Saturday, May 19, 2012

Feats of Strength

I spent a gorgeous Saturday at work, trying to communicate with demented little old ladies who don't speak English and getting covered in tube feed solution by a little old man who did speak English, but disconnected his feeding tube and plugged it into his bed alarm. The pump didn't know that the tube was now feeding liquid nutrition to an electronic device. Good times. My darling BestestHusband was at home with the girls, and arranged a play date with our friend Chris and his daughter, who is HeyMama's bestie and MeToo's rock star idol. The girls of course were overjoyed to play together. RockStar and my girls played in the yard while BestestHusband and Chris had plans for a day filled with Feats of Strength.

My darling BestestHusband is a huge fan of Seinfeld. He's also a weekend warrior extraordinaire. He sits at a desk being brilliant all week, and has the need to exercise a bit of his brawn on the weekends. When I first met him, I couldn't help but notice his height and broad shoulders. Those were the days when we could row and exercise on a regular basis. (Don't ask him about the Head of the Charles and his herniated disk. Still painful. The memory. Not the back...) Now, he walks dogs and bikes to work to get a bit of exercise. Not quite the same. So I'm convinced that he has a primal urge to do Feats of Strength, like leveling the back yard by hand. And pushing boulders up a hill. Poor Chris just got recruited to help with both jobs...

BestestHusband has been putting in a new garden for a few weeks now. The missing piece was the cornerstone of the rock retaining wall, a giant boulder he had dug up while leveling the yard that he decided would be the ultimate stabilizing force of the entire garden. If he could just get it up the hill... He's been working on that little element for several days now. He estimates that it's in the 300-400 lb range. He  attempts to roll it up the hill, and stops when he gets to the point of muscle fatigue. Then he comes inside, and tries again another day. He was making gradual process. He got the brilliant idea to use a moving dolly. Our friends around the corner just happened to have one. I suspected it was not the best tool for the job. I figured a team of draft horses was more up to the task...

But BestestHusband has his plans. And a need to do back-breaking manual labor. And I happen to like his broad shoulders, and figure that back-breaking manual labor probably plays a role in their maintenance. So after stating my opinion, I shut up and made plans to spend a gorgeous day indoors. I didn't plan on getting covered in yuck. Rookie mistake...

Moving the boulder proved to be a sisyphean task. Literally. Instead of getting the boulder up the hill, it just rolled further and further down the hill. 2 strong men. 1 strong moving dolly. 1 nasty boulder. The boulder won.

Anyway, I came home to a newly-renovated garden. BestestHusband resigned himself to using smaller boulders, and moved a few large shrubs to further demonstrate his strength. I can't complain about the results. The garden is quite stunning, considering that it had previously been a series of unhelpful slopes. We now have a level and fertile span of yard neatly delineated by rocks that BestestHusband dug out from under our failing grass. It will look even better when our plants have matured and have food on them. 

Our new garden.

Some of the smaller boulders BestestHusband dug up.

The compromise boulders that made up the final corner.

The rock wall from the side.
The boulder and the dolly.

Closeup of the boulder.

The boulder and dolly are significantly downhill from the intended wall corner.

Darker spots on ground indicate higher points that the boulder once rested. Oh well. 

So I'm off to apply a tube of muscle rub to my BestestHusband, Sisyphus. If anyone else is interested in a day involving Feats of Strength, let me know. I'm sure we have some more projects on the ToDo list.


  1. I'm just glad no one was seriously injured trying to roll that up the hill. Having moved boulders that size, I can attest that it's really more a feat of engineering, not of strength. However, a wise wife does know when to state her opinion and go back inside! Good for you. In the book I just read the author says there's a certain way his wife says okay to his schemes that is almost like she's said "I told you so" in advance...
    Now the engineer in me can't help but say for the record that any tool involving wheels was not the right one. Give me an A-frame, rope, and a hand winch, and that boulder could go wherever you like. It would still take a fair amount of time, especially if we had to build the A-frame first. But the wife in me says you should just tell Bestest that the garden looks lovely, and down a hill is a great place for a boulder.

    1. The A-frame and winch were definitely tools on the wish list. It was just the dolly that was available...

      I don't think the battle with the boulder is over. I expect a rematch in the future.

  2. "...who is HeyMama's bestie and MeToo's rock star idol..."

    So maybe Chris is Bestest's "boulder star idol?"