Archive for 2005

May 29 2005

Spring beauties.

Published by under Outdoors,Photos

A bug’s-eye tour of some of the things you can find in my yard.

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May 21 2005

Buzz, buzz, buzz goes the mower.

Published by under Outdoors,The Fam,The Man

I was never allowed to mow the lawn when I was younger.  When my parents were still married, I was too young to even approach the mower while it was running.  My yard work consisted of bringing my dad another beer when he needed one.  After the divorce, we (me, my mom, and my sister) lived with my grandparents for a few years.  My grandpa was still in good health (this was years before we would discover that he was harboring cancer in his lungs) and mowed the lawn himself.  When my mother met and married my stepdad, and we moved into one house and then another, my stepdad mowed the lawn.  I always wanted to do it myself.  I thought “What a great way to work on my tan!”  I was stupid and naive, but I wanted to mow the lawn.  Finally, after we moved across the state and it was just me, mom, and stepdad, he let me try to mow the lawn using his riding mower.  He tried to explain to me how to “establish a pattern” and how to handle the mower, but I either didn’t understand him properly or I am really dumb when it comes to riding lawnmowers.  He so hated the way I mowed the lawn that I was never allowed to mow the lawn again.

When The Man and I moved into the trailer and had a small lawn to maintain, I still wasn’t really allowed to mow.  The Man really likes doing outdoor work, and considered yard work “his job”.  We had a very small amount of grass to mow, so it only took him a very little while to do everything.  All I could do was what I’ve done all along: watch, and bring another beer when it was requested.

Now, we live on much more land, and have a much larger lawn.  We do have a riding lawn mower, but sometime over the winter the rider decided that it really, really hated us and refuses to start.  We’ve been thrown back onto our little push mower.  Luckily, only one of our three acres of land is in any condition to be mowed.  Regardless, it’s a lot of grass to mow, especially since we have a lot of trees to be maneuvered around and dealt with.  I firmly believe that if our riding mower had not bit the dust, I still wouldn’t be allowed to mow.  But, since it did, and since push mowing the lawn is a lot of work on hot days AND since I’m now home all day instead of working, I can now mow the lawn whenever I want.  Which I did today.

My hands hurt.  Is this normal?  When I told Chris that my hands hurt and I had a blister on my thumb from pushing the mower, he looked at me like I was crazy, so I think this is probably not a common experience.  He told me I was holding the lever down too hard (we have one of those mowers where you have to hold down a bar to keep it running), but I don’t think that’s it.  After he told me that, I consciously tried to loosen my grip.  My hands still hurt, right on the base of my palms.  When I first came back into the house, my whole hand tingled and was cramped.  I always knew I had weak little hands (I’m one of those people who always needs help with the pickle jar), but this is getting out of . . . well, hand.

Regardless of the pain a wuss such as I must experience, I find mowing the lawn to be a very satisfying experience.  I like the immediate results for the better.  I like watching dandelions fall to my whizzing blades of doom.  I like that I probably walk a couple of miles – up and down, up and down – while I’m mowing, so I’m getting some exercise I normally wouldn’t be getting.  I’m sure the thrill will wear off after a time, but for now, it’s something simple that makes me happy.  We all need more things like that in our lives.

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May 14 2005

Bizarro.

Published by under Moving/Real Estate

Today The Man and I went to a birthday party in the morning for Necie (his niece), and then to my grandma’s house in the afternoon. We ate lunch, hung out, and took her to a furniture store to look for a table (found nothing). When we got home, there was a letter waiting for us. I opened the envelope and found, hand-written on a piece of yellow legal paper the following note:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jas (this was addressed to my maiden name, funnily enough),

Hi, my name is Joe Schmoe.
I am looking to buy a house in your area.
I don’t know if you are interested or not, please call me if you are.
(here he lists his home, cell, and fax numbers, and his e-mail address)

Thanks,
Joe.

I didn’t really know how to respond to this. . .why would I be interested that some stranger is shopping for real estate in our neighborhood? Then I figured what he really meant is that he wanted to know if we wanted to sell him OUR house.

Our house has no “for sale” sign in the yard.
What a bizarre way to shop for a house. I wonder if he sent letters to everyone on our road, within a ten mile area, or everyone within our city? Does he not know there are people called “real estate agents” that will show you all of the houses currently on the market and take you to look at them?

I felt that such a strange effort deserved an answer, so I e-mailed him to say that our house was not for sale, but that our neighbor’s home was currently on the market, and gave him the name of the company that had the listing. If he has really never heard of real estate agents, I expect this to confuse him very much.

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May 10 2005

Just a nice day.

Published by under Outdoors

Today the weather was perfect.  Lovely.  Sunny.  Low humidity.  It was great.

I decided that today was the day to go get the perennials for the front and side flower beds, so I went to Lowe’s.  I don’t know why I go to Lowe’s when there are a billion huge, independent greenhouses within ten miles of my house.  It is what it is.  Even though Lowe’s never has the one plant I always want and never buy – Black Eyed Susans.

So, I went to Lowe’s and got my plants.  They are all old-timey looking things, which fits our old-timey house.  Meadow sage, larkspur, delphiniums, dianthus, cheddar pink, and something which I think is called pink pincushion – but who knows since it’s now all in the ground and I’m inside.  I vaguely remember two other plants, one that my mind is insisting is called “speed freak” (uh. . . it’s late) and another one that has to do with kobolds.  Seriously.  Kobolds.

The side flower bed is my nemesis.  Last year – the first summer we were in the house – I didn’t know if anything was in it, so I let it go, other than pulling things that were obviously weeds.  The year showed me that the bed contained two hosta, three things that seem to be some breed of foxglove, and a whole lotta crazy tall weeds that bees love and I hate – I didn’t know they were actually weeds until the autumn when they turned into pickers.  This year, I decided to reposition the hosta and foxglove, and fill in the gaps with real plants – two that my mom gave me (and that she claims not to know what they are. . . she grew them from seed and forgot what she planted.  She only remembers that they attract hummingbirds.  I await the results with breath that is bated.  Wow, long parenthetical), and some of the aforementioned “old-timey” plants.  Then the dreaded flowerbed sprang its newest evil.

The fucker is full of concrete.

I have no idea what the point of this was, other than drainage, but about four inches beneath the surface, half the bed is full of large pieces of concrete.  I dug out three huge pieces, and several smaller chunks.  As an added bonus, one of the large pieces was home to a red ant colony.  I blessed my leather work gloves as I hurled that piece into the wheelbarrow.

So, my flower beds are full of perennials now, which makes me very happy.  I used to be all about annuals when we were renting, but now that we own our own property, I wanted plants that would come back year after year.  The annuals I’ll save for my as-yet-unbuilt planter boxes that The Man says he will build me, and a couple of pots I want for the front porch.

All this gardening. . . and the apple trees are blossoming. . . and the raccoons are mating in the distance (hey, it’s the country).  I guess it really is Spring.  Finally.

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May 07 2005

Visiting Mackers.

Published by under Friends,Travel

I did end up going down to see Mackers last weekend.  It was very fun, although both of us were kind of dazed out during daylight hours.  I was tired just from driving for two hours; she was probably tired because she had two children to look after and had been working in the garden all day.

Things that made us giggle:

  • Me walking up to her as she was hoeing the garden and singing the “Day is never finished, master got me working” song from South Park (well, it was on South Park, I’m sure it’s really from somewhere else).
  • Her later declaring that “Hoeing is hard work.”  Chewy and I both stared at her for a minute and then just exploded with laughter.
  • “I’ll give you a hint: it’s landlocked.”  While playing Trivial Pursuit, a fierce battle erupted over whether or not Pennsylvania was a landlocked state.  Mackers and I were on one side, Chewy was on the other.  After dragging out the atlas and calling us dumbasses, we had to admit that he was right.  After that, about three more questions to which Pennsylvania was the answer came up.  No matter how many times someone gave the person the above hint, they never caught on.  Amazingly, we were all sober.
  • “You fucking cocksucker.”  “Deadwood” was on in the background as we played Trivial Pursuit.  This phrase got used a lot as a result.

I wish I could visit with her more often.  She always puts me in a better mood.

I stayed with my mom and stepdad while I was there, and didn’t really spend a lot of time with them.  I need to plan a day to actually do that.  The Man and I are going to see Les Mis in May, so if he’s willing maybe we’ll spend the night there and visit.  I think they’d like that.

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