I think this makes 35 weekly posts in a row. I’m kind of impressed that I’ve made it that far.
Number Three Son made it down from Ohio last week for Christmas break, and got to see us in Nutcracker Sunday. He’s off for a couple of weeks from his farm job, and it’s nice to have him around.
Monday, he and I went to Lowe’s for materials for the next project at Wayfarer’s Refuge. Diana and I have been talking about paving the driveway and parking area almost since we moved here. It’s got a gravel apron, about 40 feet of asphalt, and the rest is hard dirt with grass here and there. We finally found the funds to have the whole thing done in concrete, so that’s going to happen in the next couple of months.
Before the concrete goes down though, I need to run some conduit to set up a power source for Christmas lights. For the last few years, we’ve run both the house lights and the display stuff from one outlet in the garage. Shame on me, I know. That involved a 100-foot extension cord to get power down to where the main outdoor lights go, then a rabbit trail of extensions to the various devices.
Recall that a few months ago, we had a utility pole and security light moved. When OGE decommissioned the old pole, I asked them to cut it off about three feet above the ground rather than remove it. I’m going to mount a two-gang or three-gang outlet there, powered by its own breaker in the garage, and use that for Christmas displays. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, but with the concrete project finally moving ahead, it’s time to get the conduit buried. And with Number Three Son in town, Diana off work for two weeks to watch Grandson, and Number Two Son off work after Christmas, I think we’ll be able to rent a trencher and get the conduit buried well before the concrete guy wants to get to work.
It occurred to me after we bought the conduit that as long as we’re renting a trencher next week, we might as well go ahead and trench for the electric line I want to run to our pool area. We usually power the filter pump with an extension cord, but that’s a pain to deal with when I’m mowing. I’ve got the cable, so I might as well buy the extra conduit and dig the hole while I can.
We seem to have weathered the stupid cold pretty well. It got down to 1 above zero Thursday night and wasn’t much warmer on Friday. I figured out Wednesday night that the batteries on my weather station sensor had died. In anticipation of the cold snap I got up on the roof at 8:30 at night to change them. It seemed like the thing to do at the time.
I’ve been working steadily if slowly on my Storyworth “assignments,” having knocked out 13 of the 52-ish prompts so far. Some are a little taxing emotionally, which I suppose is a good thing. The current one is especially so. “What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?”
I’ve played “what-if” far too much throughout my life. I know: big surprise for a writer, right? But the hard part for me is that when I think about what I’d do differently, I realize that changing some decisions I made or actions I took twenty or thirty years ago would make some people disappear. What if I hadn’t met First Wife when I did? That would change the course of the relationship if not negate it completely. That would keep Oldest Son from being born. I’d hate for that to happen. I love him and I’m glad he’s in my life.
On the other hand, I don’t think anyone who knows me and his mother really thinks we had a healthy relationship. Would my life have been better if I’d not spoken to her day we met? Or if I hadn’t taken back up with her after I left the Army? Different, certainly. Healthier? Probably, at least in some areas. Better? How can you quantify better?
If I hadn’t met her, I likely wouldn’t have Oldest Son. But I also likely wouldn’t have met Diana, because I met her after First Wife and I separated, and I was still in my hometown at the time because of that relationship. When I left the Army, I’d had plans to go to Embry-Riddle in Florida for an aviation-related degree. But I wrote First Wife a letter not long before my discharge, and we started dating within a week or so of my return home, and my college plans fell by the wayside for another dozen years.
And without Diana, none of the other kids would have come along.
That’s the kind of stuff that screws me up when I start asking what-if questions.
Merry Christmas, y’all.
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