up the stairs, and weekends were precious time dedicated specifically to not bothering with the task. 

Things have changed, though, and we have time. 

My dad thought maybe we could use a dolly to haul them up the stairs, but the stairs are narrow, and the space is way too cramped. Then he suggested something obvious: “Why don’t you take them apart?”

Yeah, why don’t we?

And that’s what I did yesterday when I decided to work on something that didn’t involve writing.

It was so much fun!

I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

There’s a lot of joy to be found in disassembling something that is busted, rusted, and crusted. (There was no crust. I just needed a third word to complete the rule of three.) I can only imagine the sounds Alison heard coming from the basement as she sat upstairs, working on finishing an online class. 

Now we’ve got a pile of junk in our basement, and as soon as I’m done writing this, we’ll haul it out and put it in the dumpster. And what’s more, I’ve already written way more today than I did yesterday.

Touches of silver are always around. Even in old lawn furniture and busted dryers. 

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