Monthly Archives: August 2015

Say Something, I’m Giving Up On You

Dear Lawn in my front yard,

It has become apparent to me that we are not getting along. Your soft nest of healthy green has vanished, leaving in place a crusty, bald patch of ground that is a constant source of humiliation for my husband and me. Thanks a lot.

Sure, there are bugs in the neighborhood. But couldn’t you fight a little harder? We fed you. Watered you. Spoke kindly (at first) and then with increasing volume as we realized that you were not paying any attention. It’s time to say something, dear lawn. Or, as the song goes, we’re giving up on you.

You can be replaced. It might be time for a long stretch of perennials surrounded by a rock garden/waterfall. Or asphalt. That’s very doable. Whatever, its time to speak up and tell us what is wrong. Is it bugs? Or are you sulking because we decided to go with environmentally friendly fertilizer?

You have a few shorts weeks to decide. Otherwise, you’ll be out. Think long and hard, because we can’t take the neighborhood peer pressure much longer. To quote the song:

Say something, I’m giving up on you ( I really mean it this time)
And I am feeling so small (And embarrassed. Because you look terrible.)
It was over my head ( I should have read a gardening book)
I know nothing at all (Because I didn’t read my gardening book. Or listen to Keith, my neighbor.)

That’s right, dear lawn. I’m giving up. Feeling small. It’s over my head. And I know nothing at all.


the woman sobbing in the living room window

Riding in Cars With Boys

Back in the day, teenage couples occasionally engaged in a thing called parking. Not ‘parkour,’ which involves leaping off rooftops and fences. Just parking, where you stop a car. And sit for a while. You’d find an adequate hiding place, park the car, and learn about the fine game of baseball. For guys, it was all about third base. For girls, it depended on their level of interest.

My first boyfriend, who shall be nameless (Les Mitchell) had this great idea to check out a local cemetery. We’d just been to the vampire movie, ‘Count Yorga.’ As cheesy as it was, it still managed to scare the crap out of me. It was only when the Umpire was announcing the start of the game that I realized my boyfriend, a tall dark and handsome type, looked exactly like Count Yorga. Exactly! Minus the cape, and the whole, turning into a bat, thing. But still.

I freaked out, he kept yelling, “I’m not Count Yorga!” and we pretty much had to call the whole thing off. Not the relationship. Just parking in the cemetery. Which otherwise, wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

My next boyfriend and I found a back alley behind Green Street, up on a hill. It was winter, and we’d leave the motor running while discussing foul balls, strikes and grounders. I’m not sure what the home owners nearby thought, but I do remember being occasionally yelled at. Something like, “You kids get the hell out of here!” Which would have been a good idea. Because our discussion got so heated, the parking brake came off (oh, The Rambler! I miss you so!) and we rolled down the hill and almost got killed by oncoming traffic. Never park there.

One place we could never, ever park, (and my siblings can testify to this) was our own back alley. My parents had a strict, two minute timer. If they didn’t hear the car door opening, the house lights would flash. If we ignored the flashing lights, a face would appear at the car window. Usually my dad’s. Mom was always the good cop.

I’m sure all my friends have good parking memories. It was so much better than nowadays, when parents meet their kids at the door, hand them some protection and tell them to enjoy the ball game. Where’s the fun in that? There’s something to be said about the fine art of sneaking around. Of course, I can only point this out now that my children are grown up. And if they have their own parking stories, well, I don’t want to hear them. Because some things are just too private to share.

I Know What You Did Last Summer

I have a stalker. He’s been following me for a while now. Lurking around outside my house. Waiting for me by the door. He’s on the smaller side, but very aggressive. His conversation is limited and so annoying. The times I’ve locked myself inside, too afraid to go out? Numerous. Especially this summer.

The fact that my stalker is a chipmunk does not diminish the fear factor in any way. If he decides to hang out beside my flower pots in the front yard, I’m not allowed to sit on the swing. He gnashes his little teeth and makes threatening lunges at my ankles while emitting loud ‘chipping’ sounds. He gets first pick of the Saskatoon berries in my back garden. It’s only when he’s had his fill that I’m allowed anywhere near. He even lets his bird friends eat first. I can hear him laughing at me as they fly about, picking away at my berries.

The really sad thing is that last summer, this same chipmunk was in love with my neighbor, Gerry Clark. I remember it perching on the front deck of his house, cheeping love songs and giving Gerry googly eyed looks. He captured it and drove it out to the bush, but it found its way home, its love undiminished. When Gerry left town for a few weeks, the chipmunk pined.

For some reason, it blamed me. It started when we ran into each other on the sidewalk in front of my house. I think I stepped on its little toes, though we both screamed and threw our hands in the air. I live in fear that this mad little rodent will make good on his threats and bite me in the ankle. Or, even worse, run up my pant leg. To prevent this, I wear a lot of dresses.

I’m going to start acting braver. Walk around aggressively, like I actually own the place. Which we do, Mr. Chipmunk. It’s ours! Having said that, I’m still tucking my work pants into my socks, just in case. Maybe Gerry will come over and lure him away again. He seems to have what it takes.