Monday, March 12, 2007

The Joys of Yardwork

Years ago, I rented half a shotgun with an ex. This shotgun had a jungle for a backyard, weeds literally taller than me. We had a dog, though, so I was determined to make the backyard habitable and spent weekend after weekend clearing everything out of there. Once I got through the weeds, I discovered the trash, a seemingly endless supply of broken bottles and smashed cans, rusty nails, car parts, hypodermic needles, bullet casings (not the best neighborhood), and once, memorably, a pair of XXX-Large blue tiger-striped bikini underwear. I hauled at least a dozen giant garbage bags to the curb.

Once that was done, I laid out flower beds with old bricks and planted bushes and flowers. I uncovered concrete we used as a porch and put down sod over the rest. I even dug up a tree from the ex’s family farm and transplanted it. (Okay, I had help with those last two things.) The point here is that I worked my ass off for that backyard.

Then we broke up. She kept the apartment, and the yard. And the dog.

But that’s okay. The place was a rental, and I considered the work I did on that yard as practice for when I bought a place of my own.

A couple of years ago, I was out drinking with friends and got it into my head to go see that yard, so we found the old house (the ex wasn’t living there anymore), snuck around the back and hauled ourselves up on the fence. We’re very lucky it didn’t collapse. Anyway, the yard was still there, still pretty much as I had left it, all grass and bushes and flowers and the tree was pretty tall. I sincerely hope whoever lives there now enjoys it.

These days, I have been living in my place for a couple of months now, and I finally finished the unpacking last weekend. That’s one less thing to do. The closet still doesn’t have doors or shelves or a rod, but considering I didn’t have a shower when I first moved in (I poured a bucket over my head), I feel like real progress has been made. Unfortunately, though, the insurance money is all gone daddy gone, which means everything else I do is going to have to come out of my pocket, so progress will be pretty slow from now on. And the backyard was a jungle, with weeds above my head, not to mention a chain link fence down the middle.

However, a friend of the housemate asked her what she most wanted to make the place feel like home, and she said a backyard. She has a dog, after all. Next thing we know, last Saturday these guys show up and tear into the yard. They showed up again Monday, and when I got home from work, the yard was completely cleared. Even the chain link fence was gone. Plus, they’re building us a wood fence.

For a second, I felt bummed that I wasn’t doing it myself, but you know what? I got over it, like, real quick. After all the work, heartache, and stress I put into this place (and will continue to, no doubt), I decided I’m all right with someone else handling the yard. I don’t care what goes in back there as long as I can eventually put a kegerator on the porch.

Monday, March 05, 2007

That Voodoo That You Do

Okay, listen, I’m sorry! I’m really, really sorry. I don’t know what it was that I did to you, but whatever it was, I take it back. I’ll make up for it however I can.

If you’re the person who put a curse on me, whoever you are, I’ll make it right. Just take the curse off, please.

I buy a house, renovate it, and it floods a month later before I can even move in, destroying all my books and most other possessions with it. That’s just bad luck, and I can accept it. Then getting screwed by FEMA and insurance companies and energy companies – well, that happened to everyone so nothing special there.

But then I finally move in, and they finally start knocking down the place next door. And the outer wall, the entire length of it, falls over onto my house, damaging the roof. Even I’m not that unlucky.

And then, when they get the wall off, they’re cleaning up with a big crane, and the guy swings the crane into my house, smashing the roof again. Come on! That’s not right, that’s not normal, that’s not within the realm of the statistically believable. That’s gotta be a curse.

Then the alternator on the car goes. Again. And even my bicycle is acting funny.

Plus, my cat’s kidneys failed and I had to hospitalize him. He’s out now, and acting like himself, after I spent a few weeks jabbing him with a needle to give him fluid. He’s on hormone shots, now. Nevertheless, whatever it was that I did to you, you who have cursed me, fine, what I get back I probably deserve, but going after my cat, too? That’s just plain mean.

So you win – whatever it was I did, I’m really, really sorry about it.

Meanwhile, does anybody know any good anti-curse voodoo?