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How *Not* to Dig a Hole With Your Spouse

“A 12 x 12 hole in the ground? Why, that’s the size of two graves!” quipped my mother when I told her that my husband and I were going to dig a hole together last weekend.  Already riddled with misgivings about this hole digging expedition, this was decidedly NOT the encouragement I needed.

I’m not handy. I can barely pound a nail, and I don’t know how to operate a drill or a saw. When it comes to hanging a picture, I just pick a random spot and attach the hanger to the wall. If the positioning isn’t perfect, who will see all the holes I made, right? They’ll be behind the picture, completely covered up.

My husband, on the other hand, is hyper-handy. I think the man can do whatever he likes with power tools or make anything with his bare hands and a few ingredients. Hanging a picture, for him, is a scientific exercise of precision. At least fourteen different tools are required – for measuring, marking, leveling, testing, etc., etc., etc. – until I’m just shrieking, “Hang the freaking thing, already!!!”

Opposites may attract and all that, but they decidedly do NOT perform certain tasks well together. Case in point – our hole. We are digging a hole for a basement that will eventually be an outbuilding.

I arrive at the site in my cute workout gear with my hair done just so. My husband shows up in nasty shorts and a white undershirt. Point one for him.

I stare at the 12 x 12 spot all marked out and think it looks a LOT bigger than the last time I saw it. As I’m pondering this, he attacks the spot and has a whole layer of earth broken up for moving. Two points for the man.

Still dallying, I ask just how long it might take to dig this hole. As he’s shoveling, he cheerily says he doesn’t know, because the top layer is littered with roots and junk. But, he’s working, and I’m still not, worth three points for the dude.

I stare around the site, seeking anything that might keep me from having to DO some actual manual labor. This takes at least 15 more minutes, while the mighty man has cleared the way to the lovely red clay underneath the top layer. “Oh, that will definitely soil my cute workout gear,” I say. “Maybe I could do something else?”

He stares at me wiltingly, picks up a hand saw and says, “You can cut down a few of these brush trees around here. You CAN use this thing, can’t you?” he asks as if he’s sure I cannot possibly work the thing without sawing my leg off.

I’m thinking that I’ll likely saw my leg off when he first suggests such an outlandish activity for me, but the actual challenge to my utter lack of ability makes me forget that I’ve never operated a hand saw or chopped down a tree in my forty-one-year life. Irked, I grab the hand saw and attack the nearest tree – one that, clocking in a almost a foot in diameter, is decidedly too big for a puny girl wielding a hand saw for the first time, no matter how “I’ll show him” angry she is.

My husband calmly dug a hole about four feet deep while I yelled and kicked and sawed myself into a sweaty, filthy froth. Twenty scrub trees perished, but I’ll tell you this much – I can now use a hand saw to chop down a tree.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. michael maher #

    Six points for the trees, and 10 points for the cute workout gear. Final tally: the chick wins (but the sweaty guy already won the big prize six years ago, anyway).

    July 26, 2010
  2. a guess #

    What a hilarious picture you draw Andra. I can totally see you guys, your hole and you wrestling the trees to their deaths. What a great start to my day.

    July 26, 2010
    • And so far, no rocks in the hole, something we’re both very happy about.

      July 26, 2010
      • All the rocks here are imported… it’s a digger’s paradise!

        Where I grew up, Rockland County, NY, you usually didn’t hit the first rock until the shovel was at least 1/2″ into the ground.

        As a child I played on a rock in the woods behind the house that was the size of a school bus. The ground back there was littered with so many boulders that you would walk through the large areas of the woods without stepping on anything else.

        When we leveled off a bit of the back yard next to the house (maybe 60′ x 40′ x 1.5′, done by hand, of course) we uncovered a rock that was about 4′ in diameter, that weighed as much as a VW beetle, which we (actually 4 or 5 adult males, I was young enough to be told to stay out of the way) eventually levered out of the hole and rolled down the hill into the woods. I remember the big guy from next door snapping a 4×4 in half trying to work this thing out of the ground. It still leans against the base of the tree it slammed into at the bottom of the hill, becoming a permanent sledding hazard every winter.

        Digging here is EASY.

        July 26, 2010
      • We’re digging on the side of a mountain, but it still sounds like it is easier than digging in Rockland County, NY. I hope we can avoid rocks the size of a school bus, or MTM may seriously injure himself trying to move that all alone, without any equipment whatsoever. 🙂

        July 26, 2010
  3. ginger #

    Michael, I am so sad we didn’t see you when we had lunch with your bride. I think you and Courtney would have had a fun time talking. We love digging holes. Andra, you and Michael come up here in the fall. Courtney will smoke something on the grill, and I will show you how to use a tiller! (Talk about points!!)

    July 26, 2010
    • We’ll be back your way in a couple of weeks. More time this time, so I’ll let you know. xo

      July 26, 2010
  4. Anne Howe #

    Very funny! So where is this big hole? do you guys have property somewhere? I can’t imagine you are doing this in downtown Charleston??

    July 26, 2010
    • We have a little piece of dirt in NC and have visions of having more than a tent on it someday. Or, maybe we just have visions in general…..;)

      July 26, 2010
  5. Wanda Parrott #

    I could just see you chopping down those trees with a handsaw. Laughed and laughed. Andra, reading this, the thought came to mind that you remind me of me so much. Maybe that’s why your mom calls you Wanda and me Andra. Ya’ think?

    July 26, 2010
    • That could be. I never thought of it that way, but being like you would be a good thing. Glad I could make you laugh. This trying to hone my writing thing is hard, but the blog is helping.

      July 26, 2010
  6. Wanda Parrott #

    You are doing an excellent job. I enjoy reading everything. You have a great sense of humor. And the way you describe the scenes makes me feel like I’m right there in it. Keep it up!

    July 26, 2010
  7. Melissa Kovacevic #

    My hubby and I long ago agreed that I will not help too closely with these type of projects. Being a consultant, I am very good at critiquing others…in the most supportive way of course. You can imagine how that goes over 🙂

    July 26, 2010
    • Chuckling……yes, I can. And, I’m terrible at taking any critique myself. I even reverted to my “learning to ride a bike” days during this sawing. “Don’t watch me! You’re making me mess up!”

      July 26, 2010
  8. Phyllis DeLong #

    Loved this story and can related totally. Roger is good at all things that men seem to use without any problems what so ever. He is the same way about hanging a picture, only thing is he never sees any need to hang a different picture that requires more space. He is really good at procrastinateing and I just go ahead a eyeball everything and the quilts that I have hung seem okay. Maybe they are too big to notice that they may be off a little bit.

    July 26, 2010
    • This is a pretty typical male/female story, I think, but these stories never fail to make us laugh. MTM is a procrastinator, too.

      July 26, 2010

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