I didn't expect my 40th birthday to begin with a physical challenge. And I didn't expect there to be a second round of the physical challenge an hour later that was timed.

But that is the situation I absolutely created for myself, it is nobody's fault but mine.

Allow me to back up.


I love a fire pit, and being a singleton in the time of coronavirus quarantines, it is one of the things keeping me sane right now. (I have a feeling once we are out of this, I will probably marry myself off in record time, but we'll see, LINE FUCKING STARTS HERE, MUST LIKE FIRE PITS.) To be able to make a fire in the backyard and drink whatever I'm drinking that night, and stay up late and listen to music or podcasts or fuck around on the internet or whatever, it is a good thing.

So it was that last Wednesday, I was contemplating firewood, and the best way to get it during the coronas. Where I live in the South, despite how everybody here is well fucking aware that the weather changes on a dime all the way up to late May, the grocery and hardware stores seem to take away the firewood around April 1, as if it's all summer nights from here on out. (It is currently 49 degrees. Those idiots.) The last thing I want to do during coronavirus is traipse around the city from Kroger to Home Depot to Fresh Market to Lowe's, trying to track down overpriced firewood.

I'd thought in the past that maybe one of these days I should look on the internet to see about ordering a large amount of firewood and having it delivered. Sure, it's near the end of the season, but if it'll last until next year, what the hell. So I called a couple places, found a cool woman-owned company out in the suburbs, and within minutes — oh my lord I am an easy sale — they had swiped my credit card to deliver a half cord of wood the next day, in the afternoon, on my 40th birthday. It was a great fuckin' deal, $163 including delivery.

A half cord was the smallest size they offered. And they did caution me that they could only dump it on the driveway or on the street, especially because of their current COVID-19 protocols. That's fine, I said. I can just meet them and spend 30 minutes moving it when it gets here.

How much wood could "half cord" be, after all? And why would I get on Google and try to find out? That's crazypants.

By Definition It Is Not An 'Impulse Buy' If You Have Thought It All The Way Through.

The wood was supposed to arrive in the late afternoon. Instead, I took a personal day and woke up all leisurely around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, my 40th birthday, and had just put on the coffee when my phone rang. The truck was here! Holy shit! So I threw on a hat and a pants and decided the wood probably should be dumped on the street in front of the Volvo, and as the dump truck got into position and opened its dump truck mouth, I discovered, without coffee in my system, that a "half-cord" is indeed a lot of wood.

Like, really, a lot.

Hey you guys, this is an actual picture of me on Thursday morning:

captain america lumber GIF Giphy

So, the first physical challenge was that the wood was on the street, which meant it had to be chunked into the yard, which slopes upward, over my picket fence, which exists. By me, the designated wood-grabber. At 8:45 in the morning. Before coffee. This was urgent not because of much of anything besides there is this one dickhead neighbor who would have hall-monitored that shit until I fixed it to his satisfaction, and I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction, so ...

And no, I do not own "wheelbarrow," I am "city mouse," and I have only recently invested in "hammer." Besides, with the way my yard is set up, it wouldn't have helped.

By God, I did it.

I was really glad at that moment that I had been physically training since September 11 of last year, for this self-inflicted marathon I did not know I would be running on my 40th birthday.

Around 9:45 a.m., I got a text from my personal assistant the guy I pay rent to. The yard people are coming at 10:30, he said, to cut the yard! The same yard I just chunked "half-cord" of wood into!

Which meant now I would theoretically be required to move the wood (at this point "wheelbarrow" might have been nice) to the places on my front porch and in my backyard where I would be storing it, and I would be required to finish this by 10:30 a.m. Taking a sip of coffee, I promptly began the process of forfeiting the timed part of the physical challenge and instead shifted my attention to texting people about what I had just gotten myself into.

When the yard people got there, they thought my predicament was PRETTY FUNNY. They also noted that the hill in the yard I threw all the wood onto didn't grow any damn grass anyway, so who gives a shit. Buoyed by their remarkable logic, I went inside and said fuck it.

I did start the task soon after, though, and I quickly realized once again that holy shit, a "half cord" is a lot of wood, and it was not going to fit in the two places I thought it was going to go and Jesus Christ, what have I done? Checking the Weather Channel app, it said no rain until Sunday, so that meant if I went outside every hour or so and moved 20 pieces of wood, carry the two ... surely, I could get this done in three days, right? (SPOILER: I did.)

$163 including shipping is still a damn good deal, though. I regret nothing.

And OH BOY, I think I have abs now! Because of all the wood-grabbing I did on my 40th birthday!

(That is not all the wood. That is a mere fraction of a portion of a scintilla of the wood.)

Not Bad For A Quarantined Stay-The-Fuck-At-Home Corona 40th Birthday!

If you read Wonkette all the time, you know I was supposed to be in New Orleans literally right now, on day four or five of 40th birthday celebrations. That clearly did not happen, but we will reschedule that for whenever we end up being able to reschedule it.

But turning 40 was OK! Editrix Rebecca sent me booze treats from these awesome guys in town who are doing the most delicious handcrafted cocktails and delivering them with Girl Scout Cookies that Rebecca also bought, and Five Dollar Feminist Liz put some more money in my account with those guys, so I ordered even more on Friday! And I sure as hell did make a fire in my backyard Thursday and Friday nights and FaceZoomed and drank fancy cocktails with close friends, and at 11:30 p.m. on my birthday, two of my best friends showed up in their big truck and told me to come outside so they could throw New Orleans beads in my face.

Like common REBELS, I sat on the slope in the front yard while they sat in the bed of the truck like 30 feet away and we chit-chatted for a bit. So that was nice.

Oh yeah, and Friday night, once I was good and drunk, I finished moving all the wood to the backyard.

(That is the rest of the wood. I had to buy a tarp for it, at the Home Depot! That is also when I invested in "hammer.")

To answer your obvious question, yes, I was sore as fuck all weekend, but not in the "injured" way, in the Ford Tough way.

And that is the story of my corona-40th-birthday, which I will always remember, because of the forced staying at home and the distinct lack of being in New Orleans and alllllllll the wood-grabbing.

I only wrote this post for attention, and if you need to squirrel out my email to find a way to send presents, well, I can't possibly stop you.

And now you may have OPEN THREAD.

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the senior editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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