Once upon a time I bought a house. Well, my wife and I did. When we moved in we saw something of a dream come true, the place was dated and in need of some work, but we thought it would be fun slowly shaping it into the place we wanted it to be. By the end we envisioned the stately, modern home, beautiful and charming and all that. I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty.
I immediately ripped up the floor downstairs and put in hardwood, I ripped out the built in bookshelves in order to put in bigger ones, and I took out the florescent lights and put in track lighting. I scraped the popcorn finish from the downstairs ceiling and knocked down walls between rooms upstairs, I put up a nice wooden fence in the back yard, had a large bay window put in…. I was going to make this place awesome.
Fast forward a few years, I still need to put up baseboards where I put in the hardwood, as well as transitions where the new and old sections meet. I’ve got unfinished areas where I removed walls. The area behind the fridge was a pantry before I started changing everything, it looks pretty rough back there now – I have portions where there isn’t even any drywall.
I could go on for days about how I managed to half-ass all my projects in some way. Somewhere along the way I decided that I don’t want to renovate my home anymore. Can I not just watch a movie or read a book instead? At the pace we’ve been going, we’ll never be finished, ever. And if we did manage to get things done in another decade or two, as soon as we wrapped everything up we’d probably need to start over again. I mean, 20 year old, half-assed renovations might not be as awesome then as they are now.
Ugh. Next time I’m buying a new house, one that already looks how I want it to.
My wife, believe it or not, has had her own struggles. She turned a large chunk of our real estate into flower beds. I haven’t figured out the square footage, but it’s a lot. So much in fact, that she is outside every evening working in them, and on weekends she has been forced to sometimes spend 20 hours or so doing nothing but work on flower beds. She’ll get a section perfect, move on to something else, and within a few days that first section has weeds, dying plants, and the most frustrating part – signs of sabotage.
Seriously, someone is killing my wife’s plants.
Now, my first thought was it was one of our crazy, Desperate Housewife inspired neighbors. As funny as that would be, I don't think that's the case. Our neighborhood isn’t so unlike a lot of others, we’ve got folks who keep their place as neat and pretty as possible, and we’ve got others that don’t. There are a few retired folks around, two young(ish) couples, some new people I’ve only seen at a distance, (a young man from that whole Goth subculture out mowing the lawn while in costume is a sight to behold, I don’t think I’d want all that dangling metal and chain so close to moving lawnmower blades, but whatever) and of course, we’ve got tons of pet owners.
Our place is the end house in the cul de sac, and previous ownership never had much in the way of excess dirt, as all those flower beds were only grass at the time. Now, every feral cat (of which there are several) and unattended dog (a few) sees our place as their personal playground/toilet. I’m always chasing animals away. I mean, if I’m not going to let my own pets shit in my dirt, I don’t know why I should be expected to allow everyone else’s pets to do it.
And it’s not just the poo, the cats are quick and silent, I find evidence of their activity in the mornings usually. It’s the damned dogs pissing on everything in sight that really irks me. That’s what’s killing my wife’s plants. I think one day I’m going to sit on my roof with a pellet gun and some night vision goggles and fire away at everything that crosses my property line that isn’t human.
The truth of it is that those flower beds are a black hole for money, time, labor, and life. The amount of work that is necessary to maintain them when compared to the amount of time spends admiring them is pretty small. But it makes my wife happy, really happy. And she doesn’t give me too much crap for having my Peyton Manning dolls, Green Lantern comics, or a Netflix queue full of TV shows like Farscape, Pawn Stars, and The Incredible Hulk. And she doesn’t even complain after I spent couple thousand dollars turning the downstairs den into a library, that I have, at last count, close to a hundred books in our bedroom because I ran out of shelf space down there. It’s a give and take.
So everyone, please, if you’re going to let your animals run wild, train them to go to the bathroom at their own home. Before I have to shoot them.