Friday, June 17, 2011
MY GREAT IDEA BIT THE DUST
I had a brainstorm the other night that I thought was the best idea I’ve ever had. In fact, I was convinced it was pure genius.
It all began when I was mowing the back lawn. I use the terms “mowing” and “lawn” loosely because it was more like cutting up a big pile of dirt interspersed with tall clumps of something that resembled grass but acted more like rubberized wire.
Even Lawrence of Arabia never saw as much dust as my lawnmower kicked up that afternoon (I’m still flossing dirt from between my teeth). Add to the fact that I also pulled two ticks off my pant leg, and I was not exactly in a pleasant mood when I came inside.
“The dogs have been digging holes to China all over the yard again!” I grumbled as I breezed past my husband, who was watching TV. I left a cloud of dust in my wake. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they dug up some egg rolls and chow mein one of these days! I’ll never have a nice lawn back there! Never!”
Without removing his gaze from the TV, my husband calmly said, “Well, I guess you’ll just have to get rid of the dogs, then…unless you’re in the mood for egg rolls.”
The man was no help at all.
“I was thinking of maybe putting a patio out back,” I said. “I could have just a small strip of grass around the edges of it – just enough for the dogs to do their duties. I’d be able to mow it in a snap and never have to worry about the yard being a mud pit or the Dust Bowl again.”
The look my husband gave me told me he thought I’d sucked too much dust up my nose while mowing and it had infiltrated my brain. “Please don’t tell me you’re thinking about mixing up a big batch of concrete and spreading it all over the yard,” he said.
Actually, that’s exactly what I’d been thinking. The only problem was I knew I probably couldn’t even lift a bag of concrete, never mind mix it with anything.
A few nights later, I was working at my computer and decided to search for suggestions about how to stop dogs from digging. The most common solution seemed to be to provide a private sandbox for the dogs, then bury treats in it to keep them digging only in that one area and not all over the yard.
I thought it sounded like a pretty dumb idea. I mean, I was trying to break the dogs of their digging habit, not teach them that if they dig holes they’ll find treats.
Suddenly, I happened to spot an advertisement on the dog-digging page that made my eyes widen. It said: “Are your pets ruining your lawn? Do they dig it up? Urinate on it and turn it brown? Are insects thriving in the grass and hitching rides into your house on your pets? Are you tired of mowing, watering and fertilizing? Then our synthetic pet-grass is for you!”
Synthetic pet-grass? I’d never heard of it. But I was intrigued. I continued to read all about it.
The pet grass, according to the information, was supposed to be very realistic-looking fake grass that’s odor proof, stain proof, bug proof, chew proof and dig proof. It also features built-in drainage, can be hosed down to clean it, doesn’t fade and never needs watering, mowing or fertilizing. The photos showed houses that had synthetic pet-grass lawns, and they were…well, spectacular looking.
I was sold. I printed out a copy of the information, then rushed out to the living room to show it to my husband. “Look at this!” I shouted, thrusting the ad under his nose. “Isn’t it amazing? It’s the answer to my prayers!”
For once, he actually tore his eyes away from the TV screen long enough to look at what I was showing him. I studied his expression as he read the information. He looked genuinely impressed.
“That does seem like the answer to all of our problems,” he finally said. “It really looks real, too. And it would actually save us a lot of money in the long run.”
“So you think I should contact the company?” I asked.
He nodded. “I think it would be a good idea.”
I could hardly wait until the next morning to call the pet-grass people.
“I completely understand your problems,” the sales representative said to me when I finally called. “And believe me, our synthetic grass can solve all of them. We just finished a place up in Maine where the dogs had severely damaged the yard. So we installed the synthetic turf on all 12,000 square feet of it. The people are thrilled to death now because their property looks beautiful.”
He took down all of my information and said he’d get back to me with an estimate.
As I waited, I looked out the window and saw the dogs happily digging up the lawn and flinging dirt at each other. My first impulse was to run out there and yell at them, but then I thought, “What the heck? Let them have their fun! Soon, there will be a beautiful, bug-free lawn out there that they won’t be able to kill! That’ll fix ‘em!”
The next morning I received an e-mail from the pet-grass company. The estimate for the job was $24,000. I swear my heart actually stopped beating.
When I told my husband the price, he let out a low whistle and said, “Those people up in Maine he mentioned must have been related to the Rockefellers! You figure, their yard is three times the size of ours.”
I couldn’t hide my disappointment. My perfect idea, my perfect solution, cost more than the national debt of Liechtenstein. I sent an e-mail response to the sales representative and told him I’d get back to him when I won the lottery or had my novel published and sold the movie rights to it.
Meanwhile, on the bright side, I guess if the dogs finally do dig down to China and bring back some egg rolls and chow mein, at least I’ll be able to save some money on grocery bills.