Day 24 – The Damn Water Feature

2013.03.17I have been working on a water feature in the corner of my patio for the past five years.  Every spring I tear out the old, broken equipment and liner and start over.

I draw up plans, I buy equipment, I move rocks, I shovel dirt.  I evaluate the flow, the sound and the visual.  Often, I start over with a new plan in an effort to create that perfect look and sound.

My hope is that some day I will be done.  The day will come when it is the perfect addition to my back yard oasis.  But I doubt it. I suspect that this will be a work in progress as long as I have a pump and a bucket and a pile of stone.  If I was honest, the process is as much fun as the final goal.

This is also true about my body and mind.  This Journey to 50 is very much the same.  I watch my calories, track my activity, change my pattern and habit and within a few days realize that I need to make some other minor alterations to get it just right:  Ride the bike more.  Walk the dog farther.  Eat less ice cream and more green vegetables.

It is a never ending program.  Of course, there is an end-goal, but getting there is most of the battle.  Today I weighed in a 207.2.  That’s not down much from last week.  But my goal is 1/2  a pound a week.  So not much is better than none at all.

Some day I will have the perfect water feature.  Some day I’ll have a better body and mind.  Each require constant assessment and maintenance.  Each demand appreciation for the process.

A Little Fixer-Upper

IMG00066My wife and I play a little game.  We look for houses that might be interesting to buy.  We’re never serious, we just point out homes that have “For Sale” signs in their front yard.  As we note their sign, we also determine whether or not we would be interested in moving into the home.  These decisions are based on several important factors, including location, style of home, the materials used in construction, and the effort needed to make them livable.

Some homes require a touch of paint or some concrete work to make them habitable.  Several are beyond repair.  Occasionally we view a home that might work as-is, but this is a rare occurrence.

Sometimes we drive through very nice neighborhoods; perfect neighborhoods, with beautiful tree-lined streets, boasting  million-dollar homes.  Its on these drives that my funny, funny wife will point out the window and say, “There’s a little fixer-upper.”  And we just Laaaaaugh!

Last night a friend of ours mentioned buying into one of the newest ideas in home ownership:  No or Low Maintenance Homes.  In case you’ve never heard of these, allow me to explain.  If you are smart enough to move your worldly belongings into one of these fashionable dwellings, you benefit from the fact that you will never have to mow the yard, weed the flowerbeds, shovel the walks or paint the walls.  You don’t have to repair the roof, replace the siding or point-tuck the bricks.  This is the kind of living every home owner dreams of, right?

But here’s the rub:  There is no such thing as a no maintenance home.  Every home, every single one, requires maintenance.  The marketing department for these abodes has done a great job in convincing you that it is the perfect home when, in reality, these residences are just like every other.  The difference is that someone else does the maintenance.  Someone else mows the yard, pulls the weeds, paints the walls.  The work is still required.  The difference is that the effort is someone else’s.

Maintenance is reality, whether you or someone else is doing the work.  It’s true of homes and its true of the reset of life.

Plants need watered, tended and trimmed.

Dogs need walked, groomed and loved.

Cars need gassed up, oil changed, and tuned.

Kids need food, clothes, shelter, money, more food and more clothes, more money…Actually, the kids’ list is endless.

There’s no way around it.  Everyone and everything needs maintenance.

If you wake up tomorrow (and I hope you do), you will need maintenance.  If you are like me, the first thing you do in the morning is to shuffle to the bathroom.  Maintenance.  Fix your morning coffee and eat a quick breakfast.  Maintenance.  Shower and shave.  Maintenance.  Everything we do is designed to maintain the bodies we inhabit, the homes in which we live, and the families we love.

Stop the maintenance and you won’t last long.  Ignore the maintenance and the domicile declines.  Increase the attention to the maintenance and the quality of the residence improves.

It’s true with your body, your family or that little fixer-upper you call home.