Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I was addicted to saying things and having them matter to someone.

That subject line is a quote from the movie Waitress, which by the way, if you haven't seen, go rent it. Or buy it. That line always hits me because aren't we all occasionally in need of just someone to listen. Really listen, not just hear. I was watching You've Got Mail the other night, for the third or fourth time, and as Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are writing back and forth about nothings that mean more than so many somethings (paraphrased from a line in the movie), I realized that that's sort of what blogging could be. Granted, there is nobody to write you back. But sometimes the need for someone to listen is really just a disguise for the need to just say what's on your mind. So, here's a nothing post.

I recently decided to relandscape my backyard, to remove the offensive and overgrown juniper bushes that filled the bulk of my yard. We aren't talking a couple bushes planted to add some green to the space. We're talking dozens of nightmarish stumps and branches towering over me, blocking my view, covering the entire downhill slope of what would otherwise be a pleasant outdoor space. The project started with my desire to get a dog. I need the bushes gone so I can see the yard from my kitchen window, keep an eye on the mutt, give him/her a little room to run. So, as a new homeowner with no negotiating skills and no landscape experience, I started calling for estimates. We are now a week past the original estimate, and my yard looks like a war zone. About 35 hours of labor has gotten me piles and piles of dead branches and gnarled roots waiting to be delivered to the dump. You should've seen the place on Saturday. I thought the landscaper was going to spend eternity cursing my name after he got about 8 hours in and realized he had drastically underestimated the scope of the project.

It is almost to the point of being ready to relandscape the hill. And if I thought I was in over my head before, I'm now thirty feet underwater, tied to a bait box while sharks circle, not unlike my shark diving experience in Nassau. At least then I was floating on the surface. I have not a single creative bone in my body. Well, maybe my inner ear bones, but they hardly count, being so small. So trying to picture how to best design my yard is taxing my mental capacity. Do I risk trying to sod a steep hill, knowing the grass may not grow? Do I try for a retaining wall that at best estimate would need to be about 50-feet long. I'm not exactly working with an unlimited budget. Do I plant anything else, staying as far away from juniper as possible? Rock? Flowers? Vines? I haven't the slightest idea. And yet, I'm grateful that as I find myself in a situation above and beyond my comfort level, that I am at least spurred into action by the disaster that exists in my yard now. I can't leave the place looking like the aftermath of an explosion. I have to do something, anything, to make it functional and mildly aesthetic. Plus, there is the motivation of a puppy just around the corner. And by that time, my biggest worry is going to be choosing a name.

Too often when we find ourselves in over our heads, it doesn't take much for despair to overwhelm the impetus to action. And our feet tread back and forth until we are standing in a shoulder-high rut. Fortunately, the only rut in my near future is the massive one in the dirt outside my back door.

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I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.