As I ink this new graphic novel, my mind wanders to how I need to reorganize the backyard. Don’t get the wrong picture of me, I’m about as adept at backyard work as I am at flying a plane, but I do large, physical projects to pretend to be a functioning adult.
Last summer I pulled out the rear patio, cleaned and stained the wood then screwed them into the wall of our basement entertainment room. That was an easy project that was an easy start to physical work with a high chance of success. Next, I worked with a contractor friend to build a screened in porch to keep the Tennessee bugs out of my pipe and cigar time in the afternoons. I got the whole family involved with laying 1600 square feet of pavers, including the Beloved Mrs. TenNapel who helped cut bricks on a wet saw.
The next big project is to turn an unsightly dirt hole into a koi pond this spring. I’ll admit I’m most terrified of this project because it involves a lot of things that can go wrong: electrical work, cementing stone, functionality of a waterfall, leak-proof liner, and a healthy filtration system to provide good biology for the fish. My real goal is to design vertical cement slabs that will provide an outdoor home to my collection of seven Tennessee cave salamanders. But the mental planning of the koi pond starts to feel like a threat, because I’ll admit it’s a lot safer to think about a project than to actually do a project.
The older I get, the more I’m aware of the patterns behind much of my work. Planning can be another form of procrastination. It’s safe. I don’t have to accomplish anything in real life and it makes intending to do something seem as real as actually doing something. I gotta fight that. I gotta build a koi pond in the spring.