I much prefer ninety degrees Fahrenheit to ten. Or twenty. Or thirty. Or even forty. And snow. Well, snow is the X-factor. As a kid, snow served the useful purpose of closing schools. As an adult—it shuts down any activity a decent, suntanned person over the age of thirty-five enjoys. I don’t do snow forts, snowballs, snow angels, snowmen, snowmobiles, or snowshoes. I don’t like to walk in it, drive in it, ski on it, or sled on it. Other than that, snow is just ducky.
And then, I got off the plane in St. Louis.
Today, snow was not on my mind. Today required gloves, not the kind for snowball fights. The kind used to avoid blisters when you touch the steering wheel. A day so hot you couldn’t wear shorts because you’d fry the back of your thighs climbing into your car. But I hadn’t worn shorts on the plane, so I was sweaty hot, not scalding hot in the rental.
The weather, especially when you are not accustomed to it, chains you with oppression. An unjust smothering, sticky weight between teasing, gasping breezes. Sweltering, entrenched among the horizon-leaning rows of Midwest farm corn. Today, I am dripping and tugging at my tee, yearning for stiff wind and a baby-bathwater warm rain. It is hot, hot, hot. The kind of hot that when night falls, brown recluse spiders just weakly nod and tell you to poison yourself.
And then there are bugs. Gnats? Fleas? Corn chiggers? I’m not up on my entomology. I do know they stick to sweat like gravel dust to a damp windshield. Mosquitoes—and they raise ‘em big here—are my real nemesis. We maintain a rocky, turbulent, yet intimate relationship. If they aren’t trying to kill me, I am trying to kill them.
I have since learned to identify wasps, hornets, and other nasty flying kamikaze critters. If mosquitoes are infantry, hornets and wasps are where the insect military really invests. Those little bastards are unmistakable and maintain a take-no-prisoners approach to farm and field warfare. Kill or be killed. I often wonder if the survivors sit around in little wasp bars, chugging wasp beers, and talking about that time they nearly got knocked out of the sky by a broom.
Excerpt from Sublimity’s Treasure available in paperback or eBook.
It’s difficult to get work done when you spend half your day in meetings talking about getting work done. It’s akin to landscapers meeting at a job site then discussing how to best trim, mow, edge, weed, spray, and clean-up until it’s too dark to do the work. At least now they have a game plan you say. Well, maybe.
The next day on the site they’ll review yesterday’s conversation, make sure they have the correct tools, check them for readiness, get additional instruction from the job boss, be certain the property owner signs off on the latest plan of action, go over last minute changes, introduce new procedural requirements, and then … well, then lunch. And then? Oh hey, look—it’s getting late.
Of course, the boss has the answer. “We need to get started earlier. So the next day everyone shows up at 6am instead of 8am and they complete the seven hour job around 6:30 pm (after breaks, lunch, meeting to discuss how it’s going, make progress reports, etc.). Yup, all it took was three days for the team to accomplish seven hours of work.
But three days to accomplish less than one day of work? Well, you can be certain at the next team meeting, there’ll be a long, detailed discussion about how to increase productivity …
Winter (noun): Period of time weeds hibernate to gain strength as to piss you off during spring and summer months. Use in a sentence: “You think these weeds would have died during winter, but here they are, pissing me off.”
Editor Bennett Cerf challenged Dr. Seuss to write a book using no more than 50 different words. The result? Green Eggs and Ham.
When the cemetery is full, who pays for the weed killer (bad cemetery joke there), the landscapers, tree trimmers, and so on? In effect, who buys gas for the lawnmower that mows my face?
I’ve heard that part of the price paid for a plot, (I love that word--plot … “Here is where you will be forever and ever and ever … unless the cemetery or town or county or state or war says otherwise. Then, screw it, all deals are off.”), includes maintenance in perpetuity (unless the cemetery goes bankrupt, is flooded, is the epicenter for an earthquake, or tornado, or hurricane, or a fracking disaster, has a happy-fingered accountant or … well, you get the idea). And if that happens, then who pays to mow my face? Who am I depending on? Show of hands–how many of you have seen a weed-ridden, overgrown, totally disheveled cemetery? Yeah. Me too. So, I’m not buying into the whole, “Don’t worry Mister Smith, we’ll mow your face forever and ever and ever. You’ll be at rest and deadly happy for eternity.”
History says otherwise.
Take control of your life while you’re alive, because after that, it’s anyone’s guess where you’ll be.
A collection of thoughts, observations, and book excerpts. Every now and again I have a guest blogger chime in as well. Enjoy!