email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Damnable But Small Problems

It's the smaller problems of life that get at you the worst sometimes.  I mean, Really Bad Problems, you know they are, and you have to deal with them.  Family members die, you break a bone, you lose a job.  Those are bad.  And everyone understands.

Its the smaller stuff that is sometimes harder to deal with, because you are all alone with it.  The splinter in your finger, the sore shoulder, the car that doesn't like to start, those don't get so much sympathy. 

I've been plagued with the latter recently.  I don't need much sympathy, but I DO want to gripe about them.  And its MY blog, so here goes (LOL)...

My left thumb is inept.  For years, I've had a spot I stuck with a thorn and it caused a tiny hard spot that just won't go away.  I keep noticing it with the index fingernail.  I've opened it a couple times with a sewing needle, but I can't get it to heal away.  And I cut the base of my right thumb years ago and it formed a hard spot there too.  I just keep noticing it when I grab things.  So when I got a half-inch splinter in That Left Thumb from the new deck I just got all freaked.  I couldn't get it out.  Turn the inside of your left thumb towards you and put the back down on a steady surface.  Now try to get at it with a needle and tweezers. 

Maybe I'm not as flexible as I used to be, but I just couldn't.  It took a week for the skin harden over the splinter like a callous, and I managed to loosen it after that.  Its healing fine.

But sometimes, it is just stuff like that over and over.  I damaged the left shoulder rotater cuff 10 years ago, and I thing I've done it again.  I don't even know specifically how or when I did it.  I just woke up one morning and OUCH!!!

My aging Mother used to say "getting old isn't for sissies".  Hmmm. I've been enough heavy work on my own for a long time and had a lot of "ouchies" (and enough "ARGGGHS" too), but they seem to be coming more often these days.  I hope I'm not becoming a "sissy".  But let's just say that I used up a tube of muscle rub ointment before the expiration date for the first time this year.

I wish that was the only problem.  I garden a lot and I get a lot of unwanted tree saplings that need to be dug out.  Usually, its not a problem.  Oh, work for sure, but I get them out.  Well, I was surprised this week. 

I am rebuilding my old rotting framed garden beds.  Aligned better to the sunlight, wider and higher, and to have a chicken wire enclosure to keep the varmints out.  Well, with the season moving on, I decided to redig the beds that will be outside the enclosure so that I could have some Summer plants growing (cukes, beans).  Meaning the old less-productive asparagus bed had to be dug up. 

There were 4 tree saplings I've been cutting back in there for several years.  So it was the right time to REALLY dig them out.  I couldn't.  I mean, I used the same techniques I always used before, but they just would yield!  I have tools.  A sharp all metal spade, an axe, a 5' pry bar.  I finally got one out and it about killed me...

Talk about realizing that you aren't 30 anymore...  I'd be happy to be 40 (I'm 64).  I did the sensible thing.  I left the other 3 in and planted around them.  Its just for a few months.  Come Fall, I will cover that bed with plywood and plastic and let them DIE next year.  All problems can be solved with time.

But I only mentioned all this to tell you about today's problem...

I have historically had basement water problems.  The old gutters filled with tree debris and would overflow onto the deck and then down to the sunken patio.  The patio had ground level drainage.  But over the years, the soil build up (fallen leaves, mowed grass) and formed a pool that build up to the level of the basement door.  Water got in.  I solved that temporarily by digging a ditch through the lawn downslope. 

In Fall 2012, I had the roof reshingled, new vinyl siding, and new larger gutters with debris-proof tops.  No more gutter overflow filling the basement patio!  Yeah.

Right...  With the new deck, there was a lot of digging involved.  Lots of soil moved around.  They did a good job moving the extra soil to a corner of the yard.  So far, so good.  What I didn't notice was that some of the extra soil got spread into the remnants of the patio drainage ditch.  So I had a 2" wall of dirt around the lawn connection to the patio.

It rained really hard today.  I was glad for the rain because it has been about 1/4" per week the past month.  BUT!  The rain that fell through the deck filled up the basement patio (I bet you saw that coming).  FORTUNATELY, I happened to go into the basement to get something and saw the rainwater seeping in.  I threw some old towels on it and went to the toolshed IN THE TORRENTIAL RAIN to get my grub-hoe.  Shovels work, but a grub-how makes a nice 4" wide and deep trench.  In the rain. 

Even with a raincoat on (and I wished I still owned a poncho) I was soaked to the skin just making a 4" wide and deep ditch from the patio downslope 12' long.  It was a pleasure seeing the water draining out in a rush...

But that is still a temporary fix.  I thought the bigger rain gutters would solve the problem, but with enough hard rain, even just the water falling through the deck will fill up the patio.

The real fix is to lower the level of the lawn where it meets the deck, AND installing a below-ground drainage system to move the patio water downslope.

More work.  Just what I needed.  And I'm sure not going to do THAT before my shoulder heals.  I'll just have to make sure the grub-hoe surface dug ditch stays clear for a while.


And I won't even get into the new adult groundhog and rabbit I saw around the garden this afternoon.  Well, OK, I just did, but you know what I mean.


Fuzzy Tales said...

Oh, I get it, completely.

"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

That about sums it up. And while my own little problems aren't quite the same, sometimes it all seems rather overwhelming.

Here's to a bit of "smooth sailing" for the rest of the week. :-)


Mark my husband has had both rotator cuffs surgically repaired. My 83 yr old Mom has a torn rotator cuff the DR says don't do any surgery on it for her. But Husbands had to be fixed. Once torn it will not heal. It will work OK until you move to that spot where it grabs you. Only course of action for a bad tears (or tears of several of the liagments) is surgery and it's a tough rehab.

Gently think about possibly hiring someone to do the ultra duty heavy work (what we've had to do). I know in our case (BTW hubby is turning 65 in 2 months) we will have to downsize especially the yard maintenance.

Megan said...

I hear ya, Mark. Aaaaaargh.

I believe that getting more comfortable hiring in help is one of the ways to go. I know you enjoy the satisfaction of doing things yourself, but (i) determining and planning the work required (ii) finding appropriate people to do it (iii) supervising them and (iv) enjoying the benefits of their work can be very satisfying also! LOL

I wish you "smooth sailing" too.

Sydney, Australia