Friday, November 28, 2008

That's The Sound of the Men Working On the Chain

     Like many people, I got into my car and made my way home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Like salmon in the rivers of North America we all flow back to the place of our birth to eat turkey and lay on the couch moaning for like six hours. Okay, that's a lie. Some of us go places other than where we were born, I understand that. But you might as well be salmon because you are still on the move and, to be honest, you sort of smell like the docks. Oh, and a bear would eat you in a heartbeat if it had the chance.
     But I digress. I went home for not one Thanksgiving celebration but two. Since my parents are divorced I spend part of the day with my dad's side and part of the day with my mom's. Which is cool because I get fed twice AND it breaks up the relativity into manageable units. Sort of like divide and conquer. I usually stay at my Dad's but since we don't eat until the afternoon, I skated over to Mom's in the morning to hang out, say hello, and bake some apples. What a bad move that turned out to be, because she put me into indentured servitude - Medieval Europe-style.
     This is not unusual. There is usually some sort of project that I have to be involved in, like unplugging the bathroom fan or putting up storm windows. That is my mom's favorite activity for me. Haul the gigantic glass down from the garage rafters and into the backyard and screw them in place over the patio door. Oh, and do it in the middle of this snowstorm please. And you can't wear any shoes. Oh, and try to balance on a rubber ball while you do it all. That part is more for mom's amusement I think, but whatever. I am getting pretty good at it. In fact, this summer I am going to audition to be a dancing seal at Sea World and quite frankly, I think that I am going to give them a run for their money. But none of that went down this year. This year she had a different type of mission for me. And it was the most dangerous.
     I don't know if she was a little loopy, maybe a touch drunk, or if she just wanted my to finally kill myself, but this year mom had me trimming hedges. And goodness knows that they needed it. They were not a little overgrown, they were African-jungle overgrown. I was a little apprehensive about beginning to trim them because was afraid that once I started rustling the branches some unfriendly natives from a war-like tribe would emerge. Either that or a stuffy British man would say "Dr. Livingstone I presume?" And I didn't want either of those things.
     The second thing that I was a little worried about was the equipment. My mom hands me this ancient hedge trimmer, which was most definitely not made for a left-handed person (did I mention that I am left-handed?). The only way for me to comfortably operate them was to wield them one-handed like they were a broadsword or something and have at the bush. It would have been like we were sparring in a fencing competition or something. So here I am, holding the damn thing, and she plugs it in. And it would have been a terrible farce had it worked.
     Yeah, that's right. It didn't work. It was plugged in, I was operating it correctly but it did not wok. It just sat there in my hand, lifeless and of no use. Great. So out come the hand shears and I go at it. I was like an artist at work, making all sorts of cool shapes out of the bushes. Well, cool as long as your favorite shape is round. Because that's how it ended up. Actually, it ended up like a ball that had been sitting on the same spot for like two years in the cold in the garage and now had a big flat spot in it. That's what it was like. And it remains that way. Hey, I don't live there year-round, so I don't have to look at it.
     So then, despite my poor record with the first bush, she moves me on the the second one. Which is actually two. These she wants me to lop the top off of. Of these she wants me to lop off? Of the tops of these she wants lopped off? I don't know how to say that sentence with correct grammar. But whatever. She wants the tops gone. So I go at these things like I am one of those loggers on Axe Men. Except I was not provided with safety equipment. I am dangling there on the ladder, over five feet off the ground, with nothing holding me up except for my sheer will and my mom. It was pretty harrowing. And I was pretty brave. But that's how you have to be when you are an indentured servant. When you are being oppressed on your holiday vacation. Or when your mom makes you.
     But no, it's cool. I like helping her out around the house. It's fun and, well, it's helpful. So I am not going to complain. And as long as I survive her little trials I will keep coming back. Because I'm nice. And she's my mom. And it's getting to be a holiday tradition. And that's on the Internet so it must be true.

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