To Mulch Or Not To Mulch?


It was an impromptu decision. It was about three minutes past noon yesterday when I determined the weather was too nice not to take advantage of the unseasonably warm temperature. Honestly, weather in Texas can change in a flash. Why not finish up some yard work? Consequently, I located my boss and asked for permission to take annual leave the rest of the afternoon.

I made reference to finishing up yard work. The landscape folks had been out to the house on Monday and had almost done a complete makeover. The only glitch to the project was a miscommunication related to whether or not the back yard needed mulching. It did, but they didn’t. The General said it was my fault. I told her we weren’t going to use mulch in the back yard. Subsequent, to talking with her, I visited with the landscape specialist and told him I thought mulch in the backyard was crucial, but that I would leave it up to him. He is apparently a smart man. He opted to leave it up to the General who said, “No mulch in the back yard.” That obviously was the end of the story and the end of the mulching.

While the General thought she was honoring my request in prohibiting the mulching in the back yard, at the same time she was also assessing the work needed to be done and I was just the man to “get–r–done”. She has the capacity to be frugal if needed. Never in her mind was there the possibility that the yard would be without mulch.

On my way home yesterday, I stopped in South Austin to pick up a prescription at the grocery store. As I stepped out of the car, the first thing I noticed is that the warm pleasant temperature no longer had that springtime feeling. The wind was blowing and it was chilling. Who in their right mind would want to work in the back yard? What do you do, waste the vacation?

The General was obviously surprised when I showed up at the house. She asked, “What are you doing home?” I obviously was expecting a more hospitable welcome. Something closely akin to, “Great to see you, I’m glad you took off early”, would have felt more like an accolade. Of course, I may have been wearing my feelings on my sleeve. The first discovery I made is that the interior door between the garage and the house was locked. For the life of me, I don’t understand why the General routinely locks that door. We also keep the exterior door to the garage locked. Why lock both? It is a little inconvenient accessing the house when have to locate your keys a second time to gain entry. I generally have my arms filled with my briefcase, sports coat, and cup of ice from Sonic, etc.

At any rate, I made another impromptu decision. I announced that I had come home to mulch the backyard, but that I wasn’t going to do it because it was too cold outside. End of story; end of self-proclaimed work detail. Besides that, there is always something to do. After all, the General routinely reminds me that if I were more observant, I could find constructive things to do rather than sit at my computer.

Sometimes she’s right. Why not start by installing the new microwave. The evening before I had removed the trim kit around the old microwave in anticipation of the General picking up the new one on order. She had telephoned and it was in. Besides that, we’d been without a microwave for almost two weeks. Initially, we started with a service call to see if the microwave could be repaired. That obviously was a mistake. The service call was $95. The repairman said most microwaves are good for about six years. Ours was only three years old, but it was toast. We could purchase a new one for the cost of having that one repaired. We opted to go with a new one. I intuitively thought the $95 service call would be applied toward the purchase of a new one, but it wasn’t. I guess that was magical thinking on my part.

At any rate, I brought the new microwave in the house and got it installed and put the trim kit back in place. At least I saved $50 by doing that myself. I’m not totally useless. When I went outside to get the new microwave out of the General’s car, I noticed again that the wind was chilling. That reinforced the fact that I wasn’t going to work in the yard.

After I finished with the microwave, the General suggested we at least go to Home Depot and pick up the bags of mulch that we needed. Did I really think that was a good idea? Probably not, but I went anyway. We both walked into the outdoor garden area at Home Depot. No sooner had we gotten inside the store and located the mulch than the General announced that she was going back to the truck because it was cold. Hey, I could have told her that. I didn’t think I had locked the truck, but I handed her the keys just in case. I didn’t blame her. It was cold.

It was cold and the bags of mulch were heavy. I hate it when you have the sense that the bags of mulch you are purchasing have been in the rain. Honestly, it was about all I could do to pick up one bag at a time. I got the cart loaded with mulch and rolled it out to my truck. Opening the tailgate of my truck to fold back the cover of the truck bed, the first thing I noticed is that I failed to remember to drop off the trash bags at the trash receptacle next to our gate. I had loaded them from the garage with the intent to set the trash receptacle out for pick-up this morning. What was I thinking? I obviously wasn’t.

Okay, so was there going to be room for both the trash bags and the mulch in the back of the truck bed. The answer was obviously not. I opened the back door of the truck, folded back the seat and put the trash bags inside the truck. Next, I laboriously got the mulch loaded in the truck. Did I mention it was heavy?

If there was an upside to yesterday’s story, it was a discovery the General made. One of the things General intuitively does that I always find frustrating is that she turned down the sun-visor on the passenger side. Three-fourths of the the time she opts to do that, there is no justification for doing so and it always blocks my vision. She doesn’t care.  If she’s in the car during daylight hours, the sun visor is going to be down. I’ve actually almost stopped complaining about it. The operative word is “almost”.

When the General turned down the sun visor in my truck something fell in her lap. Picking it up, she asked, “What’s this?” I couldn’t believe it. It was the pouch containing my travel receipts that I’ve been looking to find for the past four weeks. Someone told me, I’d find it when I least expected it. They were right, but I am glad.

All My Best!



One thought on “To Mulch Or Not To Mulch?”

  1. We live & learn. You were charged $95 for the service charge, then bought & installed your own micro. We were charged $85 for the service charge for our furnace. He fiddle with the thermostat & left. Did not work, John went out bought a new one, installed it himself. Works fine.


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