By MIKE WEST
Most of us have at least one "boss."
Personally, I have several. And I don't mean that in a bad way.
Naturally, there's "Big Ron," my work boss. He's a keeper like the rest of them, which (generally) include friends and family.
It's just that things can get a little busy from time-to-time, especially for a slacker like myself. A slacker, you say? Well maybe that's not exactly right. The good, old dictionary defines slacker as "one who deliberately avoids work or duty."
OK, maybe I'm not a slacker, but I do enjoy a bit of loafing time. Example? Watching a little football on Saturday afternoons and maybe Sunday afternoons too while enjoying some homemade nachos. Did I mention taking a nap or three? Yep, that too.
Unfortunately, weekends are the time I have to get things done and that "to-be-done" list is a long, long one.
So I'm usually up with the chickens and go-go-go. And yes, there's often events I must cover for the newspaper like the recent White Oak Fest. So, instead of a leisurely breakfast, I am sucking down an egg and cheese biscuit from the nearest hot-spot.
Trouble is, when compared to my brothers and some other family members, I'm a slacker. They are in overdrive every day of the year. But my latest project may put me back in the lead. We are working on building a house on the family farm near Short Mountain. That's where it gets complicated.
We have ideas, but we also have a budget ... a tight budget.
But for some strange reason, all I can think about is the plight faced by Jed Clampett and family but I'm thinking the reverse of the "swimming pools, movie stars" lifestyle of Beverly Hills.
I can't help but visualize myself sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch waiting on the approach of fall. Yes, enjoying a cool breeze as the leaves begin to turn. The thought of raking up all those leaves never enters my brain.
Then there's the crackle of a nice little fire warming up the inside of the little house. Yes, forgetting about how a wood fire warms you three times ... once when you chop the tree down, second when you split it into firewood and three when you haul it inside and set it ablaze. Did I hear the sound of a ambulance siren? Makes me sweat just to think about the process.
Hmmm, so mark fireplace off the list. Good, old HVAC is sounding better by the minute especially when you think about those 90 degree days during July and August.
But back to the cool days of fall and winter. How much does a fireplace cost anyway? Let's see ... $4,000 to $5,000 depending on the stone used. Forget about a chimney. Old Santa is going to have to use the door.
Of course, let us not forget the Missus cooking vittles over a wood fire in our old-fashioned cookstove. That would be a great way of saving gas or electricity? Hmmmm, we can get an Elmira wood cookstove for $4,500 or $5,000. That's a real cost saver! And don't forget the need to split more firewood!
Hmmmm, never mind about that. At least we can have some Southern traditional meals like chicken and dressing or chicken and dumplings. I remember my Granny chasing down hens, wringing their necks and plucking the feathers. Now that was an experience! Oops, I just saw the Missus veto that idea. She would be far more likely to wring my neck...
So back to men's work. It won't be too much longer until hog killing time. That was a real family event that ended up with rows of country ham hanging in the smokehouse. I can just picture my clan out doing that! (Not in a million years!!)
Well anyway, I can visualize my family gardening. Cultivating the earth, sowing the seeds, weeding the rows, picking the produce ... yep, I can see myself all "hunkered" down doing that in the hot summer sun.
I do have a little garden now. Two tomato plants. Oops, make that one tomato plant. But it produced some beautiful tomatoes this summer. They were huge. One was nearly the size of a tennis ball. But at least they were tasty. Too bad I'm the only one in the family who will actually eat a tomato.
Sounds like we are going to have to put a little more thought in our building project, don't you think?