No, I haven't been on vacation but I did lose myself in an odd job this week


I haven't posted here since early May. 

Call it a summer break ... of sorts.

Wish I could say that I've been on vacation - to Europe, maybe. Or some other far-flung place where my wife and I could forget our cares for a moment. A weekend at the beach would do. Sand and surf, after all, isn't that far from our home in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. 

We could go to the beach right now. My wife told me this week that friends of ours invited us to their beach house. 

Seems safe. It would just be the four of us eating good food and drinking fine wine on the deck as the sun sets and the waves roll in. But traveling amid the pandemic does not seem like the responsible thing to do. Plus, our Big (OLD) Dog Rodney is also a worry. His hips are not going to get better. He needs help just to get up and struggle outside to piddle. 

We could leave him under the care of our college kids. They're home for the pandemic and you'd think they could manage it. But there's a reliability issue. 

Did I mention they're college kids? I'm afraid that when we got back home, the first thing I'd step into is a big pile of Big Dog Poop because Rodney wasn't helped outside in time. There's also the Ornery Dog Jasper to think about and our two always hungry cats. 


The college kids can't be trusted.

The truth is I haven't been very far from home in months. I'm not much of a traveler, so I'm generally okay with that. More than okay, actually. It's an introvert's world right now. My wife, however, could use a break from it all, a getaway so she can act as if  Rodney is hale and hearty, the coronavirus isn't troubling us and the harrowing election isn't less than a month away. 

But after she told me of the beach invitation, we agreed that now is not the time. Heavy weighs the crown of responsibility. 

Anyway, I decided to actually post something here this week because I surprised myself and did something out of character - I completed an odd job around the house. The double doors that lead into our backyard from the garage needed a fresh coat of paint. My wife didn't even push me into it. 

After struggling through a bout of exhaustion that had me seriously considering getting tested for the coronavirus, I somehow found the energy to go to the big box home improvement store. I generally avoid such stores, and not just because I'm afraid of catching the virus. They are too big. Too much choice just confuses me. I end up spending way too much time trying to look like I know what I'm about when in fact I'm paralyzed by indecision. 

This time, however, I resolved not to stand in the aisle like a doofus trying to decide which of the hundreds of cans of paint stacked on shelves that reach almost to the ceiling would be perfect for the job. I just picked up the first small can of white paint I ran across that seemed suitable, used the same strategy in choosing a brush and got out of there before getting caught up in all the second-guessing.

The next morning, I cracked open that can of paint and got busy while Rodney lounged in the cool autumn sunshine, wistfully watching Ornery Dog Jasper barking and chasing after the back yard squirrels - or anything else that moved for that matter.

For a while I got lost in what I was doing as each stroke of the brush led into the next and the next and the next. 

The chore hardly qualified as a vacation, but the few hours I spent painting those double doors turned out to be a welcome diversion

That will have to do - at least until my wife puts the brush back in my hand and points to the deck. 


  1. I think you hit it re the vacation. Painting a garage door gave you the opportunity to change and devote 100 percent of your focus to something not your present concerns. The chore was “transporting” and allowed your mind to “vacate.”

    Good read. Give Rodney a hug and boop him on the nose for me 🐶❤️😊

  2. Thanks some asian guy. Rodney is upstairs barking at the moment. That's how I know he's okay. But it's a good thing my shift is almost over!

  3. We went on "vacation" to the beach in August. I use the quotes because we took everything we needed with us and instead of spending the weekend in our house we paid somebody money to spend the weekend in theirs. It's a short enough drive that we didn't have to stop anywhere, and all of the fast food places you might use for bathroom breaks are closed anyway.

    The only difference was instead of walking our dog around the neighborhood, she got to run on the beach twice a day.

    Was that worth the risk? I don't know. I guess the scenery was different, and anything different these days is good, but like everything else these days it was a shadow of a normal vacation at the beach.


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