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Linked Local Network - Mark Michniak - Community Voice

Here in the Chicago area, we had a cold winter. Not a lot of snow, maybe an average amount, but the temperatures were significantly colder than average this year. This cold spell definitely had an effect on our yard.

We also have a 7 year-old Border Collie named Lucy. We let her run on a dog run in our yard, because we do not have a fence. With most dogs, this is not a problem, but with Lucy, she likes to run A LOT and in the same places. She also wipes her paw when she is done, pushing down hard on the grass and taking a chunk out of the yard. Take both of these acts and the cold weather and our yard was not in good shape this Spring.

Looking at our yard the past few weeks since the last snow melted has not been easy. With the lack of grass in many areas, it has required us to repair more than in past years. So recently, I went to the hardware store and bought 5 bags of different kind of grass seed (seed for sun and shade, seed for high traffic areas, seed for shady areas) along with 6-40lb bags of dirt and got to work repairing the yard.

I started in our front yard and ended two hours later in the backyard. During that time, I raked-up the existing dirt, spread the seed, covered the seed with the dirt I bought, used a wheelbarrow to hall the bags around, and held onto the bags while spreading the seed and dirt. Now even though I workout 3 times a week and it was only 2 hours of work, I know I used muscles I am not use to using. When I finished and put everything away, I was physically fatigued! Worn out. Sore is another good way to describe my physical state.

You know what else I felt? Pride! I looked at everything I had done and it was a great feeling to realize I had done something to help make our house look good again. That feeling of accomplishment was tremendous It also felt great to know that our house was not going to stay in the same shape it was in. I started envisioning our yard having that same sharp look it has always had in the past.

Now this is not my first time doing some hard work around the house. While my wife and I have hired a young guy to do some occasional landscaping for us, I still do some regular work around the house myself including cutting the grass and trimming the bushes. I also have done many projects in my life including helping people move, spread stone in our last home’s landscaping, and digging a ditch to help divert water when it rains, to name a few.

Working this hard makes me realize that I am SO glad I do not do physical labor for a living! Hard physical work like this helps put my life into perspective, especially when I realize that there are people who have to do this kind of work every day. It gives me a greater appreciation when I see anyone doing hard work. Whenever we have people come over to do some work for us I always show my appreciation for their work by offering them something to drink. Having done that kind of work, I understand how something as simple as a glass of water can help make their day a little easier. I understand that when they go home at the end of the day they are as sore and fatigued as I am and then have to get up and do it all over again the next day.

So after the long day, I stood in a hot shower for 20 minutes and let the warm water hit my tired muscles. I also downed a few Ibuprofen to lesson the pain. At least for me, this pain is something I only have to experience once in awhile.

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