Yesterday I ran a 5K race, and today I worked in the yard for eight hours straight….I am hoping that I will be able to walk tomorrow morning. Both Dan and I are groaning and moaning this evening, but also feeling really good about everything that we accomplished. This was the first weekend where one or both of us didn’t have a concert or show to work, and we decided to take full benefit of the time and the beautiful weather.
The forecast called for rain today, so after breakfast and the obligatory trip to Lowe’s for project needs and a quick run by the grocery store, we headed home to get right to work. Mr. MacKenzie had his list of chores set, involving mounting two new outdoor speakers and several other deck projects. Mrs. MacKenzie was going to work the perimeter. I felt a strong pull to clean up the area between our home and the burned out apartments, and the alley, too. I often feel like I am the keeper of the alley, as most people ignore it, but since I travel it each day to get to my garage (and Dan does, too, now thanks to the fire), I like for it to look nice. It’s always happier to come home to tidy and neat, rather than wild and chaotic. I also have worried about our home since the fire…we’ve been told to be on the lookout for looters, sadly, and I want there to be no doubt that our home is lived in and loved.
I began by enjoying some of the beautiful blooms that had just opened. I love our yard and so appreciate the gifts of color, especially in spring and summer. The real work began as I started with Dan’s driveway, cleaning up leaves and battling the Virginia Creeper that had begun to take over. Once that was under control, I broke out the weed-eater to do battle with the weeds along the alley. I have a love/hate relationship with the weed-eater- it just about makes me lose my religion each time I try to re-string it or start it. Dan said this was the first time he heard me start it without cursing, so I guess that’s progress. I went up and down the alley, trimming a wide swath of weeds and picking up any trash. No one may care but me, but it makes Me feel good to see my little corner of the world looking loved.
Once that was done, I began trimming the ivy and bushes on our fence line by the apartments and cleaning up some of the mess left by the horrible fire. There was ash and charred pieces of wood everywhere, and for the first time, I saw the burned tree branches hanging over from our property to the apartments. I felt a wave of gratitude again- if the weather had been different, our house would be gone, too. I also noticed another issue in the shared driveway between our home and the apartments- nails. Lots of nails. They were everywhere, and J must have picked up at least two hundred of them, some still embedded in charred pieces of wood. The driveway is cordoned off right now, but I would hate for anyone to get nails in their tires if they tried to drive up the steep hill.
After many hours, it was rewarding to look up the drive and see progress. It was also surreal to see chaos from the fire on one side, and beautiful green and normalcy on the other. We hope that they will raze the apartments soon and start fresh. My heart still catches each time I think of what our apartment neighbors lost on Memorial Day. As I worked, I said prayers of hope for them, and sent peace to the charred remains of the apartments.
By the end of the day, J was literally a hot mess, my hands dyed orange from sweating so much in my yard gloves (or was that from the Color Run yesterday?), and filthy. Dan and I headed to the showers and then made a wonderful pesto mozzarella pizza for dinner (okay- Dan made the pizza…I just grated some Parmesan cheese and cleaned up.). We enjoyed dinner on the sun porch as we watched evening fall. I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be- or anyone else I’d rather be with.
It will be a busy few days for both of us, with lots to accomplish before we head to North Carolina later in the week. We’ve decided that the MacKenzie team is a good one- we get a lot done and have a great time doing it….or at least we will when the soreness goes away. Pass the Advil, would you?