I think I hate plants now.
Yeah, that’s where my head is at the moment.
I was going to write a column about my first Father’s Day on Sunday, but it was kind of “normal” — my wife/son bought me a nice picture frame for my office and a cool Millennium Falcon T-shirt, we went and walked around the mall for like two hours with Luke who slept through the entire trip, then I over-cooked the New York strip steaks I bought for dinner.
It was nice, but I don’t know, as I was sitting here looking at my keyboard, for some reason I started instead thinking about plants and my increasing dislike for them.
That’s probably because Sunday while I was waiting for Ashley to change clothes so we could take the baby and dog on a stroll around the neighborhood, I got out my shears and hacked through a way-too-thick stalk of some weed tree that was growing in between the boughs of the can’t-tell-if-it’s-dead-or-not decorative evergreen out in front of the garage.
As I was messing with the pool — and fuming about why the pump is not pulling the right amount of water and holding pressure which is preventing me from vacuuming the dead algae out of the pool so we can maybe use it if it ever gets warm again — I went walking past all of the grass and stuff that has grown into the rock buffer around the pool. The back patio, too, has a bunch of little weeds and stuff growing between where the stone plates sit together.
In the front yard, the small mound off to the right of the garage — which needs to be re-mulched but I never got around to it after doing a few of the other planter beds earlier this spring — is covered with various small undesirable plants. The gravel extra parking spot off my driveway is also covered in various small plants growing up between the stones.
And then the landscaped area in front of the porch, I don’t even want to get into. Earlier this year I took an hour to prune some of the larger thistles in there and then inject weed killer directly into the hollow stalks via a meat marinade injector I purchased specially for this reason in hopes of killing those seemingly invulnerable things. (That has, for the most part, worked.) But there are still a bunch of other thistles in there that have grown up and are now trying to flower and need to be murdered.
There are vines growing over the fence by my barbecue grill in the back yard, the horseshoe pits that I’ve been meaning to take out because I don’t pitch horseshoes are all overgrown with weeds, the trees in my yard and the surrounding neighborhood are still shedding cottonwood that is fluttering into my pool and gumming up the filter system, there are various weeds growing in the landscape area in the back yard, the side of the house has what I think is a rose bush but I can’t tell if it’s alive or dead and it’s got various other things growing through the barbed branches that shouldn’t be there ...
And, of course, the grass in the back yard is like 3 feet tall again because it can’t stop raining.
While a lot of this is my ongoing hatred of weeds and my inability to control or kill them effectively, what it’s really boiling down lately is that all of these plant-related issues require something at an extreme premium nowadays — time.
Cutting the grass, pulling weeds, spraying weeds, trimming branches and vines and whatever else, these are all labor-intensive and time-intensive activities. I don’t always have a ton of flexibility to take care of stuff after work — evening meetings make certain nights a no-go, while things like cutting the entire yard take 90-plus minutes that I can’t really squeeze in if I do get home by 5:30.
Weekends offer more opportunities, but Saturdays and Sundays are now a juggling act of “Who is watching Luke and who is doing whatever else?” A few weekends ago I actually took Luke over to a friend’s house to babysit him for a few hours so I could mow the lawn, because Ashley was doing something with her family and it was the first day in like three months that it wasn’t raining.
But beyond that, I simply don’t want to spend every weekend cutting grass and hacking weeds. I’ve had the thought “What if I just ripped all this stuff up, put down plastic, and then put decorative rock over the top of it and be done with it?” but even that thought is followed by “When would I even have time to do that?”
So, for the time being, the only plant I’m not harboring animosity toward is my little basil plant growing in a pot outside the back door. The basil plant does not cause me any problems and provides me fragrant, tasty herbs for my dinner.
All of the other plants, though, you and your ever-growing, weed-supporting, time-sucking green-ness, I don’t even want to look at you.
Please pack your bags and move out.