The Enemy Surrounds Me (tf)

I bought my house during the winter. Snow covered the ground. House seemed in fine working order. Quiet neighborhood. A decent sized yard for my kids. So I signed on the dotted line.

Then the snow melted and I realized that I had no “lawn”. It was all mud. The guy who lived here before never planted any grass. The real estate agent neglected to inform us of this. Of course it may have just slipped her mind.

So I moved in. The snow melted and my yard looked like the Somme after the first day. I tried to look at the bright side. I had no grass to cut.

But no matter how often I told my kids to go out and play in the mud, they never found it appealing. So I checked into what it would cost to have someone come in and give me grass. After a few outrageous estimates, this avenue was closed forever. Let me put it this way. The house I grew up in cost my parents less money than what somebody wanted to plant grass at my house.

So we decided to do it ourselves. Of course it’s not simply a matter of dropping seeds on the mud. We had to truck in dirt, spread it, roll it, then rent some space-aged seeding machine to shoot seeds in the ground. It’s not brain-surgery. But when it was over, it could very well require hospitalization.

How much dirt? We ordered 5 tons. Sounds like a lot. It’s not. It covered half the front. We ordered another 5 tons. Then 10 more. Twenty tons of dirt in all. Thankfully dirt is cheap.

It rained. All the time. In between the drops we spread this dirt. By hand. We had no machines. No bulldozers. Only shovels and one wheel-barrow and increasingly creaky backs and blistered hands. At the end of a day’s work we looked like grave-diggers.

I forget how long it took. A few weekends I believe. I walked around looking like a question mark for weeks more. I’m not much good at this sort of thing. A bit on the scrawny side. On a good day I can bench press a bag of grass seed. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s just that I suck at manual labor, and I hate to suck at things. So I avoid it. I can fill up blank pages with all kinds of words, but if you ask me to paint your garage it’s going to look like graffiti.

Anyway, time passed and eventually I had a lawn. Which of course meant that I had to cut it. At first it was like a vacation. Cutting grass is much more enjoyable than planting grass. Me and my little mower from Sears got along swell. I was lord of the manor, getting fresh air in my lungs, tending to my very own creation. If not quite the owner of a green thumb, at least my blisters were gone.

But as spring descends for the 5th time since I’ve been here, the novelty has worn off. At times I swear I can actually see my grass growing. Mocking me. When the grass reaches ankle-height my Sears mower turns timid and chokes up every 5 feet or so…..forcing me to stop and rip out the clumps by hand. The thing sucks up gas like a Lamborghini.

I no longer wish to be lord of the manor. I’d like to pay someone to be lord of the manor.

But unfortunately for me the people willing to cut my grass are the same ones who wanted to plant it. To pay I’d need to be in a higher tax bracket.

Maybe I can get Stevens to do it. He’s got one less chore. And he’s retired.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on April 17, 2011.

One Response to “The Enemy Surrounds Me (tf)”

  1. Yes indeed… I do seem to recall something of what you describe… wheelbarrows filled with dirt by hand and pushed up the slope to the edge of the Kennedy… you people really know how to throw a party! LC aka “dirt digger”

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