Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Old-Fashioned Yard Work

One of the big storms earlier this month had put so much weight on our beloved tree out front that one of the big branches snapped, causing a huge amount of branches to dangle precariously like a canopy above the sidewalk in front of our house. I had made mental note to deal with it, rather than leaving its falling to the ground to chance, but just never seemed to have the time to tend to it. And so with another storm looming, and with me and the kids home early from school and work because of their early dismissals, and with Amy not feeling well, I decided to bundle the kids up yesterday afternoon for some good old-fashioned yard work.

I started by bringing them back to the shed, getting some tools for the job, and explaining to them that these tools were for grown-ups only. Then I gave them their task: while I cut the branches down, they were to move them into a pile; and then, as I cut the branches in the pile into smaller pieces, they were to put those smaller pieces into the garbage can.

Given that we live in the city and don't have too many outdoorsy tasks like this to do, they were unsurprisingly eager to take to this seemingly fun task. I cut, they piled; I cut some more, they threw away. And all the while, they puffed their chests out and took turns saying things like, "we're helping you, Daddy," "Aaron, it's your turn," and "Jada, it's your turn."

At one point, the thickest part of the branches was ready to be twisted off. I ordered them to the safe haven of our front porch and then carefully got the 10-foot-long branch safely down to the ground, without breaking any car windows or pedestrians in the process. It was kind of a rush to see this big, thick branch crash to the ground. I cut off some thinner parts of the branch, and lugged the rest to the backyard to get it out of the way.

Jada seemed to want to stay out longer, even though it was pretty cold and the snow was coming down pretty hard. Aaron, though, was starting to perish; and, sure enough, on his last journey from stick pile to garbage can, he toppled over and bopped himself on the forehead on the concrete floor. We three scurried back inside to tend to his abraded forehead, Aaron howling the whole time.

Thankfully, within a few minutes, he had calmed down, and all of us had warmed ourselves up from being outside for so long. I told Aaron, as Amy put a bandage on his forehead, that chicks dig the scars, and that he'd have a great story to tell his friends at school the next day about how he helped his daddy with some good old-fashioned yard work.
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