Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm Surrounded by Weeds

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.

This sucked.

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.

Shit again.

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.


  1. You can't find a teenager looking for some extra money to do the lawn work? My mom would always do that for her yard cause she was a single mom, and I am severely allergic to grass. The first time I mowed the lawn I ended up in the hospital cause I couldn't breath.

  2. I love yard work. Think of it this way... you vacuum today and because of the kids making a mess, it needs it again tomorrow. You mow the lawn and it looks good for a week. You can walk outside and admire what a good job you have done. A house never stays clean for long.

  3. Oh my gosh! I lol'd at the dance!

    Yeah...first of all...I hate yard work. And the fact that you have someone bossing you around and telling you to do it?? That would drive me nuts!

  4. Oh man, you guys need orders here. No one gives a crap about the yards. The housing is privatized and they don't care if you mow or have a rain forest in your backyard. Remember my neighbor that would "mow" the yard with the weedwacker? The reason they had to use the weedwacker was because they let the grass get so high the mower died every time they fired it up to cut it!

  5. Wow!!! Your F'ed because you husband is in the military!!! WTF!!!

    This is BS!!! I will take some pictures on my weeds in honor of you later this week and link back!!!

    I love your writing!! OUTSTANDING!!

    And no sympathy from the other commenters??? AGAIN WTF!!!

  6. holy crap! that is just plain crazy. i think i might want to get kicked off a base like that (not really, i guess)! i'm lucky. we have no grass. at all. even our neighborhood soccer field is made of cinders.

  7. In the ideal world, John Krasinski would plant and tend some flowers (some of them Roses even) for you and Optimus Prime would use his blaster to clear away the weeds in just a couple short searing blasts.

    Love your writing... simply love it!

  8. OMG! That inspector is such an @$$hole! I totally would have cut you some slack. I hate yard work. I avoid it at all costs.

  9. I don't like yard work, either. Luckily, my father-in-law lives right next door and he takes care of the yard when my husband is gone. I like flowers and shrubs and potted plants, but I hate the weeds. I try to bribe the kids to take care of that stuff for me.

    Oh, and try some RoundUp. It works wonders on weeds.

  10. this makes me very happy that we live in the desert and our yard is sand! Oh, and our housing community hires someone for "lawncare"... but all they have to do is rake once a week.

  11. Are you allowed to own goats on base? I like weeds!

  12. I hate hard work too! I even tried to be all "green thumb" this year and potted some flowers and they are all dead even though I've been watering them everyday. I give up! If I had someone monitoring my yard work/weeks, I'm sure I would have a mound of citations. Thanks for the laughs!

  13. I lived nearby I'd be happy to come help you out -- I love gardening!

    In lieu of that, however, find a local garden center (NOT a big box store!). Staff at these places are much more helpful than Home Depot or Lowe's. They can give you great advice on what grows well in your area with minimal maintenance, and how to control weeds.

  14. Love reading your posts. I, too, hate pulling weeds...it's much too hot here (for me). I usually have good intentions and the hotter it gets...the more I slack off. The hubby does the weed eating. I don't mind mowing on the riding mower.

    Maybe the weed killer will do the trick....who cares if it turns a little of the grass brown...less to mow. Good luck passing the next inspection. :)


    Trust me. I would never stoop down and pick a weed and my yard is immaculate because of that stuff. You'll have to buy a SCOTTS dispenser but it is not expensive and it is as simple as walking back and forth over your yard and you are done.

    "his granddaughter could be a total druggie who once stole a bunch of money from him"

    My favorite part.

  16. LOL LOL LOL ROCKS covering the weeds!!! The second you said that, I KNEW what you were going to do! Teeheehehe. I HATE yard work, but I like mowing for some reason. Something to do with the end result-- you can look back and see how pretty you made it. That part I like. The others... like weeds... I'll have you come over and yank them for me.

  17. Oh my I feel so bad for you but I couldn't help but laugh. I envision it as the big sergeant type dude standing there with his arms crossed barking orders at you like "Pull those weeds. Get down and pull twenty!" Or something like that!

  18. This post made me giggle so much. I had no idea that you could actually get in shit for having an 'unsightly' yard! Yet another reason why military wives are actually superheroes in disguise.


  19. Hey, do you think maybe I could borrow some of those rocks? I have a few weeds that need to be hidden. I hate pulling weeds. I like your solution better.

  20. Is that a true story? Do they really DO that? Crazy!
    BTW, I kill everything too. I have already killed a plant a student gave me 2 weeks ago.

  21. Oh my gosh that's hilarious...the joys of base housing...it just reminds me of my childhood!! That's too funny!! And yard work is the devil..it stands for everything I'm against..

  22. You are such a funny writer. You really have a way of pulling readers right into the heart of your stories.

    (PS: Good luck with the novel! Are you close to finishing it?)

  23. OMG cut you some slack...did you try flash a boob at the inspector? Hey I'm just trying to help I hate weeding too!

  24. I hate yard work. Hate. It. Reading this was like a nightmare - I can't imagine what I would do if my yard were actually being judged (and not just, you know, by the neighbors)

  25. Oh my god... I love you so much!! That is freakin' hilarious! I swear, we should be best friends. You are awesome. I hate gardening and yard work too!

    ps. I'm not at girlintheglasses anymore! I've moved to

  26. Once again, you crack me up!

    That would suck having someone tell you how to keep your yard. I'd totally just let hubby get yelled at.

  27. You are too funny! I love the worm dance! I agree - it would suck to have to pass yard inspection. They should cut you some slack since your husband is away - either that or provide lawn care while he's gone. Is there any way you can pay somebody to do the yard work? Thanks for making me laugh this morning!

  28. Sorry, the weed killer will not make them disappear, so you would still get a citation for dead weeds. Sorry, get out there and pull.
    But the teen ager thing is a great idea.

  29. Even with the reciseeion, we have a gardener. He's cheap, we use him twice a month, and he pulls weeds. My husband works a job where he needs his back to be in good shape, and at 46, his back is acting up. We figure it's cheaper to hire a gardener than my husband being out on disability.

    Now, if we coudl just squeeze off enough money somewhere in the budget for a maid.

  30. I so know that worm dance. I have done it too.

  31. Citations?! You have got to be kidding me. Your post is still funny as hell, though.

  32. You are killing me with this!

    Wow! That guy is just plain old mean! I love that you tried to cover the weeds with rocks. :0)

  33. If I was there, I would have totally giggled. But then I would have helped you weed, so it would have evened out.

  34. are you kidding me??!! weeds!!!....its summer! thats what yards are made of right??....right??
    oooo i need to go get a bag myself then...but then again i dont have a mean grandpa scolding me with his clipboard!!.....your stories are great!!!

  35. I feel your pain. I can't stand yard work! My neighbor is constantly out planting and tenderly caring for her beautiful flowers and freshly mown lawn. And she looks HAPPY! I don't understand it. I'm quite certain I have never looked even remotely pleasant while hunting down errant weeds.


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