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Getting dirty

There’s something cathartic about getting dirty.
Something uniquely satisfying about tackling a project you’ve never done before.

Last week, I shared some pictures of my newly improved front porch.

I’ve spent every morning since enjoying the new space. Some evenings, too. In the above picture, you can see part of the sidewalk leading to our front porch from the driveway. What you can’t see is its length.

You may have noticed all that beautiful, black mulch in the flower beds on either side of the sidewalk. You may have also noticed that the sidewalk is black. That’s because every time it rains or the sprinklers come on, that black mulch washes onto the sidewalk. Since I’ve been spending time on the front porch, I’ve grown tired of looking at the black sidewalk. Which is why I decided it was high time I installed some edging to keep the mulch where it’s supposed to be.

The installation instructions weren’t complicated: Dig a 4″ trench the length of the area you wish to install the edging (which was two 60 foot trenches), cut the edging to length using a hacksaw, place the edging into the trench, drive metal edging spikes in every 4 feet plus at the beginning and end of the flower bed, then compact the dirt around the edging.

You wanna know what’s more cathartic than getting dirty?

Driving 9″ metal spikes into the ground with a sledgehammer.

Actually, hitting pretty much anything with a sledgehammer is extremely gratifying.

Next on the agenda is firing up the pressure washer and cleaning up that nasty sidewalk. That should be awesome.

And here’s a picture of one of my new Gerber daisies:

Just like me: A delicate flower…

What’d y’all do this weekend? Do you like digging in the dirt?

Revoke My Man Card (by Bryan Allain)

I’m sure many of you fine readers often ask yourself, “How does katdish get all these incredibly good writers to guest blog for her?” The answer? I HAVE NO IDEA! Seriously, I keep asking, and people keep saying yes. It’s as simple as that. I’m actually pretty astounded myself. It just goes to show you – no risk it, no biscuit. Or something like that…

Many of you may know Bryan from his many guest blog appearances on Jon Acuff’s site, Stuff Christians Like. While I’ve always enjoyed his writing over there, you really need read Bryan’s blog to get a glimpse inside his head – a strange and wonderful place. Anyhoo, enough of me, here’s Bryan:

When Kathy asked me to write a guest post for her site I was honored. I wanted to write a post that represented myself and my readers well to the you, the fine patrons of her blog, so I tried to think of a topic that would make me look impressive. Something that convinced you that I was a responsible, amazing man.

Well, that was about 6 weeks ago and I haven’t come up with anything yet.

So instead, I’m going the other way. The reality is, I’m an incredibly flawed doofus. And of all the things I like poking fun at, I enjoy poking fun at myself the most. Truth is, I’m not an amazing man. In fact, I’m not even sure I’m a man anymore. Want proof?

Here’s 7 (of the many) reasons why, if Man Cards were real, I might not be carrying one…

I Have No HandyMan Skills

I’ve got a father-in-law who built houses for a living, a brother-in-law who helped built his own house, and a dad who can do just about anything around the house that needs to be done. How did I end up like this? I don’t know. But thankfully my father-in-law is only 10 minutes away in case a picture needs to be hung or a door needs to be fixed. (I wish I was kidding.)

You know how much help I was to my father-in-law when he was building my deck? Negative help, that’s how much. He literally had to undo a bunch of the stuff I did on the first day. After that, I just watched and fetched him drinks. Completely embarrassing.

I Hate Hide & Seek (aka, Manhunt)

Want to know why I hate Hide and Seek? Because I hate hiding and I hate seeking. Pretty simple.

Think about it, when does hiding and seeking happen in real life? When cops are chasing bad guys. When bad guys are chasing other bad guys. When a child is about to be disciplined and disappears. You get the idea. The whole concept of hiding is that you don’t want to be found, but eventually you will be found when you play this game. Sounds terrible to me.

And for the record, we played manhunt on the streets of my neighborhood almost every night in the summer growing up. I hated it.

I Know Nothing About Cars

I’ve got no opinion on Ford vs. Chevy. I don’t know or care how many cylinders are in my minivan. (I drive a minivan!) I don’t know what the brown fluid on my garage floor under my car is.

Want more?

I don’t have a dream car. I think loud engines are annoying. I once spent hours in the library reading about what carburetors and overhead cams were just to impress a girl I liked. Didn’t work.

I Hate Paint Ball

You know how I hate Hide and Seek? Well here’s a math equation to define what paint ball is. Paint Ball = (Hide & Seek) + (Pain).

Ooh! Ooh! Where do I sign up?

I played paint ball once. It was my worst nightmare. My goggles were fogging up so I couldn’t see anything. I was hiding. There were lots of people seeking me. Those same people were trying to inflict pain on me. I decided to let myself get shot in a relatively painless area and get off the playing field as soon as I could. I ended up getting shot in the neck from 10 feet out.

Never again.

I Like To Talk Things Out

If my lovely wife Erica and I ever have a disagreement (yes it happens…shocker!), I’m usually the one who makes the stronger push for communication. Don’t misunderstand here, she is a great communicator. I’m just over the top nuts about it. I love talking about how I feel. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer and I like putting words to good use? I don’t know. But if there’s an issue that needs discussing, I turn into a freaking Lifetime movie.

Please pray for her, that I’d learn to just shut up and watch TV once in a while.

I Have Girl Parts

Just Kidding. Wanted to make sure you weren’t skimming.

I’ve Never Been in a Fight

Unlike my buddy Nate, who once beat up 3 guys at one time in front of a club in Providence, RI, I’ve never taken or thrown a punch. Closest I’ve come is skirmishes with my younger brother Josh growing up, but those don’t really count. Although, when Josh and I did fight, he’d usually try to punch and I’d try to rake the eyes. Not very manly.

If we ever cross each other and it’s time to throw down, just promise me we can try to settle our differences verbally before we resort to barbaric methods like fighting. And if we do end up fighting, you better protect your eyes.

So, what about y’all?

Guys, any reasons you’re Man Card might be in jeopardy? I can’t be the only one here.

Or how about the ladies? Anything you do that threatens the security of your Woman Card? Maybe one of you deserves to have my Man Card.

P.S….you can read Bryan’s daily musings on Twitter or at his blog, Ramblings and Such. (I highly recommend it.)

In search of the elusive man card

I was recently awarded an honorary man card. An honor that frankly has been a long time coming, and apparently a highly sought after commodity. But how does a woman earn the right to said card? Does this mean that you are somehow unfeminine? Oh, heck no! You can still be feminine. I think you need to be to a certain extent. As a matter of fact, last time I checked, neither Rosie O’Donnell nor Whoopie Goldberg held this honor.

Actually, the way I see it, the best and fastest route to an honorary man card is to simply accept and embrace the things that are inherently manly about your man (or your male friends). That’s not to say that you necessarily have to agree with it or like it (although that doesn’t hurt your case). Just don’t expect a real man to act like a girl. That’s what your girlfriends are for.

Now here’s my vote for all-time honorary man card lifetime achievement award:

EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s absolutely no shame in not wanting a man card. Some women are naturally girly. I’m cool with that — really, I am. Just don’t try to convert me. I’m happy being me.

And speaking of men, one of my favorite pastors (who is, coincidentally a man) will be guest blogging here tomorrow: Jason S from Connecting to Impact. Y’all come back now, ya hear!