Simple projects often turn into epic adventures

It’s funny how a simple, small project can often lead to a larger project and then to another and another until you are somehow cutting down a tree.

This happened to me recently when I had a few days off of work and decided to cut the grass in the yard.

“This will be easy,” I thought to myself smugly. “I sure am smart.”

I kind of like cutting the grass in our yard. It is a satisfying job where you can immediately see the difference, you get tired so you can feel like you worked, and the yard is small enough so that you really don’t work too hard.

While cutting the grass and congratulating myself on how short it looked, though, I noticed how the hedges needed trimmed.

“I’ll do that tomorrow,” I said to myself confidently. “Those hedges don’t stand a chance. I’ll cut them down to size. I sure am funny.”

I should add here that I am locked into a never-ending battle with the hedges in my yard. It’s an epic story that involves love, hatred and thorns. Every few weeks in the summer, it seems that I am trimming the hedges, thinning them, or considering digging them all out of the yard.

The hedges, meanwhile, are scratching me, cutting me and making me itch.

So, on my second day of “vacation,” I decided to take on the hedges and spent several hours cutting them down, cleaning up the remains and speaking to myself about how dumb hedges are.

What kind of a name is that anyway? Hedge! It’s stupid.

If I put a shelf on the top of my bushes would it be a hedge ledge?

If I put a wall up next to my bushes, would I be hedging my hedge?

And what if I promised my neighbor that I would clean up the ends of the bushes to make them look extra nice? Would that be an edge hedge pledge?

When I finally finished the job, my arms were sore from all of the cutting, I had plenty of scratches, and my head hurt from trying to think up so many hedge jokes, but I was pleased to have completed my work.

Soon after I was finished, though, my neighbor wanted to jog, so I rested my arms by jogging slowly for about 27 minutes.


The next day, my wife and I went into the yard to admire my work and to talk about how great I am, when we started also talking about a few tree branches in the back yard. The branches have started hanging very low on the pear tree, so we thought maybe we should continue the trimming by taking some branches off of the tree.

When we started, we were very careful about looking at twigs or small offshoots that seemed to be in bad places and didn’t have any pears on them.

As we went along, though, we started to cut off larger and large branches, and soon we didn’t care if there were pears on them or not. After quite a while, my arms started to get tired again, and we finally stopped after completely changing the look of the tree.

After that, we spent quite a while gathering up branches and cleaning up the yard once again.

Soon after we were finished, my neighbor texted again about jogging, so I rested my arms once again by jogging even more slowly on the same route for 28 minutes.

The next day, I was pretty tired, but my neighbor wanted to jog again, so we had a nice 29-minute run and I was ready to relax for the day.

“I’m glad I don’t have anything else to do the rest of the day. I have this yard in great shape now and I am super tired. I am going to relax and maybe read a book today,” I said to myself naively.

Soon after that inner monologue, one of the children stopped over and my wife went out into the yard to show him how nice the hedges and the pear tree looked. I went outside, too, hoping they would like the yard and talk about how great I am.

While walking around the yard, my wife mentioned how a tree in the front yard was not very healthy in some parts and also had roots that were going into the house.

“I bet I could cut that tree down,” he said, and I laughed a little hoping we would go inside. The tree was at least 30 feet high and it was near the house and a utility line.

It’s nice that he offered, but that wasn’t something we could actually do or we would want to do. I, in fact wanted to take a nap.

“Who wants lemonade,” I said.

And that’s when my wife went inside to get some branch clippers and a saw, and then several of the kids came outside and one went to buy a rope.

“Wait a minute,” I thought to myself. “What are we doing?”

As it turned out, what we were doing was cutting down the tree.

One of the kids climbed up the tree and figured out a plan for it, while another held a rope, my wife gathered up branches and I held the ladder and my tongue.

“How are we cutting down a tree? I have no idea how to do this,” I thought to myself anxiously. “What about the utility lines? How will we avoid the house? What about my nap?”

The children were amazing and figured the whole thing out, and somehow it wasn’t too difficult. We avoided any trouble, no one got injured and the tree came down very well.

Once again we cleaned up the yard and ended the day tired, but satisfied with all of the work we had finished.

And the next day, I went outside, admired how nice our yard looked, thought about all we had accomplished, and then I went back to work.

I was sad to be done with the short vacation, but happy for the opportunity to go back to my office where I could rest my arms, think about all we had accomplished and focus once again on how great I am.


9 thoughts on “Simple projects often turn into epic adventures

  1. As soon as I read the title, I knew I had to read the whole post. I’m planning to paint some furniture (a simple task), and you give a valuable lesson on how to not end up cutting trees to first make new furniture out of scratch and then paint them (a venture of epic proportions). Thank you, Nick. I’m going for a nap now, where I’ll dream about how good my furniture looks with the new paint and how great I am. I hope you’re not writing this from your office.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and it is a good lesson to learn that if you want to paint furniture, you don’t have to cut down the tree and built the furniture out of wood. I am glad that I could help you. I hope you enjoyed your nap and how great you are. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We had a similar weekend battling thorny shrubs and a lawn that refuses to stop growing. I had my eye on two trees that need to come down but the husband cried uncle. He often says he has to go back to work to rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We live in a 114 year old house and there is always a project waiting to be started, continued or completed. Usually these projects have one thing in common…..The Mushroom Factor. That is where a very well defined project begins and mushrooms out of proportion with the well, if we do this, we should do that idea. It seems you kept your mushroom factor to just the outdoors this time. Good for you, you really are great. Good luck on future projects.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the term Mushroom Factor! That is a great point and it explains it very well. Projects definitely seem to mushroom out of control. I agree that I am great, and I will let you know how future projects to. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, you seem to have some very intrepid children about. I start an outside project and I move to a different part of the yard and the next thing I know not only have I not finished the first task but I have forgotten why I came out there in the first place! I would like to know how you rest your arms while jogging?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The children are very smart and are quick at figuring things out. I often get stumped by problems, but they are good at making a plan, and in this case even making a stump. That’s funny about moving from one project to the next and then forgetting about the first one. I can see doing that. And I think when I was jogging, I jogged slowly and focused on how tired my legs were for a while, instead of focusing on how tired my arms were. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

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