Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Hot, Sweaty Evening...

It's starting to get muggy again here. I woke up to a thunderstorm with heavy rain. This posed a problem because the puppies do not like to go out in the rain but, when they first wake up, they really need to go out, even when it's raining. When I opened the door so we could go out, the rain was pouring so hard, it was bounching out of the rapidly-filling puddles. The puppies looked at me like I was mental and had a very easily-decipherable, "You want us to go out? In that? Who are YOU kidding?" look on their faces.

They sat under the shelter with me for a while. I can't say I'd blame them. Since I wasn't willing to go out and get soaked, it did seem a little unfair that I wanted them to do so. In the end, I went inside and fetched my cute pink and white striped umbrella and escorted them outside so they didn't get too wet. Yes, I puppies are spoiled.

As the day progressed, the rain tapered off, leaving behind a thick, sultry atmosphere. By the time I got home from work, the mosquitoes were buzzing and the air was humid and damp. It wasn't the type of evening you want to be outside but, stupid me, I decided that it would be a good night to garden/landscape.

As I said last night, I had chopped down the ugly pampas grass that was taking over my front lawn. As I chopped it back, I'd noticed that it had originally been planted in a rather nice flowerbed that had once been mulched with a pretty red wood. The soil beneath the pampas grass was fine and fertile. Thus I decided that I didn't want the pampas grass at all and I wanted to plant flowers that had colour instead of having a ten-foot tall bunch of grass that would cut you if you happened to slide your fingers along one of its' blades. Trust me, pampas grass is sharp. It's worse than getting a paper cut; my granny has some in her garden and I remember very well how my brother and I would dare each other to slide a blade between our finger and see who would bleed first.

And yes, I know, with that statement, I'm revealing the fact that I've been a little dark in my nature, even from my youth.

Anyhow, tonight, I decided to dig up the pampas grass and begin my landscaping efforts. I stopped at Lowes and bought some perennials and a couple of butterfly bushes which meant that I had no excuse for procrastination. I also bought some insect-killer. The nice lady who used to own my house had splurged and had these neato tube things inserted into the foundation. They're designed for Terminex to come out and spray their bug-killer into the spikes so that the house stays bug-free. However, I think Terminex charges way too much so I stopped and bought my own bug-killer. I spent a large part of the evening spraying my spray into the little spiky things. I hope it gets rid of the bugs. Unfortunatly, it doesn't get rid of people who bug you (ha ha, see what I did there?). Case in point, Larry the Potential Serial Killer was just drivin' by on his way to the Aldi supermarket when he happened to see me 'out and about' so, naturally, he had to stop and say hi. He also stopped to chat. He'd noticed I'd chopped the pampas grass last night and wanted to tell me he'd noticed. This would have been sweet if he wasn't quite so creepy. Also, even though I was clearly hot, sweaty and grumpy, he just wanted to tell me all about his butterfly bushes because he'd noticed the ones I purchased at Lowes, just waiting to be planted. He finally left. I continuted to spray bug spray in the spike things in my house's foundation.

By the time I was done spraying the spiky things, I was hot and sweaty. Nevertheless, I decided I still wanted to try to get rid of the pampas grass.

Silly me.

My pampas grass bed consisted of what turned out to be four individual clumps. Clump #1 came out with little argument. I grew cocky.

Then I tried to dig up clumb #2. My cockiness vanished. The blasted thing would NOT come up for anything. I used my fork, I used my trowel, I used my garden shears and still, the roots remained firmly embedded in the earth. After much sweat, growning, pulling and heaving, the bloody things came up, arguing all the way.

Clump #3 was worse. I dug, I stabbed, I unearthed and I pulled. The stupid grass wouldn't budge. In the humidty, I was sweaty. I actually had beads of sweat on my forehead before I was done. Given that I sweat only under extreme circumstances, this was unusual. I felt crotchety. I had a film of dirt on my skin that felt disgusting. Yet, even with all this, I felt like I had to finish. I had to win over the pampas grass.

Clump #3 was hard work. There's no doubt about it. I finally made progress. Pampas grass tends to grow with its' base forming a circle. I managed to dislodge a third of clump #3's circle. Then I got stuck. I dug. I pulled. I used every tool I had...nothing. I grew angry and frustrated. I wanted to rip the pampas grass up by its' roots and show it no mercy.

Naturally, this was the time for me to meet a new neighbour.

Yes. I met Mike. Mike lives next door to Larry. Mike had seen that I'd cut down my pampas grass yesterday but he didn't want to knock on my door to tell me how he felt about that. Tonight, as he walked by on his evening soujourn, Mike saw me outside. He proceeded to tell me how "people would pay a lot of money for the grass" I was ripping up. I realized he was hinting. I told him that the grass was all his. Truth be told, I was quite excited at his obvious desire to take my discarded pampas grass. This meant I didn't have to find anywhere to store the grass I'd dug up.

Unfortunately, Mike was a chatter. Even though I was covered in sweat, bright red from the heat and covered with dirt, he didn't seen phased. He just kept on chatting. He was delighted I would give him my grass and so, finally, he excused himself so that he could get his van to pick up the discarded pampas grass that I had intended to throw away.

I kept on digging. I made no progress. I got sweatier. I took a water break. Clump #3 was just evil. I kept attempting to get to the roots but no luck. I grew crankier and more irritable. Then Mike returned.

Mike did not care that I was sweaty, in a bad mood and clearly not very chatty. He just kept on talking. While I welcome the chance to meet new neighbours, there are some times when you just want to be a hermit so that you don't have to talk to anyone. This was one of those nights for me. For Mike, it was a free-for-all of chat.

The thing is, he seemed nice. Yet when he came, I was sweaty, hot and irritable. I wanted to get rid of the pampas grass but I also wanted to go inside to the puppies who were yipping with indignation that I'd dared leave them alone.

He finally took his grass, chatted some more and left. No matter how hard I tried, I never did manage to dig up clump #3. I got a little of it dug up but, alas, it looks like I couldn't competely lose it. Also, I broke my fork. This does not make me happy as the fork was a house-warming gift from my sister. I'm wondering if superglue will work though I suspect not.

Still, even with my lack of progress on clump #3, it's an improvement. However, I can honestly say that I'll be surprised if it's calmly accepted by the neighbours. As I was digging tonight, I recieved two "why are you doing that?!!! responses and two, "wow, you're brave" responses.

I honestly have to say, I don't really care about the neighbours. They're nice but I've started to realize, finally, that this is MY house. I can do what I like. That's the whole point of being a homeowner...right?

Of course, Mike (he of the pampas grass adoptee program) did introduce me to a new concept: That of the RENTERS.

Apparently, our neighbourhood is divided by the BUYERS and the RENTERS. The BUYERS are people like me, people who bought their house and owned it. The RENTERS are the lowlifes who their home.

To me, there's little distinction. To Mike, there was a lot. He's been around our 'hood longer than many people. Thus, he can tell the difference between a RENTER and a BUYER. Apparently, RENTERS don't care about the property and constantly need to mow their lawn. My non-Dog Whisperer neighbours are RENTERS. I did not know this. Mike took one look at their lawn and declared them so and who am I to argue?

I don't care, honestly. I do care that Mike scavenged my discarded pampas grass in order to plant it along his fence which, apparently, borders that of The Dog Whisperer. Mike gets tired of the constant yapping. He hates it. He's hoping that the pampas grass will privide some privacy. I wish him luck with that although, based on my Dog Whisperer experiences, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Mike, however, seemed rather annoyed with the Dog Whisperer and his yappy beasts because apparently, he can't go out into his yard without being barked at either. I'm hoping he gets REALLY annoyed and calls the police. As awful as it sounds, I think that would be good for the Dog Whisperer and Wife of Dog Whisperer. They've stopped hearing their dogs' desperate cries for attention and begun, instead, to stay indoors and get wrapped up in something else.

Nevetheless, I now know another neighbour. I do wish he'd have come by when I was decent and not hot and stinky. Still...he got his pampas grass and, in doing so, I managed to minimalize my refuse by donating my plants. I wish Mike luck with his endeavors.

In the meantime, I think, for now, I'm done yanking up pampas grass. At least until it grows back.

I'm really hoping it doesn't.

Happy Thursday!

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