If I Were a Carpenter

A man in blue overalls and yellow hard hat holding a hammer.

The other day my wife asked me to repair the birdhouse down by the creek.  So, after finishing the project I was on (clean the yard of pine cones & gumballs), I removed the birdhouse from its pole and took it to my mancave to examine and repair.  The roof is one piece that slants downward and was about the size of my hand and ½†thick.  It had decayed in several places and needed replacing.  I walked over to my lean-to and rummaged thru my wood pile to get what I needed.  As luck would have it, there was an exact thickness laying within easy reach.  I pulled out my trusty table saw and within a short time constructed the desired piece. I commenced to wire brush the birdhouse and get it ready for painting when I noticed that the floor inside the house, which rotates to allow for cleaning, was in poor condition also.  So I opted to replace it.  A much smaller piece of wood was called for, so I walked over to the scrap pile leftover from my cuts a few minutes ago and looked for a piece.  I immediately found what I needed, drew the dimensions and cut it to perfection.  By this time, I’m feeling really good about this carpentry stuff.  I have always admired carpenters so I’m beginning to think ,“I’m getting pretty good at thisâ€.  I installed the new floor and looked around for the roof piece that I completed just a little while ago.  I can’t find it, I look in the workshop, I look in the small scrap pile I created with this project, but no roof.  I’m standing there scratching my head when all of a sudden this feeling starts at the top of my head and washes down my body towards my feet.  It’s as if someone poured a bucket of paint on me.  That feeling careened thru my rusty old carcass as I realized that I had used the piece perfectly cut for the roof to make the floor.  I cautiously glance around to see if my wife was nearby for I was certain that if you do something that stupid, it has to be as apparent as the guitar necktie I enjoy wearing at times.  She was someplace else, so I decided to deep-six that experience, make a new roof and move on.  Alas, that was not to be.  Later on she came over, sat down in my chair, and asked how the project was going.  I showed her the repairs to the birdhouse and then confessed my stunning act of stupidity.  You see, I have known for a long time that if something burdens you and you share it with someone, the burden becomes easier to bear.  And that’s exactly what happened.  I went to bed that night and woke up the next morning wanting to be a carpenter again.  The lesson I learned from that experience is never put a finished piece next to the scrap pile.  Hmm, I guess that could apply to other parts of my life as well.  As Joseph Addison so aptly said, “A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this worldâ€.

Given the choice, if you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or the body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?  For me the choice was simple and easy to make, I would choose to have the body of a 30-year-old for 60 years.  The reason it was a simple choice for me is that at age 75 I would absolutely love having my body spin back and enjoy all the benefits that go with being that age.  Sure, I forget a few things here and there, but nothing that’s worrisome and absolutely nothing that would convince me to make the other choice.  That reminds me of another question I ran across a while back; do you have a secret hunch as to how you will die?  Surprisingly, I do and this is my hunch as to how it will happen:  somewhere along the way my body will turn against itself, most likely in the form of some kind of cancer.  I read once that if we live long enough, everyone comes down with something and I think that is probably true.  Of course that reminds me of the old saying, “If you want to see God smile, tell him what YOUR plans are.â€

Well, it appears that Spring 2016 has arrived.  The grass is turning a darker green, some weeds are rearing their ugly heads and, happily, our daffodils are blooming everywhere.  Our temps in the daytime are in the 60’s & 70’s, and I’m ready to explore the secrets that the new season has to offer.  May, June and July promise to be a lot of fun since we will be travelling a lot.  I’m looking forward to a cruise out of Puerto Rico in April to visit the various island in the area.  Our summer plans also include visiting family and friends that are out of town and within reach with a 2- days’ drive.  On June 18th , I will attend my high school reunion.  It is always good to see my classmates from long ago.  Most of us rode to school on dragons but a few had to use more cumbersome animals.  As a side note, our school mascot was a dragon (Go Garden Green Dragons).  Unfortunately, our school no longer exists, it was merged with another area school and the name was changed to Twin Valley HS.  We have lost a few classmates along the way, but at our age that certainly is to be expected.  I doubt that any of our teachers are still alive.  Our principal lived to be 100 before he passed on.  Alas, soon enough it will be our turn.

I recently decided that I wanted my own website (www.tommyhale.net)  so I did a Google search to see what I needed to do to get that done.  I am aware that you can buy books that tell you how, but I decided I needed to hire someone to do it for me.  I would tell them what I wanted the website to do and he/she would make that happen.  I wound up at a website called Freelancer and put my job out for bids, after which I selected the one I wanted based on their previous ratings and what they charged to do the job.   I selected a young fellow named Zed who lives in Malaysia (borders Thailand, 13 time zones away).  He spoke perfect English and over several days he accomplished all that I wanted done, taking requests for changes as though it was part of the job.   I could tell he wanted me to be happy with his work.  I purchased the website from GoDaddy for $150/3 years which turns out to be $50 per year,  and I thought that was quite reasonable.  I can place unlimited data on my website so that was a good selling point for me.  Zed made videos showing me how to add/remove content to my website and that has helped tremendously.  If you ever decide to own a website and need my help in any way, all you have to do is ask.

Well, I’m sad to report that one of my favorite gadgets has self-destructed.  My iPod started acting up and within a few days it refused to turn on.  I did a Google search and, sure ‘nuff, a fellow on “YouTube†had a video on how to take it apart and make repairs.  I figured, what the heck, it’s going into the trash bin anyway so I proceeded to take it apart.  It is now resting comfortably in our trash can.  I hated to see it go, but everything electronic has a lifespan, so I bid it farewell and immediately went to ebay to find a replacement.  I didn’t grieve over the loss very long being the shallow fellow that I am.  If you buy a new one at a local store you will pay $150, but I figured that I could get one on eBay for around $75 and that is exactly what happened.  It should arrive soon and I will be happily enjoying my audio books as I putter around the yard doing things that don’t require a lot of attention.  Reminds me of a quote by John Mill, “Ask yourself whether you’re happy and you cease to be soâ€.

Most of us are affected in some way with dementia.  Either we suffer some form of it or someone we care about does.  I ran across this article, “Know The 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s†and thought it worthy of mentioning in this missive.  They are:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgement
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

My favorite quote pertaining to Alzheimer’s is, “If you lose your car keys it doesn’t mean you have it, but if you find them and don’t know what they’re for then you do.  You can learn more about this dreaded disease at www.alz.org/seva

Hope you are enjoying whatever season you’re having in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading my missive.