Yesterday didn’t start well. As soon as I put one foot on the floor I knew that it was going to be a feel-like -shit day. I call it such because there is no name or medical explanation for it. It’s a wonderful feeling that I can only describe as I slept but I’m more tired than when I went to bed; I feel like I’m coming down with the flu but I’m not; my legs feel like they have sandbags tied to them and I walk like I’m 80 years old; I can’t wait for my first nap today. Feel-like-shit is much shorter and still covers it nicely.
Regardless, I had to get out of bed. I had somewhere to go.
On Sunday, when I made my rare church appearance to see if the plaster ceiling would crack when I walked in, I was greeted by Dean. Dean is a townie, like most, that retired up here and now lives here full time. He was a good friend of my father’s and has been a good friend to me since the day I moved up here. He has helped me find odd jobs to make a few bucks and on this day he had a job for me. He needed a coat of wax put on his 5th wheel trailer. Not one to turn down a buck, I told him I would do it Wednesday.
Wednesday was here, and as I hung my head, fighting my morning nausea I could think of 276,000 things I would rather do than wax a trailer. But I promised. I was out of the house by 9:30.
I pulled into Dean’s driveway and surveyed the day’s work. He wasn’t there, he was already out volunteering at the community center. There was a ladder on the ground and I could see that the trailer was freshly washed. I knew what I had to do and got right to it.
A 5th wheel trailer is a camper that is designed to be towed from the actual bed of a pickup truck. The nose of the trailer essentially takes over the entire bed. They are very long and can be as tall as 13 feet 6 inches, which is close to the bridge clearance of a tractor-trailer. This one was maximum height and 35 feet long. I had my work cut out for me.
Did I mention that I hate ladders? Well, to be clear I really hate falling. This job required me to climb a ladder, on soft unstable soil, and to reach the very top of the trailer with a small applicator pad in my right hand, an open can of TurtleWax balancing precariously on the top step of the ladder and a rag in the left. To ease my fear of falling I repeated “wax on, wax off” as I reached high, left and right applying and buffing. It was mindless but difficult work.
The nose of the trailer was the most difficult to reach but it came out awesome. It took quite a while because it was covered in dead, dried bugs. Between buffing and my fingernails I got it spotless. The left side also took a while because the ground was so unstable the ladder proved to be a real challenge. The rear and other side proved to be easier. All in all, I spent 3 1/2 hours with no breaks doing an old school wax job. No gimmicks, no power tools, no shortcuts. It looked amazing but I was done, with the job and physically.
Dean still hadn’t returned but I wasn’t worried about payment, I knew we could connect at some point so I packed up my stuff and got in my truck. As I was driving through the center of town we crossed paths and he asked me to come back to the house so that he could pay me. I really wanted to go home but money is money. I followed him back to his house.
He was very pleased with the work. He couldn’t believe my attention to detail. No surprises there, I am a stickler for detail and I do good work. He asked how much I wanted. I really didn’t know, I told him whatever he thought was fair. He offered me $150.00.
I said No.
Amazed, he asked if $100.00 would work. I gladly accepted. (who does that?)
He told me he had never seen anyone counter lower before. What he didn’t understand is that I was grateful for the opportunity for something to do that pays. And I will never take advantage of the good nature of the elderly in town. Besides, if I was reasonable, it increased my chances of being referred for more work. As it would turn out, I left with offers to paint his porch and detail both of his cars. I took his check and went home.
As I pulled into my driveway I realized that I was tired beyond the usual levels. My blood pressure was pounding in my ears, I had a headache and I could have napped standing up. I went inside and sat down. An hour later, I was still in that chair. I would spend the day so tired that I could barely walk. If that wasn’t enough, the cramps set in. My hands formed painful, locked claws that were so painful I was nearly in tears. I would feel like that until I went to bed at 9:30. I had finished the trailer at 1:30.
Something has got to give here. I am having fewer and fewer good days in which I can be productive. On the days that I am able to be productive, I need 2 days to recover from it. Today, I am so tired I can barely do anything and typing this blog is killing me because my hands are still crippled claws.
I sure hope this is a phase. Because it’s no way to live.