yardwork starts to look good

Somehow I turned into a middle-aged white suburban male overnight: Suddenly, I’m obsessed with my lawn. Yesterday I discovered we have fields of onion grass, these weird little unmowable clumps of what are actually wild onions. The dandelions, crabgrass and clover don’t bother me nearly as much as these, so I went online and researched how to destroy them.

The answer is lime, to change the ph of the soil. So we got a few bags, along with weed killer, a new hose, a shovel, and the cutest gardening gloves ever. I spread the lime (we got the pellet kind so we can use it in our fertilizer spreader), but when I realized we didn’t buy nearly enough I came inside to help.

Joe and his dad had been working on replacing the section of bathroom wall with termite damage, but he was ready for me with a new job, which he gleefully described as the most awful, tedious job ever. He was wrong; it was so much worse than that. And it promises to go on for, in my estimate, a billion years.

The job is cleaning out all the blown-in insulation from the attic. I thought, okay, I can handle this, but after 15 minutes I realized what I was in for. Not only is it hot, sweaty, itchy work with poor lighting and little room to maneuver, it’s also dangerous: one misstep could put me thigh-high in our ceiling. So I basically had to wriggle around on my stomach under the eaves, scooping up as much fiberglass as I could with a dustpan and garbage-bagging it.

There was no single body part that wasn’t under constant assault: my lungs burned, my brow dripped sweat that fogged my goggles, my stomach itched, my back ached, and I bumped my head so many times on the eaves I swear there must be a head-shaped impression on them.

It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing up there either: The crumbly, itch-ass insulation concealed random articles like buried treasure. Mixed in I found wood chips, bottle caps, a small cardboard box packed with more insulation like a cruel twist on those Russian nesting dolls, and a shit-ton of plastic drinking straws. That really threw me for a loop—I mean what, did Willy Wonka build the place?

Five bags of insulation (and straws) later, we broke for lunch. Five sounds like a lot but I didn’t even finish the space above the bathroom. This will be my personal, itchy hell for many months to come.


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