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Slogging my way through the easy way out - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Slogging my way through the easy way out [Aug. 14th, 2005|12:32 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |quixoticquixotic]

Yesterday I finally bought a Shop Vac so that I can suck the detritis out of the bottom of the fountain. After three summers, it has accumulated the beginning of sedimentary layers - dust, dead algae, leaves, bugs, bird feathers and droppings - and needs a good, thorough cleaning. I want to get this done before school starts, because I know that once it does I will simply not have time or the energy for such a labor intensive project, and then it will be winter.

So armed with my newest appliance for easy living, yesterday I attempted to tackle the fountain. I had allowed the water level to fall to just above the lower limits of safety for the pump, in order to minimize the depth of water I needed to deal with. I unplugged the fountain and stuck the vacuum wand into the remaining water, down at the bottom, to suck at the muck.

In seconds, I heard the ball valve in the body of the vaccum hit the top, and I lost all suction. The powerful motor had sucked up nine gallons of water and barely made a dent in the water level. Even this empty, the fountain still contains a couple hundred gallons of water.

Here's where the stupid part of me kicks in. I realized immediately that I was not going to succeed in merely sucking the goo off the bottom of the pond. The water had to go. We have a way of doing this - a spare hose that we can run from the laundry sink in the basement, attach to the faucet to fill, then detach to start a siphon and drain the water from the pond.

But that seemed like a lot of work and hassle. So instead, I dragged the Shop Vac, weighing about 50 pounds, across the yard and dumped it down the drain in the driveway, then returned to do this again. After 8 or 9 of these trips, I had made little progress on emptying the fountain but worn myself out completely in the heat. I gave up.

It rained last night. When I went out this morning, the level of the water was almost as high as before I began yesterday.

So today I attached the hose and started the siphon. It was hardly any work at all. While waiting for the water level to drop, I pulled the filters and cleaned them, then used the high-pressure jet to clean the algae off the rocks in the fountain. Yeah, that raised the water level some, but it's draining without breaking my back, so why do I care? Now I'm inside, waiting while the sphon accomplishes its work before I go out there and finish the job properly with the Shop Vac, as I should have the first time.

What makes me do things like that? Why do I persist on a path of action that is clearly not the optimal one? Why do I try to bull my way through the situation instead of starting over? I know I'm not the only person to do this, but every time I have to retreat from actions that were only making my life more difficult in order to take another route that makes it easier, I remember The Keyhole in Glen Canyon, and realize how not alone I am.

The Keyhole is a manmade cleft in the stone, high in the rim of glen canyon. Back in the 1800s a group of Mormon pioneers looking to settle in the canyon climbed the forbidding carapace with their wagons, their women, their cattle, and all the possessions that they intended to take into their new lives. They climbed to the last bluff, but were defeated in their efforts to drag wagons and cattle over the top of that wall. So they spent the next 18 months painfully carving out a space wide enough for the passsage of a wagon. Babies were born, the cattle were eaten, no one in the party died, and they travelled through victorious, having triumphed over everything the land had thrown at them.

Less than three miles downstream was a natural opening that would have allowed them to pass through easily, only at the cost of some scouting and the climb back down and start again. But they had gotten this far, and once you're committed, you stick to the plan.

Talk about literally beating your head against a wall. Talk about people with whom I can sometimes relate. Talk about a peer group I'm happy to shed.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: trianakvetch
2005-08-14 05:11 pm (UTC)
If you were closer...i would so ask to borrow that Shop Vac from you. Somehow water flooded the entire back floor of our car and it's like a swamp in there. Ugh.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-08-14 06:19 pm (UTC)
Shop Vac is definitely your friend. I have been wanting one for a few years now. They aren't that expensive - start at around $30, which is generaly enough for occasional, around-the-home use.
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2005-08-14 05:14 pm (UTC)
Comparisons with wars abound, but I'll let it slide. ' Cause I'm nice.

LOVE YA! (Even when I'm working, I get to it as soon as I can.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-08-14 06:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I thought of and discarded war comparisons, because I wasn't looking to start political debate.
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From: wildcelticrose
2005-08-14 05:16 pm (UTC)
Ooooh....

Mormon history in SE Utah... FUN !!!

I used to be a river guide on the Colorado River and have some great stories that aren't the "popular versions"

The "hole in the wall" expedition was actually the result of a skirmish cause by bad manners which finally pissed off the Utes in the Moab area (one of the two non Mormon settlements in the state) which made them flee the area, and refuse to use the Old Spanish Trail again. (it's a longer story than I can tell here and now, but it's pretty funny and had to do with the Mormon's unpolitely refusing the offer of Ute brides to the "poor dumb white boys with no women")

Because of this, Montecello, only 60 miles to the South of Moab (that's NOT a long distance out there) had to be settled by groups coming from as far South as St. Geroge.

There's a great booklet out called "Coyote's History of Moab" which tells the real behind the scenes stories about a lot of these things.

~L
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[User Picture]From: thejunebug
2005-08-14 06:21 pm (UTC)
OMG, that's hysterical. Strange that they'd refuse the offers of brides, tho!
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From: wildcelticrose
2005-08-14 07:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, it was EXTREMELY important for them to marry "good" mormon women. (emphasis on the plural at that time) They used to import them from Salt Lake City to the outposts; at first, to start families, and later to attempt to diversify the gene pool.

They wanted as little to do with "gentiles" as possible in the "Kingdom of Deseret"

~L
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-08-14 06:23 pm (UTC)
Wow, river guiding along the Colorado, what a great job!

I've only been to Glen Canyon once, doing the houseboat thing. It was wonderful, and I'd like to do it again sometime.
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From: wildcelticrose
2005-08-14 08:03 pm (UTC)
It was a great job and a wonderful experience. But definitely hot and exhausting. I'd be in the boat rowing with all my might in the 115 degree sun for hours.

I lost an extremely unhealthy amount of weight, so much that I didn't menstruate for a year because my body fat was too low (estimated at 6% at the time)

Some may think that sounds good, but I got sick very easily and didn't have much energy. We worked sun up to sun down lifting, pulling, and rowing sometimes against the wind. We all looked like we'd been released from a concentration camp at the end of the season.

I calculated my activity and determined that I'd need to consume 10,000 calories a day to maintain weight. Hard to do if you need to be doing something other than eating all the time.

I don't want to sound like I'm whining, I LOVED that job, but it's definitely not healthy to do long term.

I do have some GREAT stories (most of them starting with the infamous "No Shit, there I was..."

~L
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-08-14 08:08 pm (UTC)
Man, now I really want to have drinks with you! I'd love to hear some of your stories. I adore the desert southwest, but being from Alaska and homeschooling my kids meant that we visited in the winter and offseason, which was great. I'm sure I would have a rather different view on summer, were I ever to be there at that time.
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From: wildcelticrose
2005-08-14 08:20 pm (UTC)
If you ever get out here to the Pacific Northwest, we can arrange that.

I don't make to Ohio often (I do have relatives in the Dayton area)

~L
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-08-14 08:52 pm (UTC)
I should get out there - I was born in Oregon and still have family in Portland - but, damn, vacation days run out far sooner than stuff I want to do does.
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[User Picture]From: thejunebug
2005-08-14 06:19 pm (UTC)
Ahahahaha! What can I say about Mormons, except that we're extremely stubborn. ;) I'm wondering if some of my ancestors were in that particular party, cause I do the same thing.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-08-14 06:24 pm (UTC)
I think it's human nature. That just happened to be the most blatant example of which I know, and one that I think of when I am engaged in stupidly headstrong behavior.
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[User Picture]From: justbeast
2005-08-14 06:41 pm (UTC)
Heheheh, I needed to read that. I totally do the same! :)
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2005-08-14 07:27 pm (UTC)
You have a fountain?

And when's the next Magic night? Can it be a time I'm actually in town?
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[User Picture]From: justbeast
2005-08-14 07:41 pm (UTC)
*laughs* No! I just meant persist in brute-forcing, dumbly, because it /seems/ to take less time or mental effort than the really easy way.

And, yes! You & your magic-fu has definitely been missed. Dunno when the next one is, maybe even this week or next; schedule's hard to tell with Cat coming over. But, soon!
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[User Picture]From: dweezel
2005-08-14 11:19 pm (UTC)
I think we sometimes do things the hard way as a form of penance. Unconsciously we think it's better for us to work harder, that the result will somehow be more pure. I have done this as well, only to realize half-way through something that I could have had it done already if I had used more brain than braun.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-08-14 11:54 pm (UTC)
Could be. Mostly for me, it's not wanting to give ground, start over. Stubborn streak.
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[User Picture]From: adjust_56
2005-08-15 03:39 pm (UTC)
sometimes it's just that the mind refuses to tink there are limits to the body that it's connected to, as stubborn as you are to tackle this.....you also have the tenacity to follow through when dealing with law books.....you willl be a good lawyer....they do have these traits...LOL...glad you finally decided to try another way
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