The big 30, sweepers, and concrete

Yep, I finally made the 30 pounds I wanted to gain after returning from the severe weight loss I suffered in England.  Just Kidding.  After last night’s 12 oz of prime rib, I may be pushing the pre-England weight (which I have never actually reclaimed).  Really though, yesterday was supposedly a momentous occasion.  I lived to the ripe age of thirty.  So what do I have to account for my birthday?  Approximately at 10:08 AM CST I passed the 30 year mark in age.  I passed it at school preparing for legal profession.  I spent 11 hours at school, my wife picked me up, we went to dinner at a steakhouse, and I ate so much I had to come home and go pretty much straight to bed.  Does that sound old or what?

I guess if we count the dozens of Facebook messages and comments, in-person birthday wishes, phone calls, and e-mails I guess it was a pretty good day.  Thanks to Facebook, more people knew about the birthday than I would ever have imagined.  Who would have thought Facebook would have changed our lives so much in a few short years of our existence?  Really though, I am very appreciative of everyone’s sympathetic mourning.  In all honesty, I really don’t feel any older than the day I returned from British soil in December 2000.  The only thing physically I may have to mark any passage of time would be the deterioration of my eyes, which I attribute more to law school than I do to age.  Age to a guy doesn’t really seem to matter.  Unlike women who round it up to the nearest quarter century.  (Kinda like guys losing weight in the mirror where women gain it).  We wear the same clothes were wore ten years ago and think it really is ten years ago, and that we look it.  It really was just another day for me with an excuse to go out to eat something beyond what we really should have paid for.

Moving beyond the birthday, I have a couple of observations to make.  Just some musing and thoughts I can provide, even if not from wisdom.

This deals with more of quirky Oklahoma.  I had to learn some more of the lingo recently and thought I would share.  In church a few weeks back, I was asked to help sweep after classes was done.  I agreed and was assigned to sweep each of the classrooms.  Dutifully, I went to the janitor’s office and got a broom and dustpan thingy.  Each of the classrooms though had carpet!  After trying to sweep up the little chunks in the classrooms I finally just went and got a vacuum and then vacuumed each of the classrooms.  I made a mental note that I needed to inform the Elders Quorum President that the classrooms have carpet and not floors for sweeping.

A week or two later we are serving in the temple and find ourselves on the cleaning crew after the last endowment.  As I go to the janitor’s
office, the lady tells me to sweep the endowment rooms.  I then walk towards the broom with a nagging knowledge that the endowment rooms
have carpet.  I thought, “Wow, these Oklahoman’s sure do things the hard way.”  As I went to leave she asked me what I was doing.  I said,
“I am going to sweep the endowment rooms.”  She then pointed at the vacuums and said, “Why don’t you take a sweeper, it will be a whole lot
easier.”  Suddenly, a light dawned in my aged mind and I said something like, “you mean you call vacuuming ‘sweeping’?”  She nodded with a
puzzled look and told me to go sweep.  As I was sweeping the carpets with the sweeper, I wondered what they called the motion of using a
broom on floors.  Brooming?  Scooting?  Brushing?  Scratching?  I still don’t know.  I was afraid of looking like an idiot to ask anyone.  I
will probably find out soon enough.  “Brother Ross, will you go scoot the floors in the far hall for us?” I will be walking to the janitors
office looking for something to do some scooting.

Our sprinkler system continues to go in between the rain clouds.  For the most part, much of the pipe is in place and most of the heads are on.  In fact, most of the trenches are even filled in.  But the rain keeps coming nearly every weekend and the poor sprinkler system people cannot seem to get it finished.  Need rain?  Put in a sprinkler system.  Kinda like washing the car.  Do it, and the rains come.

I have continued to remove the concrete pad in the backyard.  It has turned out to be a multiple month workout!  Who would have thought a little 8′ X 12′ concrete pad would take 3 months to remove only half?  As lazy as that makes me sound, let me add some flesh to this ‘pad’.  It turns out that this little pad in the backyard has concrete 9 inches thick in places!  Thank goodness the individuals didn’t have access to rebar, but they were kind enough to put a layer or two of fence in the concrete near the bottom.  I purchased a 20 pound sledge hammer thinking I could have the thing done in a week.  This long later, and I am only half done.  I had to buy a spike to break the stuff apart.  I had to pull out my little sledges to drive the spike.  I had to dig around the perimeter of the pad so as I cracked it, it had somewhere to go.  Once I get a crack, I have to take the spike to it and then hope the fence inside will break.  As it slowly severs away, I have to bend it back and forth until the fence wire finally breaks.  Then I heave the block to the side and start again.  This process is painfully slow, exhausting, and in our humidity, draining.

What really justifies my taking so long deals also with the garbage man.  With these massive blocks of concrete, I have considerable weight problems.  The garbage truck will not pick up a garbage can that weights more than roughly 100-125 pounds.  So I can put about 2 cubit yards of concrete in the bottom and I am really pushing the limit.  Any extra garbage on the top just might throw me over.  There is more though.  The garbage truck is like a stinky old man with a hernia though.  If the garbage can is overweight, the driver has to rev up the truck to get the hydralics where they need to be.  Doing this speeds up something inside the truck and the 3 minutes the truck sits on the side of the road trying to pick it up, or get it all the way upside down leaves a huge puddle of garbage ooze compressed from within the truck.  It stinks, looks disgusting, and we pray for more rain.

I have two garbage cans, but in the past month, two of them have been left for me to reallocate half the load to the other garbage can.  Meaning, I lost two weeks in the last month alone where I could not send more concrete to the garbage cemetery.  So my little pile beside the pad has continued to grow, week by week.  I had another can rejected last Tuesday, so again this Tuesday, I cannot add more to the garbage going out.

The sprinkler man decided not to use one of his trenches, so I must confess, it is filling up with concrete chunks.  Anything smaller than about 4 cubit inches usually ends up in the trench now.  When it is within about 3 or 4 inches of the top of the trench, then I fill it in.  The extra dirt will be used to fill the gaping hole where my concrete pad was located.  I am going to have to get a load of dirt in to fill this hole I am creating.  Geez, if it isn’t one thing or another!  Amanda warned me that it was not necessary the concrete pad be removed.  Now I wish I had listened.



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