Installing Hardwood Floors · 15 January 2022

My hat is off to anybody who does backbreaking work all day long.

I just installed hardwood floors in three rooms of our house. It took a week to do two rooms and a weekend to do the third. They are all about the same size, so it must have been the little bit of experience that made the last one go faster. At any rate, I know the cost of those floors in terms of blood, sweat, and tears. Okay. Maybe not tears.

I never would have thought about it, but being on your hands and knees for ten or eleven days all day long is not an easy thing to do. Especially when you are not used to being in that position for long stretches of time. Laying out the boards and then nailing them in is not for the faint of heart. Even with the right tools, there is lots of sweat that goes into the whole process. Carry the boxes of planks up the stairs to the correct room. Lay out the planks. Measure the end planks. Carry the planks to be cut down the stairs. Cut the planks, then carry them back up the stairs. Go back downstairs to cut a little more off the plank because it was too long the first time. Go back up the stairs. Lay the plank back down. Nail the planks. And then repeat for each row of planks. Oh. And do not forget that the seams of adjacent boards and even boards two apart should not align with each other. That causes enough sweat in and of itself.

The cost in blood is paid just because I do not know how to use sharp objects. Knives and box cutters inevitably cut me. Rather, I inevitably cut myself with those tools. It is not that I am not careful. It is just that I forget the rules of using knives, so I bleed. Plus there is the blood that comes from slivers and nicks from the wood itself. And if you count the blood that shows up under a bruise… Well, you get the picture. I pretty much bleed with any big project.

I did not really have many tears when it came to installing my hardwood floors. I suppose I could say that a tear came to my eye when I was finished because I was amazed at how beautiful they looked. But that would be a lie. No tears for this project.

Beyond the blood, sweat and tears of any project is the satisfaction of a finished job. Which was the best thing about installing hardwood floors. There is beauty in hardwood floors that is something to behold. Plus there is the knowledge that they will not need to be replaced again. Ever. At least not by me. Which is unlike carpet. Carpet needs to be replaced. Even if it is not showing wear after many years.

(Speaking of carpet. Do not think about what is under your carpet. You might get a little sick. Especially if you have lived in the same house with the same carpet for a long time. You might think you are getting rid of all the crumbs and dust and skin cells and other stuff when you vacuum, but you are not. Even if you vacuum every week. Or even every day. The vacuum just does not get those tiny particles that go down through the carpet and through the padding. I ought to know. I swept up and vacuumed all that fine powder when I removed my carpets. I suppose if you do not think about what it is or that it is even there, you will be okay.)

I am thankful that I have Dean, a friend who knows how to install hardwood floors and who allowed me to help him do a different room in our house. I got to be the apprentice on that job. And his tutelage helped me do a pretty good job on my own. My hat is off to him and to others who pour their blood, sweat, and tears into their work. I applaud them, but am glad I do not do their work all the time.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Kimchi Is the Perfect Food · 8 January 2022

I may have said it before, but I am going to justify it here today. Kimchi is the perfect food.

(I do not know why, but I am on a kimchi writing kick. Call this, Kimchi Part 3, if you will.)

I would not say that I love kimchi, but I do like it. Whenever we have it in the house, I binge on it. Okay. Not really binge, but I do eat it like it is going out of style. I like the taste. I like the smell. I even like the texture. But truth be told, I used to think it had to go with rice. Lots of rice.

To be sure, I am not going to hate on rice or anything like that. I like rice. I always have. I grew up eating it at pretty much every meal. Rice for breakfast with eggs. Rice with lunch with bologna. Rice for supper with anything and everything. Okay. Not with everything. Not with potatoes. Mom drew the line at that combo. Potatoes or rice, but not both. Unless of course, we were at a potluck and somebody brought some of each. Apparently, it was okay to have them both at the same meal, but not to cook them both for the same meal. Needless to say, I cannot hate on rice. Especially since I like sushi. Unfortunately, my body just cannot eat it every day like I used to do.

Where was I? Oh yes. Rice and kimchi.

I used to think that rice and kimchi were an unbreakable pair. If you had kimchi, you had to have rice. Period. Then, I tried something new. I tried kimchi with spaghetti squash. Surprise! It was marvelous. I never knew that kimchi could combine with anything but rice. I was ecstatic. “Why?” You ask? Because having kimchi without rice made me realize that kimchi was the perfect food. If it could work with spaghetti squash, it could probably work with anything.

Then I realized something else. Kimchi is good all by itself. I was amazed when I made that discovery. All these years of thinking that I had to eat it with rice. Then finding out it went well with other food. I was overjoyed when I found out that it was good all by itself. I figured it out by accident. I was just hungry for it but had nothing to go with my kimchi. So I just ate it by itself. Which made it even more perfect in my mind.

But of course, there is more to being a perfect food than going with anything or even going with nothing. A perfect food should also be good for you.

I am not sure of all the science, but apparently, fermented foods are good for you. Something about good bacteria in your colon or something like that. (I looked it up and apparently, kimchi is a probiotic, which means it is good for digestion. Who knew?) What I do know is that kimchi is rich in antioxidants. And foods rich in antioxidants are good for you.

Playing nice with other foods and being good for your health are two keys to being a perfect food, but I think there is one other factor. Aroma.

I know. There are those out there who think that the odoriferous qualities of kimchi would not qualify it for having a pleasing aroma. But even though I thought that when I was a kid, I think kimchi smells wonderful now. I even think it is a good thing that it smells good to me but not to others. It means that I can have it all to myself. People do not want to be near the stuff when you eat it. And in this day and age when we are supposed to keep at least an arm length apart, kimchi breath keeps people away after you eat it. Not just the trifecta of food, but the quadrifecta! (I doubt quadrifecta is a word, but that is okay by me.)

At any rate.

I may not have convinced anybody with my arguments, but the qualities of going with anything, having positive health benefits, and being able to keep it all to myself are enough to convince me that kimchi is a perfect food. If not the perfect food. But if this blog post did not convince you. Perhaps you should take the advice the kids use to give Mikey in the old Life commercial.

“Are you gonna try it?”
“I’m not gonna try it. You try it.”
“I’m not gonna try it.”

“Hey! Let’s get Mikey.”
“Yeah. He won’t eat it. He hates everything.”
“He likes it!”

So go ahead. Try it. You might like it. Even if you do not agree that kimchi is the perfect food.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Happy New Year 2022 · 1 January 2022

Happy New Year! It is 2021! Oops. 2022. Ah well. Lots of time to make that mistake.

I suppose that I will make the mistake of misdating things for a while. I remember it taking almost all of January to get used to the new year when I was a kid. I would need to erase the year and put the correct one down when I turned in school assignments. I am not sure I will need to do that very often this year.

I for one, am glad to be shut of the year 2021. (Yes, to be shut of something is an old term meaning that you are done with it. Which is apropos since it is like shutting the door to the old year.) To be sure, it was a strange year. And a sad year.

I will always associate the year 2021 with the COVID-19 pandemic. I know. The pandemic started in 2020. In fact, that was the year that I got shingles. And being home for COVID doing remote school was the reason I got to start school. The pain would have been too much to actually get to school that first week in September 2020, but I got to start my 26th year of teaching because COVID had us working remotely. So even though 2020 was really the year that was most disrupted by COVID (for me), it was the year that COVID was a blessing in disguise because I got to keep working through the initial pain of shingles.

The thing about 2021 was that it was a terrible year in the world of education. Or at least my world of education. We had remote school at the start of the calendar year, but then we participated in a disastrous experiment in education, hybrid learning.

I need to interject something here. When I say disastrous, I mean for the vast majority of students. There were certainly students who thrived during remote and hybrid learning. Students who might have been bullied or who were shy or who were not very social beings were often the people who did well. They kept up in their studies because they had lots of time to do so. And they could handle the technological and social challenges of being isolated. Unfortunately, those people who thrived during remote and later hybrid learning were the outliers. Still, I recognize their differences and hard work, and I applaud them for their achievements.

But back to disasters.

The disasters of hybrid learning have been learning shortfalls and socialization issues. You can look up lots of writing about those issues, so I will not dwell on them. What I will say is that those of us in education have a lot to do in the near future. And probably in the not so distant future.

The other big reason I am glad to be shut of 2021 is that my mom went to see Jesus. Which is a reason to rejoice to be sure. But it is also a reason to be sad. For even though I am sure I will see her again, I do not get to call her on the phone or see her in person again. To be sure, my siblings and I are not orphans. But we do not have our parents with us anymore.

Even though it was not the best year of my life, I cannot leave 2021 with bitter thoughts. There have been wonderful things that happened too.

I learned how to throw the javelin. Which will help me give my athletes a better experience as I coach them in the future. I got to see friends and relatives that I have not seen in years. I learned how to play my guitar better. I got a banjo for Christmas. I learned how to draw better. Plus I got two more books on drawing, a new sketchbook, and colored pencils for Christmas. So there were positives to 2021 even in the midst of pain and sorrow.

One last thing. I will leave you with a short poem for the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Yes. The title is almost as long as the poem itself.

Goodbye 2021, Welcome 2022

I am so done
With 2021.
I’ll be glad to see you
In 2022.

Happy New Year 2022!

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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