Glorious, glorious weekend. January in Southern California is really the best time of year. You are reminded why you live here and not in Michigan (no offense to Michiganders). By Saturday late morning it was up in the mid-70s with bright blue skies, perfect weather for yard work. We borrowed a gas-powered rototiller from a neighbor and I got it running after some fiddling with choke, throttle, fuel supply, and gear levers. When you’ve hacked at hard earth with a shovel only to have it bounce back and shake your teeth loose, using a power tool is a revelation. This tiller slowly plodded along a narrow strip of earth in front of our fence, churning the ground and weeds into a deep bed of fluffy loam. Which I then transferred via shovel and garden wagon to our front yard where we now have Dirt Mountain, the unexpected repository of dirt removed in an eighty-foot long by four-foot wide patch a depth of three inches. Dirt Mountain will have to be repositioned and smoothed out into Rolling Meadowland of Wonder, but that is up to my wife and her design skills. I’m just the manual labor goon.
How is it possible to work outside all day with a young child? First, the young child will bring a blanket, books, and stuffed animal into the yard for a picnic. She will sit on the blanket for up to five seconds before getting on the swing and demanding pushes. Once pushed she will demand in a loud voice, “More higher!” Any efforts to teach child to swing herself on the swing will result in comically mis-timed leg and arm pumping followed by low-grade and steady whining. Then the child will disappear into the house and all will be quiet so you can work.
Now you should worry. Why is it so quiet? What is being painted, dismantled, or set to fire while you work outside? As my wife stepped inside to investigate I said to myself, “If I hear Toddler Harbat scream then say ‘Nooooo!’ I’ll know she is up to no good.” After a quick two-count I heard: [shriek] Noooo! It wasn’t anything bad, though, just an emptying out of the pirate chest filled with dress-up accessories. Here she is, caught in mid-glare for interruption of her activities. Outside work continued and everyone had a good weekend.