M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, July 01, 2003  

Taking it in the Rear

I held back one of June’s Reader Mails yesterday because it ties into today’s entry. It’s from DragonAttack, in response to something I wrote a couple of weeks ago:

I'd rather have a nice lawn than a party in my yard. I have been to parties like your Halloween party. I like going to those, but I have always been opposed to the concept of home ownership, because I would hate for anyone to expect ME to have a party like that.

I smoke like it's the 1950s, and I lived for five years in an apartment with a balcony. Most of my life was spent on said balcony, because I didn't allow smoking indoors. A lawn party would kill me. (So would a house party, but we are talking about your grass!) Dude. People's heels would be crushing chips into your lawn. Soda tabs would hide in the taller patches of grass and then wreck your lawn mower blades. Someone could throw up in your shrubbery. They might track mud in your house and leave your bathroom smelling like sunscreen. I shudder like Monty Burns just thinking about it.

Nightclubs are for rock and roll, homes are for cats and television. And being a spooky loner.

Or, maybe I'm just old too.

Woo! Party at Dragon’s place! Wear your Doc Martens!

* * *

The past couple of weekends my parents have come over and helped us do landscaping work in our back yard, with results that leave me torn between having everyone I’ve ever know over so I can show it off, and spraying it all with jigsaw puzzle glue to protect it. We’ve installed a stone patio off the newly cleaned and refinished deck. We’ve put pretty flowers and plants all over the place. We’ve created small, neat areas of gravel, crisply marked off from the yard proper by carefully placed edging. We’ve laid out these adorable little personalized paving stones with our names on them that Trash’s mom gave us for Christmas. We’ve wired up outdoor patio lights so that at night our backyard looks like a Hollywood movie premiere for the squirrels. The other day, our next-door neighbor asked me if we’d had it all done professionally. I said no, my parents helped us with it. “So they do it professionally?” she asked. That’s how good it looks.

Kind of a shame that my actual grass is deader than Elvis.

My parents and my wife came up with the patio/landscaping idea last summer. The theory was that anything that minimized the wasteland area behind our house couldn’t be a bad thing. I wanted more time to bring the grass back, even though they maintained that any such attempt would be doomed. We compromised; I seeded the section of the yard on the far side of the tree, and everything on this side of it was theirs to remake to their will. The grass failed last summer, but we didn’t get around to the other project, either. Then this year we got an early thaw, and they watched as my little desert turned green like one of those time-lapse nature films played in slow motion and I forced them to repeatedly admit to my gift for creating life and my mastery over the elements. The last week of June, the landscaping was finished; sadly, so was my grass.

I have a couple of theories. Maybe it was overzealous raking. Maybe it was because I stopped watering three times a day when the grass got thick enough to stand on without bending the blades. Maybe it’s the way our tree leafed up and fooled the grass into thinking there’s a solar eclipse going on at all times. Maybe it was the dying-off of the “cover crop,” the initial growth that fools you into thinking you got a good deal on your grass seeds, like a low introductory rate on a credit card. Or maybe it was the Noah's-Ark-level rainstorms that hammered our neighborhood last week, washing away most of the shallow-rooted plants and pounding the rest into the dirt as mercilessly as any backyard rockshow audience. Whatever the case, my yard now looks less like Astroturf and more like a chocolate donut dusted with green sprinkles. And rather stingily, at that.

Now that the landscaping’s done, I’ve embarked on damage control. I’ve reseeded the area (again) and restarted the watering campaign, for all the good it’s going to do me this far into the summer. My mom brought over a strip of sod that we cut up and planted in the baldest spots along the edges of the new patio, so now I at least have two sizeable blocks of bright green turf that I can put my face right down next to and pretend my whole yard looks like that. I’m not going to get the lawn back the way it was two weeks ago, but if the snow melts next spring to reveal a yard that’s anything but a flat, black brick, I’ll consider it a success. Then you can all come over.

But if anyone throws up in my wife’s new shrubbery, I’m sending DragonAttack after you to kick your ass.

* * *

… Can I also say that Trash sounds like a hottie? Is that inappropriate?

- Tim

I’ll take the second question first. No. And in answer to your first question: you don’t know the half of it, dude.

posted by M. Giant 3:32 PM 0 comments


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