So I might have mentioned last night that I spent five hours weeding yesterday.
(With my advanced age, my body feels like it spent five weeks bent over, pulling weeds out. Crossing the threshold of forty isn’t pretty, unless you’re Cindy Crawford, but we all know she has make-up artists and an airbrush and enough dollars to pay professional weeders to just work their magic on her lawn while she’s away at Starbucks or Macy’s.)
There was some discussion about weed killer last night, as Carrie insisted that I wasn’t taking advantage of all the chemicals available to me. The thing is, what I was weeding out were really tree shoots and grass. Apparently the trees have seen fit to send out little shoots to search for the sunshine and become new trees, exactly as God intended for them to do, until man comes along with clippers he sharpened just that morning. And the grass from my lawn decided to ask that it’s borders be increased. That grass just grew right into the rock beds… never mind that Hubs and I spent the equivalent of a small import car on THIS IS THE STURDIEST, BEST WEED BARRIER KIND OF FABRIC ON THE MARKET TODAY.
Yes, sir. I’d like my money back, because your pricy weed barrier failed.
Just to be clear, the weed killer would have been helpful, because I’m all about just pulling the trigger on the spray can and letting the toxins do their job. BUT! The tree shoots were connected to the trees, and I don’t want to poison them, regardless of the small fact that those cottonless-cottonwoods-that actually-produce-double-the-cotton cause me grief most of the year through with the debris they throw down on my driveway. And let’s not forget how they make Hubs’ eyes swell with the allergies. And, last I checked, weed killer for lawns doesn’t kill grass that’s becoming quite territorial and spreading out, because… well… grass isn’t a weed.
What Hubs’ sister and I resorted to was using heavy duty rakes to pull all of the river rock back. And then we dug out the invading grass. And then we laid newspaper down, which makes me feel good, because RECYCLING SOMETHING! After the newspaper was put down, we raked the river rocks back over the paper, and LOOK! SO PRETTY!
I won’t lie, people; it was slow going. River rocks are heavy, and I needed plenty of time to sit down and complain about how we should have asked the local jail to send out a chain gang. I can’t remember ever reading about a real princess who ever had to pop a blister on her index finger because of all the RAKING! OH, SWEET MERCY! THE RAKING OF THE ROCK! AND WHERE’S MY ICED TEA?
So that just leads us to a little side story, because RABBIT TRAIL. It does kind of fit, though, because it’s all about weed killer.
Back in the day, Hubs and I used to live in this adorable little house, with this adorable little lawn, that was built in 1910. The yard was the size of a hamburger bun, so I kept it lush and green and gorgeous, because… well… hamburger buns are so small, that mowing takes fifteen minutes. I was always surprised, year after year, that Better Homes and Gardens never knocked on my door and requested an outdoor photo shoot for a four-page, full-color magazine spread.
Our yard was just that good, y’all.
(Jesus and I are working on HUMBLE together.)
One day, Hubs was out spraying the yard for weeds, because we liked to be proactive and get the jump on weeds before weeds got the jump on us. And that’s when I noticed that… well... Hubs was spraying INCREDIBLYCLOSE to my newly planted peony bulbs. I rushed outside and yelled, “Listen! The over-spray is going to hit my peonies! Back off, Soldier!”
I believe Hubs’ exact words were, “I’m a professional weed sprayer! Stand down, Woman! I’m not going to hit the flowers!”
Three days later, my peonies, which were growing nicely in the spring weather, were laying on the ground. They had grown to a height of ten inches. I had watered them faithfully; I had talked to them pleasantly. I had told them what beautiful little shoots they were, and how, one day, they would have gorgeous pink blooms.
Apparently, I lied to them. I promised them life and glory, and Hubs killed them dead.
Oh, Hubs was apologetic. He said the right things, which involved, “I had such confidence in my ability to wield a sprayer loaded with poison! I don’t know how this happened!”
I honestly thought the peonies were dead forever, but the next spring? Well, they grew back! I was ecstatic! They grew to be seven inches high. They never got any taller; they never bloomed. I talked to them and patted them and watered them. They gave me the best they could give, considering that their stems were choked with the remnants of the previous spring’s killer who tried to do them in.
For SEVEN ENTIRE YEARS those peonies grew back… and every year, for seven years, they would grow to be seven inches tall, and they never bloomed.
That’s a lot of sevens.
We called them our “dwarf, non-blooming peonies.”
And then… that eighth spring… the Glory of the Lord settled upon those peonies. They came up. They grew to be seven inches tall. And then eight! I jumped up and down with excitement! When they passed twelve inches in height, I nearly fainted with happiness! And that year, after seven years of hardship and skinny cows, those peonies grew to be full-sized and they bloomed like they were showing off for a royal wedding!
And then we built a new house and moved. The end.
Hubs’ other weed killer experience was more deliberate. More premeditated. More illegal. More morally wrong.
In our old neighborhood, the houses were very close together, because apparently that was how the city planner wanted them built in 1910. That means we had our driveway, with a two-foot-wide section of grass on the far side of it, and blam! That was how far away our neighbor’s house was.
He was growing hollyhocks right next to his house… right there in that two-foot-wide expanse of grass. Oh, he hadn’t PLANTED the hollyhocks, because SINGLE GUY. But he’d inherited the hollyhocks when he bought the house.
I know that there are those Southerners who pledge allegiance to the hollyhock, but there are numerous Yankees who think that the hollyhock is a ridiculously tall weed with ugly flowers. Hubs and I fall into THAT category.
These hollyhocks grew, year after year. They were tall, because that’s the nature of them. They would grow so stinking high, they could no longer support themselves, and they would bend and curve and droop, forming an archway over our driveway.
It became impossible to drive up our driveway by the middle of every summer, because the flowery arbor just wasn’t tall enough to accommodate the big tires that was Hubs’ passion.
So one day… (I think it was a dark and stormy day.)… Hubs put on a black stocking cap. He dressed in camouflage and painted his face with black paint. He put on his dark glasses. And then he took the weed killer. He crawled on his belly across our driveway… across that two-foot-wide stretch of grass… and he deliberately, with malice and premeditation, sprayed the hollyhocks.
Three days later, those hollyhocks were laid out flat on our driveway, in their burial pose. They had gasped and struggled and lost.
Hubs cut them off and stuffed them into our dumpster. I know that all men have a secret plan entitled WHAT I WOULD DO WITH A BODY IF I NEEDED TO GET RID OF ONE QUICKLY, and apparently Hubs’ plan is STUFF IT INTO THE DUMPSTER AT MY HOUSE.
(Because NO. The authorities would never think to look there.)
Weeks went by, and we enjoyed our CLEAR AND FREE driveway.
The following summer came.
And one day, we were outside, talking to our neighbor, who really was a good guy. One thing led to another, and we were all on the topic of yard work, when our neighbor said, “You know… I thought I had some hollyhocks on the side of my house once. I thought those grew back every year. I don’t know what became of them.”
He still doesn’t know what became of them, people. He still… doesn’t… know. Because how do you say, “Yeah… well… we weren’t in love with your hollyhocks, and they were trespassing on our driveway, so we hit them with the Weed-B-Gone, and look! They’re gone alright! Just make sure you keep your hound out of our driveway now!”
Instead, we just shook our heads, wrinkled our foreheads up, and said, “Hollyhocks? On the side of your house? Hmmm…”
And that’s why, even if I could have used the weed killer on my tree shoots and grass invasion that I spent FIVE ENTIRE HOURS pulling yesterday, Hubs isn’t allowed to use the outdoor poison any longer.
It’s kind of like when a special agent goes bad. When a superhero uses his powers for evil, instead of good.
Hubs simply cannot be trusted with the weed killer, people.
And with those stories shared, y’all have a fantastic weekend.