Friday, July 13, 2012

Hard Work and the Art of Suppression

Mrs. Blackwell and I are preparing to move and, if there are more laborious, tedious jobs than packing and moving, I've yet to find them. 

Grandpa would relax during a ball game. Everywhere else?
Well, there was work to be done everywhere else.
We've got a little over two weeks until we ship off for our new home about 450 miles north of our current place. In atypical fashion for us, Mrs. Blackwell and I have begun packing. 

Chipping away at the work instead of trying to tackle it all at once seems a prudent approach. 

It's also proved to be a good way for us to get to know more about each other. 

As we work together, it becomes more and more apparent that my wife and I share differing philosophies on some things. 

Namely, my wife believes that moving doesn't have to be a torturous, soul-sucking burden in which the newly created empty spaces are filled with expletives.

Much of my perception of manual labor was shaped by working with my Grandfather.  I loved the man but, given the choice between laying concrete with him or working in a North Korean labor camp, go ahead and book my ticket to Pyongyang. 

So, that's where my approach was forged. 

Manual labor means putting on your game face, being generally surly and forfeiting the right to have hurt feelings. You get the job done right and quickly. And, when you're done, you have a beer and you talk about that time    you remember, about 45 minutes ago    when you were called a "damn dummy." 

"Whew! That was some mighty fine swearing Dad!
Now, please, explain what all that means."

Enjoy hard work? Sure, and while we're at it let's go hunt some flying pigs when we're done. 

I am learning that while this approach might yield successful results, it does have the coinciding effect of completely alienating you from your family. 

Mrs. Blackwell believes manual labor, and moving in particular, can be fun. And, last night, it actually was. We talked as we packed clothing, DVDs, bedding and all sorts of other household debris. Our little guy sat in his cradle and slept and watched as mom and dad laughed and, in general, enjoyed the task at hand. 

Watching him there, I thought that when he gets older I want him to take his mom's approach to hard work and manual labor in particular. My thoughts then continued to how I'd enjoy it if he inherited his great-grandfather's single mindedness with the patience of both of his grandfathers too.

If only it was as easy as picking out the best of your family to give to your kids. Until science figures out a way to accomplish this, all I can do is work hard, force a smile until I actually mean it, suppress the urge to swear and exercise patience. 

So when my little guy gets older, his impression of manual labor will be working with a dad who had a strange grin slapped on his face and who occasionally grunted words like "dooty" and "fudge" under his breath.

No comments: