Monday, September 28, 2009

Making some changes around here! CHANGE! And the many definitions of the word are not lost on this household. It's a grand, fluid word, change, and brings to mind the hope of newness, fresh beginnings, and clean diapers. Think of change and you consider those spare coins in your right pocket, wondering if that will cover the autumnal landscaping you have in mind. Change! Because, well, you're just sick of looking at it all.

Came downstairs this morning and Mrs. Ditchman was gazing longingly at the bathroom vanity she's had her eye on, on the Internet. Our Master Bath has cried out for change since we moved in 5 years ago, and now the cries have reached indecent volumes. Also indecent: that carpeting, that shower stall, that counter top, that ugly hedge!

The hedge was the easy one, and only set us back the cost of a chainsaw, so I got on it this past week and TOOK HER DOWN, in an all-out assault on the landscape, I did -me, a one man, horticultural army. Neighbors stood, mouths agape. Children approached warily, from all sides, noting how different the cul-de-sac looked without it. I waited for the heady criticism, but none came. (Wise ones, these neighbors, I thought. Never criticize a man's work on the land, especially while he's holding a chainsaw.)

Meanwhile, the backyard appears to be blooming. The lawn seems to appreciate the added sprinklers, and the garden boxes are grateful for my turning the soil in August. They suffer all summer from the heat, and my business with atomic element #13, but the past few years I've been able to manage a humble Fall harvest, and it is satisfying. I admit my pumpkins aren't the biggest in all of Oceanside, as I had hoped, but they aren't too shabby. Just wait until next year.

Watermelon vines are creeping around the garden boxes, too, and they have a nice mottled leafiness to them that I'm not familiar with, never having grown watermelons before. I like them. I like their low-to-the ground, soldiering look. I'm hoping we'll get to eat a few before the mold sets in from these damp, grey mornings we've been having, which are great for running, by the way, but bad for watermeloning.

Work is slowing down, somewhat. There are a few Home and Garden shows on the calendar, and we're angling for new business, but at least I get a chance to catch my breath, hang with the kids, and make a few changes around here. I was getting aluma-burnout there, for a while, but yesterday was a stress-free Sunday that cleared out the lingering ills. After church we had lunch at a brewery, while the kids slept in the stroller, then we hit the Carlsbad chalk painting festival and an Armstrong nursery, dreaming out the landscaping. Made it home just in time to hit the couch for a nap, drifting off while the sounds of The Muppet Show, Season 2 entertained the more wakeful, attentive ones. Gardened a bit at sunset. Had homemade pizza. Got the kids in bed before 8:00, (a minor accomplishment) and sipped wine on the couch during the mindless entertainment of the season premiere of The Amazing Race. The best part of the show? We started watching about 20 minutes into it and got to fast-forward all the commercials through the magic of our new domestic time-travel appliance, the DVR. (This bit of wonder was too long in coming, I say.)

So it was a nice weekend, with simple pleasures. A perfect end to my 40th September.