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I Hate To Complain But…

The columnist seems to be on the brink of a meltdown. Hopefully, he gets some much needed rest. I don’t think we want to hear this stuff every week.

I’ve had worse days than last Saturday. No one died. No one was ill. The Sixty Minutes investigative news team didn’t show up at my office; nothing that earth shattering. But I’ve had better days.

I worked for seven hours in my garden on Friday. The weather was beautiful, not too warm and not too cool; a picture perfect spring day. I planted a dozen Heirloom tomatoes, a couple of rows of sweet corn and cultivated and fertilized the onions, potatoes and Swiss chard that I’d planted a few weeks earlier. I also planted a few pots of colorful annuals and pulled out a couple of perennials that hadn’t survived the winter.

Later in the day, I went to a few of my favorite nurseries and picked up a few cucumber plants, several eggplants, a variety of potted herbs to plant in the window box outside the kitchen window, as well as a cherry tomato and a Hungarian red pepper plant that I’d promised to plant for my daughter, Kelly, in a small garden in her backyard.  

I had purchased a bunch of perennials a couple of weeks earlier that I was going to plant in Kelly’s yard as well. The plan was that I would go to her house on Saturday, prepare the garden plot and her planter beds and get the job finished by days end.

As I’ve said previously, God laughs when we make plans. I woke up early on Saturday morning feeling like I’d been hit by a bus - a large bus. My body ached so badly I could barely crawl out of bed and get down the stairs. Each step I took was a grueling reminder that my wife was right; I always overdo it. I always go overboard. Seven hours of gardening in one day is a bit over the top. It’s far too much, but I never seem to learn.

As I’ve mentioned previously in both my and columns; I’m an extremist. Not in a political sense because, as I’ve also stated before, I’m fairly apolitical; but in the sense that I either do what I do to the extreme or I don’t do it at all. I have no in-between, no middle ground.

Oh, I’ll admit it. This is definitely a character flaw; one of many I possess. And as I’ve also stated previously; anyone who has taken a Psych 101 class knows that those of us who know we have issues are far ahead of those who have issues and don’t recognize them.

It’s said that recognizing a problem is the first step in fixing it. Well, I’ve known about my extremism issue for many years and I’m still on the first step. I’m no closer to fixing it now than I was way back then. Strange as it may seem, I think I kind of like myself this way.

So, my Saturday began with my feeling at less than optimum strength. My wife, Berta and I went to breakfast at the Sunnyside Café in West Bridgewater, about a five minute drive from where Kelly, her husband, Tom and our grandchildren, Logan and Ethan live. We headed for our favorite table, which looks out on to about forty acres of pasture; a beautiful, scenic view directly behind the restaurant.

As we neared the table, another couple blew by us and grabbed our table. No big deal, though; nothing to get hung up on. It was a great morning and I wasn’t about to let a little thing like that bother me. So, we ordered our food, ate and headed for Kelly and Tom’s house so I could check out what had to be done in their yard.

We arrived at the house and Kelly greeted us at the door. Tom was in the family room feeding Ethan, and Logan was flying around the house like a tornado, as usual. Three year olds have some amazing energy.

I went out to the back yard, took some measurements, jotted down a few notes and went back in to the house, expecting to chat for a few minutes and be off to the nursery to pick up a few things I needed.

I was in the kitchen talking to Kelly, explaining that I was too exhausted to work on her yard that day as I had planned, when Logan showed up with his Handy Manny Tool Box, complete with a battery operated drill and saw, several screwdrivers, a hammer and a bunch of other tools. “Gampy, let’s go outside,” he pleaded, pulling on my t-shirt.

“Gampy has to go, Logan,” I said, knowing in my heart that wasn’t really going to happen. I’m delusional at times.

“We have to cut some trees,” Logan insisted.

“Okay,” I said, “but only for a few minutes. Gampy has a lot to do today.”

Logan took me by the hand and led me out to the front yard where a bunch of fallen branches were neatly piled between two trees. He handed me his Handy Manny skill saw and said, “Here, Gampy. You cut the trees.” 

“Okay, but only for a few minutes,” I replied, pretending to cut a tree limb as Logan dug the drill out of his tool box. 

Berta and I finally pulled out of the driveway about an hour later,. Either I have issues with saying’ no’ to my grandson, or he’s a really good con man, or both. Truth be told, I have so much fun with him that I don’t ever want to leave. I cherish the time we spend together. He knows that too; knowledge that he uses to the fullest when he’s ‘conning’ me. It’s amazing how perceptive kids can be. I’m sure he’ll train his baby brother well.

Berta and I ran around most of the day doing chores. Berta needed stamps so we went to the getting there just before closing before driving just a short way down the road to to pick up a spray nozzle for my garden hose and a hose bibb for one of the outside faucets.

We then stopped off at to get some chicken wings, some chips and dip and a few other goodies for the Bruins and Red Sox games and then went to Target, where we picked up a few things and took a break at Starbucks. I needed my Cappuccino fix!

As we were leaving Target, I remembered that we hadn’t picked up any ‘adult beverages’, so we drove over to . Berta was thoughtful enough to remind me that we should be careful not to do so much driving back and forth because of the price of gas, and that we should have gone to Pop’s when we were at the Post Office earlier in the day.

She’s good at that – the ‘reminding after the fact’ thing. I could have asked why she hadn’t reminded me to go to Pop’s when we were actually at the Post Office, but that would be tantamount to peeing in to the wind – not advisable – and fruitless!

Coming home from Pop’s turned out to be an adventure. The traffic on Depot Street was brutal. We sat in the Whistle Stop Plaza parking lot for about five minutes before we had a chance to pull out on to the road and then we waited through four lights before we were able to turn on to Foundry Street.

The fact that some moron in a silver Lexus 4 X 4 had pulled out of Bay Road and blocked the intersection of Bay Road and Foundry Street didn’t help. Having lived in Easton for nearly fourteen years; I suppose I should expect that type of thing at I should accept that that’s just the way it is. But I don’t accept it. It aggravates the heck out of me! That’s another of my character flaws. I’m easily aggravated – so we’re up to two. Not that any of you were keeping track.

We finally arrived at home and I unloaded my garden supplies while Berta took the groceries and the adult beverages in to the house.

This was going to be a great night for sports. The Red Sox were playing the Yankees at Yankee Stadium and the Bruins were going up against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game one of the Eastern Conference finals at The Garden.  The clicker was going to get quite a workout flipping back and forth between games. I was psyched! I turned on the television to watch the Red Sox pre-game show.

Kelly and the kids were going to be coming over to have dinner and spend the evening with us because Tom was going out with some friends to watch the Bruins game. They arrived at about six-thirty; we ordered dinner from PieZoni’s and I settled in to my favorite spot on the couch. The Red Sox game was scheduled to begin just after seven, so I’d have a full hour or more to watch them uninterrupted prior to the start of the Bruin’s game and the beginning of the inevitable clicker marathon – or so I thought.

Have you ever tried to watch a sporting event with two women who have absolutely no interest in sports? Have you ever tried to watch a sporting event with a screaming, hungry six-month old? Have you ever tried to watch a sporting event with an overtired three year old?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, perhaps you’ll find it in your heart to conjure up a little sympathy for me.

I’ll admit it, I get a little grouchy when I’m tired – and I was very tired. Okay, I lied. I get very grouchy when I’m tired and when I’m very tired I’m intolerable; another of my character flaws – so we’re up to three.

So, what do we have here? I’m an extremist; I’m easily aggravated and I get grouchy when I’m tired. Oh, and did I mention I’m not extremely patient at times? Okay, most of the time.

Let’s review, shall we? I’m an extremist. I’m easily aggravated. I’m grouchy when tired. I’m impatient. And here I am, trying to watch the Red Sox and the Bruins with two totally disinterested women who are constantly yacking, an overtired three-year-old who takes after Gampy in the ‘grouchy when tired’ department and a hungry, fussy six-month-old. I have no idea what I was thinking.

Does this sound like fun to you?

Long story short, the Red Sox got off to a great start and Josh Beckett pitched a gem, or at least that’s what I’m told since I missed most of the game. I did get to see the last inning. The Sox won – six to nothing.

The Bruins, whom I had been looking forward to watching for over a week, gave up three goals in eighty-five seconds. Yup, you heard me right – three goals in a minute and twenty-five seconds – in the first period! They lost five to two. Lucky for me I didn’t get to see most of the game.

My salad was good though. And it was no big deal that I spilled it all over my shirt and pants. And I really didn’t mind that Logan knocked over my TV tray – and a full beer – and half my dinner. Most of it cleaned up quite nicely. The carpet needs to be replaced anyway.

And I really didn’t mind that Ethan pooped twice during the evening; once about five minutes after my dinner arrived. The odor wasn’t that offensive. It wasn’t that bad. Honest. Okay – it stunk!

Kelly and the kids left around ten o’clock, just after Logan had an ‘accident’ on our bed while Kelly was changing his Pull-Ups®. Hey, accidents happen. He was tired.

There’s more to this tale, but I’m getting tired - and grouchy. I have to get going anyway. Tom, Kelly, Logan and Ethan are coming over for dinner tonight. I told them we’d be eating at five thirty. The Sox/Yanks game starts at five minutes after eight.

Good timing, huh?

Make it a great week!

Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer. His column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com and his other column "Take Me Back" runs every Friday at http://mansfield-ma.patch.com

Frida May 19, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Hilarious as always Mr Havey.
Frida May 19, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Sounds like my life in miniature. A true comedy or errors. :-)
Dwight Mac Kerron May 20, 2011 at 01:12 PM
I thought that gardening taught people patience. Oh well. ;-)
Bob Havey May 21, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Not everyone, Dwight. Not everyone.

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