Tag Archives: boys

Surprise Blooms and an Unidentified Blockage

red flowers

About a month ago, I was either getting the mail or taking out the trash when I noticed something red on one of the bushes in front of my house. I rarely use the front door, except to water the jasmine that’s out there, so I never look at the bushes. I smiled as I approached the bush — it had a few of these cool red flowers that I’ve never seen on it. I have lived here for almost two years without this bush blooming to my knowledge.

red flowers
Standing in front of the surprise blossoms was like having a conversation with a friend who still continues to surprise. There are many more things to know about parts of our lives — inanimate or not — than we consider.

stalk

And then there are inanimate things that we — or I — could live a happy life without “consider”ing. Desert plant buffs, prepare to cringe. Before the holidays when my amazing neighbors came to help hack down all my bushes, they suggested trimming this plant by tying up part of it and just trimming whatever was underneath it. Part of this was to deter pack rats and spiders and promote the general health of the backyards that all four intersect in the corner where the plant resides. Come spring, I was throwing a going-away party for a co-worker and thought this to be a good time to approach this task. I whined and cried and pissed and moaned as I crawled around under that thing for maybe two hours with a pair of gloves and a small pair of handheld gardening clippers. The spiky fronds kept pulling at my hair and scratching and stabbing pretty much my entire body. Add to that the spider webs I found, the old dead rotten oranges fallen from the neighbor’s orange tree, and intermittent and sudden “scurrying” by lizards, and I was not a happy girl. I had a huge pile of spines and other plant parts by the time my wrist was ready to throw in the towel. I am still only half finished. If you see a tweet in the feed about me opening a beer at 7:30 in the morning, you’ll know I am tackling the rest of those damn dead fronds. As I was working I kept thinking that the previous owner should’ve trimmed them AT LEAST once (!!), but to be fair, I have lived here for a while now and could’ve done it much sooner too.

stalk1

Just to add a little more fun to the subject of the almost-succulent from hell, a stalk has grown out of the top of it and is, of course, leaning toward my neighbor’s yard as it begins to flower. Really need to keep an eye on that sucker as the monsoon approaches. Ah, the perks of DIY landscape maintenance.

As a horrific note, my sons thought it would be a good idea to fill my compost can with water . . . and leave it sitting there . . . in the heat . . . without telling me about it . . . so that after a few days it was positively putrid and full of f_______ flies. I had to drain a bunch of the water; hated that. I put a bunch of dirt in the can to dry it up and the boys heard about it from me.

Moving indoors, I repaired a towel rack last week. My Monkey Children like to swing on the towel racks, naturally.

towel rack

I bought a Tiny Screwdriver set as suggested by Video Joe Knows. It came with a standard and a phillips head screwdriver, mini, as the name suggests. Turns out all you have to do is screw the part that holds the bar into the little flat piece mounted on the wall. That took about 1 minute to do as my son cleaned out their bathroom drain:

water

That’s the first time it’s ever stopped up that much. And the water is murky because they continued to use the sink to brush their teeth and rinse out their mouths in it. So that is my eldest son’s hand in the photo as I am instructing him to untwist and pull out the stopper of the drain. He asked why he had to and I explained that it’s their drain and he needs to learn to do it, that he’s a boy and boys like gross things, and lastly that I would vomit if I had to do it. After some complaining and wrestling with the stopper, he got it out and we were faced with this:

gunk2

Bleh. He wore a glove because he wanted to and used about 187 toothpicks to pull all that crap out. He thought it was hilarious how unsettled I was by that gunk. He was proud to have gotten it all out though. Little punk. He even WAVED some of it at me. Gross.

gunk3

I had him clean out the sink after that and put all of our tools away where they go. I don’t understand what that is in the drain and I don’t want to know. Perhaps some preventive maintenance is in order. It’s funny the things I am still learning about running a home. I don’t know if these things are basic or obvious but I suppose the important thing is that I am learning them.

My basil seeds sprouted on Wednesday.

Time to make a drink. Good night.

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Burgers, Beer, and S’mores

Last night was the virgin voyage of our firepit. Finally! I now really want to make the firepit permanent. The boys didn’t get a chance to roast marshmallows on a recent camping trip and we had the bag laying around. The first thing I did when I got home was soak the bamboo skewers. I don’t know why I soaked three as I really don’t like marshmallows.
I made burgers for dinner, which I thought would be perfect for our outside plans for later. I topped them with avocado, peppered bacon, tomato, and pepperjack cheese. Yesterday morning my neighbors donated half of a huge watermelon to us because wouldn’t fit in their cooler for their weekend lake trip. Watermelon goes beautifully with a burger. As well as beer. I bought a Sam Adams Summer Ale and the kids got root beer.
We ate dinner at about 6:30 and at that time the sun’s still pretty high. I finally cut up some of the bigger branches from the bushes from the front yard to keep the fire going. The fire’s been built for about a month, I just didn’t have the chance to light it. I think I was waiting for someone to share it with too but who the hell matters more than my wonderful sons? I also moved the patio chairs over next to the pit and brought over a short table alongside the chairs so the boys could make their treats there.
So around 7:45 I brought out the graham crackers with little chocolate bars on them and the skewers and of course extra marshmallows. And a fourth beer (which is a lot for a toothpick like me). The boys came outside with me and we got ready for the fire! The kids went nuts when I lit the fire and it burned nicely. They got out of their chairs and ran around a little bit. Next time I will add larger firewood toward the beginning as it didn’t catch fire very well after I added it. This time it was okay because the boys needed to go to bed anyway but I am happy with the way it turned out. Only two marshmallows were lost to the flames. They get really soft when heated! The boys enjoyed their treat though. It’s good to have them home and it’s good to be their mother.
I can’t wait till the next time we have a firepit night. It’s too windy now and it has come to my attention that Arizona is under a “no burn order” right now. Soon. I have plenty of things left to burn up in this backyard.