The stuff I was doing while I wasn't blogging
I have attempted to post about six times in the last two weeks and ended up dozing off with nothing written. Today I'm home early-ish because I had to let the exterminator in, so let's see if starting to write at 4:45 is a little less sleep-inducing than trying at 10:45. (Except I predictably got distracted by dinner and Nico and bedtime and now it's 10:00 again…but I'm still awake, so let's see what happens.)
Speaking of the exterminator
I called him because I've been finding little black ants in the house, usually just one, but one more than once exceeds my acceptable level of in-house ants. Mostly they've been in the upstairs bathroom, which is better than in the kitchen, but I have seen a few in the kitchen, too. I always get self-conscious when the termite service guy or an exterminator is in the house, worrying that he'll judge me for my not-spotless house. I realized today, though, they probably see a lot worse than my house. And then, as if to confirm it, the guy was telling me it's going to be a bad year for ants and said, "I went to a house the other day, and well…let me just say the floor was supposed to be white. It was black. With ants." Gentle readers, let me assure you I would move. the fuck. out. if that ever happened to me.
I was happy to trade a birthday party for a chance to throw a surprise game shower this year, but it seems some of my friends had other ideas. Danger, evilducky, rabid monkey, and the bibliophile showed up last Tuesday night with a cake and intention to play dominoes. Which we did, for quite some time. It was pretty awesome, and not just because the cake in question is the cake I'd choose if I could only eat one kind of cake for the rest of my life -- Danger's carrot cake recipe with pineapple and chopped nuts.
We spent the most recent weekend visiting MB's family. The trip was not without its (probably somewhat typical) stresses - an impending divorce, a once-robust grandparent's flagging health, an upcoming surgery. We got home hours later than planned, I found a tick on the baby right before he took a crap in the bath, and there were several other moments when I just wanted to resign my adulthood card for a day. But we ate homecooked food until we were stuffed, we had a nice time visiting with people we don't get to see as often as we'd like, and Nico got doted upon and played outside until it got dark two nights in a row. Overall, a winning weekend.
Big Exciting Spring Plans™ update
I went yesterday to have a bit more hair cut off, and it was definitely the right decision. I don't feel like it's that different, but it's enough that I really love it now. Unfortunately it won't stay this way for long, but I'm pleased and hope it doesn't grow back out too fast.
I also started the garden overhaul last Thursday with some unexpected help from MB. Evilducky had offered me two blackberry plants and I wanted to get a spot ready for them before we went away for the weekend. The place I picked should be good for thorny, sprawly plants, but unfortunately it was buried in a pile of mulch left from a years-ago project plus a cut-up holly bush and some scrap wood that had been dumped on top. I want to know who decided holly was an acceptable landscaping plant so I can drive to that person's house and punch him or her in the face. I probably will be picking dried-up razor-sharp holly leaves out of that corner of the yard for the rest of my life. I spent about two hours bagging up the trash and trying to get all the holly out of the mulch. On the bright side, I had expected the mulch underneath the trash to be rotted away, but I salvaged an entire outdoor trash can full that was perfectly usable. While I worked on that, MB -- who has never been hugely invested in past garden projects -- cleared dead scrub and weeds along the whole west side of the perimeter and build a new raised bed along the back fence.
The blackberry plants arrived Friday evening, so I went out Saturday morning to edge their new home with bricks, plant them, and put the salvaged mulch back in place. I have a metal fence-ish frame-ish type of thing someone else gave me that might work as a trellis, so that may be this next weekend's project.
There are allegedly some strawberry starts coming my way, so last night I went out and cleared the original raised bed that I built in Spring 2009. There are so many metaphors applied to gardening, but this was completely gardening as atonement. I did two hours of penance for being dumb enough to fill a raised bed with grass-infested yard dirt and then dumb enough later to let it go wild for two years untended. Once the dead grass was cleared off the top, I took the top row of bricks off to pull grass out from underneath, and then I had to turn over all the dirt in the bed with a shovel and pull out the clumps of grass roots. Finally, finally, I mixed in two bags of composted manure that Nico and I had picked up at Home Depot earlier in the day. Now I must be vigilant against grass re-infestation for the rest of the year.
I haven't filled the new bed that MB built yet, but I think we bought enough dirt. Dad and I also got another half-truckload of free bricks yesterday, so we may get a little more bed-building done this year than I'd dared to hope. Time will tell. I'm definitely only up for gardening in short bursts of two hours or so…spending an entire day out there does not sound at all enjoyable. Of course at this point, it's more reclamation than gardening.
Just for fun, here's a picture of Nico helping me push the cart at Home Depot yesterday. The photo doesn't really do it justice -- it was probably one of the cutest things ever.
Reading: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: a Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston
Playing: an old mix I made for a friend