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Monday, June 15, 2009

How Was Your Weekend?

It's the end of another weekend. Now it's back to the grind, back to the humdrum life of an office worker.

I did not have any plans for the weekend when I left work on Friday. But, as I mentioned to a friend before I left, only about half the weekends when I don't have plans stay planless through the weekend. Man proposes, wife disposes!

So, on Saturday, I ended up doing some yardwork and fixing some things around the house while my wife took the kids ice-skating. It was a close call whether I would end up taking them ice-skating while my wife handled the yardwork or the other way around. But the fixing of things decided things in favor of my staying at home.

I hate yardwork with a passion. The heat, the bugs, the thorns and other natural hazards, the itchiness and scratchiness, and all for what? I prefer to think that there are better things in life than making my lawn look like a golf-course fairway. I admit, I have no yard envy whatsoever. I don't care how my neighbor's yard looks in relation to mine. As long as I don't have the village coming after me for some kind of violation, I am fine with my grass being a little longer, a little yellower or a little more populated with weeds and flowering plants. I fully sympathize with Anthony Hopkins when he sets his yard on fire with gas in "The World's Fastest Indian".

My wife is very different in this respect. She wants my yard to look perfect.

Now, my yard is not all that bad. It is not the absolute best in the neighborhood, but it is not the worst either, by a long shot. There are yards that are overgrown with foot-tall grass and patches of weeds. But, for some reason, I am blessed with a couple of neighbors who think yard work is a pleasure. Both husband and wife spend inordinate amounts of time in the yard doing all kinds of beautification projects. They mow the lawn several times a week, pick out weeds by hand, collect grass-clippings in bags for disposal, rearrange flower beds on a weekly basis, trim the edges with god-knows how many kinds of hand tools, buy and use tons of mulch, etc., etc. It just makes me sick! I have joked to my wife several times that we should just invite one of these neighbors to take care of our yard also since they obviously have too much time on their hands and too little yard to spend it in. I suggested that we would charge them only $20 a week or so to "lend" our yard to them!

My wife is not amused, though. So, she sent me packing on Saturday to the yard with a shovel to clean out some patches of mint that she has planted and which got overrun with weeds and grass because it was not fully taken care of. So, I did some digging in the heavy wet clay, trying to uproot the grass and demarcate the area so that I can then put some mulch on it and make it exclusively a mint bed that does not have any other plants in it.

Then, I made a trip to the hardware store to pick up a toilet repair kit to take care of a toilet flush. The chain on it broke and required flushing it by hand (take the top of the tank off, put your hand in the water to manually pull up the flapper to do the flushing). I did not consider it a huge problem and I actually put off doing it for several weeks. But my wife's idea of cleanliness did not allow her to reach inside the tank to flush the toilet without major mental trauma. So, I spent half an hour on Saturday installing a new flapper and seal and making sure everything works correctly again. As I suspected, the biggest problem was shutting off the water to the tank to get the repair started. The valve was too tight to turn by hand, and the space was too tight to turn it with most of the tools I had handy. I managed to turn the valve off after 15 minutes of bodily contortions and finally locating a tool in my toolbox that would do the job. After that, the actual fix was pretty simple and luckily, my first attempt at the fix was perfect, so I did not have to make any adjustments.

On Sunday, we had an early brunch and set out for the mall. My wife decided that my shirts and pants (which I replace pretty much only by necessity) were looking too old and dingy. She thought we should make a trip to some stores and pick up a few clothes. My wife loves shopping. I am one of these people who goes into a store only with a list, makes a beeline for the things on the list and does not even look at anything else on the way in or out. Anyways, once at the mall, my wife asked me to keep the kids busy in a bookstore while she did the shopping. Suited me just fine. I read a book, the kids read books and my wife looked at all the merchandise and decided what needed buying.

Turns out, there was nothing much worth buying. In spite of what I have been reading about the recession and retailers hurting and what not, the prices were not really all that great. I ended up getting a pair of pants and we headed back home.

I did finish reading a book by David Gibbins called The Lost Tomb. It was not a light read. I like conspiracy theory books in general, but this one was a lot more erudite and required a lot more concentration than I am usually willing to give to a book. But it was an interesting book nonetheless. I also watched a couple of movies (Pu-239 and Death-defying Acts). Mostly ho-hum movies with not a lot of redeeming qualities.

Ultimately, I did not have much time to work on my ebook catalog. I did manage to download a few dozen more ebooks, so I made my job more difficult for myself. But I did manage to convert some ebooks from a format I don't like to a better one. This is a pretty manual process that takes a while to accomplish and requires concentration, so I am happy I was able to get at least that much done.

Overall, not a bad weekend. Now, let us see what the week has in store...

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