I was pulling out worms with my hands thinking what did I get myself into? | The Franker Message
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I was pulling out worms with my hands thinking what did I get myself into?

There is a hole in my yard. Well, it's not so much a hole, it's more a strip of missing grass. After 2 days of work and some minor muscle ache, I achieved what looks like a bad wax job on our lawn.

Okay, let me back up. Last spring, we bought our neighbor's trampoline off them second-hand. Our boy is almost 2 now and his favorite pass time is to jump on the couch while the two of us flank the sides and put pillows on the floor to prevent him from toppling over and onto the floor. (I know it sounds easier to just tell him not to jump on the couch, but it's not...) So, when our neighbors wanted to get rid of their trampoline, I thought it was a great opportunity. It's almost summer and we're still in lockdown, so a trampoline would be a great pass time for the little guy (we'll probably still be flanking the sides, but it'll save us some pillows and a couch).

It's much bigger than it looked on the other side of the fence, so we have been brainstorming where to put it. We briefly entertained the idea of digging it into the ground to turn it into an underground trampoline but decided we didn't want to go through the hassle right now. But we are going to move it from our terrace to the front of our lawn. The plan seemed simple enough: Remove the grass from a 3 square meter piece of the lawn, unroot the big plant that unfortunately is in the way, put some mats down, and put the trampoline there. We were sure we could get it done in a day or two when our son is at daycare next week.

I walk past it every day to my little office cabin and I've been itching to get started. So, the other day, I was finished with work, it was a beautiful sunny day and I had a few hours left over until our son came home from daycare. I decided to get started. I said to my partner that I can probably remove the grass that day and, if the spirit moved me, I'd take out the plant as well.
Oh, how naïve I was. If you've ever tried lifting a "piece" of grass the size of a small tile, you'll know what I'm talking about. It is shockingly heavy! I kept cutting the grass squares smaller and smaller with my shovel to lift them, but just ripping them off the heavy clay ground that our yard is made of was taking all the wind out of me. I think I spent about 2 hours that day and managed to clear about a tenth of the square I'd drawn out... The next day, I tried a different technique and I "rolled" the grass on top of itself. I always see professional grass layers do this and it seems to dang easy. It was not easy. It was slightly easier than the day before, but only slightly.

After every tile or roll I lifted, I scraped off as much of the soil I could and I tried to rescue some of the earthworms before I put the squares in our organic waste bin. As I was pulling out the worms with my hands, I thought: What did I get myself into this time??? This was going nowhere fast...

I could quit. But then I'd be left with a bad wax job in my yard and a massive trampoline on my terrace. I could interrupt my partner from his work and beg him to do it for me. Uh, nope. I could pay a professional to do it for me. Tempting, although it would be a bit of a hassle with the lockdown measures and we are saving up to remodel our home.

So, I pressed on. After a while, my attention left the worms and the heavy grass tiles and I started to notice the sun on my face, the light breeze, the fresh air. I was working hard, but I started to enjoy it. I got into a flow. After another 2 hours, I looked down at my work and I was pleased: another 10th done! The bad wax strip was now starting to look like the beginning of a square.

We all start enthusiastically. Then the grind sets in. It becomes uncomfortable and hard and we want to give up. But every grassless 3 square meter piece of a lawn started with lifting a single tiny heavy tile. So, press on knowing that suddenly you'll look back and realize that you reached your goal. Start to enjoy the process and hold on to what you want to achieve in the end. I for one am really looking forward to watching our son jump on his new trampoline (and getting some jumps in myself) 



PS. From this very informative experiment, I learned that we go through 5 phases when starting a new project.

1) Excitement. 2) What did I get myself into 3) Grit it out 4) Still gritting it out - and finally - 5) The Am I really done? phase.

If you're curious to see the full infographic, please scroll on 😂


Trampoline extrapolation | Infographic by Mariella Franker, PhD

Trampoline extrapolation | Infographic by Mariella Franker, PhD



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