Toil, reward and a tenth of a gallon.

This past Christmas I put up more lights than ever before. My dad gave me about 200 feet of some old LED lights he wasn’t using anymore, and I bought some extra LEDS at Lowe’s. I went around the roofline of my entire house, even the backyard.

We got a 10 foot live tree, it was the heaviest tree I’ve ever placed in my living room, and it almost totally blocked the back door to the lanai. The tree was so big there was enough room for all of our ornaments!

The evergreen was still up when I got back from my business tour through the Southeast, so I took it down and got out the ax. I don’t know if the trash collector will take a whole tree so I chopped it in bits and started filling the trash can. I put some of the wood chips in a bowl in our bedroom, for the pine scent.

A few years ago I took down the huge wooden swing set in our backyard using the same ax. It’s a great workout, chopping wood works all the muscles in your arms and back. If you don’t know how to swing an ax you should get a cord of firewood and go to town on it.

For some strange reason I had nothing booked today, so I pulled all the stuff out of my garage and started putting things in better order. I don’t know why, by my garage seems to devolve into chaos every few months, I suppose the law of entropy is alive and well in that specific part of my home. My office tends to stay neat, but not my garage.

I drove to Goodwill twice in my Volt, removing a ton of stuff from my garage. Later on my wife came home from a real estate appointment and we went out to the see The Founder, about McDonald’s franchisor Ray Kroc. After cleaning the garage, chopping up a Christmas tree and also swimming laps it felt great to just relax.

I drove a total of 40 miles today, but my Volt only used one TENTH of a gallon of gas!

There are so many things that can bring us happiness; working hard towards a tangible result, a date with our spouse, even saving money on gasoline.

A great cure for the blues is as simple as just doing something productive; washing your car, cleaning out that closet, washing those socks. Throw out or give away whatever you haven’t touched in the last 12 months (except for tools, a good hammer can last for 200 years).

Today I found the “Groom” and “Bride” wine glasses from my wedding 19 years ago. I kept the wine glasses, we can use them to toast our 20th anniversary this summer.

Benjamin T. Alexander

January 21rst . 2017

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