Tales of waggin' tails, no tails, and tail feathers . . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Concrete: 1 Amber: 0

   My parents are the best.  I mean it. They are always helping me out, always there for me no matter what.  My mom and dad spend an inordinate amount of their hard earned vacation days at my house working their tails off at some cooked up home improvement scheme I have dreamed up, but just can't quite complete on my own.  They've helped me do it all. New doors/deadbolts: check.  Tree-trimming: check.  Painting: check.  Hardwood floors: check.  Fence: check.  Installing appliances, light fixtures, and ceiling fans: check, check, aaaaand check. 
   Take the fence for instance.  I plotted and planned it all out, I wanted a small fenced in area for the dogs so I wouldn't have to take them out on leashes ALL the time.  I was using cheap, pre-fabricated wooden picket fencing: just throw it up there and it's done . . . if only it were that simple. 
   First step is to head to Lowes for the materials.  We get inside, divide the list, and split up into our respective teams: Dad vs. Mom and Me.  Ready, set, go.  So, Mom and I grab one of those impossible to maneuver flat-cart thingys used when you buy lumber and we set off.  We grab the first couple of items on our list easy peezy, and then we come to the concrete. 
   We move over the the concrete aisle (and yes they have an entire aisle devoted to concrete).  My mother and I have a short discussion: despite all of the concrete being in different color bags, they're all the same, right?  I mean concrete is concrete.  So, we shrug at each other and I casually bend down to reach for the nearest bag of concrete, and WOW concrete is heavy!  I took a step back, and took a much harder look at the bag: 80lbs.  Holy crap!  That's ok, I got this . . . I mean I can squat more than twice that at the gym . . . Moving forward I try again this time 'bending with the knees.'  Straining and my face turning bright red my mother says, "Well, are you going to try or what?"  Grr. 
   Well, now it's just a matter of pride . . . so, I heave and I grunt, push, pull, tug, and finally through what I can only describe as an act of God I manage to get the 80lbs bag of concrete onto the cart.  Me: "Whew!"  My mother: "Good.  We need five of those."  Seriously!?  I'm pretty sure I'm on the precipice of a coronary and you want me to do that FOUR more times???  By the expectant look on her ageless face, clearly, she does. 
   Fine.  Round two.  Again I bend with the knees.  I get the bag of concrete into a bear hug, and I start maneuvering it to the edge of the pile.  Taking a deep breath I move in for the big lift.  I lift just slightly and pivot to put the concrete onto the cart.  Only I didn't make it the four perilous inches to the cart . . . and this is where things start to fall apart.  Instead of straightening as I intended, I start sinking.  Added to the fact that I'm no longer in a healthy and sanctioned squat position as well as standing on the slick surface of concrete dust on polished concrete floors my left foot starts to slide . . . and the slow sink is now a fast plunge.  By this time my dainty mother is trying, very ineffectively I might add, to help me, tugging at my arm.  I landed bum-first on the concrete floor with a THUNK!  All 80lbs of the concrete slamming into my chest knocking me backward. HUMPH!  
   So, this is how my father finds us: my mom sitting beside me leaning against the bags on concrete, me sprawled out on the floor of Lowes, both of us covered in gray concrete dust and laughing uncontrollably.  My dad casually walks over to us. Taking it all in, he says, "You know this is the wrong kinda concrete."

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