Life is Good

Life is good.

Not in the sense that you’d put that statement on a tee-shirt featuring a stick figure driving a jeep with a cigar in hand.

No.  Life is good in the sense that my existence is a daily, ultimately futile, game versus life.  Life is a tough competitor. Just when I think I’ve got the upper hand, life laughs at me and a) let’s me know who’s really in charge, b) changes the rules, or c) bats me around like a mother cheetah teaching her cubs how to hunt or d) all of the above.

My apologies for being absent for so many days.  I’ve been busy battling life.  Not to be confused with battling for my life, which is obviously serious business not to be taken lightly.  My thoughts and prayers to all of you who are, or know some one who is doing the latter. This entry is not meant to over emphasize the petty stuff or belittle the real tragedies of life. No, I see it this way: each day handed to us, by the grace of god, is a battle with the mind numbing nuances that Life (capital “L”?) throws at us in hopes of beating you down. 

We’re way behind schedule.  Northeast Ohio is witnessing its rainiest year on record I suspect, all because we decided to build a house.  If you live in Texas, for the small sum of $1.375 million dollars, plus moving expenses, I will move to your state and plan on building my dream house there.  Find me a plot of land with some sort of geological feature that causes water to pile up in the basement like the boiler room of the Titanic.  As soon as I start building, I guarantee any and all droughts  will vanish immediately. 

For all intents and purposes, it’s rained every day since we started building.

There’s so much rain, I have frogs living in my sump pump reservoir.

By Halloween the locusts should be showing up or the Cuyahoga River will turn to blood.  Vegas puts the odds of either option at 2:1.

The rain pushed our roofers back three weeks.  Our cement guy was pushed back two weeks.  The framers can’t finish ’til the cement is in.  The rigid insulation is freakishly laborious and time-consuming.  There are whole seasons of ‘Lost’ that are easier to understand than the procedures required to make the house air tight.  It’d be one thing if little kids rode by on their bicycles and said “Wow, you’re an idiot.”; I’ve got grown men, who are trained professionals, saying “Wow, you’re an idiot.”

In an attempt to do something productive, last Saturday the wife and I attempted to chip up the brush that was cleared to make room for the house. The chips would be nutrient giving mulch for our veggies and landscaping next year.  Life decided to make that a 40 degree (F) day and turn the air into a fine water mist.  We had mud up past our ankles. After an hours worth of dropping the kids off, driving around and setting up the rented chipper we were ready to go.  I chipped for precisely 17 minutes before life decided to screw with me.  It was a 6″ chipper that I jammed up with a 4″ log.  After about 15 minutes of messing around we dislodged the log.  Ha, take that life.  I promptly managed to get a 1″ diameter branch through the chipper’s fly-wheel.  Scratch head.  How the?  Life wins.  Take chipper back, lighten wallet by $120 and leave pile of wood for spring.    You could put the amount of mulch I created in a thimble.

Chipper rental guy: “You did what?”

Me: “I got a branch this big [holding thumb and index finger in an “O” about one inch in diameter] stuck in the fly-wheel”

Chipper rental guy: “I didn’t know that was even possible?”

Me: [handing over Visa card] “Life is good.”

Life just piles on and piles on the challenges.  Mother nature, work, family, disgruntled kids, my mental deficiancies….on and on.  I fight back with reckless driving, my Visa and checkbook, cursing, alienating people, drinking, feeble attempts at working, contrived design solutions.  Back and forth.  Back and forth the battle rages.

The game of life isn’t about winning, it’s about surviving.  Building a house, or at least this house, puts me right on the front lines. Every morning one eyelid opens up.  I have a decision to make.  Life is out there, wherever life hangs out.  Life has it’s fuzzy slippers on, drinking coffee with CNN, Fox or MSNBC (maybe all three for all I know) on in the background.  Life is like, “Ugh.  You again.”  I lie there slowly willing my systems to boot up.  It’s a god awful 15 minute process whereby I weigh the consequences of lying in bed for the rest of the day.  I can’t.  Someone’s bound to find me.  Life will find me. 

And if I interrupt Life’s coffee, Life’s gonna be pissed.

So I drag myself out of bed. On one hand, ready to take a beating.  On the other hand, figuring out which tools might give me a fighting chance that day.  I make a mental list of everything I know for certain Life will throw at me that day.  As I jab a contact in my eye, it’s rather apparent Life’s already winning cause my bed’s over there and I’m over here.

As I fumble in the closet I drop apathy, sarcasm and general disdain into my tool box for the day.  Life shakes its head thinking “how original“. I make a mental list of the unexpected things Life might throw at me that day.  I check my iPhone for the weather.  Rain.  I shake my head thinking “how original” to myself.

Back and forth it goes, all day long.  I post up a lighting plan here, pay a bill there.  A contractor doesn’t show up here, a thermal melt down of some sort there.  Life fights me every step of the way.  Sure, Life lets up here and there.  Brother designs staircase on the fly in fifteen minutes.  ProjectCam is still working. My kid does something cute.  Wife hasn’t changed the locks. Then Life cracks down again.  Hey, you’ve defied physics by jamming a branch through a steel flywheel:  Go back two spaces.

My advice, you need to bring you’re “A” game when you face Life.  Life is pretty much in control.  You have to do your best to stay one step ahead of life.  Between you and me, you may want to think about bending the rules every once in a while too.  Can’t hurt.  When in Rome…..

Tomorrow I’m taking time off work to work on the house.  It’s supposed to be sunny all day.  I shudder to think what that means for in terms of what Life will throw at me.

Life is good.

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