Spring has finally come and I’m not happy. I was very content to have my lawn covered by piles of pure white snow. Why? Because the five feet of snow and ice covered my perpetually brown lawn. I really hate yard work. I come from a long line of yard work haters. My father hated it so much he made me do all of it. “Rake the leaves,” he ordered. “Why? The majority are still on the trees,” I replied. “Rake ‘em anyway!” So I raked them into a pile and the next day the wind blew the pile all over the place and more fell from the trees. This went on for weeks. I’m obviously a slow learner. The only good that came from that was back then you could burn the leaves. If there is one smell that will stick with me for the rest of my life is the sweet fragrance of burning leaves on a cool autumn night.
“Mow the lawn!” he barked. This was torture because by parents were, well how to put this delicately, really f@#$ing cheap. They had a manual push mower with rotary cutting blades that I affectionately called the Widow Maker. This came complete with dull blades and no blade guard. In the hands of a ten year old it could be considered a weapon of mass destruction. After years of this hazard, he finally relented and got a power mower. Nice! Now mowing the lawn was tolerable. I figured out that if you had the motor running, pushed down on the handles so they rested on the ground, after a few seconds huge plumes of smoke would begin to come out of the mower. All summer long I played with my new lawnmower/smoker; until the engine seized. Apparently it had something to do with the oil or something. The mechanics in the little repair shop were scratching their heads on how this happened. I just looked in wonderment and smiled sweetly.
I still have a push mower today. However this one is self-propelled. It seems that, at least on my street, I am a dinosaur. Everyone else has a riding mower. On Saturday morning you would think it was the starting line for the Indianapolis 500. The revving and gear changes make for a symphony of small engine bliss. Haughty me disdains the riding mower and treats the hour and half of walking behind this infernal machine as part of my aerobic exercise routine. Yeah right! How shall I put this delicately—I’m really f@#$ing cheap! I mow it once a week, maybe. One guy on my street, mows his literally three times a week. I don’t get it. He’s like a serial lawn mower.
I don’t have a green thumb. I’m lucky to have thumbs at all after growing up with the Widow Maker. I was the last person on my street to landscape the front of my house. I had a few bushes or weeds, I’m not quite sure, which gave the house a rundown, sort of shabby chic, haunted house look. After the neighborhood petition was nailed to my door, I decided to get some trees and such. An art teacher friend of mine designed an absolutely gorgeous layout. We planted, mulched, fertilized and prayed. Lo and behold, it looked fantastic. Wanting to take a picture of my new landscape masterpiece, I framed the shot, stepped on a rake, the rake flew up and instead of smashing my face, broke my pricey digital camera. I would have preferred a broken face. At least that would have been covered by insurance. Duh!
I thought that planting bulbs would brighten up the back yard. I went to Home Depot, bought a whole bunch of tulips and started to organize them in a very colorful pattern. I couldn’t wait for spring. Spring comes, nothing! I was cursing my luck and decided to dig these puppies up to check why my backyard didn’t look like the blaze of color represented on the box. Apparently, you have to plant them roots down, not up. Double Duh!
I’m toying with the idea of hiring a landscaper this year. Perhaps he can tell me what this purple stuff is that is slowly replacing my grass. Or cut back the poison ivy that is strangling my zebra grass. Or, I don’t know, maybe just get some green spray paint and dye my whole lawn. When is summer coming?