Those of you who aren't from Texas may not know this, but they stopped using the famous Astrodome to host Houston Astros games a few years ago.
What the did with the Astrodome, you see, is they took out all the grass that was in there (I'm pretty sure it was grass), and they backed it up to my house in Austin and just left all the land there for me to deal with in the summer.
For the last few weeks, it was starting to turn into a bit of a jungle. The Crocodile Hunter kept asking me if I would let him come explore my "wildlife, crikey!" and I kept having dreams where I was watering my plants and got attacked by a lion back there.
What sealed the deal on finally having to deal with it was that my folks got me a lawnmower for my birthday. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I'd want a lawnmower as a gift, but now it's totally cool. I have a patch of land that I own and damn skippy I want it to look good. I actually started comparing my lawn to my neighbors' lawn. Yeah, look at that house across the street. It's like Sanford and Son over there! And what about the neighbors? They lost a child in that grass.
And here when I moved in, I thought I was going to be the one to drag down the cul-de-sac's property values. As busy as I usually am, I thought I'd be the shameful stepchild of the neighborhood, with the dead plants and the unkempt lawn and the SWAT team surrounding my home demanding my surrender.
But, no! It turns out these people, with their skateboarding teenagers and their multiple cars, have even less time than I do. Sure, they get out there and mow once in a while, but they don't give their lawns the strenuous shiatsu massage that my family and I did on Sunday.
Check it out:
Mowing. If you've never seen my yard, just imagine the widest expanse your brain can fathom. Then put grass, a bunch of weeds, trees and a storage shed on it. That's my back yard.
Weed-eating. My dad did most of this, but you must understand that the weeds in my yard are so big they have entire ecosystems built around their existence. Cutting them down was like breaking down civilizations. I keep waiting for the disenfranchised bugs to let loose the dogs of war on my ass. (Or whatever insects use as Dogs of War in their little insect world.)
Planting grass (not that kind of grass). The previous owners of my home had these big, Golem-sized dogs who used a jumbo-sized pet door to get in and out of the garage. This was so they wouldn't just lean forward and knock the garage door down, which they were perfectly capable of doing. They also were good at getting into the plants and digging up the side of the house, so there's chicken wire around all the garden areas and a huge patch of dry, arid nothing on the west side of my house. We laid out a bunch of topsoil, used a spreader (heh heh. Try saying you own a "spreader" with a straight face.) and laid out a bunch of grass seed. Now I gotta water it every night in hopes that sweet, magical grass will grow.
Weedin' and Feedin' (Also not a marijuana reference). There are these little pink pellets you can put in your spreader (heh heh.) to lay out this magical stuff that kills weeds but leaves your grass alone. So I went all W&F happy, spreading it everywhere I saw these big-ass weeds. I was just enthralled that these pellets were so smart they could selectively kill like that. Our government can't even get that right. But I found out a day too late that the pellets treat herbs as weeds and kill them off too. I'm expecting my big patch of rosemary to die off any day now. (Could I sound any more femme-y than I did in that last sentence? Sheesh.)
Watering. Along with the bounty of a new lawnmower, my folks also equipped me with two long water hoses and a sprinkler that does back and forth motion. After all the yard work, we gave everything a good soaking.
Pulling damn weeds. I did a lot of this. I did learn a neat trick from my mom, though, of taking all the dead branches, weeds and other crap and rolling them on the ground into a neat little ball. But despite this ease-of-disposal, that never, EVER stops them from being damn weeds. Damn those weeds.
So what did I learn?
It's nice being outside. It's nice having a little patch of earth and grass and weird weeds to call your own and the work seems worth it when you're not doing it on some rental property you can't even sell to someone else. I learned this is really going to be a pain in the ass when the temperature gets up over 100 degrees.
Public service announcement
I know you have to get hungry at least like once every day or two, so here's something that'll make you happy. For lunch, go to Wendy's and get one of their Mandarin Chicken Salads. It tastes exactly like a Mandarin chicken salad, only faster.
And if you don't like that, run to the grocery store and get one of Wolfgang Puck's tomato basil soups. Don't put anything in it for goodness sake. Just eat it like that. (Heat it up first, smarty.) Mmmm, mmmm, good, right?
That is all. Go eat something tasty.
"It's this damnedable house, Martha! They built it too small!"