Monday, March 22, 2010

Yard Work Be Dammed

On Friday I wrote about Spring Cleaning.  Back in the 70's when I was a kid in the 'White Lights Christmas City' in Nebraska, one of my Spring Cleaning responsibilities was raking the leaves.  We lived on a lake, so there were lots and lots of trees, and the damn things littered those leaves everywhere.  I was a lazy and asthmatic child, so I usually got out of some portion of the raking in one of two ways:
  1. I would have to go to the bathroom, A LOT, and each trip would usually take about a half hour.  I would saunter into the house, grab an apple, watch a little TV, all the while looking out the window to see if my dad was coming in to check on my whereabouts.  Eventually they would come looking for me, and I would be on my way out the back door as they came in to check.
  2. Once the bathroom excuse was exhausted, I would just stick my face in a pile of leaves, which would make me sneeze and get wheezy, and then my parents would send me inside so they could avoid a hospital trip.  Have I mentioned that I was a deviant and manipulative child?  (But I really did have asthma.)
The leaf did not fall far from the tree with my children.  We live on a corner lot with lots of trees, and every spring and fall we force the children to grab their rakes and head out into the yard, where multiple bathroom trips and small injuries ultimately occur.

Since I like to think I am cleverer than the children, I sometimes disguise work activity as play.  We have a huge crabby tree in the front yard that spends its time swearing and throwing small branches at our house, and in the spring we will end up with hundreds of branches in the yard.  Over Spring Break, The Son had an out-of-town friend over for a few days, and I suggested to them that it would be really, REALLY fun to build a beaver dam in the front yard.

ME:  "I bet you guys could build a HUGE beaver dam here."
THEM:  "How would we do that?"
ME:  "Just like beavers do!  With all of these sticks!"
THEM:  "But won't they cave in?"
ME:  "Nah!  First you put up a frame with the bigger sticks, and then you build around it with the smaller ones.  It will be easy."
THEM:  "Hey!  That sounds like fun!  Let's do it!"
ME:  (Walking back into house) "MWAH HA HA HA HA HA...suckers."

The idea was that the sticks would be in one location, and therefore easily bound and prepared for pickup.  Four hours later, I did an abduction check (and really, they could've been in Ohio in that amount of time) and found a beaver dam in my front yard.  A real, legitimate beaver dam.  And not only had the boys built a four foot by six foot hut next to my front door, they walked over the three million leaves in my yard to get the BAGGED leaves by the garbage, and dumped them over the top of the dam.  

DAM IT ALL!!  Now I had the same amount of sticks in the yard, AND my previously bagged leaves were back in the grass.  Just when I started to think about getting annoyed, two of the happiest boys I've ever seen came bounding out of the Dam Thing.

"MOM!  This is the COOLEST thing EVER!  Take pictures of it!  Can we sleep out here?  Do you think actual beavers will move in?"  

 Boys.  Enough said.

I was a goner.  Who cares about the Dam leaves?  Or the daffodils coming up that are now in the side room of the Dam.  There is nothing like the joy of a 10-year-old kid.  So we took pictures of the boys, and of course, pictures of Todd "Hot Nuts" Epstein in his formerly natural habitat.  Now that he is a dead taxidermied squirrel and unused to the elements, he needed his stocking cap.
 Todd loves the Dam Thing.

Youngest Daughter carried approximately 12 sticks to "help" with the dam, and she was angry at the end that she was not included in the Building Credits.  Hell hath no fury like YD scorned, as the boys were soon to discover:
 Sleep lightly, boys.  YD will have her revenge.

It snowed over the weekend, and as we live two blocks from the Mississippi River, Current Husband and George the Superpet found themselves wondering how many critters were squatting in the Dam Thing for the night.  Our neighbors found themselves wondering why no one thought of writing a neighborhood covenant when we moved into the area.  The boys found themselves wondering how much candy it would take to buy their safety.  And I found myself wondering how I got outwitted by the children, again.  Dam it.


Wendy Ramer, Author said...

Kids are crafty little devils. That about sums it all up.

aleigh said...

Love it! You outwitting the kids, the kids outwitting you, you outwitting your neighbors, YD outwitting - ....or outwaiting all of you, as it may be. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

I heard all about this today. Looks like Jack got you:) He's quite the character.

Julie, The Wife said...

He can always out-maneuver me, Nikki. Now the negotiations begin as to when I can take it down!

Mom of AOCG said...

This is so fabulous! I LOVE IT! Greatest dam EVER.

Mom of AOCG said...

Read it again. Laughed out loud again. Probably will read it a few more times. YD picture is SO funny. Lack of covenants SO funny. Dam SO awesome. One of my favorite posts ever. Dam good job, Julie!

julie fisher said...

Yep. Raked leaves at your house growing up for 8 hours straight once...while you faked bathroom trips.

Julie, The Wife said...

Well, Little Julie, I bet you learned to pee a lot more when at my house. And how to treat blisters.

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