Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I admire people who love to grow things and can turn their yards into replicas of the Botanical Gardens. I however, am stuck facing another spring with my yard resembling the La Brea Tar Pits.

Never has so much mud collected in one spot. Walking out there in anything less than knee-high boots all but guarantees you’ll have your shoes sucked right off your feet. I swear there are at least two pairs of my sneakers buried somewhere in the subterranean depths of the yard, never to be seen again during my lifetime. In the distant future, archaeologists will unearth my sneakers and display them in a museum.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to grow a lush green lawn. Last year alone, I purchased enough grass seed to cover Fenway Park. Then I spent countless hours raking the yard, leveling it and ridding it of rocks and debris so I could seed it.

The only problem was I didn’t know how to water it.

For most people, watering the lawn is a simple thing. They attach one end of a hose to an outdoor faucet and the other end to a sprinkler of some sort and voila!, the lawn gets watered. Unfortunately, in my case it’s not quite that simple.

Because the water in our well tested so high for arsenic I could have made lemonade with it and used it as a lethal weapon, we had to have a complicated water filtration system installed in our basement. It has something to do with osmosis and uses a product called Pot Perm, and makes a washing-machine kind of noise when it’s doing its thing. It also has to be regularly checked by a professional water person to keep it in top condition.

The last time the water person came over he happened to mention that whenever I water the lawn I should bypass the filtration system so as not to abuse it.

“All you have to do,” he said, “is turn this, flip this and shut that.”

It looked easy when he did it, but the minute he left the house, I completely forgot what to flip and what to turn. All I ended up doing was shutting off the water completely. So I decided to quit fiddling with the filtrations system and just wait for the rain to water my grass seed.

I waited a long time. The end result, after three weeks or so, was about 30 small clumps of grass spread out over the entire yard. The clumps were green for about a week, then they shriveled up, turned brown and died a slow and agonizingly painful death.

I tried again, using Kentucky bluegrass seed. I figured if anything would give me a long, lush lawn, that would be it.

Once again I got clumps, only these were longer and stragglier. They looked like big green fright wigs sprinkled all over the ground.

This year, however, my problems are much worse. Not only is there no grass at all, the yard is sinking. A wide trench suddenly appeared and caused the fence gate to go lopsided and pop open. I now have a bungee cord holding it in place. The trench then snaked its way over to the back porch and swallowed two of the legs, causing everything to tilt to the right. Only people who have one leg shorter than the other will be comfortable standing on our porch.

But because of the all the snow we had this winter, which eventually melted into 10,000 gallons of water, the yard now has transformed into 2,000 square feet of mud. And this is no ordinary mud. It’s mud that’s possessed by evil spirits.

I swear that the minute my dogs set one paw out there, the demon mud flings itself onto them, savagely clinging to every bit of fur on their bodies as it cackles maniacally. It also entices them to dig deep holes in it and fling it all over the side of the house.

When I open the door to let the dogs back inside, only their eyes are visible. The rest of their body parts are covered with mud. And their noses have such big clumps on them, they look like clown noses.

I spent the better part of last week trying to remember what the real color of my floors is.

Still, I’m not about to attempt to fill the trench, rake the mud or plant grass seed again. No, I’m throwing in the towel, raising the white flag, admitting defeat.

Besides that, I figure I can make a small fortune renting out the yard for monster truck mud-bog races.

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