I am not a fan of yard work.
Some people find it soothing to sit there and pull weeds or plant a new flower.
I do not.
Oh, I always marvel and admire other people’s yards and vow that I’ll try harder to grow stuff next year. But then that year comes and I’m all, “Well....maybe NEXT year....”
The thing is, I generally kill everything I plant. Not on purpose, of course. It starts out well but then I wind up forgetting about it and the next time I remember it’s all brown and shriveled.
My husband is usually in charge of the yard. But since he’s gone, I’ve had to take over. And I have to say, I’m not doing a great job. There are weeds dotting the yard and they’ve started popping up through the driveway cracks. I seriously need to weed eat but I can’t even BEGIN to figure out how to work that crazy contraption. It’s nearly as big as I am! I try to mow as close to the corners as I possibly can but the last time I did that, a rock flew up and nearly hit me right in the face.
Since we live on the military base our yard is inspected on a weekly basis. If the yard is deemed “unsightly” you get a citation. If you get enough citations you’re kicked out. Now, I’ve never heard of this ACTUALLY happening but I do know if you get a ton of citations that it goes to the first sergeant and the military member gets an ass chewing.
We got a citation last week. For having an unsightly yard. The guy wrote down that I needed to pull the weeds and to mow the back area.
Like I don’t already have enough on my plate!
I managed to pull a few weeds and then I got bored and came back inside. Then, okay, I somehow FORGOT about the yard because I was busy dealing with the kids. The yard completely slipped my mind until I saw the housing inspector trolling around the side of my house yesterday after I had put Natalie down for her nap.
He had a clipboard in his hands and was frowning at some weeds. Then he started scribbling something down and I just KNEW it was another citation.
I couldn’t get my husband yelled at by his first sergeant! He’d never let me forget it. It would give him a leg up on EVERYTHING! For instance, if we were deciding what to have for dinner and I suggested spaghetti and he wanted lasagna, he could add something like, “And remember that one time you got me yelled at by the first sergeant..” and would just trail off and raise his eyebrows at me. Then I’d feel guilty all over again and let him have his way.
I can’t have that!
So I took a deep breath and pinched my cheeks---Scarlett O’Hara was always pinching her cheeks before speaking to a man. Apparently they make them red or something but I don’t know if I pinched too hard or what because they really started to sting.
The things we do to impress the opposite sex.
I strolled over to the inspector and said in a jovial voice, “Hello there!”
I made him jump because he was so busy writing something down. He looked up all startled and I relaxed a bit because he was an older man which meant that perhaps I would remind him of his precious granddaughter and he’d cut me some slack.
Of course, his granddaughter could be a total druggie who once stole a bunch of money from him and he totally hates her now but in my mind she was this sweet girl who went to Harvard and is now a doctor.
“You have weeds all over the place,” the inspector told me after finding his voice. His tone suggested that he was quite offended by this and I was surprised he didn’t wag his finger at me reproachfully.
Okay. It’s okay. Just look innocent. Flutter your eyelashes. No, scratch that, you don’t want him to think you’re coming on to him.
“I’m sorry,” I said regretfully. I even lowered my chin and tried to make it look like I was really disturbed by having an unsightly yard. “It’s just, my husband is gone and he’s usually in charge of the yard. I have two kids and a house to take care of...” Not to mention a novel that I'm trying to finish!
I thought this might move the inspector. But it didn’t. He just stared at me as though I were lying to him. I imagine he hears a lot of excuses. But in this case, it wasn’t an excuse!
“Where are your kids now?” he wondered, eyebrows raised.
“Er…one is sleeping and the other is watching TV,” I admitted. As soon as I said that I realized I had made a grave mistake.
“Then…how about you get to pulling out some weeds? That way I don’t have to give you another citation.” He gave me a stern look.
He can’t possibly be a grandfather. If so, he probably terrifies his grandkids. My God, he didn’t even CARE that my husband was gone…
I nodded my head. What else could I do? I couldn’t very well wave my arm and say, “Nah,” and head inside.
So I forced a smile and said, “I’ll get right on those weeds!” and bent down and pulled a wad of them up.
Of course after I did that I was all, crap, where do I put weeds? A regular trash bag? A paper bag? I sort of sat there holding the weeds in confusion as they rained dirt down my legs.
“I’m going to finish checking out the rest of the houses on the cul-de-sac,” the inspector said. “You might want to get a bag for the weeds. There is a lot of them,” he added pointedly and gave me another non-warm grandfather look.
I wanted to flip him the bird but instead I bobbed my head enthusiastically. “Thanks for the tip!” I said, my voice a few octaves higher than usual because I was trying so hard not to lose my temper.
I rushed inside and grabbed a paper bag and then walked back outside.
What I wanted to do was sprawl out on the couch and enjoy a few minutes of silence.
But I couldn’t.
I had weeds to pull.
My son Tommy offered to help and at first he did a good job but then he got distracted and started chasing some butterflies.
I yanked up weed after weed after weed…my fingers started to ache and the tips of them had turned brown from the dirt. After I pulled up a huge mound a worm fell off the bottom and landed on my knee.
“JESUS CHRIST!” I boomed and shot straight up. The weeds I had just pulled up were flung across the yard and I started doing a silly little worm-get-the-crap-off-me dance around the yard.
“Yay! Dancing!” Tommy said and started copying my movements.
There we were, two crazies doing the strangest dance you’ll probably ever see.
The inspector was across the cul de sac and looked over in confusion as I leaped across the grass. I immediately stopped when I saw his expression and brushed myself off and pretended like I had meant to do that all along.
“Leg cramp!” I called out to him and then went back to the weeds.
I spent what seemed like forever plucking out weeds. My throat started to feel all dry and I wanted some water but I was afraid the inspector would stalk over and hit me over the head with his clipboard or something. He seemed like the type.
“This is not fun,” I said wistfully to myself as I moved over to this rock mountain in our yard that was dotted with the dreaded weeds.
I hate the rock mountain. It was here when we moved in. I wish the previous owners had destroyed it before they left because it is a pain in the butt during the summer. When we first moved in there was a plant growing in the middle but we managed to kill that less than a year after moving in.
After what seemed like forever, I was starting to really hate weeds. My hand accidentally bumped a rock as I went to yank up more weeds and I watched as the rock landed over a tiny mound.
The rock totally covered the small patch of weeds!
Suddenly my mind started racing with excitement. I could take a bunch of rocks and just COVER the rest of the weeds! Then I wouldn’t have to worry about them and maybe I’d have a few minutes left to rest before Natalie woke up. YES!
With rejuvenated energy I started grabbing rocks and hiding some weed patches. I was so busy doing this that I didn’t hear the footsteps behind me. Then I heard someone clearing their throat loudly and I whipped around in shock.
The inspector stared down at me with thin lips. He did not look pleased.
“This…isn’t how it looks,” I said lightly. I even pulled out a patch of weeds to show him that there was no way that I was covering them up.
“It looks like you’re covering the weeds with rocks,” the inspector said sharply.
Nervous laughter escaped my lips. “Don’t be silly...I would never...”
The inspector just rolled his eyes. “Look. I’ll give you a break this week. Next week you need to have this yard taken care of. Make sure you mow in the back.” He gestured with his clipboard. “It looks like a jungle back there.”
I didn’t tell him that I had STARTED to mow the back but then had gotten tired and had sworn that I saw John Krasinski leap out from behind a tree so I figured it was time to stop.
“I’ll get it done,” I promised.
The inspector gave me one last stern look before getting into his car and driving off.
So now I’ve got to make sure that I have the yard done. I plan on picking up some weed killer and hoping that it’ll do the job for me. I asked my husband which kind I should get and he started prattling on about different ones and saying things like, “But don’t put it on the grass or it’ll KILL it!”
Oh. Well that would suck.
I just assumed the weed killer would sense when something wasn’t a weed and leave it be.
But I guess not.
Obviously I have a lot of learn.