If you had your life to live over, would you do it the same way? I’m tempted to say I’d try to avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made, but would I really? Don’t we learn from our mistakes? Don’t we grow from all that comes our way? We are a composite of both strengths and weaknesses. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have an Achilles heel of some sort. There is a chink in the armor. Broken is the only way we come. It’s just that some folks are better than others at camouflaging their imperfection.
You are probably wondering where I’m going with this dialogue. Perhaps you think I am wondering as well. Perhaps you are right, but I had an experience Saturday that was bothersome. Should it have created a problem for me? I don’t know, but it momentarily took the wind out of my sails. In a spirit of transparency, I thought I’d throw it out there and let you be the judge.
The General and I made a quick run to Home Depot on Saturday. You guessed it. The General wanted us to pick up an additional twenty bags of mulch for the back yard. To her credit, she personally opened and spread the previous ten bags we purchased while I was at work one day last week. I was amazed! The fact that she’d even consider doing it was totally off my radar screen. The General doesn’t do yard work.
I guess her vision of how she wants the back yard to look took precedence and she opted to take matters into her own hands. On the other hand, maybe she got tired of waiting on me to get it done. Either that or she had the thought: “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” In my defense, I hadn’t been home since we purchased the mulch. I simply unloaded it from the truck and strategically placed the unopened bags in the yard. I lugged them over my right shoulder with the bag leaning against the right side of my head.
While I was pleased that the General exercised (pardon the pun) the initiative, I have to confess that I found it a little unsettling. Her do-it-yourself- approach when it comes to yard work is not typical. It is a paradigm shift. So what was that all about? Maybe I’m a little overly sensitive since a friend from college mentioned that the cemetery is full of indispensible people. Has the General turned the corner and determined that it is time for the old horse to be put out to pasture?
This is crazy talk, but I am still puzzled how bags of wet mulch could weigh as much as those seemed to weigh. I have lugged bags of mulch for years and remember that when wet, they seem to weigh a ton, but I’ve never really struggled with the adventure. I’ve just done it.
Saturday when we went back to Home Depot, to my dismay the bags of much were still wet. In fact, water was dripping from the bottom of each bag I picked up. I started to write, “struggled to pick up”, but couldn’t bring myself to be that transparent. Did I struggle or did I not? I’m not saying, but I will admit the bags were heavy. I was grateful when I stacked the 20th bag on the cart.
Do you have any idea how much twenty bags of wet mulch weighs? Let me know if you do. I don’t know, but I do know it took everything I could muster to get the cart going in the direction of the check out stand. Did I mention it wasn’t rolling very quickly? In fact, after about ten feet it almost came to a total stop.
I wasn’t gasping for air, but I was borderline out-of-breath. How could that be? I’m in great shape physically. At least, I tell myself that my physical health status is great. Stopping to determine what “Plan B” looked like, I had a flash back to childhood. Do your remember the cartoon character “Popeye the Sailor Man?” The cartoon’s theme song was dancing around in my head.
I can still clearly hear the words: “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man. I’m strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man”. It was all I could do not to attempt to flex my arm muscles. Fortunately discretion prevailed. So did the outline for “Plan B”. The cart was simply too heavy. I’d go get another empty cart and unload ten bags of very wet and heavy mulch from the loaded cart. That is exactly what I did. That’s pretty clever, don’t you think?
I pushed the first metal cart with ten bags of wet mulch near the check out stand and walked to the back of the store to push the second. As I was checking out with the first cart, the clerk asked, “Do you need any help?” Under normal circumstances I would have answered, “No”. But since I didn’t have my spinach and I was dreading unloading twenty bags of wet much in the back of my truck, I said, “If you have someone that could help, that would be great.”
Okay, so write it down. That is the second paradigm shift. The first was the General initiating yard work on her own. The second was my being open for assistance. I rolled the first cart with 10 bags of wet mulch out to the back of my truck. As I lowered the tailgate, the “Incredible Hulk” appeared out of nowhere and pleasantly said, “Let me help.” Of course, I didn’t know at the time that he was the “Incredible Hulk”.
I responded, “Thanks, I’ll go get the second cart.” It was as I was making my way back with the second cart that I saw the man in action. He literally was standing at the end of the tailgate of my truck, picking up bags of wet/heavy mulch and tossing them in the bed of my truck like they were made out of Styrofoam. It was amazingly unbelievable. He had the first cart unloaded by the time I got back with the second. At his instance, he mostly unloaded the second cart single handedly as well.
Honestly, he looked like Bluto in Popeye the Sailor Man. Actually, that’s not nice. He was a lot bigger than me (muscular is a more accurate word). He didn’t resemble Bluto, but he was physically strong. He was also incredible kind.
The General told me later, she mentioned as he was unloading the first cart, “You won’t have to go to the gym today. You’re getting a workout.” He responded, “I don’t go to the gym on the days I work here, but I do regularly go to the gym.” He also told her the mulch we purchased was the most popular mulch sold in the store. Consequently, they have a supply outside up near the front. He said, “Next time you need mulch, just tell us and drive to the front. We’ll load it for you. You don’t need to load it on a cart.”
Olive Oil, (I mean the General) was impressed! I guess I was as well. I attempted to give the man a generous tip, but he declined and smilingly said, “I get paid to do this.” I started to ask permission to take his picture for my blog, but decided he might think I was a little weird. At any rate, “KUDOS” to the guy at Home Depot and thanks for the tip. Next time, I won’t load a cart. I’ll simply ask for curb service. At the end of the day, I was more than a little envious of his strength and ability to hurl bags of wet mulch.
At the General’s insistence, I purchased a new wheelbarrow before we left Home Depot. My old one was shot. She knew I needed something to move twenty bags of wet mulch with. At least she thought I did, but she was wrong. I parked my truck next to the fence, climbed in the back of the bed and physically hurled the bags of mulch over the fence. I guess I was more than a little envious of the ability I had seen displayed by the man of steel. Was in envy or was it jealously? I’m not sure, but that too was a paradigm shift from my usual demeanor.
After physically lugging the bags of mulch I had tossed over the fence to their respective locations without using my new wheelbarrow, I subsequently went to the next project of cleaning out the garage. By the time I finished, to my surprise, the General and spread all the mulch. She thinks we need six more bags. I know what you’re thinking, but we won’t go there. I’m not going to mention that superman could have them loaded in seconds.
All My Best!