Getting Back to My Roots: A Tale of Triumph in the Face of Adversity

I’m not very good at working from home. I don’t mean the mom gig, because that just happens at home. And the park. And the library. And on the damp floor of the rec center locker room, cold, wet and naked. But I digress.

What you might not imagine is how hard it is for me to let Dan work from home. To give you an idea of just how hard it is for me to avoid asking him one little question, checking with him about one little date on the calendar, or inquiring- just real quick- about the whereabouts of just one missing item, I will sum it up thusly: Even if he works on the weekend, he goes into the office.

And this makes me mad. Not that it has much (if anything) to do with me, but that’s just how I roll. “It’s all about Pam…” sung in a sing-song voice, is a much repeated phrase in our house. And it’s not me, Sweet Pea, or the chickens repeating it. Seriously, though, if Dan is working during a time when Sweet Pea is sleeping, I might like to go somewhere. My absence would not impact his ability to work, and his presence ensures that our sleeping child is safe. Which would be a win/win. Except if I can’t leave him alone when I am there, he can’t concentrate on work.

Which brings us to Sunday night. I set out to do just that; leave him the H alone. Because he was working from home and I needed to prove to him that I could let him. The challenges were great and they were many.  Because Sunday was the day we got me a Power Trimmer/Edger. See, “we” bought it from our shared bank account but I’m the only one who is going to use it, considering I’m the only one who cares whether our lawn looks nice, and up till Sunday our backyard kind of looked like a junk yard. Piles of hoses littered one corner, black trash bags of leaves occupied another, against the house lay a forlorn 12 foot ladder, and by the back door sat a cracked, faded Rubermaid tub full of chicken feed. Dandelions poked through the ground on our flagstone patio. And some random logs were stacked in a no particular order along the side fence. If our chickens could talk, they would probably want to renegotiate the terms of their lease.

I’ve been wanting to do something about the state of the yard for a long time, but there never seemed to be time. On Sunday the stars had finally aligned. Here was a weekend day that was neither too warm nor too cold. I wasn’t working. Dan was available and willing to help me with the yard.  Sweet Pea took a three hour nap. In those three hours, I accomplished more than I’ve ever accomplished in that yard over the three years we’ve lived in this house.

I moved stuff into the garage, created a “to donate” pile, trashed what Dan confirmed was actually trash (apparently looking like trash does not necessarily qualify an item as trash), and tossed compostables in the compost. When that was done, I mowed, weeded, transplanted, mulched, and watered like a crazed gardening maniac.

When the sun had set, the baby was put to bed, and Dan descended into the basement to work, my real challenge began: Operation Do Not Disturb Working Husband. And yet it was at this moment that I embarked on another challenge: Assemble New Power Tool. I futzed. I finagled. I shoved. I yanked. I teetered on the edge of nail breakage. With the baby sleeping in the next room, I avoided cursing (loudly). With my husband working in the basement, I came dangerously- I mean like bringing three children under the age of 5 to the edge of the Grand Canyon and not holding their hands and letting them throw rocks, yes I actually witnessed this- dangerously close to bothering him seeking his expert counsel on how best to deal with the rogue part that I couldn’t slide onto the thingy even though I was doing everything just like the picture in the user manual showed. And also, the battery pack. Why wouldn’t it slide onto the battery pack holder? I had so many questions. And the one person I knew could answer all of them, was a mere holler away, yet trying to work.

So I did what I used to do before I met Dan all those years ago. No, not daydream about how I was going to meet someone smart, sexy, and Jewish named Mark on a plane and it would be this unbelievable coincidence that we lived on the same block and were obviously soul mates and had, like, everything in common, including a shared love of road biking, Sex and the City, and Barbara’s Shredded Oats cereal and were somehow only just now meeting on a plane, which was extra random since it was Southwest and so seats weren’t even assigned. Not that. I mean, I did it myself. I solved the mysteries of the Black and Decker assembly instructions.

When Dan came up the stairs, I beamed, triumphant in all my Trimmer and Edger Assembling glory and told him, “While you were working, I totally figured out the new tool. I’m, like, getting back to my roots.”

He looked at me with a sly smile. “You mean you called your dad?”


It’s hard for me to come up with anything clever to say under pressure. And beside, his comment was completely out of line and unfair. I would never have called my dad for something like this. I’m not sure if I’ve ever even seen him change a lightbulb.

I would have called my mom, obviously.

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