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Friday, September 11, 2015

Five for Friday: Things I've never done before...but now I have! (Sarah's a Single Parent #3)

Don't get too used to it.
For those of you who have been reading my last couple posts, you know Hubby has been on vacation in Colorado, visiting his sister and hiking mountains and being a mountain man.  I've seen the pictures of the beard, I'm very afraid.

Meanwhile, here at home, I've been doing quite a lot. Peaches moved into her own apartment and this weekend she'll be one of 35 ladies competing in the Miss Wisconsin/USA pageant.  Kind of a big deal considering she's been anti judging people on their looks since about the age of 6.  

I managed to narrow this down to a list of five things I've done in the last two weeks that I've never done before, and all because Hubby was gone and frankly, the family would have died if I hadn't.  (Well, okay, maybe not died. I mean, Peaches doesn't live here anymore ((sniffle)) and Skippy barely takes notice of me as he goes about his day.  And the cats, well, they'd figure out how to open the food box soon enough and one of them already knows how to turn on the faucet, so they'd be okay.)

So maybe this list isn't that impressive.

No, wait!  It is!  It's totally impressive!

What's more impressive is that Skippy and I, in this last week, have decided that we are the tidy members of the family and Hubby and Peaches are to blame for the general sense of disarray the house is usually in.  It's pretty much a palace of tidy and clean in this place!

But I digress.  So, here are five things I've never done before, and now I have because I've had to.

5)  Mowed the lawn, with a gas powered motor.

If you read my blog from last week, the first one of my Single Parent series, you'll know I attempted to mow the lawn while Hubby was away. Last time I mowed anything was 15 years ago, I mowed the tiny patch of grass we called a front yard at the old house and I used a manual "push real" mower.  This time I had to start the thing, which involved several argumentative texts to and from Hubby and then I muscled through half until he decided to tell me the thing was self propelled, as long as I held the handle a certain way.  (Yes, my neighbor gent had a blast laughing at that.)


4) Reserved, rented, gassed, and DROVE a large vehicle.


The car I  drive.
Sure, I've moved many times. But there's always been a MAN involved in the move and men love to drive large trucks.  I never had the hankerin' to drive anything larger than a minivan.  And you've seen my Cube.


The truck I drove.
Well I managed to reserve a 10" Uhaul, pay for it, (No thanks to Sassy Pam at the Uhaul place) get it home (thank you to Shawn who backed into my driveway) and THEN, I put gas in the thing and THEN I backed it up a hill and into a tiny parking spot  (okay, two spots, but the building guy wouldn't let me park on the GRASS, which is where the TRUCK really wanted to be. And thank you Jolene for laughing at me when I was done!)  And I did all of that all by myself.  (You know, with some help from my friends.)  I was terrified of the thing, I mean, I've never sat eye to eye with those pick up truck guys.  I now see the appeal of sitting higher than everyone else.  Kind of cool. Of course, I was not a fan of the noise the thing made when the only thing in the back was the box dolly.  (Yeah, that was loud.)  Nor did I love the feeling of driving a fully loaded 10" truck around city block corners.  (All Peaches stuff in there?  Too much
responsibility on my part.)



3)  Cleaned out the cat boxes, ALL OF THEM, every day for nearly two weeks.

We have four cats.  We have three cat boxes.  The cats really only use one of the boxes, the one outside my office, mostly because the other two, the one on the porch and the one in the basement NEVER get cleaned.  And this turns into a thing because one of the cats is very picky about where he puts his pooh. He will not pooh in a box that's not pristine.  So we have "gifts" outside our bedroom door...a lot...because the cat boxes don't get cleaned often enough. Ahem.
An artist's rendering of our cats.

See, I'm third in line in the poop scooping order. Hubby is first, then Peaches, then me, then some local teen we can hire, then Skippy.  Well, Hubby's gone, Peaches moved and I'm broke from paying the Teen Team of movers to unload the truck.  So I'm it.

Well, I've spent the last 12 days scooping pooh and changing litter.  And we've had, drum roll please....ONE. ONE GIFT ON THE CARPET in 12 days.  

Yeah...what now!


2)  Declared war on Pumpkin Spice everything prior to the first actual day of Autumn.

You read the post, but let's talk about this.  I've declared war on a few things:  Christmas lights up after Ground hog's Day, lounge pants in public, women who wear pants with words on the butt, things like that.  But now I've found a new nemesis and it's the turning everything orange and spicy when it's still 90 degrees (F) outside!  If the AC is on in Wisconsin it is too soon to be pulling the sweaters out of storage and drinking and eating and wearing and spraying all things pumpkin spice. It makes me sweaty and itchy just thinking about it as I sit here in a t-shirt and shorts and it's late at night.  It's still summer.  We have about 9 months of winter around here,  Let's not rush it. There will be plenty of time to drink pumpkin goo and eat pumpkin bars and pies and soups and salads and breads until we all turn into a nation of Oompa-freaking-Loopahs!

Whew!

1)  Set fire to my back yard. (Sort of)

Yep, only two other people know about this.  And if no one tells Hubby, he will never know.  See, we have a hot mess of a back yard.  The city cut down five or six pine trees along the property line to put up new power lines.  Our back yard neighbor, after unsuccessfully trying to bait and switch Hubby into paying $1000 for stump removal that we now know never happened, put up a fence.  Meanwhile, I allowed the back patch (okay the back third) of the yard to turn into what I called a "Butterfly garden."  (It was really just a massive patch of weeds.)

Well, I sort of "hired" Skippy this week to cut down the weeds, clear them as best he could, then maybe I'd rent a rototiller and turn up the dirt and level it.

Turns out, Skippy and I might be tidy, but we are also massive procrastinators, and by the time he got to the clearing part (yesterday) we realized that no rototiller we could rent and use was going to manage the plot of tree stumps ruts, and really deeply rooted scrub trees.  Skippy did his best, but the weed whacker gave out, it was too bumpy to mow and any digging he tried to do was pointless.

What to do? How does one clear a back yard mess?  

Weed killer.  We have it, but we couldn't find a nozzle to spray it.

Bleach.  Skippy's friend, OTHER OTHER DAUGHTER, (the only other one who knows what we did) suggested this might not be good for the environment and stuff.

Fire.  Burn it all.

We liked this idea.  I've always said fire was cleansing and Skippy likes to think he's a dude who can manage a controlled burn.

Thing is...it's been wet so everything back there is green.  And moist.

We need some sort of starter fluid!

Fun fact: Hubby does not use lighter fluid when he uses the grill. he does this thing with newspaper and a metal tube and stuff and honestly I never thought about it. I mean, who doesn't have lighter fluid?  

We don't

What we do (did) have is a bottle of lamp oil. Remember 1999?  Remember the Y2K bug?  Yeah, I got a bunch of oil lamps  (gave everyone in my family one for Christmas that year) and I bought some lamp oil. Still have (had) about a half a bottle.  It's flammable.

We tested our theory about burning green weeds with red lamp oil in the front yard...you know, near the cars.  We lit a couple weeds. They burned. Awesome.  TO THE BACK YARD!

We were safe. We unrolled the hose and filled two cat little tubs with water.  And then we began our magnificent controlled burn.

We tried using those candle lighters. I used to sell Party lite so I have roughly two dozen of these things in my house.  Well turns out, they aren't much good on a breezy day when you're trying to light a fire ten inches from your face but you don't want to singe off your eyebrows.  So Skippy came up with the brilliant idea of tossing lit matches onto well lamp oiled weeds.

By the time we were tired of the project, we'd managed to scorch exactly 2.3 square INCHES of earth in the back yard. We'd drained at least three of my lighters, four of five dozen wooden matches and half a gallon of lamp oil.

After that we decided maybe we should talk to a professional about the project.

So there you go.  Five things I've never done before. And I may never do again. Except for the pumpkin spice thing. IT IS ON!


ONE LAST THING:

Today is the 14th anniversary of the September 11th attacks here in the US.  While it was a terrible tragedy on many levels, the thing I remember in the days that followed those attacks was a singular sense of unity both in the US and in the world.  For a short time we Americans took a break from yelling at each other about politics and oil and marriage and actually took care of each other. And we felt the support from the world community.

It's a shame it took the horrifying, unprovoked, devastation of so many lives, families and businesses to bring us together like that. As we remember this anniversary, let's try and remember feeling unity with our neighbors instead of division, peace instead of acrimony.

Maybe then the terrorists truly will not win.  God bless America.  God bless us all.





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