Saturday, May 30, 2009

Much Mulch

My parents have projects. Each time they come visit, something gets accomplished so I sensed that we would have some manual labor planned for today. I was therefore a bit dirty when we decided to take a car ride (we do that for fun), but asked that Chienne accompany us so that I had a friend in the backseat.

Having secured the services of a neighbor boy to mow my lawn, I resolved to ignore the outdoor work for the remainder of the season. Nonetheless, I was not particularly surprised to be crawling around by the fence, squinting against the sunshine as we pulled weeds and deposited mulch to prevent future trimming needs.

“I ordered a WorxGT!” I complained. “I can’t remember its features, exactly, but I’m pretty sure it makes any trimming pure pleasure.” Dad blinked at me, unmoved, and offered that I needed more mulch around that far corner of the fence. Pouting, I plodded toward the offending area and shook one of the fifteen bags we purchased until cedar chips fell to the ground.

“Done!” I proclaimed, thinking the back yard did look rather nice now that the grass was neatly cut and fence areas mounded with mulch. Yet I found myself trailing after Mom to water flowers or Dad to transplant a hosta that had grown behind my shed. I pulled weeds and swept walks, talked to neighbors and giggled when my parents argued over methodology.

Walking through my first house for the last time, making sure it was completely emptied of items and feeling terribly sad that I’d be leaving the adorable structure I so loved, I touched each of the projects we were leaving behind. Mom and Cousin had hung the blinds I’d chosen on each of the tall windows throughout the house. Dad had re-done the light fixtures in both bathrooms after he proclaimed my work ‘dangerous.’ (I maintain that it was fine.) I’d sat with him on the green and white linoleum in the kitchen, fixing the water dispenser on the refrigerator and, later, installing a garbage disposal. I stepped out the front door and locked it for the last time, remembering coming through that entrance with Chienne every day after our walks and finding Sprout among the bushes in the flower bed one summer.

Given my travel schedule, most projects in this house have been completed without my assistance. The deck and balcony are painted – I heard that was a miserable endeavor. I did help assemble the five or six bookshelves I ordered and did as Friend told me in order to maneuver my loveseat through the front door. I had the fence installed by professionals, but bought my Jeep with Dad’s help. This house is becoming filled with memories quite quickly due to the proximity to where my parents reside. They’re here a lot – know my neighbors a bit better than I do and are more familiar with the surrounding areas. (I do know how to get back and forth to work really well though.)

So when I got home on Thursday, they were comfortably settled in the living room. “We brought cookies,” Mom offered, eyes worried even as my stomach cramped with pre-doctor nerves.

“What’d they say?” Dad asked, eyes even more concerned when Mom and I returned from the appointment.

All had normalized by the time I returned from work on Friday. They were working on dinner came through the garage door so I kicked off my heels and set the table. We had run out of the first batch of mulch by 9 this morning, soon brushing the dirt off our clothes so we could go fetch more supplies. I bought them dinner after we decided the fence was safe from weeds and we completed the day with the requisite car ride.

It used to bother me, spending time in a vehicle, riding around without any real destination in mind. Today, I let my hair blow around my face as the windows remained down. We stopped for sodas and sipped as we looked at how high the river is and all the cars parked at a show. I smiled when we returned home, Chienne’s tail wagging as she recognized her yard.

“See the mulch?” I asked her, patting her head and clipping the leash to her collar. “We did that.”


Anonymous said...

You are really lucky that you like and get along with your parents this well. Are you close to getting all your home projects done? I think that if you are, you should declare a month of fun.

post-doc said...

Agreed, Geeka - I do enjoy my parents and feel lucky that's the case. We never finish projects though - there's always something new to build or fix. We have trees and bushes we want to yank out and more flowers to plant. I'd like to paint downstairs and the bathroom light fixtures (all 4 of them) bother me.

Plus, they have fun. They really like car rides. :)

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