1. Organize. Pack.
"Whatcha doing?" Dad calls down the hall occasionally after I disappear.
"Packing. Organizing. Throwing stuff away," I call in reply from my spot on the floor surrounded by a tub for stuff I want, box for stuff I don't (but that's still good) and trash bag for crap. It shocks me that after hours spent doing this, so very little is done. I've dealt with books (small percentage - 3 tubs and counting), clothes (perhaps most - the master closet is as done as I can accomplish without forsaking clothes completely for the next month. Nobody, including me, wants that.)
But there is a pile of tubs growing in the garage. I'm making slow progress. But I have a lot of stuff.
"I could raise the deck," Dad offered loudly over the roar of the mower.
"It's fine," I said in return, continuing to shove the machine through the tall, thick grass.
"You shouldn't let it get this long," he told me, following along behind me while I wondered why he couldn't go find anything else to do.
"It's fine," I repeated, slowly clipping a path through the grass. "Thanks for trimming the edges," I called as he continued to walk with me. "It looks very nice." I saw him nod and sighed when he moved away to make sure one of the fence slats was secure.
"You're only mowing half as much as you could," he told me on my next lap. Pointing to how I don't use the full width of the mower deck, overlapping my rows pretty liberally.
"I know," I replied. "This is how I do it."
"I could raise the mower deck," he said again, reaching toward the handle.
"No," I said, clinging to control in our little land battle. "This is how I do it."
"But it's too slow," he argued.
"No," I repeated, shoving at the mower and dabbing at my face. "This is how I do it." I had just congratulated myself on my victory when the mower sputtered to a stop.
"It's out of gas," Dad said gleefully. I nodded and walked around to the garage to get the little red tank.
"He's moving the deck up," I muttered to myself as I trudged back to the gate. "I just know it."
I couldn't resist a grin when he straightened away from the final wheel and took two quick steps away when he saw me return. He tried to look innocent as I quietly filled the tank and screwed on the cap.
"I raised the deck," he finally offered.
"Never thought you wouldn't," I sighed as I stood and started the mower again. I shook my head and smiled at him while he grinned back.
3. Touch up paint.
"There are the two spots on my ceiling - water leaked or something - and they've been there forever."
"We'll get special primer," Dad decided. But before we had a chance to acquire some, we decided to fill in some of the spots that appeared after my roof was done. "The nails are coming through the drywall," he said after we maneuvered the huge ladder he found for me (it lives in the garage) to reach the tall ceiling. So instead of a chainsaw up a tree, there was a pocket knife up a ladder as he scraped at the nail heads before dabbing spackle over them.
We met at the paint counter this afternoon, each having examined a different aisle, holding different chips and deciding whether the exterior paint we'd use to touch up the door frame out back should be more yellow or tan. We finally agreed and asked the nice paint man to mix it for us. After selecting a small brush and carrying the special primer he needed, I paid and we moved toward my car to come home.
"That looks much better," I praised as I glanced up at him carefully covering the stain and smoothing the paint on my textured ceiling. "But my head is killing me. I'm going to take a quick nap." Focused on his project while I cursed my allergies, he nodded absently as I escaped down the hall.
I jumped when he woke me about two hours later. "Come see if the paint color is OK," he said, obviously ready for me to be done sleeping. I made some noise of startled exasperation and finally shuffled down the hall to say I thought it looked beautiful. "You did an excellent job," I yawned.
4. Do something fun.
"Friend sent me stuff about racing this weekend," I told him this morning. "There are drag races on Friday - apparently people just bring vehicles from home and race them." I looked dubious until I glanced over and saw him visibly brighten. "We could go do that," I concluded and he nodded happily.
He called Mom to tell her so she could be suitably jealous. He's going to take his camera. I'm pleased he'll get to do something worth telling his friends about on his return home. And I'm trained to suffer through races - I did it all the time growing up - so I'll be OK. Friend foolishly agreed to tag along, though she'll have to be at work crazy-early to actually participate in the 'let's go watch cars!' plan. We'll see how that goes.
But as far as project 'get house ready' goes, it's coming right along. And I'm rather enjoying the time with Dad - I love him a lot.