Sunday, August 8, 2010

The birds and the bees and other life lessons

Last week, Alison stopped me in the kitchen, stared me in the eyes and said, "Someone needs to do something about the laundry situation around here."

She was annoyed that she was down to one pair of favorite pants. It wasn't that she didn't have other options, but she'd taken her faves to camp and they were still in quarantine.

I've read enough stories about bedbugs coming home from summer camp that we bagged up everything she'd taken, sucked out the air and left them in the garage to suffocate. Yeah, it wouldn't have been a humane death, and sure, it seemed silly after a week and there wasn't a pile of exo-skeletons lurking in the bags.

But had there been even one, I'd have looked really smart.

Alison wasn't impressed with my bug strategy and I decided she was a little too high on her imaginary horse. So I introduced her to a nice couple named Kenmore.

She wasn't thrilled to expand her skill set, but I think it's going to do us all some good.

It's funny, but she doesn't seem to have an overriding urge to take on any more chores than she already has.

Jeff and I spent more hours than we cared to out in the yard this weekend trimming and weeding and getting rid of a dying bush. We put her to a little bit of work, but we're dangerous enough with sharp objects and ladders, so she was better off in the house.

I'd brought the work on us, but I don't mind yard work at all. We literally, sometimes don't speak the same language out in the yard. Or from the roof, as the case may be.

Jeff was on the roof trimming trees and cleaning gutters when I swear he calls down to me to bring him some loafers. He was switching jobs, and while I wondered why he'd need to switch out from his Keen's, I did his bidding as a good wife should.

I bring him the loafers he's worn to do plumbing (which seems odd to me, too, but hey, he's doing the work...)

"What are those for?" he asks. I tell him, isn't this what you asked for.

"I wanted the lopers," he said. "You know, the long, yellow handled clippers?"

Ah. Lopers. Who calls "clippers" "lopers?"

I was happy to get them because he had the electric trimmer already and was hacking away at a tree in front of Alison's bedroom. It's hideous and needs to go away entirely.

I'd said as much, again, earlier in the week, only to set Ali and Jeff off into eco rages. The tree has an ugly twin and they're flanked by equally unsightly bushes.

They're leggy and evergreen-y and disgustingly healthy. I've been trying to rip them out for years to no avail.

Ali claims birds sing from a nest in "her" tree, which just might be the ugliest tree in America. I bet any birds that sing from it are ugly, too. That, or so dumb or slow-flying they can't find their way to the back of the house where prettier trees with actual leaves grow.

In any case, the trees got a hair cut, the gutters got a bath and the weeds were pulled. We bagged at least 10 bags of weeds and tree and grass clippings. I even trimmed the red bud tree out back.

The only injury of the ordeal was my backside, which met with the stinger of a bee so angry I was in his garden that he attacked until he caught me unguarded. He was strategic and persistent. I had to call in reinforcements, and I think, thanks to a can of killer spray, he might have gone to live with Jesus.

It's a good thing I have other skills or Jeff, who hates yard work almost as much as he hates the Yankees, might divorce me after a weekend like this. I am wounded, though, sort of. I wonder if that will matter...

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