Archive

Tag Archives: Home

I went to high school in a small town in Northern Minnesota. It was a great place to grow up and taught me the value of hard work and education and getting out. I left soon after graduation, eventually gained a college degree and a career. Since then I’ve continued my education and explored the world. However, like many people, I failed to maintain contact with friends from home or people from my past. I honestly suck at keeping friends. But Facebook and other social media have made it possible to reconnect with people or even to stalk them if you are just curious and unwilling to actually reach out to them.

Lately, Covid-19 and middle age have got me thinking about the old days and old acquaintances. Curiosity eventually led me to Facebook in search of old classmates. A few of them had at least a basic profile and some pictures. It turns out that most have not gone far from home. Most are still in that little town raising kids and hunting and fishing.  Living the Good Life, so to speak. Things haven’t changed much.

It is wonderful to see them with kids and grandkids, looking so mature and happy and in some cases old. Compared to many I seem to be aging well. Good for me.

What struck me most during my look-through of posts from home was the unexpected realization of how far we had drifted in ideology. The Trump flags and assault rifles and racism were surprising. And disappointing. Could these be the same people I knew from the halcyon days of my youth? Could we all have come from the same place that molded what I believe and who I am? It made me question my view of the place and stripped away the whitewash that time had used to cover up the old uglinesses.

I then recalled the homophobia, sexism, the Indian jokes and hatred, and the narrow insulationist thinking. And I remembered why I left. I never belonged there. Not ever.

People will always have disagreements on important issues but I have made a lifelong point of avoiding extreme opinions. I’ve tried to see both sides of an issue in order to meet in the middle. I believe that once you remove the most extreme ideologies we tend to agree on more than we think. We should concentrate on the things we agree on rather than getting angry about what we don’t. There is always a middle ground where we can live as neighbors. But the social media coming out of my hometown doesn’t make me believe that I could find a middle ground there.

I’ve considered going home for a visit, but I have no family there and haven’t been back in almost twenty-five years. I also realize now that I don’t have any friends there really, just people I used to know. I’m not a part of that world anymore and I’m fine with that. I also believe that the part of there that I thought I carried me never really existed or else was chased out of town and forgotten like a gay cousin.

Maybe I’ll visit someday, but I’m in no hurry to put myself through that. Particularly since no one there has reached out to me. Maybe someday.

Or – maybe it’s not that you ‘can’ never go home, but that you never should. Maybe it was never home, to begin with.

IMG_7405 (2)

Weather and life teamed up to delay our concrete work and tilling, but this weekend we took advantage of beautiful weather and hammered through both tasks in two days. I am exhausted and sore but also done with the heavy work.

Last weekend I laid down the brick path to the garage. It was cold and rainy all week so it just sat there waiting for me. So, on Saturday it was above 60F and sunny. It was perfect for some concrete work. My wife and I were on our hands and knees for over three hours pushing mortar between bricks. I don’t think I will ever do it that way again. It turned out great but I can’t really say it was worth it. There has to be a better way to do this.

BUT… it is complete and looks great.

The next phase of the project was tilling the yard for new grass. I was able to borrow an old Troy-Bilt tiller from a friend and fired it up on Sunday. I then spent the next three hours being drug around the yard like a dog toy. It was comical and, again, exhausting. This ground hadn’t been worked or dug up in decades or ever. It was full of bricks and nails and mystery trash along with long-dead roots and buried steel posts. It was an adventure in itself.

The ground is now fluffy soft and waiting for seed. It’s supposed to rain on Wednesday, so we plan to have it seeded and fertilized by then. All the hardest work in our project is complete and our yard has been beaten into a semblance of submission. Right now, every muscle in my body is sore and I need Chiropractor. 

My wife has already announced that we will be contracting someone to do the sidewalk next time. I am in full agreement! I won’t even ask the cost.

The weather has held, but the labor is not fairing so well. I’m getting worn and tired. But I am plugging forward. We completed the small patio area under the deck. The place where my grill was parked didn’t have a full brick underlay so my wife wanted to use larger paving stones to redo it. I’ve done larger sizes before am not a fan. I’m not sure why maybe my technique is not up to it?

However, our cat Turkey has turned into quite the assistant. Has to have his paw in everything.

91908484_10158519608818694_4228885766702366720_o

Turkey supervising.

But we finished that area on the weekend and then did the next section in the original repurposed red brick. The smaller bricks were much easier to work with. They are more forgiving. The area is NOT level or uniform or anything else professionally expected. I mortared the joints on Monday after work. It took a lot more than I expected. However, they are pretty and permanent. That is enough for me.

My knees and feet are killing me. Today, rather than tackle the next section, we broke mandatory isolation and snuck to Menards for more mortar and sand. I think we had 1000lbs of materials in our old beat-up minivan. It was NOT happy.

Tomorrow we’ll tackle the run to the garage. It should be easier than the patio. I might know what I’m doing now. My goal is to survive this lawn. I haven’t bled into it yet, but I gave it all my aches and pains. This is why people hire professionals.

20200405_183432