Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The call of the weeds...

So I was forbidden to use the weed whacker.  Seriously.  And for what reason?  Neil just leveled a glare at me and declared it OFF LIMITS and went off muttering about missing toes and goodness knows what else happening.  It was quite unfair, you know.  I think I could probably figure out the weed whacker without losing anything major.  But he’s still holding some of the other “incidents” against me.  The lawnmower incident… the freezer incident… that thing with the bee last week… But in my defense against the bee incident, that was NOT my fault AT ALL.  How was I supposed to know that huge, overgrown black bees like Windex? 
But anyway.  So there was this patch of weeds under the grape vines and the trees that REALLY needed to be dealt with, and I was forbidden to use anything that ran on electricity, gas, or solar power (I guess he figured that covered just about everything).  So what to do?  Wait for Neil to get around to it?  He’s been leaving for work before it gets light in the morning and coming home after dark lately, so when in the world was he actually going to be able to get to it?  Besides, that weed patch bugged ME more, so it really was my responsibility.  It was a dilemma.  Until today, that is. 
My dad is really responsible for my attitude toward getting things done.  You see, when I was growing up and we would work together on things, if at first something didn’t work out (which it usually didn’t, especially if it was car repairs or plumbing), we tried something else.  He never gave up on something just because he couldn’t do it the way he thought he was going to originally.  I remember a lot a lot of staring at the problem trying to figure out HOW we were going to do something.  There was never any question of IF we would do it, only the how.  If there’s a roadblock, sometimes you move it… sometimes you tunnel under it, and sometimes you build stairs to go over.  My dad never liked hearing me say that I couldn’t do something.  “Don’t say you CAN’T,” he’d say, “Figure out how you CAN.”  My poor students get that line from time to time.  I think he’s regretted teaching me that philosophy every now and then. 
So anyway, I found some spare time today.  I wasn’t bored, no.  I’m really never bored.  But I was “at loose ends,” not having anything scheduled for me and a free morning at my disposal.  What fun!  The kids and I headed outside.  (Much better than contemplating the piles of laundry that still need to be done…)
So how to tackle the weed garden?  Obviously the weed whacker was out, since I am a nice, obedient wife and I would never dream of disobeying.  Besides, I had an inkling that Neil probably had a point, and with my mom and dad working, and Neil in meetings all day, there would be no one to drive me to the ER if it turned out Neil was right.  Plus, I really hate hospitals.  So we just had to find another way. 
 Juli and I had tried doing some old fashioned weeding, which worked around the plants, but not in the path areas where the ground was hard.  I didn’t really want to dig up the area, since that would just make it MORE fertile for weeds, so that was out.  And I really didn’t know of any enterprising young kid I could hire to do it for me (have you noticed that enterprising, hard-working kids are few and far between these days?  The last time I hired one was back when I was eight months pregnant with Juli and was having a hard time weeding my garden.  Let’s just say when I had gotten two buckets between contractions to her almost-full one, I knew I was wasting my money). 
“Clippers!” I declared.  “We’ll do it with clippers.”  Juli was excited.  “What kind of clippers will we use?”  “Oh, I don’t know,” I said, “We’ve got some hedge clippers, some rose clippers, some branch trimmers, and if all else fails, we’ll try some old scissors.” 
“Cool!” said Juli.  We collected the clippers together, and set them on the table. We got shoes on Juli and Alex, just in case.  Uh oh.   Alex was going to be a problem.  While Juli could handle some of the duller ones capably (and I knew they were dull – I have tested them many times), Alex really couldn’t be trusted with anything remotely sharp.  But I knew he wanted to help out.  We solved the problem by getting his little toy lawn mower, and he thought that was pretty cool.  Once he discovered the “Snail seat” on the back for his little snail buddy, he was all set. 
It was a big job.  I think I underestimated it a bit, but we had a good time.  Juli was busy “cutting wheat and weeds” to set aside for our snails to eat during the winter.  She also made up stories and pretty much talked the whole time.  We did some weeding in the tree areas and clipped the tall weeds in the rest of the area.  Alex alternated “mowing” with a little weed pulling, playing in the sandbox with his snail, and giving his snail a guided tour of the yard.  We took some pictures, too. 
We finally made it back inside around noon.  We were hot, sweaty, tired… and very dirty.  “Okay, guys,” I said, “Lunchtime!” 
“Mama,” said Juli, “When are we going to do my schoolwork?  And don’t we have to have a huge bunch of cookies for Daddy to take to work tomorrow?  And home group, too?  When are we going to make those?” 
<Oops.  I forgot.  I guess it wasn’t supposed to be a free morning after all… >

Before and After