Getting Dirty. Coming Clean.

With spring officially in the air, it simply cannot be avoided and as middle-class home owners there is no one around to do it but you. If it doesn’t get done, the neighbors will inevitably complain and start to hate you. The arduous, unavoidable task to which I am referring is springtime yard work. Pulling weeds, raking flower beds, planting, mowing and mulching. And no, I didn’t actually DO all of those things. I just helped out. A little. But somehow I find merely thinking and writing about it to be exhausting.

It is back-breaking, blister-inducing manual labor and if you don’t count housework like washing, scrubbing, sweeping, straightening and polishing — then I don’t do manual labor. It’s not that I think I’m above it. I’m just naturally lazy. Lazy and particularly fond of staying clean, pressed and relatively well-dressed. Yet even as I type this, a red, watery blister is pushing it’s way up through my irritated, over-worked thumb. Undisputable, irrefutable evidence of actual, physical work.

My dad has run his own landscaping business since I was young. Naturally, when my sister and I were big enough to operate push or riding mowers and other types of lawn equipment, Dad tried to put us able-bodied youths to work for him. My sister took to it right away and did this sort of work willingly… mowing, trimming, planting, weeding and the like. But to me, all of it seemed like a lot of hard work. Hard. Dirty. Work. I watched them come home day after hot, steamy, summer day drenched in sweat and coated with bits of grass, mulch, mud and the occasional outbreak of poison ivy. And I decided—rather quickly—Ummm… No. I don’t think so. Not for me.

I could usually be found at one of two places during the months of June, July and August. They were the Dairy Queen and the community pool. Therefore, upon turning 15, it made total and complete sense that I should—by any and all means necessary—work to secure summertime employment at these two fine establishments. So… while attending lifeguard training at the Y, I was getting paid to perfect the signature DQ curl atop cones, sundaes and banana splits. And I couldn’t have been happier.

Apparently, my ambition to perpetuate pleasure and never really break a sweat actually paid off! I was earning real money while working on my tan, sneeking bites from occasional Oreo Blizzard “mistakes” and talking to my friends. Everything worked out wonderfully as long as no one drowned and everyone received the correct amount of change with their Peanut Buster Parfait. Near as I could tell it was a win-win situation.

Sadly, I couldn’t stay a teenager forever. I managed to dodge the “dirty bullet” for awhile with my creative and fun-in-the-sun-vacational vocations but eventually the real world beckoned and I had to answer the call. I may have chosen a career that keeps me clean and seated behind a desk all day but that no longer negates the fact that NOW the yard is THERE. Waiting. And growing. Silently. Planning my Sunday afternoons for me for the rest of my foreseeable, capable existence. And my sister—with the green thumb she apparently inherited—certainly is not going to come and mow it, rake it, spray it, seed it or weed it for me.


5 thoughts on “Getting Dirty. Coming Clean.

  1. ambermlee75 says:

    I walked the same path – DQ to Fireman’s Pool. Over and over. Day after day. We’re still under about seven feet of snow here so no yard work yet.

    • Well, there is one blessing of still being buried under the snow, right?? When do you actually DO spring yardwork in Alaska? September? 🙂 And yes… it was Minerva. What else were we going to do but the DQ and pool? haha

  2. Now THIS post is ENTIRELY TRUE with NO embellishments. I know this because I am “Mom” who also ran from dirty situations. I chose elem. school teaching as my career and except for a dirty science experiment here and there I have stayed relatively clean.. (by choice) Loved going down memory lane with you, Joanna.

  3. Loving your title and your post this morning – avoidance to getting dirty – ha! Happy Home Ownership and all that it entails. I can handle the yard, but I hate when something backs up and it is not clean water coming out – YUCKO!!! The sink was seeking a little revenge this weekend and the smell alone made me want to gag and run the other direction. Hang in there & Happy Monday!

  4. I like the idea of yard work but in reality i hate it. I hate to sweat and I am always too hot nowadays. Everything here is growing so fast we can’t keep up with it. Instead of six feet of snow it’s six feet of pollen. I can barely go outside! My husband who does all of the yard work and says he doesn’t really enjoy just bought a lawn edger and was so excited about it. I thought that a bit odd.

    I did buy a push mower at a yard sale once to help him out but after I pushed it a few time and then could never crank the stupid thing that idea flew right out of the yard. I say where’s the cement truck?

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