Mulching madness

I worked my self into a sweating delirium mulching two large landscape areas at Vivien’s school.  The few who could volunteer, declined.  So many people backed out I didn’t even ask anyone else.  Mark went with me to the site where the city gives out free mulch.  Quality mulch I might add.  Here I am bagging my own.
mulch
We loaded into the Campanile van and the next morning I drove to the school solo. The school was closed while the staff worked on report cards.  I clipped plants, dug my water diversions trenches a little differently and weeded.  Then I unloaded the free mulch bag, by bag, or plastic box.  I had both.  I had no pockets so I had out the key to the van in my bra.

After a couple of hours getting sweating, but making this one area of the school look better I started to leave.  I loaded my shovel, wrench, spade, clippers into the van.

Where is the key?  My bra had moved up half way up my breast with all the physical movement.  I had lost the key.

I had lost the key after I had dumped mulch over EVERY PLACE I HAD BEEN.  I was a panicking.  I lost Mark’s van key once before.

Volunteering at our school doing landscaping.  We never found that key and I had to spend about $300 to get a new key made.  I got down on my hands and knees and started to go through every square inch of mulch.  Keep in mind it’s a fairly large area.  Each of the two beds is about 15 to 20 feet long.  A dad at the school is one of maintenance workers for the site.  He was very kind and dug through the trash with me and combed through several square feet of mulch.

That damm mulch.

It’s one key with a Petco tab on it.

We couldn’t find it.  I dreaded calling Mark who was with the kids at Rex’s hip hop class.

He sounded annoyed, but thankfully he said the magic words, “I have a spare.”

I didn’t think we did.  I waited till he could drive over.

“Stop putting your key in your bra.”

I know, I’m sorry.

Sigh.

Landscaper Lady

Not in the provocative early 2000’s way, but in the dirt under my nails.  Okay, two stories, here is one of them…

1) When we took possession of our new home we had about two weeks to do a lot to it.  From the mundane, termite tenting to the glorious, new wood floors.  I was project manager and yes, I did bring it in at budget, thank you.  So, there is a little clubhouse/ man cave structure in the back yard at the top of a hill. It’s a little rickety and according to our inspector is going to be eaten to dust by termite as a big tasty, uninsulated little morsel in about 2 to 3 years, but in the meantime I’ve made it the art room for the kids and the place where Mark and I can hang up our vanity.  You know posters of cancelled shows, promos for cookbooks.  Things that say we have had brushes with accomplishment, but would make our house feel like a tavern if we put them in our actual home.

So, I had budgeted for my termite tent and for a few pieces of eaten up wood to be replaced. I was leaning into the floor guys ( tough job, not me, them) because no point in tenting until after the floor is down and I was trying to hustle so I didn’t have to pay anymore rent. The termite guy sends me an email that they can NOT tent because the plant that is poking out of the rafters of the clubhouse is from our neighbors and even though they signed releases that in effect said, “spray away”, the termite dudes won’t go near it.

“There has to be daylight between their plant and your structure.”  Here is a pic, though it doesn’t do it justice.  It was deep, dark, thorny.  Staring at it I felt like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.   I called my landscape gardner friend.before

“I need someone to cut this thing.”  It was about 8 feet deep and 3 foot wild of gnarled mass.

“Probably $300.”

Gulp…over budget!

We had the added pressure as well that since the termite tenting had not been done during escrow our lender withhold a considerable amount of money until there was evidence the work had been done.

I started to chop.  Not much success.  Plus both my kids needed my attention from time to time.  Then, one of our new wonderful neighbors said she would take Vivien ( she also has a daughter) and lent me a really good cutting device.  Gloves on I yelled a rebel yell and went in while Rex busied himself nearby with dirt, balls, whatever.  20 minutes in I was bathed in sweat.  I really doubted I would be able to finish. Thank goodness Rex was not feeling needy, because I was able to push forward for 2 and half hours.

How did I do it?  I told that thorny shrub that I was going to make it my bitch.  I did.  Chop, chop, chop.  I was obsessed. My arms throbbed ( screw the gym) and I took a few water breaks and to make sure Rex was alive, but I did it!  Except… for three branches at the top of the structure I could not get to from any angle.

Then right on cue, Mark popped home.  He climbed on top and chopped the last few.  I was glad that he showed up, but was a tad jealous that after all of my hard work he got the “mission accomplished” moment.

I took a picture and sent it to the termite guy. after In effect saying, “Get your tent and your poison here”.

Now, clearly, it’s not looking that pretty right now, but saving $300 never felt so good.

Second story tomorrow.

Lollipop Tree

Here’s a mommy dilemma: when do you crash your kid’s sweet imagination, and when do you let it ride? Vivien has really enjoyed gardening with her dad. We have tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and lemons. When we planted the lemon trees, it gave Viv an idea of another kind of tree she wants.

I’m thinking of how to rig it…