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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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The Wrongest Yard

The missus and I are in the midst of a home maintenance crisis. It involves our yard.

Our lawn is not an ideal lawn. It’s not large, nor particularly beautiful. The grass is spotty in some places. Much of it resides on forty-five degree slopes in front of and behind our house. Most of our interaction with said lawn involves trimming the grass, pulling up weeds, and discouraging various critters from setting up camp. In short, it’s usually more trouble than it’s worth. If our lawn were a cartoon character, it’d be Nelson Muntz, ‘haw-haw‘-ing at us every time we step out the door.

But like the parents of a petulant child, we do the best we can to make our yard presentable, and to keep it from offending the neighbors. Normally, I’d say we do a pretty reasonable job, given the lawn’s natural state of unruliness, and our decidedly green-free thumbs.

(Actually, my wife does have some talent in the gardening area. She plants flowers around the joint occasionally — in part, I think, to convince the rest of the lawn to straighten up and behave. In response, the lawn develops brown patches and sprouts toadstools. There’s just no reasoning with some yards.)

Recently, though, the lawn has been winning. Apparently, it finally realized that if we weren’t going to give up on grooming it, it would have to attack the middlemen. It went after our tools.

It’s a brilliant plan, really. No matter the dedication one has for his or her work, if the proper tools aren’t available, then the job simply can’t be done. Could a baker bake without an oven? No. Nor would a carpenter be much use, without hammer and nails. Where would a stripper be, without her G-string and pasties? Not onstage with a wad of sweaty dollars in her garter belt, that’s for sure.

“Just remember — no other lawn will ever touch you like that, and when you find yourself out of fertilizer and full of gopher holes, don’t you dare come crying to me

Our lawn’s no chump. The lawn understands this. And somewhere along the way, it formed a conspiracy with our lawn management utensils, and convinced them to go on strike. All of them, at once. It was thorough, too. This weekend, every single gizmo we have developed — or faked — a mechanical failure. Every single one is on the fritz — the lawnmower won’t mow, the weed whacker won’t whack, and the garden weasel won’t… okay, fine, we don’t actually have a garden weasel, nor am I entirely sure what those things are for, exactly. But rest assured, if we owned a garden weasel, right now it wouldn’t be doing whatever the hell it is that it’s supposed to do. The lawn would’ve seen to that.

Personally, I’m leaning towards the ‘tough love’ treatment in this situation. If the yard wants to be unkempt and unruly, then fine. What do I care? Go ahead, grow your grass three feet tall and full of weeds. I’m not going to stop you. Just remember — no other lawn will ever touch you like that, and when you find yourself out of fertilizer and full of gopher holes, don’t you dare come crying to me. That ‘dew welling up on the clover’ look doesn’t work on me any more, mister.

Of course, my wife says I should get off my ass and fix the lawn gadgets, or bite the bullet and buy new ones. Can’t she see? That’s just what the yard wants us to do! Spend time and cash and effort trying to make it pretty, and then it’ll just grow more, and gather leaves and pine cones from all over the damned neighborhood, and we’ll be right back where we started. That lawn is using us, and I for one think it’s time to say ‘no mas‘. Let the bastard mulch itself for a while. I’m putting my foot down.*

(* ‘Putting my foot down’ is a temporary measure, of course. If I’m lucky, it’ll buy me a week or two of blissful yard work-free weekends.

More likely, I’ll be out there tomorrow with a screwdriver and a socket wrench, beating the shit out of the lawnmower in frustration because it won’t start any more. The only real question is whether I’ll accidentally bang the gas tank and setting myself and the lawn on fire, instead. In my book, that counts as a ‘draw’.)

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One Response to “The Wrongest Yard”

  1. kerry says:

    sounds like our yard. there’s so many weeds, i don’t even know where to begin. and cutting it is a bitch because it’s so lumpy. how i’ve managed not to break my ankle just walking in the yard, i’ll never know.

    and i think a garden weasle is like a tiller or something, isn’t it?

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