Monday, April 21, 2008

Digging A Hole!

Saturday was a pretty nice day in this part of the world. The sun was out, there was no wind and it was nice and warm.

Jules was at work with the van and I was home with the kids. At lunch time I decided that it was too nice outside to stay indoors and I went out to see what "Let's Go Crazy" and "Devil or Angel" were up to.

They were doing the usual thing. They had somehow tied a couple of skipping ropes together over a low branch of a tree outside and were using them like swings. A pretty creative idea, however they had missed a couple of safety points. First the skipping ropes were your standard dollar store variety and probably not the strongest available. Second, the branch that they were using to secure their swing was only about an inch and a half thick. Third, they were swinging over a pile of large rocks and old bricks. This was an accident waiting to happen.

After numerous warnings about hanging/swinging on this branch over the rock pile I came to the conclusion that they are powerless to resist the siren call of that branch. It was time for an intervention. I grabbed my hand saw and hacked that bugger right off. Problem solved! I should have done that years ago.

While I was out there I looked around to see if there were any other chores I could do. My eyes fell upon the old clothesline pole that was rusting away in the middle of our garden. A HA!! That shouldn't be there!

I ran into the house and got my trusty spade. Nothing more fun than a good old fashioned hole diggin'!

This was my first time removing a clothesline pole. Yes, it's true. I'm 37 years old and never had my clothesline pole cherry popped. It's not my fault. I just wasn't ready and I hadn't met the right clothesline pole! Leave me alone!

Being a clothesline pole virgin I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it would be something like digging a hole a couple of feet deep and MAYBE digging around a small ball of cement at the base. No big deal!

Well as with any CanadaDad project it turned out to be a VERY big deal.

The first foot or two of digging was really easy, in fact it was fun. I was expecting to hit cement at any second and hoping in the back of my mind that they did a half-assed job and didn't use any cement at all. Once the hole was down to around the two-foot mark I gave the pole a shake just to see if there was any sign of loosening. None whatsoever! It was just as solid as it had been before I started.

Next, I had to widen the hole because all of the loose dirt kept sliding back in. Then back to the digging! My shovel hit something solid. I thought I'd hit the cement ball but it turned out to be a brick. I don't know why it was there or where it came from. It was just one stray brick all by itself, two and a half feet under the ground. I took it out and continued to dig. At about the three foot mark I struck the cement ball.

I thought this meant that the job was almost done. Nope! In retrospect I would classify everything up to this point as the easy part. Whoever put that clothesline in the ground did not want it to come out. Ever!

I would guess that the size of the cement block attached to the bottom of that pole was a foot and a half by a foot and a half at the top and at least two feet deep! The thing must have weighed at least 200 pounds (I'm just talking about the cement block here not the pole inserted in it!)

By the time I got that bastard out of the ground I had dug a giant hole in the middle of the garden. It had a diameter of at least 3 feet around. I was performing a constant ritual of digging around the cement block followed by a vigorous pole shaking. It was kind of like wiggling a loose tooth. Every time I finished the above ritual the pole was a little looser.

Eventually it became loose enough that I was able to use the last bit of strength left in my quivering arms to push the pole over and onto the ground. Cue the savage barbarian scream!

The fun wasn't over yet. No, No! I was only able to keep the post on the ground by sitting on the cross bar. As soon as I got up the cement block dropped back into the gaping chasm and the pole was again in it's upright position. On a whim I got "Devil or Angel" to sit on the bar. Her 40lbs didn't even come close. If I'd have stood up she would have been catapulted into the back lane.

My next solution was to have "Devil or Angel" shovel some dirt back into the hole while I held the pole down. This would have worked but it turns out "Devil or Angel" isn't much of a shoveler. I finally managed to overcome the problem by using an old dryer drum/fire pit as a lever and then swinging the cement block to the side of the hole. I then filled in the hole as fast as possible to try and speed up the process of forgetting about this ordeal.

So technically the pole was removed. I guess you could say the job was done. Hey, and it only took 2.5 hours!

But I couldn't just leave it sitting there in the garden...or could I? No, that would definitely take away from the accomplishment. I had to figure out a way to get this rusty ten foot pole with a 200 pound cement block stuck to the end of it across my yard and up and out of the way against the back fence.

Dragging it was not an option as I didn't really care for the idea of an 18 inch gash carved across the lawn. I couldn't lift it by myself, not if I wanted to keep my rectum safely inside of my body.

I ended up going back to the handy-dandy dryer drum. I would lever the cement block off the ground then using the drum as a pivot turn the pole until the cement end was pointing in the direction I was going. Next I would raise the pole and drop it in the direction of the back fence. After repeating these steps 4 or 5 times I had it safely stowed away.

The kids and I then celebrated the banishing of the rusty clothesline pole by sitting around in lawn chairs near the battle site enjoying Slurpees and eating ice cream.

I sat in my seat reflecting on the battle I'd won, savoring my Victory! It tasted like Coca Cola!

Editors Note: I predict that I will receive the most hits for this article from people Googling the following keywords: "clothesline pole cherry popped", "pole virgin", "gave the pole a shake", "the pole inserted in it", "vigorous pole shaking", "I held the pole down", "18 inch gash", "my rectum safely inside".


Heather said...

I think I would have left the pole in the ground. Stuff like that is why I live in a condo instead of a real "house". =P

Anonymous said...

why didn't you just cut the pole at the two foot depth and fill the hole back in?

CanadaDad said...

To anonymous,

That would have been the smart and easy thing to do and that's just not how I roll.

Once I got to a certain point my stubbornness took over. Leaving any portion of that monstrosity in my garden would have been the same as admitting defeat.