The Traveling Pants

Last week I took some time off of work. Three delicious days to kick around the farm, ride my horse and catch up on chores.

I engaged in some idle distractions. I picked raspberries from our bush and cranked out some killer ice cream. I pickled cucumbers for the first time. Swam in the neighbor’s pool and read a book on the front porch.

But I also chipped away at all sorts of tasks around the farm. I scrubbed algae scum from the water troughs. Cleaned out a maggoty trash can in the barn (gross). Hosed off the gator after Cayden slathered it in sun block. Hauled off the recycling, inventoried hay, mucked and bedded stalls. Gathered toy bits hacked to pieces by the lawn mower.

And all the while I wore the same pair of jeans.

I didn’t plan this out. After the first day, in a hurry to shower, I left my jeans puddled on the floor. The belt still wedged in the loops.

The next morning, the jeans beckoned me. It was too easy to slip them on again.

By day three I wore them with pride. My dirty jeans made a statement. They symbolized the growing distance between clean, civilized life in the office and my days now. Each grubby stain, each dusty smear represented progress. I was working hard, hoisting, heaving, hauling.

I didn’t bother changing when it was time to get the kids. I even wore my jeans to a store in town. With paddock boots and spurs.

“Look at my jeans,” I said to Martin. “I’ve been wearing them for three days! Look how dirty they are!” I added with pride.

“Yea….” Martin said, surveying them. Then he wrinkled his nose. “Your jeans…. stink.”  

“That’s the smell of progress! Hard work–“

“No, they just smell. Like manure.”

And with that, I retired 72 hours of grimy denim with a double rinse cycle. And a heaping scoop of oxyclean.