Rendered Fat Content


"The aches will soon evaporate but the satisfaction will linger on."

Home ownership begets aches and pains, for dedicated homeowners just cannot help themselves. They tend to overdo. When Spring finally comes, the pruning begins. The narrowest of windows appear within which the homeowner accepts the necessity of completing a week's worth of work over an all-too short weekend, and so does. By Sunday night, a satisfying sort of crippling sets in. The homeowner will drag that last tarp load of trimmings to the by-then ungainly pile, lovingly fold the tarp and set it onto its shelf, then limp to the back steps, slip off the boots, then pop open the most satisfying beer ever enjoyed by anyone anywhere; the first of several. A close to nirvana state reigns over the yard as the sun sanguinely sets just beyond the gate. The homeowner might measure a couple of inches shorter than on Friday, but he feels ten feet tall.

The aches aren't only the result of over-doing, but also caused by simply doing things not every day required.
Formerly hibernating muscle groups groan and throb. Just manning a screwdriver can produce a grimace or three. A half hour spent on the knees teases fate. The peculiar hand motion required to operate a simple set of pruners can cripple that hand for a week afterward. Homeowners know all of this, of course, yet they still engage with a discernible joy. Maybe this exhilaration mirrors the long distance runner's, fueled more by the promise of a future euphoria than by the certainty of the grueling exertion intended to induce it.

I revel in my self-induced infirmities and wear them with a great sense of honor. They represent my tithe to support the cause. They bless me and my often unsteady presence here. It seems to me that the home seduces me into these small aching sacrifices, promising me a sort of psychic salvation that only ever comes from a once overwhelming job well done. I might earn a moment's respite from whatever race I'd convinced myself I was competing in, though the brief back porch beer hour will most certainly seem to last no more than a fleeting minute. I'll limp into a late afternoon shower before setting to concoct some dinner worthy of the august occasion.

Compared to any contractor, I work very slowly. I seem to savor the home jobs, somehow hoping to prolong the ordeal. Perhaps they're penance for the prideful sin of home ownership. Maybe home owning has rendered me a masochist. I tend to survey twice before digging once, and stop to re-survey several times as if to reassure myself that I actually can accomplish the recently seemingly impossible chore. I lack the self-confident experience of the professional contractor, though my snail's pace progress allows for ample correction along the way. I might be the most surprised when the result turns out more or less as planned, indistinguishable from what a real practitioner might have produced, at least to my untrained and achy eye near the end of that well-deserved beer hour. The aches will soon evaporate but the satisfaction will linger on.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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