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Sunday, January 5, 2003

Restless today, with nowhere to go. Even with the local team playing for its life in the playoffs, it wasn't a day to stay inside and watch football. Besides, I had too much nervous energy to sit still while NFL officials peered into sideline cameras. That's not exactly compelling television, even on a dull, rainy day. And today was a brilliant, cloudless one that begged to be enjoyed.

On the other hand, there's no escape from the job when you work at home. Well, not from my job anyway, when the Boss is determined to squeeze every bit of life out of his own weekend, and then pass it on. If I were going to spend my whole Sunday working, I'd have wanted it to be on the year-end spreadsheets he'll be asking for as soon as he thinks about it.

Instead, I get faxes. Letters to type, old reports to amend, questions to answer. These are things I can do while the game is on, but I want to be outside! I did escape for an hour or so, and I filled up the yard waste container for the first time in a couple of months.

December left a lot of debris behind. I carved up the Christmas tree, leaving only the trunk. Since it wouldn't fit into the container, I lined it up with the trunks from the last two Christmases, out in the back yard. The birds seem to like having a perch in the middle of the yard.

I also got the dead branches from the last storm piled together and cut into small enough bits to fit into the container. All this I managed without any kind of power tools. It's not that I don't believe in them, or that I'm afraid of them, or that I don't know how to use them. Okay, it's a little bit that last one.

But it's mostly that I don't have them, so I use the hand-size hedge clippers. That's kind of restrictive, in that it doesn't allow me to cut anything thicker than the width I can pull them apart, but it's good enough for my purposes. Mostly, it kept me out in the sun for a good part of this glorious afternoon.

Later, I went outside again and shored up the ground around where the young plum tree had fallen over during the last storm. The tree is upright again, but the ground is still soft. I did the best I could to see that it's as strong as possible, but the next big wind or rain could finish it off.

That was enough for me, as far as physical work goes. Even though I work in construction, I don't exactly do any work. I'm a desk jockey, and exercise doesn't come naturally. As much as I wanted to spend more time in the sun, I was fairly well spent by that time.

Then I had a brainstorm. It hadn't occurred to me earlier because we haven't had this kind of a day in a long time. I pressed the pause button on the TiVo remote, knowing I could go back later and watch the rest of the game. (The 49ers were looking bad at that moment anyway). Then I took my book out on the back porch and read for awhile. I would have read for a longer while if I could have stopped sneezing.

It was just too much fresh air for me in the middle of winter, I guess. I was a brave soldier, but it's hard to read when your head is jerking violently back and forth. I came back inside where the air is stale but slightly less toxic to the allergy-prone. (And where there's an unlimited supply of tissues.)


The afternoon sun, reflected in my bedroom window.

Still, this day was like a gift. It did wonders for my mental state (including a heroic comeback by the home team in a very ugly football game). I don't know if it'll take, or how long it'll last, but for now (despite my stuffy head and drippy nose) it feels good to be reminded that winter, and all that goes with it, will pass.

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