Work With Dad

I have a confession.

I have not been chopping wood every Tuesday morning this winter, as promised.

In January, I did a pretty good job keeping up with my commitment. But as my tea prescriptions with Joe grew, my barter hours went to him instead of to the owners of my little cabin in the woods.

With April rearing her eager head, flowers blossoming, daylight lasting until almost 7pm – and the wood pile still mountainous, something finally had to be done.

Enter, Dad.

“Well what about renting the wood splitter from RB just down the road?” he suggests.

My heart skips a beat and my eyes grow wide. I am exhausted from the retreat, having just arrived home this morning and with so much work to do. But suddenly, a surge of energy creeps up my spine and I am ready.

“How much?” I ask.

“Twenty-five dollars a day, not bad,” Dad replies.

Twenty-five dollars a day for a machine that can split the wood I have yet to tackle as easily as a squirrel cracks open an acorn. I know the machine he’s talking about – I’ve seen pictures of it down on the Community Center bulletin board. It is stainless steal, then shiny red and partly black, with a roaring 9 horsepower Honda engine. Using hydraulic pressure, the wood splitter can apply up to 20,000 pounds of pressure on one log to split it as smooth as grandma’s silver through a pad of butter.

“Let’s do it,” I say, and the deal is done.

We rent it for half a day and in two and a half hours we split every single round of sourwood and oak that needing splitting. This work would have taken me at least 10 mornings, or approximately thirty hours of chopping to complete. Dad’s help (hitching the splitter to his truck, teaching me how to use the beast, helping me every step of the way, coming up with the idea in the first place) has essentially granted me ten more mornings of writing time. YES!

(There is another story in here, about us actually doing the work…about how we both have a hard time keeping our workpants around our waists when we’re sweating and lifting, about how Dad had to keep blowing farmer snots while we worked because his hands were too busy helping to bother with a hanky, about how the sun came out after four days of snow just in time to get the work done, about how when we worked together it was happy and healthy and no tension and just plain old fun, about how good it feels to receive his full attention and help – which ordinarily has to go to the five teenagers that he and my mother live with and help raise at the boarding school…)

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