Adventures in Cement

It’s 58 degrees in the Lehigh Valley this morning, or at least at my home, but with the wind chill it feels like 48. Actually, to me, having just spent an hour outside repairing the sidewalk in front of my home, it feels like 28. I had to come back inside just to run my hands under warm water halfway through the project.

Do you know the difference between cement and concrete? I never did until a high school friend whose father was in construction corrected my use of the words one day. I always thought they were synonymous. I was told cement was the dry mix and concrete was the finished product.

Here in my borough, unlike anywhere else I’ve ever lived, the sidewalk, curb and driveway are the responsibility of the homeowner, not the borough. While I feel strongly that my property taxes ought to be paying for this, I remind myself that my taxes are minuscule when compared to other states. The harsh winter we had here last year and the salting of the sidewalks created quite a bit of damage. Most of that is now repaired thanks to my efforts this morning.

Have you ever worked with cement? It has to be just the right consistency to spread it, but not too watery or it won’t set up. While in its moist stages, one can easily rearrange it, smooth it and correct any glaring errors. But once set you will need a sledgehammer to correct the problem.

This is very much the way our lives can turn out. We have the ability to rearrange our thoughts for more positive endeavors before carrying them out. We can exercise the foresight to notice small flaws that over time can grow into noticeable problems. Something else I learned from my friend in construction is to measure twice and cut once. That worked when I was learning how to sew as well. It works equally well in our daily lives and our plans for the future. Taking the necessary time to be sure of the facts, even if it means a delay in the outcome, can help to insure our success.

Today, be aware of each step you take to accomplish whatever it is you are doing. How are you sitting at your computer? Are you slouched over and placing undue stress on your shoulders and back? If you have errands to run today, can you arrange your stops so that your route is circuitous, instead of a back and forth motion? If so, you’ll save time, energy, gas and cause less pollution. Better yet, can you walk to any of the stops?

My sidewalk repairs will be hardened by tomorrow and completely set up within the next 72 hours. How long will it take the thoughts you have today to take form? Once they do so, will you be happy with the outcome? If not, make a conscious choice today to prepare for the eventualities of tomorrow.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

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