Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hand Over That Machete

Friends of ours normally throw open their house on New Year's Day and feed gumbo to everyone who shows up.  A good time is had by all.  This year, though, the combination of illness and house guests made them decide not to throw the usual bash.

In a normal year we would have hosted at least a couple of large parties ourselves by now - probably on or around our birthdays.  Unfortunately, my birthday is at the end of August, when we were at our lowest financial ebb this year, and Barry's birthday was in November when we were traveling, so we have been unusually unsociable.  As a result, Barry suggested that we take up the slack and throw a New Year's Day party ourselves.

Despite the short notice, many of our friends have said they're coming.  This means the hysterical preparation phase of entertaining has begun.  Fortunately (from my point of view, not his), my boss was ill today and texted me not to come to the office.  This freed me to spend the afternoon on yard work.

You might think a yard surfaced with gravel rather than grass wouldn't need much maintenance, but you'd be wrong.  Our homeowners' association mandates that our "desert landscaping" is crammed with miscellaneous trees, bushes, and ground cover plants that need to be fed, watered, and trimmed on a regular basis, and we're way behind on the trimming.  Our front yard in particular was well on the way to being a jungle rather than a desert.  Several hours and three giant bags of debris later, it looks pretty good.  Now if I'm really lucky, my boss will still be under the weather tomorrow and I can attack the shaggy queen palms and Mexican bird-of-paradise pseudo-hedge in the back yard.

I guess the best way to look at this is that I'm saving more money by not calling a landscaping service than I'm losing by not working for a couple of days, I'm getting a little extra exercise, and we won't have to trim anything again for three or four months.  I just hope I can finish the back yard without falling off a ladder or accidentally chopping off an important body part (mine or Barry's).

"What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. " ~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871

1 comment:

  1. Fun! I hope your party is great! We don't have to worry about our yard because our landlord lives next door and he is obsessed with gardening. This means that he literally spends hours outside daily in both of our yards and manages to make everything look worse by adding weird things like electronic glowy balls with rotating neon colors. It's all very classy.