New Shoes in the Rain

Monday, May 2, 2011

Entry number 100

For those who know me, it's probably no surprise or secret that this is the 100th posting in the "history" of this blog, me being such a notorious windbag and all.  But for those who don't know me personally but spend their time here occasionally, it's something of a milestone, I suppose.  Regardless, I thank you for visiting and reading about my thoughts, experiences and endless opinions.  It's been a lot of fun, and I hope to continue this little venture for a few hundred more turns.

First and most seriously, let's take just a moment to recognize our armed forces and intelligence communities for finally ridding the world of Osama Bin Ladin over the weekend.  I didn't know this until this morning, as we weren't watching any news or network programming last night where this was mentioned, and I certainly didn't see the President's announcement about this accomplishment.  I don't know nearly enough about Al Qaida to comment intelligently about what Bin Ladin's death means to that movement, but one would have to think and hope that it means something worthwhile to our military personnel and their families, both those soldiers and other personnel who were lost in the effort against terrorism and those who have served and continue to serve.

Peace be with all of you.

Now, not so wife and I just completed the majority of some work in our backyard.  We decided last fall that we had had enough of the variety of plants and shrubs out there, having bought them a little at a time at grocery stores and home improvement warehouses.  In most cases we no longer knew what the plants were or how big they would (or should) grow, and many had gotten way out of hand.  Others were so overgrown that my efforts to trim and reshape them resulted in some monstrosities that looked more like an upright collection of twigs than an actual ornamental plant or shrub.  So, I cut just about all of them down to near-ground-level last fall.  That left ugly stumps and fragments of plans, but at least we were able to see what we had to work with.

Starting in the early spring, I began the process of resurrecting our backyard.  First order of business was to clean out what was left in these planting beds, so I raked and shoveled until I had filled fifteen or so of the lawn waste bags (you know, the big paper bags that look like enlarged versions of the grocery bags your food used to be bagged in) PLUS our rolling trash can. That took care of the bark and what I could cut off the remaining roots.

Then, in a fit of inspiration, I acquired what is now among my favorite lawn tools....a mattock, also known as a pickaxe.  My wife and I laughed at the prospect of me swinging this thing in our backyard, singing chain-gang songs and such, but damned if it didn't work to uproot what remained of these unwanted plants.  More crap in the trash can, but now the beds were pretty much clear.

For the sake of brevity, I'll just mention that the entire project required me to move a stone birdbath and for my wife and me to select, purchase and plant a total of twenty-seven plants and forty bags of mulch (a small amount of which was used to refresh what I placed in our front yard last year).  Oh, and a word about mulch....we invested in the shredded rubber mulch, which is made from recycled tires and is guaranteed to remain colorfast for years.  Quite a bit more expensive than even the best cypress or pine mulch, but it stays in place well, does not rot or absorb water and gives a nice appearance to any ornamental garden space.

Of course, all of this hard work took place in multiple installments, bookended around intervals where I was helping our son with some renovation projects at his house (he and his wife will be welcoming their second child later this month, so their timetable was a bit more defined than mine) and traveling for business.  And the effort was not without some humorous points.

Many years ago, when I first entered my current profession, my job included making site visits to various types of employers, so I invested in a pair of coveralls to wear over my clothes in dirty or dusty situations.  I never wore them much for their original purpose, but have found them handy to have in instances where I'm doing some particularly messy work at our house or our son's, like cleaning gutters or doing this recent planting project.  And because I don't think very hard about how dirty I'm getting while I'm in the midst of a project like we just completed, they've been especially good to have around.

The single funniest thing that happened during the course of this latest round of work was when my wife told me that my "jumpsuit" was clean and ready for me to wear again.


Conjures images of Elvis.  Early '70's Elvis, after he made his "comeback" and wore something that looked a bit like a spangled one-piece suit.  Or, in my case, bloated, mid-'70's, near-death Elvis, as I'm sure I don't exactly cut a smashing figure while wearing this functional garment.


That's all I have to say now, and my wife and I both laugh maniacally.

So, if you know me, feel free to use the new password whenever the opportunity presents.


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