We Have All Summer

People differ in their work habits. Some of us like to roll up our sleeves and get the job done as soon as possible. Perhaps we make lists to assist and remind us of what all we must accomplish, how quickly these tasks need to be completed, and we then plan accordingly. We make sure we allow plenty of time to finish up whatever chores or projects lie ahead of us, and then we breathe a sigh of satisfaction whenever these jobs, be they large or small, are finished, particularly when they are done in a timely manner, without rushing or stressing ourselves overly much. After all, another project may rear its head and we now have time to accomplish that task as well and with a minimum of stress.

Others of us like to procrastinate. We figure there is plenty of time to finish up what needs finishing, and instead of doing a little bit each day or tackling the job head on, we instead watch TV, relax, and figure that tomorrow is another day. Suddenly that job needs done this week, and we work frantically to make the deadline.

My husband and I are these two opposites in our work habits. I like to get the job done. In the spring, I take stock of what needs doing before winter arrives, so I start in May to replenish the woodpile, perhaps stain the cabin, and begin work on whatever projects face us that summer. My husband likes to kick back and relax, preferring to work fast and furious when the snow flies and he is facing an immediate deadline. This might work out as long as one person, (me for example) has patience (I don’t) and trust (I don’t) that the job will get completed on time.

His favorite saying is “We have all summer.” This drives me mad with frustration. For example, when we first moved here, we needed to enclose the well house and the pressure tank. Of course, it was late September when he finally started that job and we worked frantically to beat the cold weather and get the place sheltered. It needed insulation, which didn’t happen that year, and it didn’t happen the next year either, thanks to the fact that we had all summer to get these pesky tasks done, and as a result the job remained unfinished. That meant I had to check the well house twice daily in cold weather and start a propane heater for an hour or so if required to keep the place above freezing. This went on for two winters.

The third winter I broke my ankle and hubby had to check the well house two times each day. Guess what, my husband insulated the place properly the following summer with very little nagging required.

It took two years to stain our cabin thanks to this ‘we have all summer’ idea. I foolishly waited for his help last summer, and heard the constant refrain, ‘we have all summer’ even when August arrived. Of course, the cabin remained unstained, the five-gallon pail of stain sat in the shop all winter, and the job never got started, never mind completed.

This year I decided we definitely needed to apply the stain to the cabin, so I did it myself, just like the little red hen of the children’s story. I hate painting and staining, but if the job is to get done, I have to get at it, so I did.

We needed to build a small shed to house the generator we bought, so I badgered my husband about that for several weeks. He finally began work on the shed, after grumbling to me that we had all summer, so what was the rush and I needed to chill out.

It took my husband most of the summer to build a 4x8 shed. Talk about procrastination. It was too hot, too chilly, or too windy, perhaps the sun went behind the clouds, or he was too tired, the excuses to stall never seemed to end. And he always came back to his favorite refrain, ‘we have all summer.’

Several other projects I wanted done this summer I did for myself, or I needled him every so often to get moving. I reminded him that if he worked just a few hours a day, he could complete these tasks in no time. We wanted a permanent roof ladder so we could clean the chimney safely. He took forever to get that job done, even though he is the one who climbs on the roof and does the cleaning. YouTube and tooling around on the internet held far more attraction for him this summer than getting anything done around here in a timely manner. I finally reminded him in mid-August that he did NOT have all summer, that fall was just around the corner.

Here we are in mid-October, and I am happy to report that badgering DOES work to a certain extent, and rolling up my sleeves and doing the job myself works even better. We do have all the necessary tasks done for winter, the wood is cut, split and stacked, the generator house is completed, the permanent roof ladder is attached and works as we hoped it would. There are other odds and ends I fully expected to have finished this summer that never got off the ground and now will wait for next year, but the essential tasks are done.

We want to get physicals this winter. I told my husband last week that I was going to make appointments for us.

He looked at me in astonishment and said, “What’s your hurry? We have all winter.”


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