Becoming the domesticated outdoorsman
When a person gets older, their body starts to fall apart. My wife and I stay active with assorted outdoors activities, but even with exercise, time takes its toll. Something always seems to hurt or break, from even such minor activities as falli...
When a person gets older, their body starts to fall apart.
My wife and I stay active with assorted outdoors activities, but even with exercise, time takes its toll. Something always seems to hurt or break, from even such minor activities as falling off a mountain.
Last week, my wife developed a pain in her back. I was secretly glad that I was not the only one with infirmities, but concerned my main fishing and outdoor partner would be out of commission. Fishing, mushrooming and just about all other sports are more fun with a partner.
She was checked out by the local physician and pronounced moderately gimpy. She could not lift anything for a while, which rules out loading the boat before I get home from work.
Worse yet, she could not run the vacuum cleaner. I thought this a bit strange, but was willing to go along with the doctor's orders. I have not done a lot of vacuuming in my days, but how hard could it be? The machine is even somewhat self-propelled.
Monday is the day the house gets cleaned. After a weekend of kids, friends, relatives and dogs romping through the house, the floors do get a bit crusty and gritty. When I got home, everything was done except the vacuuming. I asked my wife where she wanted me to go and much to my surprise, she said, "everywhere".
I can understand the high traffic areas such as in front of the back door where everyone and everything that comes in loses most of their outside dirt, but hardly anybody went down the hall and only two of us were in the bedroom. How dirty could two people make a bedroom?
I got that look like, "everything needs vacuumed" and started out. Prior to this experience, I thought vacuum cleaners were just a noisy, necessary evil used to suck up dust and dirt. I soon discovered, they are not only noisy, and evil, they will hurt a person.
The self-propelled feature means the machine will take off, either forward or backwards, with the slightest provocation. I tried not to provoke it, but as soon as I hit the "ON" switch, it raced backwards over my bare foot. Hard little spinning wheels and beating brushes cleaned my foot of any dirt that may have been there, plus the first layer of skin. Cursing over the roar of the machine, I pushed the handle forward and it slammed into the couch.
Up to this time, the dog had been eyeing me suspiciously. A noisy machine, run by a madman, was eating the couch and she knew she was next. She ran from the room in terror. She is a fairly large dog, but I did not see her again until several hours after I was done. I do not know where she hid, but she did a good job of staying clear away from me and my roaring monster. She must have been on the top shelf of the closest, as that is the only place I did not go with the vacuum cleaner.
When I completed my task, I stopped to admire the fine work I had done. Sweat was glistening off my brow and trickling down my now sore back. Surprisingly, I think that doctor had been right about this job being hard on one's back. I have dragged 300-pound deer out of 20-foot ditches that did not hurt my back like this. It also makes a person's feet sore, scares the dog and marks up the furniture. I am not so sure clean is such a good thing.
I know I will continue to run the monster machine until my wife gets better, but have a better understanding of what house cleaning is about. I also know, if I need help dragging a deer, for my wife, it would be an easy job after running that vacuum cleaner.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.