River Rock


Is less preferable to more?  The General thought so, but then again we are not always in agreement.  For one thing, even if I could convince myself to agree with her, what she wanted wasn’t easily orchestrated.  Saying “wasn’t easily orchestrated” gives her the benefit of the doubt.  From my perspective (limited though it was), I thought it was impossible without heavy equipment and there was no way to get heavy equipment into our yard because of the fence.  I wasn’t willing to take the fence down.

Call it a standoff if you want, but at the end of the day we were of two very different mindsets.  We’ve been in our home 14 years.   Consequently, we’ve never been down this road before. We’ve never lived in any one place as long as we’ve lived in this home.  This is the fourth newly constructed home that we’ve had the privilege to own.  Consequently, we had no one but ourselves to credit for the landscaping.  Back in the day, I thought I was pretty good at orchestrating a plan and creating an impressive look.  In fact, I’ve even been told that I missed my calling.  “I should be doing landscape”.

I guess in a lot of respects, we did that here, but impressive turned into overgrown and crowded as vegetation continued to mature and multiply.  Our daughter’s wedding reception at our home was ten years ago.  Most folks would probably agree that the setting was picture perfect.  In fact, we’ve got the pictures to prove it.  The landscape never looked better, but that was before it grew and it grew and it grew.  In addition, it multiplied and it multiplied.

The General probably would have been inclined to agree with folks complimenting the landscape plan back in the day when they were verbalizing their praises.  In today’s environment, not so much!  In fact, she’d probably suggest that I am clueless when it comes to landscaping.  Of course, she has the pictures to prove it.  I am probably the only one who’d maintain that our lawn is simply a little too crowded, but is still a good look.

Just last night the General mentioned the Bur oak tree we planted at our home in Midland.  The last time we drove by there, the canopy of the tree covered the entirety of the back yard.  I’d call that “made in the shade”, but the General would be inclined to say it was too much tree for the space.  Maybe she’s right, but we only lived in that home for eighteen months, so the tree was right-sized for our needs.

Two houses before that one, I had a professional landscaper design our landscape plan.  That, too, was for a home in Midland.  The landscape professional recommended a row of pine trees across the back fence.  The last time we drove by that place, I could believe the size of the trees. 

At any rate, the General determined that we needed professional help.  I think she was talking about altering the landscape rather than working on marriage issues, but you can never be too sure.  At one point she said, “We thought we were putting in a low maintenance yard and it is not low maintenance”.  In her kindness (whether purposeful or by happenstance) she didn’t add that she is married to a complete loser who does no landscape maintenance. She may have thought it, but at least she had the kindness not to verbalize it.

What can I say?  Maybe she wore me down, but I finally conceded to do it her way.  I wasn’t even sure what her way was, but the dye was cast.  If I ever hoped to have peace of mind, a change in our landscaping was non-negotiable and for every practical purpose, it really didn’t matter what I thought.  You know what they say, “Happy wife/happy life.”

Throwing caution to the wind, I made the commitment: “Do whatever you want. The only thing I ask of you is that you never tell me what it cost.  I won’t ask any questions.  I won’t render an opinion.  I’ll be thrilled with whatever you opt to do, just don’t tell me how much money we’ve spent.

She met with a landscape professional and assured me that I’d like the new river rock design that was going to replace a lot of the green.  I had the thought that “replace a lot of the green” was a nice play on words.  I’ve seen what they charge for river rock.  In case you haven’t, it’s not dirt-cheap. Indeed it was going to replace a lot of the green.  I guess if there’s an upside, you don’t have to water rocks.  On the other hand, what about the sprinkler system, “Does it continue to run?”  After all, there will still be some vegetation. I figure I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’ll let the General and the landscape professional figure it out.

On Thursday of this last week, the landscape crew showed up to work their magic.  Reportedly, it might take as long as two days just to get rid of all the General wanted gone from the yard.  I wasn’t terribly worried because, like I said, “Without heavy equipment, not much was going out”.

I had no idea what three young men with shovels could do.  I was absolutely amazed!  They weren’t near done at the end of the day on Thursday, but trust me they were off to a good start.  Speechless is the only way I can describe my reaction.  For one thing, I was keeping my commitment to the General.  She hadn’t told me the projected cost of the project and I wasn’t asking.  I also wasn’t going to say, “I bet it cost more to have that stuff removed than it cost us to plant it.”  That would have been crazy.  I thought it, but I didn’t say it.

When I got home from work on Friday, I wasn’t even sure I was at the right house.  It was a complete makeover.  Our overgrown crowded lawn was no longer overgrown and crowded.  To my surprise, I actually liked it.  I still don’t know how three men with shovels could have orchestrated the magic they pulled off, but it is amazing.

I’m sure it will even be more amazing when they deliver and install eleven tons of river rock.  Did I mention, there are more varieties of river rock than I ever imagined?  I did go with the General on Saturday to look at rock. At some level, that was a big mistake because I began to get a feel for the cost of the materials.

The choices are many and they range in cost from $39 a ton, $100 a ton, $235 a ton – all the way up to $800 a ton.  Did I mention the $39 a ton rock is the kind of rock you’d throw out of your yard rather than purchase to put in it.  Secondly, much to my dismay I heard myself telling the General, don’t settle for $100 a ton rock if what you really want is $235 a ton. With what you’re spending on this project, don’t cut corners. Get what you want.

At the end of the day, it is going to be a good look.  The way I see it, I’ll never be able to own a home overlooking water, perhaps overlooking river rock is the next best thing.

All My Best!

Apple Computer, Inc.




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