By Joe Rector

Being confined can begin to affect anyone after a while. This COVID-19 is infecting millions, killing thousands, and depressing an entire country. Cases are again on the rise, and before long, we might be back where we were during the worst of times, and that means things will close down again. I’ve had a spurt of energy, most likely caused by being stuck at home most of the time. That’s good for completing projects around the home, but not so good for my old body.

Pulling weeds isn’t one of my favorite tasks, but I’ve worn my hands raw doing so. The flower beds are now as clean as a whistle. The areas around the pool would be neat and tidy as well, but Amy read that leaving the dead stalks of flowers gives birds seeds to eat. Eventually, I’ll be able to cut those things down.

Leaves are beginning to fall, and my property is full of trees. Most are oaks, and they stingily let go of their leaves. I usually rake, blow, and mow leaves until January, at which time I yell, “Uncle!” The remaining leaves will fall by spring. I hate dealing with leaves because the end result is that I come down with an upper respiratory infection from the dust and mold. Still, keeping the yard clean requires plenty of time, something of which I have plenty right now.

Winterizing around here eats hours. I have to lug all the pool furniture to the basement and to a small outbuilding. I cover the pump and other waterlines that might freeze during the winter. Amy always likes to sit on the screened porch in the cold weather, so the propane tank for the fire pit needs to be filled, and the heating lamp bulb needs to be working. Reels must be put in the dry after hoses have been drained.

Projects inside are keeping me busy as well. I decided to paint my office. My son Dallas had a five-gallon bucket left from sprucing up his condo. The green walls in my room were covered in marks, and a coat of gray paint spruced the place up. I cut in the baseboard on my hands and knees and climbed a ladder to paint around the ceiling. The room looked nice with the contrasting white woodwork.

I was going to paint my bathroom with the same color until Amy stepped in. She suggested that a bathroom that was smaller than a closet need a lighter color. Yes ma’am! I found some white paint and poured about a half-gallon in the gray bucket. After some mixing, the gray was much lighter, and I began the painting process. In a bathroom, painting behind a sink and toilet and above the shower stall requires a contortionist. More clean-up of paint drips and drabs are required. I finished and liked the results, regardless of what others thought.

The problem with all this “virus-work” is that an old body suffers. My arthritic hands ache. Joints creak and pop, and sore muscles throb. The most upsetting part of all is realizing how difficult getting up from the ground or floor has become. I found it necessary to get a chair or the ladder to push up and get to my feet. After cleaning up the equipment, I took a bath and sat down on the couch. Before long, I’d dozed off and felt as if all my strength had disappeared.

For a million reasons, I hope this pandemic is conquered before long. One of the biggest reasons is that I want to hop in the car and go somewhere that doesn’t involve any kind of work. I might just go to stores and simply walk around and look for hours. With winter coming, my lists of projects will increase, but my desire to complete them will dwindle.