I ventured out into our backyard the other day to innocently take some pictures, and almost got swallowed up by the weeds and thousands of baby trees wending their way to the skies. For a moment, I forgot where I was, and was sure I had been kidnapped and dropped off in the jungles of South America by some drug lords who needed a middle-aged senora to fetch their taquitos and water for them.
After finally climbing out of the Zone of Death, I made my way back inside and told Mr. Handsome I knew what our summer project was: to make our backyard habitable again, and I don't mean for mice and other small mammals.
Now, for us, a "project" usually means things like what one might be planning to make for dinner, or tackling the laundry, or maybe something as huge as clipping our toenails. All this to say that we don't "do projects" here. We're not that kind of family. But I think a summer project would be a good idea, especially when it comes to our backyard. Because, someday, I'd actually like to have a nice deck back there, with the barbecue on it, some deck chairs, and a daiquiri waiting for me. And, also, it would be nice not to have the po po on our backs for allowing our land to become a habitat for small, ground-dwelling wildlife.
You see, the couple who owned our house before us didn't have children. Instead, they had cats. Four of them. And the wife spent her days gardening, both in the front and back. She created a beautiful berm in the front, replete with perennials, bushes and trees and small plants. She carefully placed more perennials in the backyard. And she tended them with care, because they were her babies. I'm sure they were envied by all the neighbours, because their yard always looked immaculate.
And then we moved in. And nothing's been the same.
This is not our backyard. It is the South American jungle. Just imagine a house, wooden swingset, and barbecue in there somewhere, and you've got our home.
I can't even show you pictures of our backyard. That's how bad it is. It's like our home is a condemned building, and the yard has not been inhabited in a very long time. All the perennials still live there, but you can't see them for the overgrown grass, baby trees, and weeds upon weeds. And how do I know this? Because I peeked. I took a chance at being swallowed whole, and I crawled on my hands and knees, in-between the old sandbox and the overturned lawnchair, and looked underneath all the weeds, and there they were. Purple flowery spiky things, and yellow bell flowers, and even some rhubarb.
We tend to keep the front of the house in some semblance of neatness, although I will be the first to admit we will never be able to maintain it the way the previous owner did. I try to keep the weeds to a minimum, but honestly, who really cares if the lawn is a little long for a week or so, and there are a few dandelions? I actually quite like dandelions myself. They're so ... happy. Who ever said 'neat and tidy' was the be-all and end-all? Not me, that's who.
Most of my neighbours keep theirs nicely manicured, cut every week, leaves raked, blahblahblah. I don't have the time, energy or inclination. And frankly, I don't even like gardening all that much. I'd rather be sitting on my ass eating Cheetos, smearing Cheeto grease on my sweats, and watching hard porn. That's me, classy all the way.
Now that I am making more money again, I decided that maybe hiring someone to come and do something with our backyard might not be such a bad idea. Neither Mr. Handsome nor I are in any shape to be doing back-breaking work anyway. I have my awful arthritis, and Mr. Handsome has ... ummm, something or other.
I realize this is actually a very sad statement, when you know that I'm actually only in my mid-40s. Let's just say Stickler Syndrome sucks the big kahuna, and I wouldn't wish it on another soul, except maybe Susan Boyle.
I think I've convinced Mr. Handsome that, this summer, we should focus on making the backyard habitable again. Of course, when I introduced the idea, he was lying on the couch, eyes closed, and I think I could hear a slight snore coming from his left nostril. I'll take that as a definite yes.