Well, springtime is officially here. At least that’s what the calendar says. And for the moment, my outdoor thermometer agrees. The weatherman isn’t so sure. I don’t like the weatherman. I say let’s send him someplace really cold so he’s got plenty to talk about.
I want to live someplace where there’s no need for a weatherman. “Tomorrow’s forecast – sunny and warm. Like it ever gets cold here. Everybody else gets to report snow and storms and tornadoes, but not me. Nooooo! I’m stuck here in Pleasantville where EVERY day is sunny. That’s all I ever get to say – sunny and warm. Back to you Jim.”
Those of you who have been with me for a while know how happy I am about the onset of spring. And that’s especially true this year. First of all, it’s been a long, cold winter. In Ohio, we got less than our annual average of snowfall, but we made up for it with ice, rain, and temperatures that made all the red in the thermometer run for cover. I looked out every morning and all I saw was a little red ball with nothing much rising above it.
Another reason I’m ready for spring is because this year I’ve decided to really get out and enjoy it. My grandson bugs me from April through October to go for a bicycle ride or throw the ball. And honestly, he got about six hours of physical activity out of me last year, not counting the day at a theme park. In my defense, my body was really sore most of the time. As it turns out, the bathroom scale wasn’t feeling so good either.
We live in a small town that’s the hub of Ohio’s “Rails to Trails” bike path network. They ripped up all those old railroads that are no longer used and replaced them with paved pathways for bicycles, skaters, and people who think running is fun. I’ve tried it. Running is anything but fun. Next to walking, it’s the slowest way to get from one place to another. And quite honestly, they usually don’t smell so good when they get there. I’m just sayin’.
I like riding a bicycle, because I get some decent exercise and a little bit of breeze to make it more tolerable. As long as there are no hills. Well, let me rephrase that – as long as there are no up hills. I can do down a hill with no problem. In fact, I want to find a path that’s all downhill and have my wife meet us with my truck at the other end. But even with a gentle downhill slope, I can’t help looking over my shoulder and thinking about the ride back. It’s brutal.
I told my grandson I was planning to buy some roller blades this year. My doctor says that’s a great form of exercise. So is the treadmill. And the two of them together – now that’s my kind of workout. And wouldn’t you know, my treadmill has a built-in milkshake holder. That rocks!
But there’s a reason God didn’t put wheels on our feet. They tend to go in directions we didn’t count on. Sometimes they go in opposite directions, and I’m no gymnast. Besides, the ground is hard. Really hard. I’ll be the guy with more pads than a tugboat, bouncing off stop signs and innocent joggers.
And even that’s not completely safe. Pads will protect your skin, but not what’s inside. And trust me, things inside don’t handle impact like they used to. The day I bought my bicycle, I decided to show off by popping a wheelie. It lasted half a second. See, the thing with wheelies is control – keeping the front wheel high enough to impress everybody, without letting it go so high you end up on your butt with a bicycle in your lap. Need I say more?
I learned two things that day. First, the ground is a lot harder than it used to be. And second, all that extra padding I’m carrying around behind me didn’t cushion the blow one bit. I hit the ground so hard it registered a seismic event. It jarred the fillings out of my teeth. I was six feet tall that morning, but I’ve been 5-10 ever since. You do the math.
But regardless of whether I ride a bicycle or strap on a pair of roller blades, I’m sure I’ll get my share of exercise this year. My yard has a way of extracting a little revenge for not keeping it covered and warm all winter. And revenge comes in the form of nasty things sprouting up all over the yard in the dog days of summer. That’s a time when grass turns brown and weeds turn into trees. And as fast as you chop one down, three more take its place.
It’s funny, I’ll buy chemicals to kill dandelions & crabgrass, and fertilizer to make the grass grow. Then I’ll complain all summer because it worked. But only if I time it right, because Mother Nature has a hand in this one. Fertilizer needs rain within 24 hours, or it’ll burn up the grass. But weed killer needs 48 hours with no rain, or it’ll just wash away. Have you ever seen dandelions do a rain dance? I have.
What I end up with in the middle of summer is a large patch of healthy green crabgrass dotted with white puffs of leftover dandelions, intermittent patches of dead grass, and some kind of lumpy fungus they haven’t quite identified. And the whole time, my neighbor is standing across the fence, watering the grass, pruning flowers, and giving me that look.
This year I think I’ll get ambitious and take care of the problem once and for all. First I’ll spray the entire yard with something that’ll kill dirt. Then I’ll rent a tiller and plow it like a cornfield. After that I’ll roll it smooth, plant new grass seed, and cover it in hay. By next year, it’ll look beautiful. Then I’ll buy a couple of goats and fence in the whole yard, because there’s no way on God’s green earth I’m mowing that much grass all summer.
Seasons change, and we have to accept the good with the bad. Springtime brings opportunities to enjoy the things we missed all winter, so I can’t complain about a little extra work. As I look at the mess in Japan, I’m thankful I have a lawn to mow. It’s all about perspective.
The whole thing is maintaining an even keel, and that’s a lot easier to do if you can find something to laugh about. Hopefully in this article, I’ve shown that humor is literally all around us. All we have to do is open our mind and look for those hidden treasures that are right there, just waiting to be discovered.
As for the lawn, I’m beginning to think those folks in Arizona have the right idea. Cover it with colored gravel and get on with life.
Copyright 2011 – Dave Glardon
When I was renting a house from my parents out in the California desert, I continually butted heads with my mom. She wanted me to water the tree and various plants some previous owner had planted. I maintained that if the plants couldn’t survive in the desert on their own, they had no business being there.
Meanwhile, they keep putting in new golf resorts “down the hill” in Palm Springs, watering those huge “lawns”, and wondering why the humidity goes up every year.
It’s funny, I flew into Tucson years ago and you could spot golf courses from the plane in an instant – everything else was brown.
While reading your blog, I discovermil a milkshake holder and placed it right near my TV. Now the milkshakes disappear more quickly than the TV programs. Pls suggest what to do as I don’t have the heart to place it elsewhere. It’s a mind game but is slowly blowing my body.
Have a wonderful week ahead with lots of Milk Shake
Buy a milkshake machine. That’s my suggestion.
Oh Dave I needed that laugh! “Bouncing off innocent joggers” had me really going. Keep it up.
Thanks Sue. Tell me, are you one of those innocent joggers???
Funny and so true, Dave. Great job. I think I’m going to go with the colored gravel crowd.
Sharon, I’d try the colored gravel, but with my luck I’d spend the entire year pulling grass that was growing up through it.
You said it Dave – wheelies are not for wussies. Colored gravel gets my vote, too.
Wheelies aren’t for fat people above the age of forty, either. Trust me on that. The thing is, if the front tire had come back down like it was supposed to, it probably would have popped.
Just remember, your ill-advised “wheelie” was payback for all the times you made fun of me for flipping over the handle bars when we were younger. As soon as I made sure you didn’t break anything, I laughed my tail off!
You were laughing before I hit the ground. But that’s okay – I was telling somebody just the other day about you flipping over the handlebars. Some stories just never grow old.
Hi Dave, great story today, I like the bit about the bike. Its true, bike stories never grow old. Its funny actually, I have fallen off my bike twice this week already and it is only wednesday. I reckon I have spent at least 20% of my life on a bike, so many great stories to tell, some funny some tragic. We are looking forward to winter here in West Aus. Been so hot.
Thanks Bill. If you’ve ridden that much, you’ve certainly got me beat. But it’s great exercise, and I think we should all do it more. But be careful – those bumps and scrapes don’t heal quite as fast as we get older.
Every time it gets warmer here, I think about you folks south of the equator. Enjoy your winter. I sure will!
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Wonder what it would have been if we were born with wheels. Let me guess..what would become of high heels..high heels would be modified to high wheels. Lol
Food for thought, huh?