Heavy Work

Sometimes I like heavy work. It can be good for the soul.

Today I went grocery shopping, which in and of itself isn’t always such heavy work to do. But today I decided to get a few tasks done that required a bit of hard work. It was one of those weeks where we needed to stock up on some big items for the house — expensive but necessary.

First up: water softener salt.

Now, water softener salt comes in big bags of 20 kg or more, and around here, we usually have it delivered by strapping young lads whose job it is to haul these big heavy bags to and fro. Well, I forgot to order the salt, and it could be weeks before someone comes by to deliver it. And sure enough, the dishwasher is showing signs that we’re running low. So I thought to myself, surely I can handle picking up a few bags.

So I went to the grocery store. I walked up to the bins outside and surveyed the bags. 20 kg, they said — not too bad, I thought to myself (having no idea how heavy 20 kg really IS — I mean, 20 can’t be SO bad a number…can it?) I went in and bought 3. Did I need help with those? the woman behind the till asked. I told her that no, I’d do it — if I couldn’t handle loading the bags into the cart and then into my car, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be able to get them from the car down to the basement and into the water softener.

I went out and hauled 3 bags into a cart. If I were about 6 inches taller, or didn’t have the arm strength of wet spaghetti noodles, the job would have been much easier. (Although, if I were 6 inches taller and had strong arms, I would have had a career playing professional volleyball somewhere and married some rich athlete/movie star/famous person, and I’d have a staff to do these things for me.) So, bags in cart, I headed to the car.

I was parked beside a van. Now, this van was peopled with two construction-type guys, who I am sure are used to doing heavy work for a living. And yet, as they watched me hauling these heavy bags from cart to trunk, did either one offer to help? NOOOO. Bah – screw them, I didn’t NEED their help anyway.

Next up: water.

We have a water cooler. So, consequently, from time to time, we require a big old 19L jug of water to fill that bad boy. And today was one of those days. Off I went to return the previous jug, and said I’d like to get a new one. Did I need help with that? the clerk asked. Heck no, after 3 big bags of salt, I could handle a measly 19L jug of water. “No thanks,” I told her.

Let me tell you, 19L of water? Is HEAVY, man.

By the time I got it out to my car and loaded into the back seat, my fingers were permanently bent into an L shape from the handle of the jug.

Next? Groceries.

My grocery list today consisted of everything heavy: 4L bottles of distilled water for the cats, 2L cartons of milk, jugs of detergent, a super-mega box of baby wipes, cases of Diet Pepsi for BDH, bags of rice and sugar, bags of potatoes and onions, bags of apples, mangoes… How in HELL does everything heavy run out all at once, I ask you? That light little box of pre-cooked bacon could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I managed to get it all bought and paid for and bagged and into the car.

And then: The Unloading.

Bag by heavy bag, I hauled that stuff in. AND put it away. And brought the jug of water in and set it in the foyer. And then I went back and got the salt. I hauled it downstairs, bag by bag, and hoisted it up and poured it into the softener.


And then I collapsed on the sofa with muscles turned to jelly. It’s a wonder I can move my fingers to type this.

Although I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself. That heavy work, it’s good for the soul.