Where's the village?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Clean sweep

For the holiday we had a lovely visit with Babaloo and Nanabarb, as well as the dajadaddy's cousin (hereafter known as The Cuz) who's going to grad school at Virginia Tech and is therefore closer to us than to his family in Portland. So we get him for all those short holiday weekends that make a gazillion-dollar plane ticket so not worth it.

For me it was almost like being on real vacation, because I had three extra people around who thought it was the coolest thing in the world when the dajamou popped up with "Can you play with me?" As opposed to my reaction which is to close my eyes in silent despair and feel the tension creeping up my spine. I've gotta work on that, neh?

Anyhoo, I had a wonderful relaxing Turkey Day where we all pitched in and tag-teamed on everything (including the butterflied roasted turkey a la America's Test Kitchen, which worked wonderfully and only took 6 hours for a 16 pounder, which is some kind of world record let me tell you), and went for a walk, and it was a beautiful sunny day and I couldn't ask for a nicer. Then yesterday, dajadaddy and his cousin started their very first batch of mead which I am SOOOOOO excited to try but it won't be ready for like a year and I'm not feeling very patient about it. But that might be the 2 cups of coffee I've had right before writing this, which would also explain the preponderance of run-on sentences.

But none of that is the point of this post! While all the mead-making and whatnot was going on yesterday, I went outside to rake leaves because it was so beautiful and dry and our lawn was covered and dying. (More running on, must stop!) So there I was, raking and raking and already getting exhausted, and swearing in my mind at the dajadaddy for not mowing it all up, and swearing at myself for not being able to use the lawn mower, and wishing for all the world that I could forget that we have no extra money right now so I could hire someone to just come and take care of it for me. Then the dajadaddy came out and said:

"Why aren't you using the lawn mower?"

"Because it's too heavy for me."

"Even when you use the drive wheels?"

"What are the drive wheels?"

"You know, that red handle you hold down and the lawn mower pulls itself along for you."

A long and not very clear discussion went on while we discovered that we were not talking about the red handle that keeps the cutting blades engaged, no! There's another red handle that he'd NEVER TOLD ME ABOUT which makes it about a million percent easier to, say, deal with hills. Which is about all our yard is made of.

It was an odd reaction I had to that news. Part relief that it would be easier for me; part exasperation that he didn't tell me about it before; part disappointment that I wouldn't be able to permanently pass the buck on the lawn mowing; part shame, even, that I hadn't been able to either figure that out or be strong enough to master that machine on my own. I was oddly close to tears.

But then after dajadaddy brought out the lawn mower, Babaloo came out and offered to do it for me. Hmm. Let me see now. Um, OK. Far be it for me to refuse help with the manual labor! Then when he ran out of energy for it, I was about to take over (using my newfound knowledge of the drive wheels) when The Cuz came out and offered to finish it up for me. So while my lawns got trimmed and cleaned and my compost pile increased by about 300 percent, I got to sweep the driveway and the walkways, and clean up the wood pile, and prune my shrubs, and do all kinds of fall clean-up stuff. It was truly delightful. Almost as good as a Chick Day. (Which I will someday describe if I remember, but don't count on it as I am a flake.)

And this morning, as I look out the window on the great green expanse of nice clean lawn all ready for the first blanket of snow, I am feeling pretty thankful for my family. All of them.


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