Working man

For one reason or another the last 4-5 days have been mix of the busy and unexpected.

The unexpected began when I got a call offering me some casual work as a labourer. “Sure,” I said. “How soon can you be here?” was the response. Inside 45 minutes I had my sleeves rolled up and was applying myself to the work.

That first day was very tough. I’m not as young as I used to be and it’s been a while since I’d done work of such nature. I was working on a landscape gardening job. My first day consisted of shifting a whole pile of debris, mostly a chopped tree, into a mini-skip; and clearing and levelling a root strewn piece of turf using a shovel. I soon discovered muscles I didn’t know I had. Before long I had a stitch like pain dead centre between my shoulder blades. That’s good pain the guy I was working for said. “You’re building muscle – the girls will love it.”

By the end of the day I was filthy, scratched and a bundle of quivering muscle. Steam came from my mouth as I took my first gulp of water. I craved some rest, but after a hot bath and a change of clothes I was on the road again.

That night, Wednesday, I spent the next 4 hours in the shop. I had business there, which included buying an impromptu take-away dinner for the girls. Later I met my new partner, and the girl he proposed bringing in. We discussed things for about an hour before going back to the shop to inspect things. It was a busy night all round, with the newly initiated 4 hands massage proving a hit.

I got back at about 10pm, and was out again next day to visit the shop once more, before returning to the labouring job.

On Thursday it was just the two of us, and the work was different. I’d thought the night before that doing real work is a lot different from the work you get in the gym. It has a lot more grit and reality, and it works at different muscles. On Thursday I had cause to compare it to circuit training. On Wednesday it had been all about my back. On Thursday it was my arms and shoulders that got the work-out.

I was on the jack-hammer early, then a sledge-hammer. I dug post holes, did some weeding, before ending the day with some powerlifting – carting some heavy boulders in the wheel barrow to the truck, before lifting them shoulder high to deposit in the back of it. I must have had eight trips. It was tough work, but I felt in better order than 24 hours before – perhaps I was getting used to it.

I couldn’t work Friday. I had appointments through the morning and spent the afternoon and evening in the shop. I spent most of the day in the shop too. Much of that was a simple desire to be away from the house. Since my labouring I’d been trying to get myself a massage, but each time we started in on one the therapist was called away by a paying customer. Those brief moments of succour were divine, but the abrupt termination of them felt a bit like interrupted sex. I towelled the oil off of me, dressed, and limped out of the room.

I spent an hour browsing up and down the street, then another sitting in one of the foot massage seats reading a book.

I had by now developed a cold. It had started in my throat and moved to my head. By now it was in my chest. As you do I felt congested and a little foggy. I ached, but for the moment it was still largely distant. I still managed to head into town Saturday night for the big White Nights thingy. It was pretty good.

Yesterday the cold hit me hard. I visited the shop briefly before returning to collapse on the couch. I read and watched a movie and slept. I felt ordinary, but I’ve been a lot worse.

Today I was faced with a dilemma, which my chest infection resolved like the blade cutting through the Gordian knot. I’d been booked in to do a course for 3 days which I thought was a bunch of nonsense. At the same time there was labouring work available. Finally, I’m a receptionist short till Wednesday, and unless I could get someone else to fill in it would be me to fill the gap. Quite extraordinarily I had three competing demands over three consecutive days. In the end I have done none of them. I called to make my excuse regarding the course, citing my chest infection. I’m too weak to labour in the this condition too. The reception job was always the most likely, but cough and spluttering is not a good look. In the end I got someone to fill in for a bit, and my new partner to take a turn. I’ll be there later – I’m feeling a bit better.

Otherwise it’s a week of the usual challenges. I hope for something different soon to light things up.

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