Journal Entry: June 6, 2008

Yesterday was ass.

On an unrelated note: I recently discussed a Cabrel song called “Je t’Aimais, Je t’Aime et Je t’Aimerais” at length. Since then, I’ve been working on learning the song. I can sing along with all but the first verse at this point, but I do get a little confused when I try to sing it entirely on my own.

For one thing, I keep trying to remember how “CACTUS!” fits into it (or possibly it’s “CACTUSES!” — there’s no way to tell in French). Also, I end every other line with, “les acrobats…avec leur COSTUMES et les PApiers!” He really knows how to make that “pa” pop. I’m just saying. And, damn, I’ve never heard anyone get so excited about cactuses.

Also, for everyone who isn’t B– or E–, ignore those last two paragraphs. They’ll only be funny to them.

Okay, Wednesday night we talked about meeting at Moe’s Southwest Grill, but later switched that to Taco Cabana. Tragically, B– and E– didn’t get the message that we were switching locales, and as a result they were both at Moe’s when it was infiltrated by terrorists and they were shot dead. I spent the whole evening feeling guilty about it.

Anyway, K– and N– met us at Taco Cabana (D– was in South Carolina or some nonsense for work), and dinner was delicious. As long as I never try anything new, I always have a great dinner when we got to Taco Cabana. In fact, I may have just talked myself into going to the one by my work for lunch. Yum.

After dinner, I went home to play AoC while everyone else went to church. I got a lot accomplished in an hour and a half, and then when T– got home I was planning to chill out and watch some Lost, but then she pointed out that we should probably go ahead and get our stuff in the car for our trip to Tulsa on Thursday.

And then, while I was mentally inventorying everything we would need, it occurred to me that K–‘s badass gas-powered weedeater would probably do a much better job for what I needed to do than our puny electric one. So I gave him a call around 8:30, and headed over there to pick it up. It’s a twenty minute drive to get there, and then I helped him with a little bit of car repair (which mostly consisted of me just keeping him company, because I’m never all that helpful), and then I stopped at Wal-Mart on my way home to pick up some needed supplies, and by the time I got back to the house, it was 10:30 and we hadn’t even started loading the car.

In the end, we didn’t load the car. Remember the van we drove back from Little Rock on Sunday, as a favor to my sister’s in-laws? Well, we got permission to use that, and I’m so glad we did. We took the lawnmower, K–‘s weedeater, gas cans for both, several tools, two rakes, a cooler full of water and soda, and I had a bag with a change of clothes. Then, we brought all that home plus a million-pound air conditioner that had been in the kitchen window. There’s no way we could have gotten that all in the car. We barely could have managed the lawnmower and the air conditioner, and those were the two most important bits!

Anyway, we loaded up the van Wednesday night, and then yesterday woke up way too early (6:30, so forty-five minutes later than I usually get up, but still!), dropped AB off at the baby-sitter’s, and then headed for Tulsa. When we got in, T– dropped me off at the house, then she headed out to several of her accounts to do some work (the actual reason for the trip in the first place — I just tagged along to accomplish some extra stuff at the house, and save us the gas money of making the trip some weekend).

I started working around 9:30, and around 10:30 called T– and asked her to pick me up some sun screen when she came by with lunch. By that point, I was already burned.

I mowed the front yard first, which was probably knee-high in places. If you’ll recall, when I went up to Tulsa with Toby three or four weeks ago, I borrowed his lawnmower and cut the front yard. At the time, the back yard was too high to cut in a reasonable amount of time, so I just left.

Well, it’s been three or four weeks since then (and rainy weeks, too). The front yard had gotten up to knee-high. The back yard, I do not exaggerate, was shoulder-high in places. Most of the back yard was at least four feet tall.

It only stood a couple feet tall, though, because the strong wind had folded the grass over. If any of you has ever had to mow tall grass, you can imagine how bad that is. The lawnmower just rolls right over the long stems (longer than the width of the chopping area), and at best it cuts off the last three or four inches of the blade. It’s awful.

That’s what I brought the weedeater for. My goal was to cut the grass down to a reasonable length (maybe a 12-18 inches tall), then rake off the tall stems and bag them, then mow the lawn with the mower on its highest deck setting, then mow it again with the mower on a more reasonable height.

If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. Also, we have a huge back yard in Tulsa, especially now that the deck and that row of bushes is gone. Oy.

So, I did the two-pass mow on the front yard, then called T– to ask for sunscreen (so that was about an hour), then headed to the back yard to get started.

It was awful. I spent the first half hour trying to deal with this vine plant thing that we had chopped down back in April, but it came back. In a wicked way. It used to be this big ugly ball of vines and flowers over by the fence, but since we chopped it down, it sent out dozens of vines in all directions, hiding under the grass. Whenever the weedeater would catch the edge of one of those vines, it would twist all around the spinny part, and almost drag the weedeater out of my hand (because the vines were too thick for it to easily cut).

I ended up clearing to the stump of the vine, and then chasing down every single one of the vines that shot off in all directions. Some of them were eighteen, twenty feet long, snaking through the long grass in all directions. I pulled them all up, gathered them in one hand like I was holding up some infidel by his greasy braids, and then use the saw to chop them all loose.

Yeah, I’ve been playing a lot of AoC.

Anyway, that was extremely frustrating. After I got that cleaned up, I’d still only finished weedeating a patch about ten feet by five along the entrance to the yard. I went ahead and mowed that so I could feel like I’d accomplished something.

Bah. I’m not going into all the details, but the whole day was like that. I would run the weedeater for about hour, clearing a swath from east to west about five or six feet wide. Then I would rake it and run the lawnmower up and down (and maybe back up again) and then it was back to the weedeater.

T– finished up with her accounts around 3:30 and came to help me out. She did the short cut on the front yard while I finished weedeating the last section. Then she mowed in the back while I did some edging work in the front, and in the end we got everything cut, but not everything raked and bagged the way I’d wanted. I’m hoping none of the hay we left is thick enough to kill off the grass underneath.

This was all in preparation for hiring a guy to come take care of the lawn for us. The charge for that initial job would have been astronomical. As it is, we’ll be paying about $100 a month to keep the lawn in good shape which is a tough hit, but it’s one we should have been paying for the last two months (and we knew that all along).

The place does look a lot better now, though. At the end of the day, both of us exhausted and ready to leave, we remembered we still had to rip the bajillion-pound air conditioner out of the window. You may remember the last time I tried to do that. Well, this time wasn’t so bad. We’d learned from our experience, and got it out of the window in about half an hour. T– and I, against my expectations, were able to carry it the five feet to the waiting van, and get it loaded in the back.

Then we were both just dead tired, but we still had a two-hour drive ahead of us. It was seven o’clock when we left town, after grabbing some Long John Silvers for dinner (which we didn’t finish).

I did finish my first read-through of Heather’s book on my drive up there, and I’m excited about it. I had some problems with the last scene (I’m going to recommend she remove them entirely, and save them for the sequel). I spent most of the day working through how she might rearrange all the pieces of the ending, actually. Sometime around four I remembered that I’d brought an mp3 player, but whatever. I kept my mind busy.

On the way home we had to stop by K– and N–‘s to pick up AB, because they’d gotten her from the babysitter for us. We crashed on the couches, “just for a minute” and I almost didn’t have the energy to get back up when T– said it was time to go on home. When we got home, I couldn’t believe it was only nine.

We put AB to bed, I got some stuff ready for work this morning (and about half unloaded the van), and then I went to bed and just crashed.

Then, at 5:45 this morning, my alarm went off and I jumped out of bed to go turn it off…and almost crashed head-first into the closet door on my side of the bed. My back was stiff, my legs were sore, my neck and shoulders were on fire from the sunburn. Even my fingers hurt (they still do, surprisingly bad) from operating that weedeater for four or five hours. I turned off the alarm, crawled back into bed, and gave up several precious hours of leave time to recuperate.

I finally did get up around 8 and came in to work. Now, it’s time for lunch.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.