Sunday, December 01, 2013

Ax Me Again

I thought the most interesting thing that was going to happen at the Boss Man's Thanksgiving dinner was that we were celebrating the once-in-a-life event of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the same night.

I was wrong.

Just after the Menorah was lit and the blessings were sang, the Boss Man sparked something far more interesting: A bet.

"I bet you can't split a piece of firewood," he said.

If this dare was provoked by something, I can't remember what. It seemed to come out of thin air,  as if he was sitting there, looking around the table stacking his skills up against others.' Apparently mine appeared lacking.

I looked at him, incredulous.

"Pssht. Of course I can split a piece of firewood. I get an ax, right?"

"Yes, you get an ax."

"I bet you those loafers I want I can do it. Maybe not on the first swing, but I can definitely do it."

He must have forgotten who he's talking to, I thought. I felt insulted. Ray Daugherty didn't raise no chump.

I mean, I had never actually raised an ax in my life, but really, how hard could it be? Isn't that what axes do, chop firewood?

"Fine. How much are they, like $30?"

"Thirty dollars?! Ha. If they were $30 I'd buy them myself. No, they're $180."

I'd been stalking these Madewell loafers for months and had even showed them to him and Carolyn when he tried to shove a pie in my face last week. At work. ('You shove that pie in my face, you buy the loafers' was the threat.)

"Fine, the loafers. I still bet you can't."

Visions of all of the Pinterest-worthy outfits I could build around these loafers danced in my head.

The deal was that I had just had to split the wood in half anyway I could do it, and I got as many whacks as I needed. Even with all of this, he was convinced I couldn't do it.


The Boss Man and Carolyn and I headed to the garage where he put a piece of wood onto the concrete floor and handed me an ax.

Now, let me tell you, this ax was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. But more importantly, there was no way in hell I was going to try and hit this hunk of wood against a concrete floor. I felt certain that least one, possibly two, of two things could happen:

1.) I might take out a car mid-swing. (Say goodbye to your precious Audi! Hey, while we're here, why don't you just hand me this ax and a piece of wood next to your Boxster!)

2.) If I missed the wood, I didn't want the impact of the ax hitting the concrete to hurt my hands. Or worse, send me vibrating out of the garage and into the cold.

Like I said, I don't know that I've swung an ax in my life. But wow, what a beauty this one was. It looked like it had been glued back together about 30 times and had streams of thick yellow wood glue dripping down the sides of it. I think I also saw duct tape.

It was the jankiest ax I've ever seen.

If you're going to accidentally chop your foot in half or break your back wielding an ax on Thanksgiving/Hanakkuh, then look no further. This is the ax for you.

Janky or not, I started whaling on the wood sideways, swinging the ax as close to my body as possible. For one thing, I didn't think my aim was good enough to hit it if it was standing upright. And for another, I could just see myself winding up with the ax over my shoulder only to have the weight of it pull me down face first into the grass.

Carolyn tried to coach me.

"You're going against the grain. It's going to be harder."

But already 10 whacks in and I had a good chunk out of it. Pieces of bark were flying everywhere.

I stopped to pull my hair back into a ponytail and dig the wedgie out of my butt.

Pro tip, ladies - I would recommend boy cut or booty shorts for cutting wood. Bikini cut, not so good.

I started again.

"Watch your foot," the Boss Man said. "People can get really hurt doing this. And careful with your back."

"Oh now, NOW we're going to talk about safety, when I've been hitting this thing for ten minutes."

My back was getting super tired and my hits were wimpier. I was also afraid I was going to chop my foot off since the wood wasn't raised up on anything.

I looked at the wood and realized it was harder than I thought it would be.

Plus, it was freezing outside, and even though I was warm from swinging the ax, I couldn't believe they were still standing out in the cold watching me hit this thing.

I made a joke that I might have to come back tomorrow to finish it. (I wasn't really joking. And I wondered if the bet could include me going home and watching a few YouTube pointer videos and coming back in the daylight.)

I hit the log a few more times and then, out of nowhere, the thing split in half like it got struck by lightning. A perfectly clean split right through the middle.

Even I was surprised. I thought it would take at least another 10 minutes of whaling on it before it cracked.

Triumphantly, I raised the ax up into the air and shouted, 'YEAH! DID YOU SEE THAT, INDIAN HILL?! DID YOU SEE IT!"

Counting out my winnings. 

I double high-fived Carolyn while the Boss Man, dejected, went back into the house. (Or maybe he was just really excited to be warm again. But I'm going with dejected.)

As any true outdoorsman would, I breathed in a few more crisp cool breaths of fresh air before I carried my kindling - now in TWO pieces - into the house to show them off.

No one else was really impressed, which I chalked up to no one else underestimating me. Of course I could do it, why would they be impressed?

As I washed dishes and basked in my glory, the Boss Man snidely told me the wood was rotten.

Maybe. But that wasn't my problem. My problem was deciding if I wanted the black loafers or the red loafers.

But anyway, I don't think it was rotten. I think someone who was about to buy me a pair of $180 shoes was just mad he lost the bet. I believe that is called 'loser's limp.'

It turned out the shoes were only $142.50 (with tax) thanks to a Black Friday sale. That's like $45 worth of stacked heel for free.

I cannot wait to get them. They will arrive on my front porch in all their hard-earned glory in about five days.

Sidenote: Twenty-four hours after the axing my arm felt like I had gotten 20 flu shots. Essentially, the entire right side of my body is in revolt - my right hamstring, glute, shoulder, tricep and especially my deltoid. It hurts especially to change my shirt. Which is why I might have to wear a Flashdance off-the-shoulder sweatshirt to work tomorrow.

No comments: