Here's the Scoop: Sept. 16, 2009

Itching to tackle a project
Like most people, I really look forward to weekends. In particular, I like it best when I don’t have anything planned. No friends coming over. No place to go. Just time to relax…and do loads and loads of work around the house.
The old cliché that you’re never done doing work inside and outside your home, well, that appears to be true.
Last weekend, I had no real idea of what I was going to do — I would let the Annoyance Scale guide my schedule.
The Annoyance Scale is a pretty simple tool to use. Basically, I just look around and figure out which unfinished project has been lingering the longest — to the point of irritating me. Whenever I discover something that has become part of the landscape (and isn’t supposed to be) I know it’s time to get to work.
So, bright and early Saturday, I decided that it was “B-P Day” (Burn-Pile Day). Actually, the Burn Pile (more accurately, the Unburned Pile) has been bugging me for a while. I whittled the pile away during the early part of Monsoon Season, but have since added quite a few more layers.
Oddly enough, as the pile grew in recent weeks, a good day for burning (nearly every day for a few months, it seemed) had become scarce as things have quickly dried out. Then came Friday’s soaking rain and a portion of my weekend agenda had been set for me. If only the fire could be set so easily.
Since the pile was quite soggy, it took some time to get things really cooking. And the pile was bigger than I remembered. The anticipated few hours project stretched into nearly an entire day. Well, there were a few interruptions. Like the Fanning Episode.

Knee is barking
At one point, I decided it would be a good idea to get a bit more air circulating through the fire, so I picked up a branch from the bottom of the pile to move things around. The branch dislodged very quickly and slammed into the side of my knee. Pain and bad words (very bad words — spoken loudly, maybe even yelled) followed in quick succession.
Oh, I forgot — after I crumpled as if I had been shot, I landed quite close to the fire. I was able to drag myself clear from the nipping flames, but I still couldn’t walk. Nor was I sure that I would for quite some time.
After it became clear that A. No one could hear my exaggerated yelping or B. No one cared, I decided that maybe I would eventually get over the pain. I did, but it took time. And I discovered I could still walk, with a bit of a John Wayne swagger.
This seemed like a good time for lunch. Some food and water got me back on track. Afterwards, I would reignite the smoldering pile and finish it off. Unless I got attacked by some unknown insect that left dozens of welts up and down my arm and in other, more embarrassing, places.
I’m highly allergic to bees, and I didn’t think these were sting marks. But they did bring about a strong level of itchiness. Let me tell you, walking and chewing gum has nothing over the difficulty of limping and scratching. Toss in a roaring fire nearby and…well, I’m hoping no one was cruising past with an iPhone and filming this little incident. I’d hate for the Burn Pile Incident to become an Internet sensation. Unless I receive royalties, of course.