When it comes to landscape design, historically it has fallen my responsibility to craft and implement a plan. That isn’t to say that I haven’t sought outside professional consultation. In the last half of our marriage, I’ve sometimes sought professional help in creating a plan. However, when it comes to sweat equity, the dirt under the fingernails has primarily been mine.
Of course, we haven’t always had to start from scratch. Although I wouldn’t say we’ve lived a nomadic lifestyle, we have called a lot of different addresses home. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but out of forty-eight years of marriage, we’ve lived in twenty-seven different places. Some of that has been my fault. When it comes to landscape design and decorating, I need a project or at least I used to need a project. We’ve been in our current home fourteen years and as far as I’m concerned, we’re done. If anyone mentions assisted living, I’m going to Colorado to ski black diamonds.
When we were in Midland we purchased two new homes. In the approximate twenty-four months we lived in each, I changed the color in every room and completely planted and maintained the landscaping. We also purchased two homes in Midland where we weren’t the first owners. Consequently most of my efforts were invested in stripping and replacing wallpaper and painting. I can’t take full credit for stripping the wallpaper. The General helped immensely, but hanging the wallpaper was totally my responsibility.
Maybe it’s through the concept of osmosis, but the General reached the place where she thought the landscape design in our current home needed a new look. This time she is the one who had the itch that needed to be scratched. Truthfully, I’m not exaggerating when I say she is the mastermind behind the new look.
I guess I should say that the emotional energy she invested that predicated the much needed change in our landscape reminded me of something from the Bible. Some people refer to the passage as the parable of the inopportune widow. Others refer it to the parable of the persistent widow. Perhaps you are familiar with the parable found in the eighteenth chapter of Luke.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Actually, when the General was talking about the need to modify our landscape design to something that was truly low maintenance, I had the thought she’s planning for her future in my absence. Historically, she’s not invested a lot of time in yard work. Of course, I’ll say it for her in the unlikely event that she reads this blog and opts to comment. She would truthfully tell you that I haven’t done any yard work in at least six years. While that is not totally accurate, it is close to truth.
I guess it is the luck of the draw. Both my younger brother and my son have wives who love to work in the yard. Consequently, when it comes to a regular lawnmower, neither my brother nor my son would know how to start a lawn mower without having to give it some thought. I would say that both lead a charmed life.
At any rate, the General wore me down. I guess you could say I was in denial. Sure, I knew there were sections of the four-foot wide sidewalk that circles our home that you couldn’t walk down. The oleander plants were like something out of the story of Jack and the Bean Stalk. Invasive is the only word I can think of to describe them. Truthfully, in my own defense, I cut them back every year, but each pruning only served as a catalyst for new growth.
Did I mention the oleander plants with their bright pink flowers are now gone. I guess that is the trade-off for having a sidewalk that is now passable. Speaking of gone, so is the Texas Mountain Laurel that was planted to close to something else. Actually I hate to admit it, but the General (I’m grateful she is not the persistent widow since that means I’d be gone) was right. Three fourths of the vegetation planted in our yard has now been replaced with river rock from New Mexico. Okay, Okay, I’ll say it for her. Gone also are the weeds that came up involuntarily and looked like a snake infested habitat.
It was her intent to go for low maintenance. Did I mention her nickname for me is No Maintenance? Actually, my hat would be off in her honor, except that I don’t wear a hat. When I gave her the nod to do whatever she wanted to do with the landscape, she didn’t let any grass grow under her feet.
Actually, it terms of sweat equity she has none unless texting back and forth with the landscape design company qualifies a sweat equity. The good news is that I don’t have to bother with spreading mulch anymore. That, too, had been one of my annual responsibilities.
Friday she announced that going forward the only thing required of me was to invest thirty minutes each Saturday in pruning anything that needed to be pruned. The thirty-minute mandate seemed fairly non-negotiable on her part. She said something about: “If you can blog two hours a day, you can invest thirty minutes a week…” Though it wasn’t a veiled threat that she might be more like the persistent widow than I currently think she is, I got the message.
By the way, all the gold may be in California, but we’ve got New Mexico river rocks in our yard. It is a good look.
All My Best!