Monday, May 31, 2004

Life Is So Interesting

Life is so interesting, the way it won't stay simple. How it won't go Straight Ahead. Everything leads to something else or else is prefaced by something you never remember to expect. All the problems and repairs I deal with work like that. If I mean to mow the lawn, but am in a particular hurry, I can depend on it that it won't start and I have to slow down and deal with that in the hottest, lengthiest, dirtiest manner imaginable. By the time I can actually start mowing, I'm not only mad and hurried about it, but also hot and tired before I've begun.

If you start, as I did today, to finally get the cheap spreader down off the wall and spread that bag of fertilizer granules in the back yard, things are bound to go wrong. I can never quite remember that it's going to do this, but things will go wrong! First, the right wheel on the spreader wouldn't move, it was locked up. I generally wash the cheap thing off after spreading anything with it since so many chemicals are corrosive and it's not made of the best metals, anyway. I see that some of the nuts and bolt heads are already rusted to some small rounded size for which no hand tool is sized to fit. After some preparatory cussing and pounding and then some oiling and shaking and hollering, I finally got some movement going again. I loaded the hopper. I was ready to go.

Red-faced and behind schedule on a job I should have already been finished with, I began to push the spreader around the yard. Always, about then, I remember how this thing was built for a shorter person, perhaps an oriental of the old school who doesn't eat American Mega-vitamins, and so the spreader is very uncomfortable for me to handle. That's really off the centerline in America, when a device is too short for me. I'm only about 5'10". So, when I'm too tall for something, a lot of other American men would really be inconvenienced! This is probably what I should expect when I'm always buying the cheapest of something because "Well, how often am I gonna use one of these things, anyway?" Silly rabbit. Then it turns out that cheap crappy tools sometimes last forever. They may get bent or bumpy or clattery or loose or lame, they may skin you, cut you, or lame you, but they never just die so that you can be done with it and go get a new one.

I got that spreading done, though it took a little longer than I recalled. They always DO take longer than I remember—I apparently don't have much of a memory.

Now This Is The Good Part

I happened to start reading the front of the bag for this feed-and-weed type of fertilizer. Oops. In somewhat small print, it said, "Not to be used on St. Augustine grass". It listed other grasses to avoid, but I already had a problem. I know that this kind of grass is a weed in many a part of the planet, but in the American south, it's a grass. It's the yard, dammit. Okay, now what does one DO to UNDO a fuckup of this magnitude? I went and turned on the computer and the air conditioner and had a glass of ice water. I thought about it for a hour or so.

There weren't many options, so to undo what I'd done, I did what the bag said not to do. They said "don't water it in", so I watered it in. I washed off the grass as thoroughly as I could, feeling confident that it was the herbicide (2-4-D, dicamba, other cocktail ingredients), not the fertilizer, which needed to remain on the leaves. And I needed for it not to stay on the leaves! I've dealt with systemic herbicides and pesticides, but I've never been aware that there are any systemic fertilizers, so my guess is that it doesn't matter either way if fertilizer is washed in—it'll still do it's job. Well, it's all a guess, and it's finally done. What I'd thought of as a quick 20-30 minute job had lasted for hours instead.

I wish it would rain even now, as that would assure me that I won't wake up one day next week to a brown and browner back lawn. My mood has been getting brown and browner before now without just wiping out everything green in the back yard.

You see I've had experience with this. I know it can be done. I wiped out the lawn in the back yard at the Chancellor's semi-palatial home when I worked at the University, so I have some familiarity with how it's done. At the university, however, there was a 30-man Groundskeeper crew to go to work immediately and mend the injury I'd done. Mend, hell, they carried pallet after pallet of sod into it until it was a whole yard full of pristine new grass! No one can tell me that I don't know what it feels like to be Publicly Stupid.

It's amazing what you can get away with when you just admit to being stupid. But that's another story.

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