Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Big mistake. Huge.

I've come to the realization that putting in a lawn was a very stupid idea - I don't want to care for it. It was looking pretty crappy this month, so I called the landscaper who did the hydroseeding for me last fall. I said apart from the areas that were washed out, it wasn't looking so good and may need to be re-sprayed. They said ok, we'll come over and take a look at it.

Saturday morning I slept in and was woken up by the doorbell. Still being in my PJs and bedhead, I didn't want to go to the door unless it was family. I took a peek out the blinds but didn't recognize who it was, so I didn't get the door. I got up to go to the bathroom and saw my lawn was a strange shade of green... hey, they re-sprayed this morning, that must have been who was at the door. And oh, they re-sprayed right over the mini-ditch of washout in my front yard. Great. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to fix it. I appreciate the fact that they addressed it so quickly, but really, does it make any sense to re-spray right over an area of washout? They actually could have easily sold me a fix on that. I would have paid them to dump some top soil in there and fill it in. They didn't bother to ask, and lost a sales opportunity.

Every day since then I have been spending an hour a day watering my "lawn" on top of working overtime at work. I go to work, come home, eat something, water the lawn, and go back to work. Last night I had the idea that hey, a sprinkler has a wider and farther reach that the spray nozzle, maybe that can cut down my watering time if I hold it and and spray the lawn. Yeah. Forgot to take into account the leaking part where the hose meets the sprinkler. I got sopping wet, took me just as long, and didn't do as good a job. Tonight it will be back to the spray nozzle for an hour before coming back in to work.

On Sunday I attempted to mow the part of the lawn that is actually the city's right-of-way. It's not like the city is going to come along and mow it, and it blends right in with my property, so I'm stuck with it. I have never mowed a lawn in my life. As of today, I still haven't. I took the lawn mower out of the garage, did what Dad told me to get it started, and nothing happened. It didn't even sputter... dead as a doornail. Later that day Dad called, and I mentioned I couldn't get the mower started. He asked about a couple of things, one of which was gas. I said yeah, you filled it up last fall and then I didn't use it after that. He said, "wait, didn't you winterize it?" Winterize?! How in hell am I supposed to know that?!?! Apparently there is some kind of additive I was supposed to put in the gas tank over the winter. Dad said it's likely toast, he'd come over and look at it but wouldn't promise me he could get it going. I told him I wasn't in any hurry. I can barely push the damn thing (not self-propelled), I have no idea how I'm going to mow my whole yard when the time comes.

So I may need to buy a new lawn mower. The first one was free, my stepmother didn't need it anymore, but I still didn't intend on screwing it up. I also need a weed whacker because the City sodded the ditch that runs through my yard, and that's about the only way to keep things under control there. Probably around $800 by the time I'm done, and then I still have to figure out how to find the time to do all of this mowing and weed whacking. And no, I don't want a neighborhood kid to come over and mow my lawn.

This really isn't what I wanted out of my yard. They hydroseeded in areas I specifically told them not to - beside the garage, right up against the rocks in the front yard - and that is making maintenance more difficult. When I bought the property, I also didn't know I'd have to contend with a ditch running through all of my property... I had dreams of making it user-friendly when it came to maintenance. Now it seems like it's one big giant pain in the ass.

I'm not sure what to do. John won't be here permanently this summer, not at the rate things are going, so I have to handle this myself. If my lawn mower is indeed toast, do I spend the money to get a new one, or do I consider paying a local company for lawn maintenance? If I buy a new lawn mower now, it will be here for a few years, and in the long run will cost less money. If I pay someone to come and mow, that money is gone after this summer with nothing to show for it, but I don't have to deal with any of this crap. The idea is certainly appealing.

Deciding to put in a lawn has been a big mistake. I should have stuck with the weeds and the dirt until I was ready to care for it (maybe never!) or I had someone living with me who wanted to do it. I just don't have the knowledge on my own about this stuff, and I'm tired of relying on help from other people... it's not their problem, it's mine. I have to admit, I am envious of those of you with husbands/significant others living with you to take care of this stuff. It's not John's fault that he's not here, we're doing as much as we can in trying to get him here. It's just really frustrating to me to have to deal with all of this in addition to laundry, meals, the floors I haven't mopped yet, the dirty carpet, the windows that need washing... I can't do everything. This is how I end up eating popcorn or chips for supper some nights.

During my trips to SoCal, John and I looked at the houses and neighborhoods as we drove by. We talked about the scarcity of houses that have their own yard - most neighborhoods have a shared common area, but the houses themselves are crammed together with no real yard of their own. I said at the time that I wouldn't like that, you'd have no private area to entertain, you couldn't have your own patio furniture and leave it outside, etc. What's the point of having a house in SoCal if you can't have your own space outside to enjoy it? The past couple of weeks have taught me that maybe that kind of living isn't as bad as I thought. No yard means little to no maintenance. The common area would be taken care of through a neighborhood association. Now I see.

In other areas of my life, things have been really busy. Work has picked up again and I have been working overtime this week to get things done. It's a safe bet that I will have to work one of the days this weekend as I am running out of time to replace expiring software. My to-do list is currently 30 items long, and I pray the phone doesn't ring to add to that.

Both of my grandfathers are dealing with the hospital. Grampy (Mum's dad) has been in since the end of March. They discovered a tumor in his throat and he had radiation treatments for it. He has a traech (sp?) still in his neck despite having finished the treatments as the doctors can't decide whether to take it out or not. With that still in his neck, he can't talk and make himself understood, and that is very frustrating to him - you can clearly see it on his face. His cancer is terminal, but he wanted the treatments to buy him more time. In addition to the cancer, though, he has heart problems, kidney problems, diabetes, other things I'm probably not remembering... when/if he gets out of the hospital, he won't be going home without full-time care.

My other grandfather (Dad's dad) had to go to the hospital on Thursday with blurred vision. His heart rate went down too low, so they brought him in for observation and talked about putting in a pacemaker. The decrease in heart rate was caused by a bad reaction to dye from a test last week, as well as a change in medication that he had last week. He caught a staph infection last year when he had his leg operated on, so anytime he's in the hospital you have to dress up in a gown, gloves & mask just to be able to visit, and it also means he can't exercise by walking the halls - he's confined to the room. He likes to keep the circulation going and walk around a bit, but being confined didn't help matters much. Yesterday the doctors finally came by to see him and let him go home. They decided his heartbeat was strong enough that he didn't need the pacemaker, have given him instructions for his family doctor regarding medication, and he got home last night. He's outside today tending to his garden and doing well. I'm glad that turned out ok.

My sister-in-law had surgery done on her neck on Monday. She came through it fine, my brother says she's not as mobile as they'd hoped, but they hope she'll go home from the hospital today. Unfortunately the hospital told her she would only get 2 days' notice before having the surgery, so they've been waiting for the call and finally got it on Saturday. At least now it's done, she can start recovering and move forward. Don't ask me exactly what the surgery had to do with on her neck as I can't seem to recall right now, I am having brain freeze.

Last but certainly not least, John has booked his flights for his next visit. He'll be arriving late on June 29th, and leaving again on July 11th. My brother might come home around the weekend of the 8th, but he's not sure. It depends on how my sister-in-law is doing and whether she feels like traveling. I still haven't introduced them to John, so I hope they are able to make it down for a visit. My nephew will also be with them at that time, he starts 3 weeks with his Dad on the Canada Day weekend.

It seems like I know a lot of people with health problems at the moment. My thoughts & prayers are with you, you know who you are. I'm very fortunate to be in good health myself. Gotta stay in shape to deal with this &^%*@! lawn.


Colin said...

think investing in a new mower is not the way to go at this time. Lots of second hand mowers (some place I saw driving through Grand Bay was selling used ones starting at $40). Home Depot, Crappy Tire, Kent all have fairly inexpensive mowers. Not sure the size of your lawn but though some people do not like dealing with extension cords electric mowers can be useful too (thus my question about the size of lawn). Up to you how badly you wish to put what little time you have into this household chore. Hiring a local kid to mow your lawn might be the way to go. All the best!

Scott M. said...

I can have a look at the mower if you like.. I have let gas sit through the winter in one before, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's toast. There is annual maintenance that it is recommended to do, but if it doesn't get done, it is possible to recover.

liz said...

Thanks, but Dad is supposed to go over and look at it today.

Dre said...

I used to love mowing my parents lawn. I found it very theraputic - you can kinda get into a zone. And I've always loved the smell. I used to mow the lawn diagonally in one direction one time and then in the opposite direction the next time. That appealed to the side of my personality that needs to organize everything. (Besides, I thought it looked nifty.) Hopefully you will find the joy in mowing once you get the hang of it. :-)

Chris L said...

When I bought my current house in So Cal, I searched for an extra large lot. And I wanted lots of green. After several years I have come to the conclusion that lots of green isn't that important to me.

I don't use the yard nearly enough to justify the cost and headache. My next house will have a small-ish, low-maintenance yard.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your grampy, but glad to hear your other grandfather seems to be out of the woods for the moment. So many people having health scares lately -- really chompy.


Joanne said...

After reading your post, I love that our landscaping is taken care of by the association. We may not have a big yard, but we also don't have to mow it :)

I'm happy your Dad's dad is back home and sorry your grampy is in such bad shape. I will start including him in my prayers.