Friday, April 21, 2006

Laugh it up, mulchball

A few weeks ago, I told Mama Cass that we should really work on sprucing up the area in front of the house once the weather gets warmer. I was kind of embarrassed by the two or three ratty-looking bushes growing up out of dry, grey dirt. Let's plant some flowers, I said. Put in some ground cover. Bring some color to the house, so that walk or drive up the driveway doesn't seem so... bleak.

I thought it would be good for my mother, who needs something to fill her off days with my father gone. She took up knitting again, which was nice, but I could tell she was getting bored with it. And I didn't want her to spend the majority of her leisure time flipping between CNN, MSNBC, and E! So how about getting outdoors a little bit? Work some soil between your fingers. Create some life and watch it grow.

Mama Cass agreed. It'd be a nice tribute to my dad, she said, who always thought we should plant more flowers and trees around the house.

So I took her out to a nursery and we picked out some flowers and foliage. Got two big bags of soil and mulch, too. We had big plans. We had ambition. The outside of the house was going to look great. This was going to be fun. This was going to be good. Not just for her, but for me, as well.

Me and my big mouth. Or boca grande, as a Spanish instructor once called me. (Maybe I'll write about that someday.)

Guess who tilled all that dirt, poured all that soil, and dug holes for those plants while someone else sat inside because of her "allergies"? Now, I'm not completely sure, because the sun was in my eyes, but I thought I saw my mother making quotation marks in the air when she said the word "allergies." Either that or she was just waving her hands in the air to feel for the wall and door because her eyes were all red and puffy. By the time I came back into the house to clean up, she was curled up on the couch, snoring up a storm, doubtlessly pumped full of allergy meds.

Just before I walked in, however, I know she was kicking back with some cold beverages, watching the latest on the Duke lacrosse scandal or "100 Best Celebrity Bods" while her dear, sweet son was outside, breaking his back with hard labor and baking in the not-quite-70-degree-yet heat. And the whole damn time, she and my father were having a huge laugh.

Why? Revenge. This is getting back at me for all the times I weaseled my way out of yard work when I was a kid. That's right, it's karma. Yard karma. (Or garden karma, but I don't think that has the same ring to it.) I know Mama Cass raised a glass of iced tea to my father while I was out there killing flowers with my sausage fingers.

But that's okay. I accept the fate I deserve. Besides, whose #@$%ing idea was this $#!+ in the first place? Do I have a green thumb? Yes, but it's jammed right up my @$$. However, the front of the house already looks better. Healthier. So I'm happy about that.

Now some of you might be curious as to what kinds of flowers I planted. I'm glad you asked. I planted yellow ones, purple ones, and orange pointy ones. And the ground cover has a bunch of pink stuff in it. I don't know what kinds of flowers they were. Mama Cass picked 'em out. They're standing up straight and hopefully growing. That's all I care about.