Tis the Season

I should have seen it coming. It is that time of the year. Sudden intense storms that blow out of nowhere, with little warning and leave vast destruction in its wake. Yesterday was one of those days. Beautiful morning, cool temperature partly cloudy skies and a nice breeze, a perfect day for yard work and a DIY home improvement project. We had the whole day planned out. Mitch would go rent a jack hammer to dig out holes in the shelf rock under one of the bedrooms on the old side of the house and I would go to the grocery store then come home and mow.

First off I misunderstood where he was going to rent the jack hammer. I thought he said Lowe’s, so I figured he could drop me off at Sam’s Club across the street rent the jack hammer then come back and get me, killing an extra trip for me. But no, he said Home Depot, not even close to where Sam’s is. Strike one against me for the morning. I caused him to have to drive farther out of his way to take me to Sam’s then on to Home Depot then back to pick me up. He didn’t bother to correct me until we were getting off the highway at the exit, so by then it was too late to correct the misunderstanding. It didn’t end up saving any time for either of us, because I had to wait about a half hour for him to come back and get me. The only upside was the looks on people’s faces walking past me standing in front of Sam’s with a cart full of food.

After coming home and unloading food and jack hammer I buzzed off to the grocery store leaving Mitch to attack rock to his heart’s content. I came home and unloaded groceries, made sure Mitch hadn’t jack hammered off one of his toes, changed my clothes and took the dogs outside to commence yard work. I dragged the mower out of the shed ducking for cover because of the growing wasp nest in the door. I keep forgetting that it’s there until I have to mow, then I’m rudely reminded of it when the wasps buzz bomb my head. I pushed the mower down to the driveway, grabbed the gas can and filled the mower. I pulled the cord and the mower started right off then promptly died. I pulled the cord again and again, now the mower wouldn’t even try to start. I thought great, not now, not today.

I was already hot and tired from cutting limbs from bushes and it was 11:30 so I thought it was a perfect time to take a break, eat some lunch then ask Mitch start the mower for me. I walked back in the house to see how much he had accomplished. He had punched out two holes each about a foot and a half square. It was slow going, Mitch had to break up the rock in big chunks, lift the large rocks out of the hole then use a shovel to scoop up the dirt and smaller rocks out of the holes and into a bucket. He then had to carry the bucket outside and down the steps to the trash dumpster. Hard heavy work and he still had many more holes to dig. I suggested breaking for lunch, but he said no he wasn’t ready. I said that I couldn’t get the mower to start and asked that he start it for me, but I was tired and wanted a diet coke and just sit for a minute. Strike number two, since I stopped to take a break, in essence I made him stop what he was doing too. He quickly reheated a leftover steak while I ate a salad and drank my diet coke.

When I was done, he followed me out to the mower. I pulled the cord just to check; it started right up, then died and wouldn’t start again. Mitch pulled and pulled but nothing happened. He told me to push it into the garage so he could work on it. I could tell by his expression, it wasn’t going well. Strike number three, I told him not to worry about the mower that I could do something else and he could go back to jack hammering. He looked at me with that look and I saw the first signs of “Mitch Fit Warning”. I offered again that he could stop taking the mower apart and I would do something else. That’s when I saw the “Mitch Fit Warning, Imminent”. The look that says “take cover things are about to starting flying or get broken”.

He looked at me and said very slowly, “Go find something else to do, right now.” Here it comes “Mitch Fit Imminent” is getting ready to strike and I didn’t want to be in the path of that storm. This had all signs of a major event. He had rented a jack hammer, paying an hourly rate to get grueling back breaking work down and I had just halted the process in order to fix the mower. This wasn’t going to be pretty at all.

So I grabbed the dogs and beat a hasty retreat. An hour later he walked into the house and said, “I got it running for now so go mow right now before it stops.” Thank god we had rocks he could break.

Advertisements

The Silence was Deafening

Every morning I head out on the morning walk with the dogs around 4:30 give or take ten minutes. It’s always dark, with some mornings darker than others depending on the time of year, starry skies or cloud cover. We’re usually alone except for the occasional critter of the night still out foraging, raccoons, possums and deer. When we run across any or all of these critters the morning walk gets very interesting, usually with me hanging on for dear life and yelling “NO NO NO!” The main purpose of the morning walk is to burn off energy and the morning poop, the dogs not me, so the dogs can make it until we get home for lunch to let them out. It’s not a very long walk, about twenty minutes tops.

I am always on high alert walking in the dark, watching and listening for any unusual movement or noise that doesn’t belong there. I’ve been surprised too many times with wild animals, people that are not normally out that early (and are drunk) and a naked man (not a pretty sight). This morning the dogs and I had gone to the distance limit of the walk and turned around to head back so I can jump in the shower and get ready for work. Then I noticed the quiet. I stopped and stood still for a few minutes and just listened. Nothing, no sound at all. The birds hadn’t started their morning calls; there was absolutely no wind not one leaf was moving, no traffic noise, nothing, for that moment in time there was just absolute silence.

For some people this might have been very disconcerting, the feeling of being all alone, but for me it was perfect, the most peaceful moment in time. Just the dogs and me all alone in the dark standing in the middle of the road, soaking up the quiet. In this crazy hectic rush world where everyone wants something to happen instantaneously, hearing nothing was very relaxing and calming. All of my rush mode was gone for a moment, I even forgot what day it was. Then a rabbit ran across the road and I became the boat anchor I was meant to be trying to slow down two dogs, weighing in at one hundred seventy eight pounds and definitely with much more muscle mass than me.

Now I remember, it’s Monday!

Poison Ivy One – Susan Zero

Could someone please explain something to me? What on earth could possibly be the benefit of poison ivy? It grows prolifically, withstands floods and extreme drought and can live despite me spraying it with even the most concentrated herbicide I can find on the base of the plant for five minutes. I find this noxious weed all over my yard every time I turn around. I will be weeding away and reach down to pull a weed and there it is, suddenly visible waggling its leaves at me, taunting me, saying “Come on grab hold, I got something for you. I have a really bad rash just waiting for you. Come on pull me.”

As you might have guessed I am one of the eighty-five percent of people out there that has allergic reactions to urushiol, the clear liquid sap in the plant. I even get the rash from the dogs after they’ve run through the miserable plant. Poison ivy doesn’t bother the dogs, just lays a urushiol sappy coating on their coats, waiting for me to pet them and spread it all over me. I went online to research poison ivy, to try and determine what possible benefit there is to the plant and could only find a brief reference to “some animals eat the leaves and some birds eat the berries”. Come on what self-respecting animal would eat the leaves or bird would eat the berries? I know better, no one knows what purpose poison ivy serves, but they can’t put “I don’t have a clue as to why this plant is on this earth” so the vague catch phrase “some animals eat the leaves and some birds eat the berries” is inserted. Probably because I am the only dummy to ask what purpose does this vicious plant serves?

Look at all of the other creatures and plants, large and small, out there. They all serve a purpose; big fish eat smaller fish and so on. Some are pretty gross such as maggots. Maggots are fly larvae that eat decaying flesh so the world isn’t a stinky rotting mess, even as gross as they are maggots do serve a purpose. The thorns on a blackberry bramble are super unpleasant but the thorns keep a creature from stripping the plant of its fruit in one sitting, leaving fruit for other animals. But what purpose does poison ivy serve?

Could poison ivy be the invention of the Calamine Lotion people? Maybe that’s it, somebody sitting in a marketing meeting comes up with the idea, “What if we invent a plant that makes people itch? Then we advertise that Calamine Lotion is great for relieving the itch from poison ivy.” Then the little lab people go invent poison ivy and use a crop duster to spread the seeds. Pure genius. That has to be it; it’s the only plausible explanation. Why on earth would Mother Nature make such an evil nasty plant? Mother Nature is the great keeper of natural order. Surely she wouldn’t play such a cruel joke on the human race.

Maybe that’s it; it was a joke that got out of hand. I don’t know, but I know one thing for sure, poison ivy is out to get me. It’s stalking me, everywhere I go, there it is growing away happy and healthy, laughing at me when I walk the dogs, tempting them to come and rub up against the leaves.

Maybe I should buy stock in Calamine Lotion.

The Future Looks Bleak

Back in April I wrote about “The House that Nobody Loves”, an abandoned house that sits overgrown with weeds and tree saplings growing out of the gutters. Bushes are growing up the side of the house and working their way under the shingles. The house has fallen in disrepair waiting lonely for someone to love it again. Well today as I drove past it, I noticed something new in the front yard. A giant backhoe was parked waiting patiently for someone to come and start it up. Next to the backhoe sits an equally large dump bucket, according to Mitch, but I think it looks like a giant pair of grabbers. Grabbers with huge fingers ready to rip through the failing roof and rip it apart.

It looks like the end of the little abandoned house is eminent. I understand the need to tear down the little house because it now looks like a blight on the street overgrown with weeds and broken shingles, but a part of me is a little sad for the house and the memories it holds. I think about the ghosts that walk the floorboards from room to room, retracing the steps of children running through the house playing tag. Memories of a mother and a father hugging and loving the children, making them eat their vegetables and tucking them in bed at night. I can only imagine the love and tenderness that once flowed through the walls of the house.

Maybe I’m way off base, maybe there was no love in the house and that’s why it sits empty. Maybe, but I would rather like to think that the house was loved and that someone besides me will shed a tear when it is finally torn down.

IMG_4218 (1280x853) (2)

IMG_4222 (1280x853)

IMG_4230 (1280x853)

IMG_4220 (1280x853)

Poetry for Tuesday

A bit of poetry for your Tuesday.

The Sentinel

On a hilltop overlooking a small village
Stands a sentinel ever watchful
Never moving always on guard
Protecting all below.

His gaze never wavering
Looking over the horizon
Stoically waiting for the need
To unleash his power over the realm.

Though he is made of plaster and wood
His mere presence gives comfort and courage
To the villagers below
Having faith in the belief that the Sentinel will stand for them.

The House Nobody Loves

There is a house in our little burg that is unloved and forgotten. No one lives there anymore. I imagine that at one time it was filled with laughter and people coming and going. Today it sits vacant with tree limbs lying on the roof and seedlings have sprouted in the gutters. The weeds growing on the roof are healthier than the ones in my yard. How weeds can grow on an asphalt shingle roof is beyond me, I have places in our yard that weeds won’t even grow. A giant tree has fallen over and lies across the ground. To call it rundown and shabby is an understatement. The roof is sagging in spots giving it a rippled look. Every day when I drive by the house, I am surprised that it still stands.

There is a padlock on the front door, I assume to keep people out, but surprisingly enough there is an open window on the side of the house that has been open for a year now, through the summer and winter last year. I can only imagine what creatures have made it their home seeking refuge from the cold and snow over the past winter. It’s probably pretty cozy for squirrels and raccoons dry and out of the wind. I don’t think I want to go in and find out who or what has taken up residence. I’m not that brave.

The house reminds me of a series on cable a few years ago about what the earth would look like if the entire human race was gone and how Mother Nature reclaims her world bit by bit. When it starts getting warm again and everything is greening up and growing, the house may become totally overgrown with vines. It is truly a very sad portrait of our society that we create something live in it then cast it aside without a care. I’ve never been in the house, but I think that had someone still loved the house and cared for it, then the house would not have gotten to this state.

There is a story that the owner found his true love and moved to a warmer climate, or perhaps the house is haunted and the ghosts of the long ago past haunted the house forcing the man to flee afraid to go back in the house. The fact that the house still stands after such a long time of vacancy helps to fuel the haunted thoughts of a creative mind. Besides I would rather believe the house is haunted than the boring truth that it is just unloved.

IMG_4011 (1280x853)

IMG_4017 (1280x853)

IMG_4023 (1280x853)

IMG_4027 (1280x853)

What do you think, is the house haunted or just unloved?