There's this tree in our back yard that I've hated for a very long time. It's an evergreen - long and scraggly with feathery green fingers instead of pine needles. Late in spring I noticed it wasn't doing well. It had two primary trunks and every branch growing off the back trunk was dead.
No green. Just brown.
And then, as spring passed into summer the brown spread. With fall, came bare branches.
I don't normally nag the spouse but sometimes he just asks for it. This tree was one of those occasions. I asked him to cut it down. I nagged. I reminded. I nagged some more. I gave up. Life just got in the way and when we did have free time, other household and yard tasks demanded our attention. (Did I tell you my subconscience knack for getting rid of things I hate is to break them? The garage door last year, the storm door this year...and then the outside light fixture that I managed to break off the base of a lightbulb in?)
The boy and I headed out back today as the girl napped. I started pulling up the annual flower beds despite the few live bloosoms that clung to them. I stood back and admired the raw earth thinking how sometimes the empty bed in the crisp air felt so clean and fresh - ready and waiting for a new beginning. Then I thought of that dead ugly hated tree. The boy wanted to help - because he thinks he thinks he's much older than he is. His job, easily enough, was to stand a safe distance away and cheer me on.
I retrieved a saw. Then an ax. And hacked away. I sawed away. I worked. I swore silently under my breathe realizing why my dad used to have "under the sink language" when doing various household projects. I slung the ax again. I heard some give. I grabbed hold of a branch about as high up as I could reach while flat footed. I pulled. I changed angles and pulled again. Snap. I got better grip, a new angle and I pulled with all my might. Down came the tree.
I put the tools away in the garage home. The boy hung onto a lower branch and "helped" me drag the monster dead trunk to the front yard. It's up to the husband to discard of the thing. I have no idea what he'll do with it but I'm sure having it in his way will prompt him to do it faster than it took him to cut it down.
I felt good for about 2 minutes.
Then it hit me. I was hot. Very. Very. Hot.
I was winded. At least I was with each swing of the ax.
And my arm is killing me.
Years ago a heavy dose of spreadsheet work for a catalog I was developing started the twinges. The right hand. The repetitive stress injury (rsi). It got bad. It got better. It went a very long time without recurring. I lost the wrist brace. I forgot the way it hurt. But lately it's been back. Perhaps the height of the desk in the new office or the time spent working/playing/emailing/blogging at home. I don't know. What I do know is that using an ax clearly is not 'RSI' friendly.
I'm trying to make myself feel better about this panting for air and nursing the sore arm by believing anyone weilding an ax on an old tree would feel the same - at least anyone with an old 'mouse-related' injury. Yet I'm not sure that being relatively out of shape (despite the regular spin class attendance) or the fact that I'm not 23 any more (which would have been the last time I slung an ax, I think) wasn't a contributing factor. Then again, I'm not sure I care why it hurts. Instead I will take my sore forearm, stop trying to close my fingers into a fist (because I can't at the moment), locate the ibruprophen (nicknamed Vitamin I in our house) and convince the boy child to remain quiet long enough for me to take a hot shower while his sister finishes up her nap.
Wish me luck.