My mom made me promise not to use her real name if I decided to blog about an event that happened just a few days after Christmas. So, to keep her identity private, I will just call her Mom and leave her real name a mystery. Wink.
My boat came with a trailer, which is as old (or as young) as the boat itself. Aside from one journey to and from the lake each year, it has spent most of its former life indoors. Since I procured ownership and after I launched my boat in Danvers, MA, the trailer has remained stationary in Michigan, its current resting place in my parent’s backyard.
Now, home for the holidays, I decided to do some work to protect its perfect condition. My plan was to raise the trailer off the ground, and rest it on blocks. In this way, the wheels will be relieved of some pressure and (hopefully) last longer. The plan was simple: use some old cinder blocks of my dads, a car jack, and a little elbow grease. It wouldn’t be too difficult.
The blocks were stacked in a pile in the back yard. Even though the snow was up to my chest, with my father’s specific instructions, I was able to estimate where the blocks were located and shovel a path right to them. So far the plan was going well and I didn’t want to involve anyone in my family. They were enjoying their holiday and probably wouldn’t find this project that much fun. But the blocks were frozen together, and after some pulling and pushing they weren’t budging. So I went inside to ask my dad if he had suggestions.
To my surprise, Mom said she would come and help! I loved the idea. To be honest, the weather was warm enough and I was enjoying the work, I thought that Mom would too. If it became too difficult, she could just watch or go back inside. No big deal…right?
Oh boy was I wrong. As soon as Mom offered her help, Grandma began scolding Dad for allowing Mom to go outside. You’ve heard the phrase… “if looks could kill?” Grandma lost her ability to speak years ago, but she sure hasn’t lost her ability to communicate!
Try to imagine a parade of people walking away from the cozy den and the new obsession with Nintendo Wii, bundling up and heading out into a northern Michigan winter all the while saying things like, “you don’t have to help,” “now look what you’ve done, I was enjoying my evening,” “why couldn’t you wait until spring,” “Mom thanks for the help, but you better go inside,” “don’t you dare let Grandpa pick up a shovel,” “I knew you wouldn’t do this on your own,” and even “when spring comes, you better get that trailer outta here.” Keep checking this blog. I may be trying to sell the trailer by spring!
Outside we went: Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Brother-in-law Jason, and me. And with one swift kick, Jason knocked over the bricks and they split apart. It was that easy. Now why didn’t I think of that?! But after that was taken care of, the throng of helpers didn’t return to their cozy holiday doings. Instead, they helped haul the blocks, find the car jack and try to convince me that it wouldn’t work. The car jack surely wouldn’t lift the trailer. But by then, I was even more determined to make it work. So I kept shoveling and working, all the while trying to get Grandpa to stop working, and Mom to stop telling me to make sure Grandpa doesn’t work to hard. And I know Grandpa can’t stop himself from helping. So I was satisfied when he busied himself with brushing the quarter inch of snow off the top of the trailer and instructing me on how to work the car jack, something I understand completely.
There is something wonderfully satisfying about working hard and seeing the outcome of that hard work. It is why something as simple as shoveling and hauling blocks can be more satisfying than complicated or theoretical or sedentary work. And when the day was done, Grandpa and I had succeeded in raising up the trailer so that all six wheels were off the ground, and even better, we had shared an evening of laughter, surprises, and satisfaction. Given the choice, I would haul blocks and shovel with Grandpa over playing Nintendo Wii any day.