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October 04, 2004

While I Was Away

Back from the weekend, which was exhaustingly full. Three days without a post didn't seem like that long of a time at the front end of it--and I always assume there will be dead time somewhere that will need filling, even when I know in my heart that possibility is extremely unlikely, but by the time Sunday evening rolled around it felt like the last stages of a extended tour of the blank spaces in the map.

Worse, and as anyone who does this regularly will tell you, the inertial moment one has to overcome in order to get back into the habit of posting grows larger with every day that passes without one.

I figure that, on average, that moment gets large enough to kill a lot of blogs, especially ones less than a year or so old, after about a week--a theory I base largely on my memory of what it's like to return to the 'sphere after the yearly fishing trip. The temptation to chuck the whole thing and regain some free time is undeniable. I haven't succumbed to the temptation, but I'd wager that a lot of people have. Blogging is a Sisyphean task at the best of times, and aside from a fortunate few--a group that I realize many would say Hraka belongs too, as ludicrous as that sounds to me--that's all it will ever be.

But Sisyphus labored in solitude. He enjoyed none of the advantages even very minor blogs enjoy; the idea that one is not laboring alone, and the knowledge that there is an audience out there watching, however large or small it may be. A few people go a powerful long way towards making the rock seem lighter--though even then the temptation remains, because one gets used to the size of the audience. Familiarity breeds contempt, even in web stats.

Note: This hypothesis may not hold once the audience for a blog reaches a particular size. In the unlikely event that Hraka's daily audience numbers ever grow into the thousands, I'll test again.

As for the actual events of the weekend--Friday morning I worked feverishly in an attempt to clear my schedule for Friday afternoon, which I then spent mowing two yards, mine and my neighbors, who had jetted off to England, the lucky childless bastards. Then, as it was the time of the season, I reseeded and re-fertilized them both.

Now, technically I didn't need to reseed and re-fertilize any yard other than my own, but here's the rub. If I didn't, they wouldn't--though they are in every other way fine, upstanding and worthy neighbors--and having to stare a bare brown patch of ground just inches away from my manicured (hardly) and succulent (in theory) greenery grates at my very soul. It's like putting a knotted and twisted ball of string just out of the reach of an OCD patient.

Once that was done it was time to set up for the next morning’s neighborhood yard sale--past time if one asked the SW, who viewed (and views!) my obsession with the neighbor's lawn with the same sort of amused detachment Torquemada had for the Secret Jews.

Saturday would then be the day of the yard sale, where we made just enough to purchase various and sundry toddler outfits for Scotty M. from proprietors of the other yard sales. I also bought a bike for the Ngnat--a faded pink one, with training wheels. The conveyance in question was being sold for $15, but I browbeat its nine-year-old owner into accepting $10 and departed with it, excessively proud of my parsimony.

Then came the planting. Petunias or pansies or some other wussy flowers that die every year and must be replaced for the wife, and mums for me. Mums I like, because they come back every year and grow to the size of bushes, which means I need never dig in the same spot again. Also, they attract an incredible variety of wildlife. I saw a Praying Mantis mating ball in one just the other day.* SW holds the opinion that if God meant for my mums to grow to the size of a yuppie’s ottoman he would have never allowed our marriage to occur in the first place.

So far I have prevailed in the Struggle of The Mums, but every day brings a fresh challenge. The current line of attack is that they unbalance the exterior of the house. My current defense is to offer to plant more mums.

Sunday meant Sunday school and church. We went to the first and skipped the second. It was Communion Sunday, and, as I keep telling the Jehovah's witnesses at the front door, we still had some Jesus left over from last month.

Well, no. We actually skipped church so we could do more church later on. The congregation was having some sort of get-together at West Point on the Eno and I had been tapped to lead children around and introduce them to the wonders of nature.

There wasn't that much of a crowd, so the wonders of nature consisted mostly of letting the kids damn up a smallish creek, which inevitably uncovered crayfish, a ground skink or two and a number of patent leather beetles, one of which I induced to crawl around on my face, to the intense physical distress of a couple of the mothers.

Highlight of the day, if you ask me. After that the rest of weekend was free--all seven hours of it.

*By "mating ball," I mean there were five or six males clinging to one female, all desperately attempting to mate at the same time. It looked like a giant green pinecone. For more on the mating habits of the mantis, click here.

Posted by Bigwig at October 4, 2004 02:07 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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Comments

Better a sysyphean task, than a promethean task. 'Cuz Sysyphus only had to push his rock up a hill over and over again, whereas Prometheous got strapped to his rock and birds picked out his liver over and over again. I think that's how Glenn Reynolds probably feels. Either way, I guess you meant to say it's a titanic struggle.

Posted by: Blackavar at October 4, 2004 05:18 PM

As for the mating balls, you could have just said "praying mantis sausage party" and we'd have known exactly what you meant. Would've save some of that valuable bandwidth...

Posted by: Blackavar at October 4, 2004 05:19 PM

Will you move and come be my neighbor? ;)

After being without electricity for 7 days because of Charley (though I did get in a couple of posts from laptop/dialup, I have to agree that a week is probably about right. It _was_ hard to start again.

Posted by: Kathy K at October 4, 2004 05:44 PM
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