I have just had a R and R week away from the animal hospital to allow my “grey matter” to rejuvenate. And what did I do in this week I hear you say? My wife decided that it would be a great time to set a project that involved fixing a retaining wall that had decided to compete with the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Now our property is based on the side of a hill, and we have a number of retaining walls, but this wall was especially important as it retained the soil that kept our house in a horizontal position. There was no immediate danger from the retaining wall collapse – it was only leaning around 45 degrees and had slowly been collapsing over the last 18 years since we had bought the property. But my wife had decided that NOW was the right time to deal with the leaning wall.
I must admit that I had other plans for my week off work – mainly involving playing golf, fishing, reading books, sleeping and basically being lazy. But I knew I was in for a week of digging due to the tone of the voice, the sentences used to describe the project and the number of times it was said in the weeks leading up to my week off.
I have been married for 39 years and have learnt that if the sentence starts with the words “It would be nice to fix the wall” and this sentence was only said twice in the month leading up to the week off – then there was a good chance that I would be playing golf etc
If the sentence contained the words “Lets work together and get the wall fixed” and this was said twice a week in the month leading up to the week off – then with a little bit of skulduggery and some flowers and a box of chocolate then I would be playing golf etc..
If the sentence was “I would like us to fix the wall this holiday” and this was said every day for the whole month leading up to the week off – then it was possible if I played my cards right that I would get at least two games of golf in and possible one fishing trip as long as I was seen to be working on the wall on the other days of the holidays.
If the sentence stated in no uncertain terms “I want that wall fixed this holiday” and this statement was emphasised with a stamp of the foot or an eye glare and was said at least once an hour in the days leading up to the holidays – then there was no way would I be playing golf or fishing until the wall was finished.
I knew what I was going to be doing on my week off when I arrived home from work on the night before the holidays started and surrounding the wall were several spotlights. Also, there were the tools leaning up against the wall and a tent had been set up near the wall “For the times you need a rest”. Also, there was a timetable written up on a white board nailed to a tree near the wall so that I could be aware of when my wife expected each section to be finished.
I must admit – the R and R worked – I have never been so glad to be back at the veterinary hospital.