Tuesday, May 15

Today was one of those days that makes you feel kind of good. What I like to call a "useful day."

The weather was absolutely perfect today- sunny, warm, a light breeze. A day to open up all the old windows in the house and let the smells of late spring pour in and clear the stale air frpm a house closed up for too long. I have been waiting for a day like today - when the breeze is as warm as the sun and it will not blow chill air into the house. Getting the smells of dirty diapers cleared out is also a plus.

The little man and I set out into the yard as soon as Mom arrived for baby care duty and we were soon knee deep in mulch, garden soil and play sand. Mix in some fresh grass clippings and we were having just about the best time you can have with a three year old gardener in training.

We transplanted the pumpkin and gourd seedlings, along with the cucumber and green peppers sprouts. Mulch was spread on the shady area path to the coop and gardens to keep the weeds down and we rode around on the lawn mower, taking our time and enjoying the day.

We broadened our sense of community a little today too as we did a little manual labor at the neighbors house, removing storm windows in exchange for two huge red poppy plants.

So many other things were mixed into today that it can't even name them all. Just all those things that need to get done.

As I was on the extension ladder removing a protective window, my neighbor asked me why I like to be outside doing things. I told her that I like to feel useful and that since I had the kids, I spend a lot of time doing less-than-physical work. In my days before children, I spent a great deal of time outdoors. Most days, it was the entire day. The sense of accomplishment I had at the end of those days was priceless to me. I felt I had contributed, felt useful, felt important. I was in pretty good shape. Strong and a healthy weight. Now, with more demands on my time and more time spent indoors, my level of heavy physical labor has been lowered substantially and I have gained weight. My energy level is down and when I find that if I have a little time to work on a project, I find myself stressing about the many, many things on my to-do list and what I should try to accomplish in this short time.

I get frustrated with myself with my lack of strength, lack of energy, inability to get more done faster. I find myself at the end of a day upset over the things not crossed off the to-do list instead of feeling good about the things I had managed to get crossed off.

I miss the days when I had that accomplished, shoulders back, chin up, slightly arrogant and proud feeling at the end of a day filled with hard work and sweat.

Once and while, when naps, babysitters, good weather and time are all on my side, I can get that feeling back. I can get dirty, shed a pound, get things done, smell like sweat and chicken poo, and take off my work gloves at the end of the afternoon, slapping them against my jeans and seeing a healthy cloud of dirt dust fly off of them into the air around me.

Today was a good old useful day.

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