Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dandelions

I love my house. And I have come to appreciate it even more these past few months since I have been traveling to Indiana every week for work. When I get back to Michigan after my five-hour commute, I walk in the door and breathe a huge sigh of relief. I have returned to my private oasis where no one can bother me.

Now that spring is here, everyone in my neighborhood is competing in the annual "whose grass will be green first" contest. My lawn is never a winner in that competition. The backyard grass does ok, but the front yard has always lagged behind the rest of the houses on the block.

It doesn't help matters that my next door neighbor has such a green thumb. He is 90 years old. To put that in perspective, it means that he retired from his job before I ever earned my first paycheck. He literally spends every day working in his flower garden or tinkering with his lawn. A few weeks ago, he was using some sort of aeration machine and then he cut the lawn down to the length of a putting green. Any rational person might question his methods, but this weekend his lawn was impeccably green and lush.

Aside from my lawn, my house is probably one of the better maintained ones on the block. My Mr. Big used to refer to it as the Dollhouse because it was always so perfect. I think my neighbors must wonder if I have some sort of illicit activities going on because I am always coming up with funding for a new renovation project. In reality, that is just one of the benefits of being a single career woman. As you know from reading my blog, there are many days when I would happily trade it all in for a little peace of mind.

This year my sad little lawn has taken on yet another challenge. Dandelions. It seems like they just sprung up overnight, or maybe with all of my traveling I hadn't noticed them slowly invading my front yard. This weekend we had two beautiful sunny days in a row. When I walked outside on Saturday morning, the first thing I noticed were all of the weeds with their token yellow flowers, designed to mask their true intentions.

I guess it wasn't such a good idea to let my nieces and nephews make all of those dandelion wishes out in my yard last year.

As usual, I had a lot of activities lined up for my short visit home for the weekend. So I convinced myself to ignore the dandelions for the moment as I headed out to my sister's house. Then it was off to Target for some shopping and back to my other sister's house for a mid-afternoon break. Finally, the Boy was coming over that night to take me out to dinner.

The Boy and I seem to have come to some sort of unspoken truce regarding the future of our relationship. Or maybe we're both just distracted with other challenges in life and so we have decided not to do anything to rock the boat. With all of my traveling back and forth to Indiana, the Boy has taken on a nurturing and supportive role beyond what I could have ever expected. And he is in the process of trying to buy a house, which has given him something to focus his energy on while I am not around.

This morning as I walked him out to the car, I pointed out the field of dandelions that had once been my front lawn.

"I need to get rid of them," I declared.

"I think they are kind of pretty," he said wistfully. "Maybe you should just let them be." Leave it to the Boy to express sympathy for the dandelions. He is out there trying to save the planet with his hybrid car and now he is looking for a neglected old house to spruce up. I smiled and nodded as he drew me into a long embrace.

After the Boy left, I got dressed and headed over to my parent's house for a Mother's Day party. Every time we have a party at my parents house, it ends up the same way. All of the kids running around in my parents front yard, while the adults stand at the corners playing a form of zone defense to ensure no one runs into the street.

"Your lawn is so beautiful and green," I said to my Dad as I watched my nieces and nephews rolling around on the grass and chasing each other from one end to the other.

"Everyone's lawn is green at this time of year," he said matter of factly. "It is all of the rain we've had this month."

"Not mine," I lamented. Then I proceeded to explain that the small amount of grass in my front yard was infested with dandelions. "I am going to go home tonight after the party, grab my garden tools and pull them all out."

"There's no need to do that," he said. "Just get some broad leaf weed killer and that should take care of them. It comes in a spray bottle or you can get it in a dry mix and use that spreader we bought you." I hated to break it to my Dad that I had not used that spreader in the nine years I had owned the house. In fact, after the first year of having my Mr. Big cut the lawn for me, I ended up getting a lawn service.

As much as I appreciated my Dad's advice, I knew what I wanted to do. As soon as I got home from the party I changed into some sweatpants and headed out to the garage. I found my garden gloves and this long spiky tool with a two-pronged fork on the end. And it worked just as I had envisioned. I dug the spiked end into each dandelion until I could hear the tap root snap. Then I plucked it out and dropped it into a bucket.

There was something very therapeutic about the whole process. Every dandelion that I pulled out of the yard felt like a small victory.

I am a person who likes to take action. That is why it has been so frustrating to be in a situation that makes me completely miserable and not be able to change it. I have contemplated quitting my job so many times, but whenever I get close to writing my resignation letter there is something that makes me stop. Maybe it is just fear of the unknown, but I am starting to wonder if there is something else.

As much as I hate to admit it, I have developed a morbid fascination with the inner workings of corporate America. It is like being in an abusive relationship and trying to understand how the other person managed to lure you in. I find it shocking how blatantly the Company focuses on the bottom line and does not care about people. Deep down, there is a part of me that wants to see justice reign down upon them.

I like to imagine that if I abruptly walk out in the middle of this project, somehow the Company will suffer. But unfortunately, the reality is that they will just find some other diligent and responsible person to take my place and I will have given up my paycheck and my livelihood for nothing.

That is the frustrating thing about dandelions. Even if you pluck one out, another just sprouts up in its place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Cupcake, and in top form! I guess sometimes we are the dandelions, and sometimes we are the gardeners. Thanks for the food for thought.