Monday, May 31, 2010

Body Sculpting II

After taking the pre-requisite for this course - pushing a 20inch mower uphill (both ways) - I advanced to "digging a garden".  Many gardening adds show a sweet little old lady in pink gardening gloves kneeling lovingly over her perfect plants.

Understandably, they do not show me - wearing a tank top with built in shelf bra, glasses due to high probability of dirt in the contacts, unshowered and dripping sweat as I stomped on my shovel and heaved earth, well, out of the earth. I realized mid dig that my shoulders were turning an unsightly share of red, so I was forced to retrieve a tee-shirt.  It was only about 85 degrees yesterday, a heat wave compared to today, so I drenched the shirt in water before heading back out. 

Many bars advertise cute blondes with large breasts in tight, white, wet tees.

Still unshowered, still dripping, caked with dirt, and with oversized wet tee, I did not quite look like that.

But I was finally comfortable in the sunny spot chosen for what was looking like two long wheel streaks in the yard.  Starting a garden from yard is hard work.  First, I took a square shovel and removed the top few inches of sod, one shovel-ful at a time.  I placed the sod into my cart, and when cart is full, I struggled to pull it up my hill to various areas of the yard needing some patching.  The sod was heavy, the cart was hard to pull, and I make have mentioned before - it was HOT.  This went a little faster when I ran out of patching places and was able to take it back to the park behind the house.  It was downhill!

This step took about 3 hours of mostly pure exhaustion, but with a short break or two in the shady tree on the other side of the yard.  When finished, I had a 5-foot by 12-foot section of what was actually looking like a garden!  (Or a grave...)  I had a nice beer sitting at my new patio set, which is situated under two shady trees near the house.  I thought of having a second beer...but alas, there was more work to do.

The next step was to "till" the land using a pitchfork.  I considered renting a tiller, but figured the Cavalier, though much roomier than it looks, would not be the ideal transportation for such a machine.

With some trepidation, I went to retrieve the 2.5 cubic yards of garden soil, purchased, but not carried, by me.  I tried carrying it, since I knew Adam would be away visiting a friend when I had to use it, but there were many (at least two) men at Home Depot who couldn't stand to watch me struggle with the bag.  Man #1 lifted into the cart, saying helpfully, "Good luck getting it out of there."  Man #2 lifted it out of the cart and into the car - he was much stronger than Man #1, but neither of them lifted it easily.  Again, it wasn't pretty, but I managed to slide / roll the bag - which really doesn't look all that heavy - into my garden cart.

I turned the ground over once with the pitch fork, pulling out rocks, and breaking up clumps as I went.  This did not take too long, but I could feel my back muscles screaming, and the callouses on my hands were starting to blister.  I then dumped the new soil, and dragged it on top of the garden (back began screaming louder).  I then turned the ground a second time to mix the soil in.  No planting yet.  Garden experts recommend letting it sit for a few months, so I figure 12 hours oughta do it.

I will be planting tomatoes, tomatoes, more tomatoes, and a few peppers.  My garden book says to plant two to six plants (six if I want a lot of work.)  My dad gave me 15.  What a surprise, this appears to be overdoing it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Body Sculpting

I haven't been to the gym in ages.  I've got this new, hopefully effective, and definitely time consuming body sculpting routine.  Its called yard work.

Don't misunderstand me, I prefer yard work over house work, and work work.  But, judging by the state of my bathroom at the moment, you would understand that saying I prefer something over housework is like saying I prefer being healthy over being sick.  Still, I purchased a property with a lot of land because I was looking forward to yard work.

I did not plan on mowing the 1.5 acre lawn with a non-motorized push mower.  That, my friends, was an agonizing, back breaking, and incredibly long endeavor that left stubborn long stalks of grass and dandelions sticking out sporadically.  The longer sections of grass required not a second, or a third pass, but as many as six passes to cut before I would bend down in disgust and just pull the dang thing out.

After two weeks of this, and riding mower still in Pennsylvania waiting on a new part, we caved and bought a gasoline powered push mower.  This was an extreme improvement over the other mower since it took only one pass to cut even the longest blades of grass.  We didn't even mind that it took four hours and three gas refills to finish the lawn - at first.  This is fine if you actually have four hours to devote to one chore - weekly.  But as soon as you have, you know, other stuff to do, well, mowing the lawn becomes a bit of a nuisance.

The house was built in 1967, so we thought, wouldn't it be neat-o to have a lawn mower that was as old as the house?  We got our wish.  I really should scan some of the original 1967 lawn tractor operating instructions.  But lets just say that beehives are a-plenty, and women's lib was in full swing because they are careful to show each family member (mom, dad, brother, and sister) on the tractor having a grand ole' time.

So, last week, my father finally drove the lawn mower down on a rickety rented trailer.  And it started, sort of.  He managed to coax the ignition, and the VERY LOUD engine ran....but we were not able to keep it running with the blades attached.  We were proud owners of a VERY LOUD four wheeler, and some VERY HEAVY attachments.

And then yesterday, after a week of tinkering by Adam, and my contribution of occasionally lifting the other end of things, traveling to stores with lists of unknown parts for purchase, and all important light holding, we got the thing started - with the blades attached.

And then, it mowed!

Yeah, sorry.  The excitement ends there. Would it help if I add a second exclamation point!!?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bug Battles

The battle with the ants is once again leaning in favor of the good guys.  As long as wee keep the counter tops wiped up, and the dishes in the sink to a minimum, we are relatively ant-free.  Actually, I should thank the ants - Adam is much more diligent about his own contributions to the cause and he has been cleaning in the kitchen more often.

So now we have fruit flies.  Well, I think they are big for fruit flies, but for lack of interest in internet research on species, let's call them fruit flies.  They stay pretty much out of site during the day, though you can find them clustered around water sources.  At about sunset, they all come out and just sit.  They would not bother me so much, since they are non-bitey, non-stingy, and not crawling on my food and/or pillow, but there are just so MANY of them.  They are an army, and a force to be reckoned with.

They are super easy to kill.  They move slowly, so a wap with the flyswatter does them in in a jif.  But it does them in a little too well.  One wap, and there are bug guts an inch long on the ceiling.  One tap, and the guts are limited to a dime size area.  So I kill like 50 of the little suckers in a minute, then spend the next 50 minutes moving my step stool around and cleaning up the crime scene.

We found they could be killed with a deadly clap.  They fly slowly, so it is not too hard to get them in mid air. So no icky guts on my new kitchen paint - just on my hand.   Ewww!  So, I got my rubber kitchen gloves, which once again need replacing because I will never be able to convince myself the bug guts are washed off and I can cut food with these on again.  I walked around the room, clapping the claps of death and making eerie "wah ha ha" sounds.  But I cannot reach the ceiling bugs without the swatter, and so I was back in the same spot.

This morning, I found that I could suck them up in my Dirt Devil.  Wah ha ha!  Again!  I am amazed that the little bugs still just sit there as this loud thing saunters up and sucks them to their doom.  The ones that do fly are the most fun though, because I can suck them right out of the air.  Shuzaw!  Phoom! I imagine the Batman like cartoon strip - me the evil villan - as I lumber through the town sucking the citizens from their very homes!

And then I hit my heel on the back of the counter as I was circling around, looking up at the little buzzy fly, and not at the ground around me. 

Score one for the fly.

Score a bazillion for me.

But I am not sure when I should empty the Dirt Devil...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Top Ten Signs You Might Be A Tad OVerstresSed

1.  You apologize to your phone when you pick up the handset and accidentally knock a piece of paper onto the display.

2.  You admit to the person on the other line that you have just apologized to your phone.

3.  You schedule your eye doctor appointment three months after you realize you are out of contacts, one week after you end up in tears at restaurant due to pain of dry and ripped contact and have to drive home one-eyed, and three days after glasses (from 2005) cause pinched nose and headaches...

4.  ....and you do not so much "schedule" said appointment as you show up on one of Wal-Mart Vision Center "Walk-In Days".

5.  You schedule stress-relieving "Lets Dish" session....and forget to go.

6.  You are involved in a consuming "Battle with the Ants" - and the ants are winning (possibly due to teacup with honey coated bottom which has been sitting unwashed in sink for five days).  Possibly.

7.  You finally get to post office to mail thank you gift that you forgot to bring to professional event after recipient of said gift reminds you - twice.  When at post office, you laugh uncontrollably at irony of post office's mail when helpful worker gives you junk flyers to pack around gift.

8.  You are afraid to get on Wii Fit for fear that current diet of vending machine corn chips has caused weight gain.  Is best to remain ignorant.

9.  You haven't bought mothers day gift yet...(this will most likely work out in mom's favor as guilt will cause inclination to spend more money.)  Ditto on graduation gift...

10.  You do not blog for nearly a month,  and when you do, it is lame-o list.