It's not about the house.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mean Green Mother

Here is an admittedly-incomplete, but still fairly-representative list of outdoor activities that make me twitch:

1. Yardwork

2. Working in the yard.

3. Gardening.

4. Mowing

5. Weeding

6. Pruning

7. Watering

8. Pretty much anything in any way pertaining to the care and maintenance of plants.

I can’t think of any more points to add to that list, such is the extent of my loathing. I don't know what you people do out there all day. Or why, for that matter. I will pick a tomato if it happens to be ripe and I happen to want one at the exact moment that I happen to walk by, but that’s pretty well the sum total of my willingness to interact with kingdom Plantae.

Seeing as how I brought it up, I might as well admit it’s not just yard-plants. It really is the whole of the kingdom. And I’ve been like this since I was a little girl.

My mom, see, was one of those people who can whisper into a plastic pot of dried-up soil that you may or may not have abandoned in your dorm room over Jan-term, and have it green and blooming in time for you to kill it again by spring break. Our house was always like a jungle: flowering things hanging in every window, trees of all descriptions in every corner on the floor, bushy leafy green stuff on every side table and shelf. And as a girl, while I watched television, I used to absent-mindedly squeeze the flower-buds off hanging plants just to hear that satisfying pop, break branches off of trees to throw the pieces at my siblings, and make criss-cross patterns with my thumbail in the lush green leaves.

I’m telling you, if anyone ever deserved to get eaten whole by Audrey II, it’s me.

In college, I majored in biology, and they wouldn’t let you do that without learning at least something about plants. So sophomore year I took a class called Animal & Plant Physiology. All we had to do was memorize the names of of all the parts, and I chose it because, as I hope you can tell by the title, it was only 50% hateful green. I passed the class, of that much I am certain. And if I know me I probably did pretty well. I probably still have my notebook from the animal half of that class kicking around somewhere in my father's basement, for that matter. But of the plant half, I remember not a whit. In fact, if I do know me, I probably skipped the plant half entirely and got the notes from someone for the final (although, truth be told, the sophomore-me that I remember probably skipped the animal half, too).

I seem to have strayed off track a little somewhere with this post (Hello. Have we met? My name is EGE. I’ll wait here while you read "About Me" at the top of the right-hand margin. Yes. There. You see? So just do your best to keep up, and I promise to poke you if I’m about to say something that will be on the final.)  (Ahem: POKE), but the point I set out to make is that one of the things I've loved about this life-transition thing I’m going through is that I get to say goodbye to all of that.

And yet…

Remember how I said about Mom and her green thumbnitude? And remember how I’m living in Mom’s house, now?


There aren’t any inside-plants here anymore – thank god. But there is still this garden-thing out front. And sort of grass..


So that’s the down side. The upside is that, while the garden-thing is – or was – an honest-to-god garden, the grass really is just “sort of” grass. The house was built, see, on a cleared lot in a scrub-pine forest, so the soil’s not really soil so much as it is sand, and the only grass that grows looks, well, like this:

It doesn’t really need to be mowed so much as hacked at with the occasional machete. Or, you know, weed whacker. But even that, I’ve been unable to bring myself to do, despite the fact it's been specifically requested of me. Several times.

See, it makes my father (understandably) sad to see Mom’s garden all overgrown and gone to shit and seed. But he’s not in any shape to tend to it himself. So every time he comes up here, he finds a way to gently suggest that maybe, if I were bored and if it weren’t too hot, I might think about taking an uncharacteristically horticultural-related stab.

At first I was really, honestly, genuinely, too no-foolin’ busy to even think about it. The inside of the house was a huge job, and it was really, honestly, genuinely, more no-foolin' important to get done. But when it was actually finished, I stooped so low as to tell Dad not to ask me to do yardwork anymore. I said I hated yardwork. I said I cleaned out the entire fucking house all by myself. I said if I weren’t up here for the summer the place would be vacant and the weeds would be waist-high anyway, so could we please just accept that and move on?

I know. I told you. One of these days:

Nom! Nom! Nom!

But there came a point when I started thinking: what the hell else am I doing with my time up here, now that the house is finally (almost) done? Besides writing for my life, I mean, and working out 4 ½  hours a day?

And then last weekend, after I crashed Mom’s car and Dad was up dealing with the repercussions of all that, he appealed to my fitness routine by saying that wielding the weed whacker would be excellent exercise. Since he is, quite frankly, worried about my fitness routine and my recent weight loss, I knew if he was willing to go there then it was just exactly that important. So I took pity. And this weekend I went out in the goddamn yard to whack some weeds.

Or, rather, grass.

Sort of.

I mean, it’s possible I missed some spots accidentally…

…I may have been a wee bit blind to others…

…and I plain old skipped some other bits completely…

But I did it. See?

I sweated and swore through every loathsome second of it, but it's done. And it turns out my father is a lie, because it only took like twenty minutes and the whacker only weighs like seven pounds, so I didn't get a turd's worth of exercise. Still, though. It's done.

Happy, Dad?

I even picked the onions, like you asked.

They didn't turn out to be as big as we expected...

But I did it.

Please don't ever mention the rest of that garden-thing to me, though. Seriously. I don't care if Audrey II punches through the now-locked door and eats me whole...

...because I did not skip all those physiology classes all those years ago so I could wind up tits-deep in a pile of shit and seeds like that.

1 comment:

12ontheinside said...

The previous owner of my house solved much of that problem for me by installing Italian Grass. (Otherwise known as cement)