Sometimes it pays to stay put

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The author's daughter chills out in her backyard after a weekend of cleanup and relaxation.
The author’s daughter chills out in her backyard after a weekend of cleanup and relaxation.

I’m starting to get up there in age. I ache, yet I spent a good deal of the weekend outside doing yard work.

It was one of the best weekends of the year, so far.

Did I mention I don’t think I left our property except to back the truck out of the driveway so my wife could go somewhere?

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It was that kind of home-based weekend at the Corcorans. It was just what the doctor ordered: relaxation and quality family time.

Our daughter is in the middle of dance season. She’s three competitions down and had two more to go, including this coming weekend here in Chatham.

But it’s been go, go, go for weeks now, and it was nice to slow things down. My wife does the vast majority of the heavy lifting in terms of organizing our daughter for dance, taking her to competitions, preparing her hair, makeup, etc. It’s a good thing, too. I shudder to think of how our girl would look if I were in charge.

But this past weekend, dance was an afterthought and we focused on relaxing and doing stuff around the house.

I have an arthritic hip now, so manual labour can be particularly taxing (not that I was ever really in love with it in the first place, mind you). But I like to putter in the yard.

And that’s what I did Friday, on a cloudy day. I cleared up around the stream of our pond, coaxed the three frogs that had taken up residence in our pond skimmer to find a new home (yes, they all peed on me as I had to pull them out by hand) and fired up the pump, much to our fishes’ delight.

After fixing a leak in the hose just a few inches from the pump, I called it a day (we were relaxing, after all).

For starters, I had to head to Frick’s Fish ‘N’ Chips in town. It was Good Friday, after all, and there are Catholics in our house. It was worth the 45-minute wait, and I got there just after 4 p.m.

Our daughter loves their chicken fingers, and is now hooked on their fish.

Saturday delivered us into the front yard, for a time. Again, we were relaxing and puttering, so there was no overdoing it on the weekend. We cleaned up the yard, waved and chatted with the neighbours and just enjoyed the fact it wasn’t snowing and wasn’t cold. I have a feeling we weren’t alone in that regard all weekend long around this part of the province.

And I know I wasn’t the only Chathamite to fire up the barbecue for dinner that night. As I was turning the sausages, I came to the realization of how much I love to barbecue, and that we should plan our meals in greater detail and avoid any lazy trips to fast-food central (bad hip = I must lose weight). Heck, I could willingly barbecue from March through to the end of November (and guys like Mike Bennett might say I’m a wimp and I should grill all year long).

Nothing makes you want to cook on the backyard grill more than a clean, ready-to-rock barbecue, and a fridge full of raw meat (and some veggies).

Sunday delivered probably the best day of the weekend, from a weather and a family standpoint. We hit the backyard for some light-duty yard work, for starters. Our daughter is already a whiz with the lawn vac (think a vacuum that looks like a lawn mower). I introduced her to the leaf vac that has a harness that fits over her shoulder. She’s a natural.

She’s also a natural with the weed torch. There are few things as therapeutic as napalming weeds. OK, no napalm, but it does use propane. She takes more precautions with it and does a better job burning weeds and being aware not to accidentally torch other items, such as her feet or lawn furniture, than I do.

Smart kid.

She was so good with the weed torch that we sent her next door to take care of the weeds that had grown up between our neighbour’s patio stones.

An afternoon outdoors puttering and listening to music merits a reward – more meat on the grill.

My sister-in-law and her son joined us for shrimp skewers, grilled zucchini and cauliflower, chicken and sausage. Yeah, it was as good as it sounds.

It was a fitting end to a great, relaxing weekend hanging out with family.

 Bunny apprentice

 My wife did an awesome job filling in for the Easter Bunny Sunday. Kids, as you approach adolescence, the Easter Bunny often relies on parents to step up and help out. He focuses on bringing chocolate and joy to the youngsters.

Our daughter loves searching for stuff, so she needed an egg hunt, despite the fact she’s 12 now. Maybe she’ll be a detective when she’s older, a chocolate detective.

But I digress. My wife wanted to give her a worthy hunt, so she popped out of bed just after 7 a.m. Sunday and started filling plastic eggs with goodies.

And then she spread them around the house. But that wasn’t good enough. She went outside and put the eggs in the front and backyard. If I had stayed awake, I might have looked out to see if the neighbours got a good giggle over that.

But our girl certainly did. She was up early. Actually, she was awake before my wife started hiding the eggs, but remained patient.

Off she went, inside and out, tracking down eggs, in her pyjamas and a hoodie. Again, more potential giggles for the neighbours.

I watched from first the front porch, then the back steps, as she hunted down the eggs.

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