Monday, August 27, 2012

Are There Beehives In Space?

Remember that commercial from the late 70s that went something like … “SOME day is today … at Honeywell”?  I’ve been thinking of that commercial lately because “SOME day has become today … at the home.   By which I mean, the painting we were going to do SOME day, the hardwood floors we were going to replace the carpet with SOME day, the wallpaper we were going to strip SOME day, and irrigation ditch pump that we were going to update SOME day are being painted, installed, stripped and replaced … today (within the next month or so anyway) … at the home.  This unexpected move into “today” has engendered various amounts of grumbling, moaning and arguing debate at the home.
When I say the home I mean our future retirement house.  When I first started telling people about this house I would call it “the house we’re going to move to when we retire.”  That was a mouthful which I soon shortened to “our retirement home” which then became the home. “Yup, goin’ up to the home again this weekend.” 
Lately I've been wondering if I should come up with another way to easily describe this house we plan to move to when we both retire.  The home  triggers an image of silver-haired geezers (if they have any hair at all, that is) shoulders stooped, shuffling from room to room, groaning during their frequent stops to massage a hip, all the while either shouting, “What? Whajja say? I didn’t hear you! Say it again! Whaaaaat?!" or mumbling to themselves about the other dimwits residents.              
Then again … maybe not.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear John, You’re Even Handier Than Edward

Ever since we bought a football field of grass I have been trying to convince myself that I do not need a rider mower.  Each time somebody told me I did need one, I had a reason why a push mower would work just as well:

  • It’ll be like painting a bridge.  By the time you finish it’ll be time to start again.
  • I’m going to be retired.  What else will I need to do with my time?

  • You’re going to be old.  It’ll be too hard for you to push a mower. 
  • I’ll get one of those fancy self-propelled mowers so you don’t have to worry about finding my exhausted body sprawled across the lawn mower or hear me whimpering for help.

  • Your ancient body just won’t be able push a mower for hours and hours even if it IS self-propelled.
  • I’m going to be 60 … not 600!  I’m still going to need exercise.  It’ll be good exercise for me.  It’s gotta be better than the evil elliptical.  

The truth of the matter is I was coming up with excuses because I was afraid of rider mowers.  I was 28 years old before I ever even mowed a lawn, and that was with an old fashioned reel mower that made quick work of the postage stamp lawn we had.  That little mower did a great job on the larger lawn we acquired later too.  Just ask Leslie and Abby.  I’m sure they’d love to share their lawn mowing memories.  Once the girls left home we dumped the reel mower graduated to a mower with a real motor.  Dean, as always, had my interests in mind when he insisted on an environmentally friendly, bicep and thigh-building non-self-propelled, electric push mower which over the past 12 years or so has also fine-tuned my cord-dragging/tripping/flipping abilities.

I’ve never mowed with a lawn mower that uses gas and oil.  I’ve never had to pull that cord until your arm falls off to get it to start.  I’ve never had to add gasoline, or change the oil or fill my lungs with exhaust.  When I thought about owning a rider mower, I not only worried I might become a ready-made torch if I spilled gasoline all over myself when I tried to fill the gas tank, picturing myself driving a giant razorblade scared me and kept me awake at night.

Since Dean didn’t think they made an extension cord long enough to reach the end of our property, we were forced to shop for an alternative means of maintaining our field of grass.  I just wanted to quickly get something and be done with it.  Get it over with.  But Ryan came along, asked questions, did some research and saved me from myself.   I finally decided if I was forced to reach outside my comfort zone to a mower with gas and oil and fumes, I might as well go whole hog … or, as it turned out … whole deere … John Deere, that is … Lawn Tractor.  And then I tried to forget we had bought it.  Until a week later when it was delivered and I had to face the realization that I was going to have to get up on that high-backed seat, start the engine … and drive the giant razorblade mow.  So I put it off as long as possible – until late Sunday morning. 

The kid who delivered it had given me a little lesson before he left but he might as well have been writing math equations on a blackboard because my brain shut down in fear as soon as he pointed to the key.  Dean made me read the manual but I might as well have been reading Algebra For Dummies because my brain shut down in fear again as soon as I saw the Safety Warnings.  Finally the time came when I had to either mow or hang my head in shame every time the neighbor moved the sprinkler on his impeccably cut lawn.  So we locked up Angus … Dean went over all the steps with me – again … and after I made him back it out of the garage … I got on … in the front yard (even though I’d explicitly begged asked him to take it to the back where nobody would see me) … started my engine, put down the deck, turned on the blade … and … I went forward …   

I went backward …

 and I sliced off grass with the giant razorblades like a samurai  mowed.   

 You thought I was going to say I got stuck in a bush didn't you? 

 Or tipped over.  Or sliced off a corner of the house.  I wouldn’t blame you if you did because I worried about those very things all weekend myself.  But Ha!  I didn’t.  I didn’t even lose control.   I’m not saying I loved it.  I didn’t.  It still scares me but at least I can hold my head up high; which might not be a good thing if it allows me to see the neighbors doubled over laughing while they watch me, brow furrowed in concentration, a death grip on the handlebars, putt putting along at around two miles per hour.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lyle Loves Ponies Too

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything here that I don’t know how to begin so I guess I’ll just jump right in with I thought I broke my nose last weekend.  The second thought that went through my head as I was gingerly tapping at my nostrils wondering when the blood would begin to flow was boy, this will make a great blog post.  Too bad I don’t have time to write about how I was on my knees, hunched over, gripping pliers and pulling at a stubborn staple with all my strength when it suddenly let loose, my fist flew back straight into my nose which propelled me back onto my butt.  But my nose didn’t bleed or swell or even bruise and my nose didn’t break.  So no blog post there. 

I thought maybe I could post about the shape my hand had assumed from ripping out four rooms of carpet and padding, yanking out those stubborn staples and scraping off the glued-on indoor-outdoor carpeting foam from the floor of two rooms, although I wasn’t sure how I could type if my fingers were curled over in the shape of a claw.  But I managed to pry my fingers from the pliers and the scraper and with only a little massaging I was able to return them to their natural positions … or at least natural enough to hold a glass of beer.  So no blog post there either.

Dean made the first mouthwatering homemade breakfast in our future retirement house but there were no fires or spills or burns to make that interesting to post about.

It seems all I’m left to write about is the variety of ways Angus found to stay cool while Dean and I were sweating as we pulled and ripped and yanked and scraped and groaned. 

Well, that and the fact that we have just learned that Angus is not part Labradoodle/part Bernese Mountain dog.  He is part Labradoodle and horse Newfoundland.   12 weeks, 25 pounds and growing.

Now we know why he likes to stick half his head in his water bowl when he drinks.  I can’t tell you how excited I am for the drooling to start.  I just hope I’m not holding a pair of pliers when I slip in it.  On the bright side, if I can train him to lick up his slobbers from the floor I may never have to mop again!