99 pieces of wood on the lawn…

…and a yo ho ho and a bottle of Advil.

Last Friday, some township workers knocked on our door to ask me to move my car to protect it from the blighted oak tree they were going to cut down in our neighbors yard . But I asked them if they wouldn’t mind leaving some of that wood on the planning strip so that I could get some firewood out of it.

I had thought that since they were pulling down that tree, it would be semi-soft wood and the wood-chopping would be a semi-easy process. Boy, was I wrong. It turns out that other than the blight (oh, and the fact that it was dead), the wood seemed very healthy. And very strong. And very heavy. The workers did a great job of creating pieces that were not ridiculous for me to chop, but when I went to move one of the pieces (18″ thick and about 3′ across), I found out just how heavy a big piece of oak can be. After trying to set up my wedge and sledgehammer and split the wood, I realized that I was going to need an axe to create a divot big enough to make the wedge stay in. So, off to Home Depot I went.

It turned out that the axe was pretty much all I needed – a couple good whacks and the wood was splitting into nicer sized pieces. But that isn’t to say that it was easy – in fact, it took me about 4 hours to chop the 7 pieces of wood into small enough pieces to be used for firewood. And my non-exercised body just wasn’t ready for that much exercise — even the next morning, I was already feeling it in my lats, my lower back and my ribs.

But, to be honest, the exercise felt good (at the time). I was exhausted but I was in full lumberjack mode, chopping good, solid wood for the fire (next year), working up a sweat and swinging an axe. And heck, I got a bunch of Red Oak Borer larva to put out in the mealworm feeder for the birds (which they emptied in minutes). But it got me in the mood to do stuff around the house, to get the garden ready, put up the bird houses, etc. for spring. I can’t wait for it to get here.

The Coup de Grace

Then last night, I come home to have some minor pangs in my gut. Within 20 minutes, I was doubled over in pain. 20 minutes more, and I was freezing – even under 4 blankets, I just couldn’t get warm. Shivering and shaking, with only my goldens to comfort me (Shari was avoiding me like I was a leper – not that I can blame her since she’s got an immune system that’s not been playing fair). By the time I made it to bed, every joint I had ached, my skin was on fire, my head was killing me and the stomach pain was worse, – and I had a fever of 102.1F. The joint and muscle pain on top of my already strained muscles was a real joy, let me tell you. I thought I had dengue fever, but Shari was pretty sure that I was being a cybercondriac, and it was only the flu. Turns out that she’s probably right – go figure.

On the bright side, since I can barely eat, I’m probably going to lose some weight. And sitting around today gave me the chance to watch a couple movies – Night at the Museum and Planet Terror. The former was a fairly typical Ben Stiller movie, full of slapstick comedy and moderately amusing storyline. Planet Terror was equal parts idiocy and campy amusement. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, this was the first half of the “Grindhouse” double-feature (Quentin Tarantino’s movie of the same name was the second half). If it had been intended to be serious, it wouldn’t have been very good, but the fact that it deliberately reached back to the exploitation B-movies of the late 60’s and 70’s. The acting is deliberately cheesy – and how could it not be when the plot involves a rag-tag group who must join together to fight a zombie menace, led by mechanic with a hidden background and a former go-go girl who gets a machine gun for a prosthetic leg. Add to it the purposely grainy film (think drive-in movie that’s been played 1,000 times), the excessive blood and gore (which is all obviously fake – and pink at times) and the obvious homages to those movies which came before, and it’s obvious what they intended for these films to be. In the end, I liked it, but with an asterisk – you have to go into it with a certain mindset (or the flu) to enjoy it.


6 Responses to “99 pieces of wood on the lawn…

  • Love that book cave and yeah Planet Terror – Grindhouse was kitchy, and moderately enjoyable. I especially like the part where Quentin died. Not because it was well done, just that he died.

  • Yeah, but the melting genitalia thing was kind of disturbing, don’t you think?

    I also got to watch half of “Apocalypto”, which was better than I had expected and 2/3 of “Jaws 2”, which was worse than I remembered. You know you’re sick when you’re surfing for movies and think, “Wow! Jaws 2!!”. Of course, if it had been “Jaws III”, then I’d have known I was a goner.

  • Man, I’m sorry to hear you’re sick. I had never heard “cyberchondriac,” but that’s very funny, I like it. Good job chopping all that wood, that’s manly stuff right there.

  • I just heard of ‘cyberchondriac’ last week – it’s a person who finds diseases on the web while searching their symptoms, and is assured that’s what they have (especially when the disease is highly unlikely).

    Strange Fact of the Day: In this case, I already knew what Dengue Fever was. Credit the fact that I’ve got an unhealthy interest in microbiology and that my cousin had it in Ecuador last month.

  • Sorry to hear how you are feeling! Yeck! Glad you did get out and chop those 7 pieces up! It’s nice knowing a friend with a wood splitter!

  • Well, I actually enjoyed the chopping once I got going – but I think I would have changed my mind if there had been more wood there!

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