January 6, 2009

The Story of Lawn Fork (PART 1)

A long time ago, in the way way back, when Maisy was only an unfertilized Maisy-egg and Sam was close to toddling, we bought our first house, a teeny weeny tiny starter home here in Georgia. It had a huge WILDERLAWN, which we left to run wild, and the flower beds sat fallow. I am not much of a gardener.

This is because I don’t like plants.

We have one plant in the house and I try to stay clear of it. It is SCOTT’s. He really likes to have a plant, which EW, but I have a current total of five furry pet friends, and in the past I have had as many as 7, so it is hard to begrudge him one measly creepy vine-looking leafetty-yick-yick. I give it a wide berth.

I don’t HATE plants when they are properly contained in the outside parts of the earth, and I feel only a minute squicky distaste toward house plants. I have a friend who REALLY for truly loathes all things green and potted---so much so that she willfully MURDERS them. I can’t tell you her name because her husband STILL has NO PROOF and I don’t want to rat her out…

Plants in her house must remain PRETURNTATURALLY green and bushy and fruitful and healthy looking or they drive her to BLEAK depression. One SPOT on a single otherwise verdant leaf, and she becomes convinced the plant is going DIE a slow agonizing nine week death that she must witness, and the very IDEA makes her want to go live under the bed and weep for Zion until it is over.

She too married a man who likes houseplants. Every now and again he used to bring one home all PERFECT from the nursery, and she would watch it carefully, and the second it showed ANY sort of malady or even seemed PALE, she would pour Lysol down into its roots or encourage the dog to dig it up and eviscerate it. She was a PLANT ASSASSIN for years – must have stealth murdered 50 plants before he decided he had a black thumb and bought a couple of really nice looking silk ficus trees.

Yes, I know, not liking plants or to garden is another sure sign that IHAVENOSOUL. Anyway. Some of the nicest dearest people I know are all about the wonders of the garden and how it provides a WEALTH of metaphors about life and growth and cycles and renewals and redemption, and I like life, growth, cycles, renewal, redemption AND Lord KNOWS I dig me some metaphors, truly, but out in the garden is where they keep the banana spiders.


GAHHHH lookit that thing. Also, roaches. No thank you. I can think about lovely metaphors in my air conditioned kitchen watching my girl-child slaughter the hapless denizens of the indoor herbal window box thing she got for Christmas. This is why I don’t like the houseplant. I suspect it of Harboring Bugs. That’s a felony, and the punishment is death.

DIGRESSION: Some plants are by DEFINITION roachy-looking, and I my negative feelings toward them intensify the closer I get to them. IVY is very roachy looking, as is kudzu, and I LOVE to see Kudzu when it is 100 yards away and I am in a car. I do not want to see kudzu TOUCHING MY ANKLE.

I can’t BEAR to stand in IVY either, because I am POSITIVE that Roaches will run out of the leaves and up my pants leg and attempt to CLIMB MY NAKED CALF with their scratchy awful clicky hairy little feet TOUCHING MY SKIN and then I will be forced to HACK the leg off, quite quickly, to try and save the knee joint. Because the higher the roach goes, the more pieces there are that can no longer be attached to me.

In theory, if I went and stood in ivy, and a Roach ran up out of the leaves (where one is EVEN NOW sitting NO DOUBT waiting for just such an opportunity) and went up my pants leg and scaled my hip and scuttled up my trunk to perch on my shoulder I would have to BEHEAD myself and then someone would have to carry my unroachtainted head away for proper burial and burn the rest. They might even have to go into orbit and nuke my headless roach-touched body from space.

It’s the only way to be SURE.

(Must take Maisy to the dentist for a cleaning… con’t tomorrow)

Posted by joshilyn at January 6, 2009 12:07 PM

But it wouldn't be roaches in the ivy...it would be RATS. Or so I've heard. Maybe it's both?

Posted by: Beth at January 6, 2009 1:21 PM

Gee, thanks, Beth! ;) Like it wasn't bad enough imagining ROACHY ivy, now I have to imagine RATTY ivy, too.

We have this creepy, creeping plant here in San Diego. It's sort of somewhere between a normal, leafy plant, and a cactus. The leaves are THICK and SQUOOSHY. It grows everywhere -- the hill behind our apartment is covered with it. I imagine it's sort of the SoCal version of kudzu. I am convinced that black widow spiders, scorpions and tarantulas carpet the earth beneath it, and are merely waiting for me to set a foot wrong before they scuttle up my leg and bite me. Gah.

I kill plants, too, by the way. Not deliberately, but they die under my care.

Posted by: Aimee at January 6, 2009 2:05 PM

I can't even begin to figure out how to type the reaction I'm having to this post...

How do you express in type snorting so hard people are looking at you, snickering at the same time, sheer confusion at what appears to be a permanently in-orbit mental illness number, and getting the squicks from the image of a roach running up my leg?

Posted by: Beth R at January 6, 2009 2:39 PM

Great. Now I'm picturing roaches in pink socks.

(But seriously. Roaches OUTside? Slap me for a Yankee. Suddenly all this snow doesn't look so bad.)

Posted by: rams at January 6, 2009 8:32 PM

I feel toward house animals the way you feel toward house plants. I like them properly contained in the outside parts of the earth.

I am quite sure that they have fleas, ticks, dander, dust and remnants of feces on them and I don't like them touching me much, and definitely not getting anywhere near my pillow.

I paid for room and board with this family when I was first in university and they would open my room door and let their damn long haired black cat sit on my bed because "He likes to look out the window from there."

I moved out by January.

Posted by: carrien (she laughs at the days) at January 6, 2009 10:51 PM

I'm so arachnophobic I got nightmares from watching "Charlotte's Web". And you have a big ol' honkin' picture of a spider there.

Durn it, woman, are you trying to kill me?

I too slaughter every plant in the house. Fortunately, the current cats view plants as cat salad, so we can't have any. Whew.

And we live on the western side of the Cascades, where there are NO ROACHES at all. I am happy here.

Love love LOVE the "Aliens" reference, though!

Posted by: Fran at January 6, 2009 11:35 PM

I heard that there are rats in the ivy, too. Which is worse, rats or roaches?

Roaches give me the jibblies.

Posted by: nik at January 7, 2009 3:10 AM

I don't mind plants per se, so long as they're outdoors (it's more of a laziness factor with me). But I've learned not to stay still and hang out IN the plants for any length of time. Ever since a picnic with my brother and a young nephew, when we spotted about 4 ticks making their creepy, crawly way across the picnic blanket straight for the juicy, tender two-year-old!

Posted by: Brigitte at January 7, 2009 9:36 AM

So how does Lawn Fork work? Surely it was touched by plants galore, not to mention other possibilities. Admittedly, I have a lawn spoon of my own and I'm rather fond of it, despite its questionable background. It has more personality than the others.

Posted by: Holly at January 7, 2009 12:00 PM

Well,I'm a plant biologist by profession, so I LOVE plants. But not kudzu or ivy (both invasive alien creepers!). And where I come from, ivy has rats and SNAILS. But not roaches.

I wonder if the thick So-Cal ground cover described is ice plant? Also NOT FROM HERE. It's from S. Africa. I have no objection to well-behaved transplants from other places, but ones that are introduced and then SLAUGHTER ALL THE NATIVES, leaving no room for any new immigrants either, are not so good. I may feel a metaphor coming on, but will restrain myself.

Also, I am not a naturalist, and do NOT care for spiders.

Posted by: Diane (TT) at January 7, 2009 7:30 PM

Your story has triggered me to horrify you with my COCKROACH story. (Ick ick ick ick.) Several years ago, when first-run episodes of the "X-Files" tv show were still coming on every Friday night, I sat down to watch my weekly installment. "X Files" was usually appropriately creepy-scary, so I turned off all of the lights in the room, brushed my long hair back out of my face, and curled up on the sofa to watch. Partway through the episode, when some other-worldly gucky monster was undoubtedly chasing Mulder and Scully through the dark dark woods (of Washington, DC?), I felt a tickling on my arm that I thought was my hair. It kept tickling, though, and moved UP my bare arm to my shoulder. When I looked down, I was eyeball-to-compound-eyeball with the BIGGEST DAMN COCKROACH I have ever seen. I have since learned that they are also called "Waterbugs" and "Palmetto Bugs," but what I called it at that time was "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" As I flicked frantically at the GIGANTIC MONSTER, I heard pounding footsteps; my husband burst into the room, white-faced and holding a .45 caliber handgun in a combat stance. "WHERE? WHERE?" he demanded, looking to see where my attacker had fled to. He looked at me like I was completely unhinged when I shrieked, "UNDER THE COUCH!!" since the space underneath the sofa was insufficient for the hulking human assassin he was certain had been moments from ending my life. A moment's explanation convinced him to PUT DOWN THE GUN, and he grabbed the most convenient tools for dispatching large insects, which happened to be...tools. With a hammer in one hand and pliers in the other, he lifted the couch, and that DAMNED BIG BUG scuttled across the floor (toward my bare feet, naturally). WHAP! went the hammer. "EEEEW!!" went me. Unfortunately, whoever had laid the carpet in this particular room had been VERY generous with the PADDING, so, when he lifted the hammer, the Creature, unharmed, took off like a racehorse for yet another corner of the room.

I was, even at that time, aware that a bug that size would make a loud CRUNCH when offed--IG IG IG IG--so I was standing in one corner of the room, dancing to decrease the likelihood of large MUTANT BUGS running up my legs, with my fingers in my ears, saying loudly, "LA LA LA LA!!" I had also closed my eyes by this point, not wanting to see the BUG GUTS that were inevitable at some point in this catastrophe. Over my loud "LA"-ing, I heard my husband say, "Okay, okay, I got him." Cautiously I opened one eye.

Since the hammer had proven ineffective, my loving spouse had grabbed the Creature with the PLIERS, and was holding it approximately four inches from my nose, its crinky legs waving at me.

The X-Files has nothing on my house.

Later, I learned in the most shocking manner possible that these BIG DAMN BUGS also FLY, albeit amateurishly and not always AWAY from the person who is attempting to flatten them with a flip-flop, but that is a different story altogether.

Posted by: Jennifer at January 9, 2009 2:56 PM