Here it is, late Sunday night/early Monday morning again. Gotta make this quick. What did we accomplish this past weekend? Not much, sorry to say. Carl cut more stone for Aaargh, but it's too cold to mortar. We've been down below freezing every night since Thursday now. We may be done mixing mortar for the year, phooey. Last Thursday, we were in the balmy 70's, but a fast-moving cold front brought thunderstorms and cold temperatures. We dropped from 73 to 30-something overnight. The storm also brought more rain, which is a good thing; the Quarry has a little more water in it now.
|Teeny pond has reappeared|
My mother, aka the Elusive Lucille, has been coming to help me put the garden to bed while Carl concentrates on cutting stone. At 92, she is still as agile as always, getting up and down with ease. She has never enjoyed kneeling in the garden, though, and prefers to sit on the ground instead, in a posture I can never emulate. Kneeling does get tiring, but if I sat on the ground as long as she can, I'm not sure I'd get back up without a hoist. Sometimes, Mom semi-reclines to weed or cut plants down, which does look alarming to those who don't know her. She told me a week or so ago she was lying on the ground out by the road at her house, cutting back some peonies when a car drove by. She didn't think anything of it until she was startled by a voice asking, "Ma'am, are you ok? Do you need some help?"
Though Mom hadn't noticed his return, the driver of the car must have turned around and come back to check on her, which was very nice of him. She assured the driver she was fine, and thanked him for his concern. I asked her if she knew who her would-be rescuer was, but she didn't recognize him. "I guess I should be more careful how I look when I'm weeding out by the road from now on," she told me. "I'll try to sit up more instead of laying down, at least where people can see me." Though she feels a bit sheepish about it, she remains very impressed that this person would have come to her aid if she needed assistance. (And I'm happy, too.)
Every afternoon Mom comes down and we march out to do battle with the wilted hostas and other perennials. We yank out the annuals, too, placing them in pails and eventually I tote them to the car trailer. We usually manage to fill the big trailer every day while Carl is cutting stone. Then, just before darkness falls completely, Mom heads for her home. I help Carl put his tools away and lock up the chickens and gather the eggs. Then we hook up the trailer to our car and Carl heads out back to our compost heap. While he is busy unloading the day's plant refuse, I take Teddy and Pudding out for their night walkies. We usually don't get in much before 7PM, though that will change when the clocks are set back next week.
On Saturday, Mom was housecleaning (no, I don't help her, she's adamant about not needing my help) so even though the garden is not all cleared of plant material yet, I decided to take on a job which has been bugging me for a few years now. I don't have any pictures, but we have a very large rock pile that has become overgrown with sumac, grapevines and blackberry bushes on our two acres and I'm tired of looking at it. We're going to need some more rocks to extend the tufa wall in the hosta garden, and there's still a small stash of tufa in there somewhere, so I decided to poke around and see what I could find.
The rockpile became home to any and all rocks we have collected over the past 34 years which we had no particular use for right away. Joel was home for a bit and lent me a hand with the truly big flat rocks we have stashed there for our eventual waterfall renovations in the Quarry. We worked together for about an hour before he had to leave, sorting the stones and putting them on pallets, but the pallets fill up way too fast. We're going to be needing a whole lot more. If you don't like rocks, you won't understand what I'm about to say, but what a hoot this job is proving to be! There's so many memories tied up in this old pile, Joel and I were remembering rock excursions from twenty years ago when he was barely old enough to hoist the rocks he handles now with ease. I'll be lucky to have the pile moved before the snow flies, but I'm looking forward to the process.
Just what I need, more weight training. And speaking of weight training, I was thinking I could use some more free weights to add to the roughly one hundred pounds Carl found in the dumpster. Many of the exercises in the 'New Rules of Lifting' are done on machines at a gym, and I was trying to find ways to modify the moves for home use but needed more 'weighty' accessories. On Sunday morning I decided to check Craigslist to see if anyone had weights they didn't want anymore.
And that's when I came across this posting:
Bodycraft Total Home Gym--$200.
Not used much. I want it gone, as it is mocking me. Has a bar that you
pull down vertically, one you pull out horizontally, another for bench
presses, and the part for your legs. Comes with 2 extra bars for use
with the gym, 3 for free weights, and 300 Lbs of weights. I used it
primarily as a clothes rack, and it works great for that too. It is
currently disassembled and in my garage ready to go.
Well, there I go! A total home gym which also doubles as a clothes rack.......how could I go wrong? I wouldn't even need to go to a gym to be mocked, as the ad said it was good at that, too. This machine had it ALL.
Oh, but the ad had been posted four days ago....I quickly typed my response, asking if the gym was still available. Five minutes later, I had a reply.
"I have someone coming to look at it around 12PM. I'll let you know either way."
Aw, rats. I was too late. I typed back, "Ok, thanks. The trailer is hooked up to the car, I'll be waiting to hear from you."
I busied myself getting dinner on the table and tried not to think about it too hard. I mean, really, did I want a big gym-thingie like that? Where would we put it? Will I use it? Is it worth $200? Oh well, I thought, as I tossed a salad glumly, I don't have to worry, because I'm sure it will be sold out from under me. While I was cooking, I was bouncing these same questions off of Carl.
"We can put it in Dave's old bedroom," he said. "And as far as if you will use it or not, if you go at this weightlifting business the same way you've walked the rug to bits in the living room, I'm pretty sure you'll use it, alright. And if you don't like it, we'll sell it."
Well........yes, I guess we could put it in Dave's old room. But did I want to clutter up the spare bedroom with a big machine? I guess so, why not? The room has been empty for over a year so it would make sense to use it for something useful other than storage.
I couldn't resist checking my email just before we sat down to eat, and was surprised to see this response, "As I surmised, the people weren't willing to pay my full asking price, so if you would like to view the gym, it is still available, just give me a call."
I have to admit, this poster had a way with words. I made the call and we arranged to meet at 2PM. We dined rapidly and drove up to the house right on time. There he was, a tall young man, seated in a lawn chair in the driveway with parts and pieces of the home gym laid out around him. Next to him, barking up a storm, was a ferocious, chubby Chihuahua on a long chain.
We got out of the car and our host warmly greeted us with, "Hello. I have to warn you in advance not to try anything shady. I do have an attack dog here, as you can see."
I had never been that close to an actual Chihuahua before, they are really cute; and he soon stopped barking and laid down with his little head on his paws.
Carl, Joel and I all stood and stared at the piles of parts lying in the man's driveway.
"I don't have an owner's manual, but I can tell you how it goes back together," the seller said. "It just looks daunting, but I guarantee it's not that bad. I bought it from a friend a few years back for $500, but he didn't have a manual, either."
Everything was in very good shape, and though I know next to nothing about home fitness equipment or even if all the pieces were there or not or if I'll even use this thing we sealed the deal and loaded it up on the trailer. I was supposed to have a 'rest' day today from weightlifting and walking but by the time we got the gym home and hauled upstairs and assembled, we were all tired. Carl and Joel worked on putting it all together after I found a manual online we could print out.
While they were tightening nuts and bolts, I carried the 300 pounds of free weights up the steps in 20 pound increments while talking to Mom on the phone.
"You are all out of breath," she said, "What are you doing?"
"Carrying weights upstairs," I huffed. "We just bought a used exercise machine."
"Well, I don't even know what an exercise machine looks like, but listening to you all out of breath, it sounds like it's working already. What do you do with an exercise machine?"
"That remains to be seen," I said.
"Oh, why's that? You bought it, but you don't know how to use it?"
"Yes, that's right. But the guy we bought it from assured us it doubles as a very useful clothes hanger."
"For $200? That's a pretty expensive clothes hanger," Mom said.
|There it is, Karen's Torture Apparatus. (This is the picture from the ad...not our house.)|
Carl and I made sure all the bolts were tight and then we went through the exercises in the book I have to accomplish tomorrow, trying to figure out how much weight I can lift and how to adjust everything.
"All I'm asking of you is this: take it easy and be careful! The last thing you need is to get hurt," Carl warned.
Before Joel left for the evening he said, "When you start to use the machine, you should text me at work and then when you're done, let me know, too. That way if you get in trouble, someone will know and you won't be trapped until one of us comes home."
Funny, Mom said the same thing, "What if you get caught in that contraption?"
No one has any faith in my ability.
The ad was right--- the mocking has already begun.