Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This time I'm not talking about holes in my jeans. I'm talking fencepost holes. This morning I gave my almost-19 year old son, Adam, the choice of cutting grass or digging fencepost holes. Digging the holes pays much more than riding a lawnmower around. He chose the holes. I was sure he had no idea what hard work it was going to be. I was also pretty sure he was going to dig one hole and quit because he was frustrated. I went out after an hour and told him I would pay him either $15.00 and hour or $4.00 a hole. Before he knew how long he'd been working he looked at me with a big ???? on his face. He didn't know which to choose. When he learned he'd been working an hour it was an easy choice since he had already dug 5 holes. His whole attitude changed when he realized he'd already earned $20.00. Even though I know it's all about the money, I'm glad he chose the hard work.

I think it took owning my own house to want to choose hard work, and that was more for the satisfaction of doing it myself than it was about saving money. The older I get the more gratification I get with each job I do, usually wanting to prove to myself I'm capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to. One of my most rewarding projects yet was building our outdoor kitchen, complete with wood-fired brick oven, barbecue pit, cupboards with a concrete countertop and a pergola above. I've posted a picture below, though it's not complete in the photo. It looks better now with vines growing up the columns. I couldn't have done it without James' help and faith in my work. He's the other reason I choose hard work today. James works twice as hard as I do. Anyway, I think the reason I enjoyed building this was because it wasn't necessary to the livablity of our house, like a bathroom or kitchen is. It was all about creativity, fun and solving the puzzle of each next step. I love puzzles.

My least favorite job in my house was gutting and rebuilding our upstairs bathroom, but I have to admit that it was almost as rewarding as the outdoor kitchen. It's a tiny room but created a huge amount of frustration and many hours lying in bed wondering if I was qualified to be doing this and wondering how I was going to do it. Much to my delight I still love that bathroom after 3 years. As Adam's tattoo says, no regrets.

My wish is that one day Adam takes pride in his hard work, not because it brings him more money but because it brings him joy and a sense of satisfaction. For now I'm just happy he's digging those holes and that I don't have to. Did I say I like to do all the hard work? Maybe I'll go ride the lawnmower.

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