Monthly Archives: June 2011

Garden Weasel

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“It is a testament to how much I love you,” said The Lovely Rhonda, “that I am out here right now doing this.”  She said this as she helped weed the front bed, for it is legendary how much she does loathe the working of the soil.  And then some kind of stinging insect wrought its revenge upon her foot, and still she did not quit.  Clearly I am undeserving.

Our house was a rental for years before TLR and the ex-Mr. TLR bought it around five years ago.  The landscaping had once been rather complicated, with berms and excavated areas and expensive weed-suppression cloth under the beds and so forth.  Over the years the berms had merely become nuisances when it came to mowing, ditto the excavations, and the weed-killer cloth was tattered and patchy and so covered in years of bark mulch and soil that the weeds merely laughed and moved in atop it.

I am only one person and the yard is largely my domain, so these projects are generally self-inflicted.  I asserted my dominance over it the first summer (two years ago) by removing a nasty bush that impeded exit from the back door by being scratchy and in the way.  It also generated a fine horrible dust that infiltrated the house and clogged up our laptop fans something fierce.  I also took a lopper to the trees and just cleaned them up a bit, and mowed on a fairly regular basis.

Last summer we had a couple of guys come and over about a ten hour period they removed huge amounts of yard debris from the estate.    It looked fantastic, I must say, if your definition of fantastic is pretty generous.  I guess it’s a relative term.  Relative to when I first laid eyes on it, when it was weedy and overgrown and the grass was dry and brown.   They also scraped off the berm and filled the depression, and for this I and the mower blade thank them.  I recall that we tipped them generously.

This year we’re preoccupied with various medical bills and other expenses that we’re paying off, so we’re unable to hire much done.  To that end I’ve had to once again break out the gardening gloves and the long-handled implements of landscaping destruction, my favorite being the three-tined fork, quite civilized yet destructive, much like my own self aside from the civilized part.   My goal this year was modest: dig out the bed along the front of the house from the door to the western corner, and plant things.  Also, keep them alive.

At any rate, part one of that goal has been met, and next weekend I’ll be laying down the bark mulch.  I’ve planted many things: an azalea, astilbe, hydrangeas, a type of heather, and a couple of coleus.  The coleus will most likely not survive the winter but I know the chances of actually digging them up and bringing them in are pretty much nil.  In the meantime we’ll get some color out of them.  Hey, the Gerber daisies weren’t supposed to survive either and one of them did.  You never know.

The other bed, between the front door and the garage, I planted in Gerber daisies and some other odds and ends.  This year it has a few daisies again (the aforementioned survivor among them) and some trailing purple thing, and a white thing.  Probably this would be a more interesting post if I’d saved the little plastic tags.  We couldn’t resist a lavender plant (we ARE lesbians, after all) and a salvia.  Slowly we’ll get some perennials in.

The price of these small improvements: I have a blister on my right thumb, and every joint from the waist down is creaking whenever I am called upon to bend in any way.  Naturally, this was the weekend that we had no pews in church (floor was refinished, and is beautiful, I wish we never had to bring the pews back into that space) so I was obliged to sit on a rug and get up and down several times in the course of the service.  Motrin, take me away!

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Making Allowances

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So it turns out that when you allow someone to move into your house, and you’re not madly in love with that person, then all the little allowances that you automatically make for someone that you are in love with — yeah, you can’t make those allowances so easily.

Er, no offense, Iz, you’re a great guy and all.

I should emphasize that there have been no major problems, nor even really any minor ones.  I’m just talking about the cranky things you think to yourself about Other People’s Stuff.

DEAR GOD IZ YOU HAVE SO MUCH STUFF!  YOUR STUFF SMELLS FUNNY!  WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MUCH STUFF!  And so forth.

…when the reality is that considering that this is all the poor man’s wordly goods in their entirety, it’s not all THAT much stuff.  It’s probably an average amount of stuff.  And of course it smells funny, it’s Not Our Stuff.  It came from 1100 miles away, where Stuff Smells Different.

Plus?  It’s MAN stuff.  Like, he has all these aluminum cases that look like they contain weaponry or something.  He saw me looking at them.  “They don’t have guns in them,” he tells me.  Well then what are they, I ask.  “Poker chips.”  He says this so casually, as if it makes perfect sense that he should have what looks like enough poker chips to open a casino.  I reflect to myself regarding the poker chip census of our domicile prior to Sunday morning: zero.  It’s apparent to me that this must be some guy thing that I fail to understand owing to the absence of certain bits and pieces among my person.

So there are boxes of things everywhere, and our own things have been put into disarray, and The Lovely Rhonda, who is nursing a minor back injury and a Filling Gone Bad while under the influence of The PMS, is practicing a great deal of restraint, and have I mentioned how proud I am of this?  Love you honey!!!

This too shall pass.  Right?

Drive Drive Drive Pee Drive Drive Eat Drive

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So Friday night I flew to San Diego.

I hate  flying.  I used to like it, when I was  younger, but now I’m elderly.  My mortality doesn’t just stare me in the face, it actually does a little dance and waves and sticks its tongue out at me going NEENER, NEENER, NEEEEE-NER!   I can’t help but think of all the many things that could go wrong, and the way the plane rocks and rolls in the sky just makes me wish I had a parachute.  And  a cocktail.  And a Xanax.  Or three.

But, I survived the flight, and an hour after I landed I found myself behind the wheel of a 16-foot rental truck holding all the junk worldly possessions of our friend Iz, who will be squatting in our spare room until greener pastures become available.

Now, the plan was that I had three days to make the trip from San Diego to Vancouver, and aside from wanting to get through Los Angeles in the dead of night when the traffic wouldn’t be too horrible, we had no real itinerary.  Iz can’t drive owing to a recent knee surgery, so it was all me, baby.  We could just stay in whatever motel would take a dog (Iz has a dog) and it would all be good.

Yeah, not so much.  For a variety of reasons, and for no real reason that I can determine, I got all spastic about driving.   And did I mention that I don’t sleep well away from home?   And and and.   So I decided to just go.

And so I drove 1100 miles in about 36 hours.

One Fewer Monkey On My Back

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So for some time now I’ve been struggling with having crappy eating habits and all the delightful effects that that has on a person.

A major hurdle: my abiding love of that delicious carbonated heaven in a bottle, Coca Cola.

Did you hear the angels chorus as I typed that?

So I asked The Lovely Rhonda to pick me up a rack of “sparkling mountain spring water” which comes in various unsweetened flavors such as fruit, a different kind of fruit, and yet a third sort of fruit.  It’s zero calories and very satisfyingly fizzy.

And now?  Now I haven’t had a Coke in three weeks.  Maybe longer.  I’ve actually lost count.  And I’m not craving it either.

How awesome is that?

Concert-goings

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So Saturday night the wife and I went out on the town and saw us a show.  It was Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, unplugged, at a fancy downtown venue.

This same venue used to be a down-on-its-luck concert hall, back in the day, a bedraggled shadow of its original glory.  It opened in the Hollywood heyday and had fallen into disrepair by the early 80’s, when callous youth such as myself went there to see rock-n-roll shows.  Or in my particular case, Devo.  Contact high, anyone?

But I digress.  *cough*

Nowadays it’s all remodeled and lovely and named after the loaded benefactors who sponsored its resurrection, and it’s truly a lovely place to see a show.  And this being Portland, some people show up dressed to the nines and others show up in jeans and sandals.  We fell somewhere in between.

Lyle Lovett is a dainty man who sings very eloquently, and John Hiatt is a little meatier, a little more raw and robust, and they complement one another very well.  Mr. Lovett sang every song I wanted to hear, nearly, and we had great seats, and it was a delightful evening.   You’re sorry you missed it.

So Far Today

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Today was that rare occasion: a day totally alone, no plans, no nothing.  Okay, I should have gone to church, but I had this idea that I would do something useful to the house.  The Lovely Rhonda and our babysitter/housekeeper/friend Amber painted the kitchen last week and it got me in the mood to Improve the Home.

So, this morning I got my mow on early, thanks to unexpected help from a friend (thanks Josh!), and between us we got all kinds of crazy stuff done.  The whole back yard is mowed, the weeds have been whacked (to the extent that the whacker battery would allow), the patio has been hosed and scrubbed and hosed again because hosing alone did not remove the ground-in filth; all the of patio furniture has been hosed off and in some cases scrubbed; the cooler full of beverages from a party we had last fall was discovered, emptied, scrubbed and returned to the garage… the list goes on and on.

The mowing alone was a bit of a chore.   The delightful weather is perfect for growing grass, or in our case, weeds.  Rainy with just enough sun to encourage explosive growth.  Josh mowed the entire thing and then declined to allow me to buy him lunch.  I whacked weeds, pulled weeds, battled weeds, cursed at weeds, and occasionally texted Rhonda about weeds.  Good times!

And now to visit the Home Improvement store for some odds and ends!   Yay!

Living the Nightmare

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So last night I slept rather poorly and woke up with a gnarly headache.  I was grouchy to the wife and took some ibuprofen and went back to bed, and when I woke up again I was all stuffed up.  Probably the reason for the headache.  It’s alleviated somewhat since I got up.  Allergies?

Anyway, between waking up the first time and the second time, I had those crazy dreams that sometimes happen in the early morning.  Because I was already Little Miss Crabby Pants, they were grumpy dreams in which I complained a lot but nobody seemed to care.  MUCH LIKE MY REAL LIFE!

But I digress.  *cough*

The first one, we were living in some small apartment, but it was really this house (you know how the dreams are) and The Lovely Rhonda rearranged the living room AGAIN.  Only this time instead of one large altar of entertainment (the idiot box), there were FOUR.  She was unable to understand why this distressed me.  Plus there was clutter everywhere, far more than my clutter tolerance could endure.  I had reached the clutter threshold and was approaching clutter critical mass.  Yet again, NOBODY CARED.

Oh, the humanity.

The second dream was annoying.  We had been somewhere and were returning to the van (why would I not dream about driving the sporty little car?  Why would I dream about driving the minivan? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME) and found the doors open and all the seats gone.  Like, the front seats, the middle seat, the back seat.  All gone.  And I angrily complained about how much people suck and how were we going to get home.  And again, the wife had no idea what I was so upset about.  She was all shrugging and being all, No big, we’ll just get a milk crate to sit on to drive home.  And I was all, BUT WOMAN WE GOT NO SEATS.  WHY DOES THIS NOT DISTRESS YOU?

On the positive side, the interior of the van looked pristine in a way that it has not looked since we first got it, but still.  Who steals the crappy snack-encrusted seats out of a minivan?  MY DREAMS, THAT’S WHO.