Sunday, April 25, 2010

Productive Me

Plumber lad
Originally uploaded by

I had what I would consider a very productive day. For some odd reason, I kept waking up very early this morning. I first awoke at 4am, sat up, looked around, and then told myself to return to sleep. This occurred again at 5:30am, and again at 8am. Something was telling me to get out of bed, and to start my day. It was a beautifully sunny day, one that should have been spent gardening, or pulling the weeds that have over taken the planter out front. But I ended up spending most of my morning reading.

I soon realized that we were low on some groceries, so I ran out to the store. When I returned I made sure everyone had something to eat, then decided to get started on today's project, which was installing a new garbage disposal. It was one of those man moments, when realizing we had lived with the disposal being broken for so long, that if I didn't get it done myself, it would never happen. By this of course, I meant that I hadn't got around to calling a plumber to get the job done. While I was under the sink I decided to take everything apart, and make some additional repairs. The faucet had come loose over time, and things had gotten wet and mildewy under the sink.

I took one look at the instructions that came with the disposal, and decided that we men ignore such things for a reason, it would take half a day to read, and understand all the instructions. I have always found it quicker to just take a quick look at the basic diagrams, then figure it out for myself. I was feeling so good, and everything was going great. Once everything was fastened, and put together, I tested things out by turning on the water. Out came a very strong leak. Now we have had a leak for some time, but I always assumed it was because of the broken down disposal. No such luck. It was the main J pipe that extends from under the sink. It had an obvious crack in it. So I was quickly off to the hardware store for a replacement. When I returned I was able to put in the new pipe, re-attach everything to the disposal, and it was all done.

My father would be very proud. I am very proud. I was also able to get 4 loads of laundry washed, dried and folded throughout the afternoon. I enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by my daughter, then sat down for a great episode of "Hoarders," which always makes me feel so good about my housekeeping skills. And like clockwork, both of my sons turned to me to say thanks for making them clean their rooms everyday. I need to watch this more often.

Earlier while I was working under the sink, my daughter came running into the kitchen to say, "Dad, I just read last night's post in your blog. Your not wearing your wedding ring! Are you okay?" Yes, daughter, I'm fine. It doesn't need to be a big deal. You may find it back on my finger within a few days. Perhaps I need to think twice about what I write here. I don't want to get the whole clan upset. Actually, I have asked the boys not to read my blog. I prefer to just keep it at my daughter, as she is older, and has a better understanding of how my thoughts and mood might fluctuate along this journey.

Now, when I sat down to write tonight's post, I didn't think I would be writing about plumbing and laundry. Yet, it is these day to day, mundane kind of things, that fill my days with normality. They also simply fill my day. I realize that after getting all these things done today, and spending my evening reflecting on them, that I have had a bit of a reprieve from the sadness of late. It also allows me to feel productive, as most days I feel as though I have failed miserably. There is always so much to get done. And most of the time, I lack the fortitude to deal with much of anything except my grief. I think another way of looking at this is that I have been feeling lost in my grief. So much of my day usually gets right by me, and I am left feeling disconnected and unproductive. Today I feel like the real me came through. I knew what needed to be done, and I took care of it. That's the type of person I have always been. I don't know who this other guy is. You know, the one who tells the kids for the last month not to empty anything in the kitchen sink until he can get it fixed. Or the guy to tells the boys that the jeans sitting in their laundry basket can't be that dirty, and surely the can get one more wear out of them. Or the guy that shouts out in the late afternoon, "who wants to call and order dinner?"

Before I get into bed tonight I plan to go stand in front of my bathroom mirror, and take a good look at my reflection. I plan to re-introduce myself to the image before me. Hi, I'm Dan before grief. Hi, I'm Dan during grief. Lets begin looking for Dan beyond grief.


  1. Last year, while getting the farm ready to sell, I began to notice that I felt at my best and calmest when working on the place - building new stairs for the porches, painting, etc... For me, it proved to be sort of meditative and took me to a more peaceful place in my thoughts. By the end of each day, I felt tired, but happy with a sense of having gotten something meaningful taken care of. That's largely why I bought the wrecky old house here in Nova Scotia. Although I've only been here less than a week, I'm already getting that same nice feeling of putting in long days working on solving problems and seeing the results. It seems important to find that "space" which makes us feel best and, yes, more "normal" again. I was always a builder and renovator type, so to be working on a big project like this brings me as close to normal as I can probably be right now. It feels good. I'm glad you had a really good day and got that garbage disposal and water leak cleared up!!

  2. Good for you! I wish I was as handy as you are, but I'm definitely learning how to be more handy since Austin died. I always feel better when I've been productive, but sometimes even knowing that doesn't help me to drag my butt off the couch. So far this week, so good. Thanks for the reminder of how good it feels to accomplish something productive around the house.

    Love Debbie