Monday, June 16, 2014

Getting Ripped

I've been volunteering at a local hardwoods sawmill. New York Heartwoods, to be specific, which is run by, of all random things to find in nowhere upstate New York, another woman from Montana, and specializes in salvaging downed and diseased local hardwoods and milling and kiln-drying them for woodworkers, artisans, retail stores . . . you get the idea. Aside from the fact that I feel completely incompetent (hence the Competence Project), spending a few hours there makes my week. I wish I could rewind all my school years and career years and go back and learn how to do something useful like this. I mean, I correct grammar for a living. Much as I enjoy grammar, it's not, in real-life terms, all that useful.

The very first day I was there was back in January, and we rode the tractor over to a neighbor's collapsed barn to salvage 8-foot beams for a local woodworker. If you click here you can see a photo of us doing just that. I am the person in the blue coat pulling something out of that really precarious pile of barn wood.

That something was a barn beam. The thing about old barn beams is that they often have a lot of nails in them. Very old, very rusty, very long, and very, very sharp. I was bracing the beam while it was being chainsawed down, and it slipped on my leg. See those nails? It was one of those.

My very first day branching out (so to speak) in an effort at competence? I ended up driving to the doctor's office for a tetanus shot. These are my only pair of jeans. My husband repaired them that evening because I loathe sewing and only do it under duress. He didn't know that what he pulled out of the sewing box was silk embroidery thread over seventy years old that had belonged to my great-grandmother. What a convoluted world.

Did you know that tetanus shots make your teeth hurt like hell? Nobody told me that. I thought I needed a root canal. And underneath this ragged seam is a dull line that very much resembles my C-section scars. Except less painful because I didn't rip any staples out of this. Hands down, I'd rather get scarred by ancient nails poking out of barn beams than go through pregnancy again.

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