Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Putting Newspaper in the Garden: The Agony

So a few days ago it was finally warm and dry enough to till the garden. So Scott got the tiller out and gave it a tune up and then it wouldn't start. So he spent most of the day fighting with it and fabricating parts and swearing and doing arcane things to the engine. Finally he gave up and dosed the thing in carburetor cleaner and then for some reason it started right up. As long as nobody touched the choke.

Well, since victory was his he went and tilled the garden. Which meant that the next morning I was up and about and determined to get the newspaper cover down as soon as possible before the weeds had a chance to recover. Otherwise the garden turns back into a meadow and gives us the finger.

And nobody wants that.

So I gathered all the tools I would need, and of course a fuck ton of newspaper, and put down exactly four sheets. I know it was four sheets because on the fifth sheet my back went GERNT. Or something of the sort.

Then I had an adventure standing back up. And by 'adventure' I mean 'I had thrown my back out somewhat.' And by 'somewhat' and I mean 'thank the dear sweet lord baby Jesus I can stand up.' So I drug myself into the house and told Scott he was on his own now.

So the rest of the day I tried to help out. Although it was the kind of help that does not involve bending down, or kneeling or being that helpful. It was mostly a dull ache, up until I moved the wrong way and then my back would be all, OMG WTF FUCK FUCK FUCK ARRRGGGHHHHH FUCK WHAT DID YOU DO? ADFKSDHSHKHDSFHFDSH! And I would be all like, I DON'T KNOW I'M SORRY I'M SORRY I'M SORRY!

So that was fun.

Then I tried to fix it by getting drunk, but that super didn't work at work at all ever because I realized that falling face first into bed means that once the alcohol wears off there will be white hot pokers in your spine for ever and ever. Then the next morning I learned that sleeping on your stomach is the worst position ever for back pain. And by morning I mean 1am because there ain't no sleeping after that shit.

Luckily after a few days of not going to work or making money or getting shit done I feel a lot better. Yesterday was the first day that I could walk around and feed the pets and so forth without involuntarily yelling a whole bunch of random words like HUAAGH and AUUUGGHH and HOOOOAAAAYY.

Which is a big improvement really.

Today my back is very stiff but at least I can type things again. Also I am super thankful that I only got stuck on the floor once. Ha ha it's the little things. Also you know what's kinda cold? The floor. Also kinda dirty, but I have been unable to vacuum it due to horrible pain. Except today I probably could of but fuck it I am on vacation.

A pain vacation.

Pros: Great excuse for trying to read the entire internet.

Cons: Excruciating pain.

Eh, all in all I wouldn't recommend it. Just an FYI there.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Edging the Garden.

I called this part of my day edging the garden, mostly because I have no idea what I just did was really called. Also, I have really, really bad sunburn now. Anyway I spent the better part of today lining the edges of the garden with newspaper and swearing.

First off, because I am lazy and waited too long, I had to hoe the goddamned motherfucking grass back from the edges. Along with a bunch of other weeds whose roots appear to shoot straight to the center of the earth. Then I would slap some wet newspaper on that spot, shovel some thing on the top of it to hold it down, and call it done. Until the next section.

Of course that morning I had already been stabbed in the ball of my left thumb by a cherry tree, and had spent most of the previous night being woken up repeatedly by the dog because there was a thunderstorm. This involved him climbing into the bed with me, worming under the covers and then trying to dig through the bed and into the mattress which must have had some form of thunder protection I was not aware of. Of course this was highly distracting. Not only was I trying to sleep, but I knew Scott had an early morning for work. Unfortunately between the thunder and horrible ripping sounds from the center of the bed, I was not getting any sleep.

I ended up holding the dog in my office during the worst of the storm, when he alternated between shaking with fear and pacing around the room like an old British detective. Who was also a dog. Then I got the bright idea to check the weather and found out the storms were going to go on ALL NIGHT. Which is when I tricked Jack into running into his crate and then I shut the door and went to bed. Then I kind of felt like a dick.

So after thumb stabbing no sleep time, I gathered up my tools, a bucket of water and a crap ton of newspaper and hit the garden. Where I promptly got a blister on my right hand. You know, to even out the pain. After having all those thoughts about quitting, and thinking gardening is stupid and that weeds are the demons of the earth and that I wished that I had enough money to make someone else do this, I settled into a nice rhythm.

I would rake a section clear of ground cover, hoe out any weeds* I saw, wet the newspaper and lay it on the ground in a maneuver I dubbed, Garden Paper Mache. Well I was chugging along when I became aware of two things simultaneously. One, since it had rained, there were earthworms everywhere and two, my chickens really wanted to eat them. Except the only areas to get earthworms were in the areas I was raking and digging up. Which meant that for every three sheets I would lay down, the chickens would tear off one. Which meant I would have to shoo them away and fix it.

Which worked about as well as you would think.

The next part was pretty much exactly like one of those video games where you have to race around killing things as they try to get into your base. Except in this case my base was a bunch of newspapers and my enemies were chickens. So basically I played about five levels of tower defense in real life. With chickens.

Now I knew I had to get them out of there, but there was a problem. A problem in that all of the garden gates were damaged in the mega snow storm we had gotten and we have been unable to fix them yet because shit just kept on breaking. So I did the only thing I could do I went on an exploratory mission and brought back every stray roll of fencing wire I could find and then shove it up, under or across the gates.

Problem solved!

Except getting back into the garden was a pain in the ass and then I got lazy with the fence and a chicken got in and then I had to chase her back out and now they all distrust me and I had to jam metal T stakes through the wire to make half a gate because otherwise they would slip in through the bottom and then I would be fucked.

Then I was able to work in peace and I got it done while the chickens watched me from the other side of the fence and said stuff to me in chicken which I didn't really understand but I think was insults of some kind.

Which is, pretty normal around here, actually.

* Did I say any weeds? I meant all the weeds. All the weeds.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Transplanting Fruit Trees or Alternatively, Never Again.

Behind my second only-for-storage mobile home there are two cherry trees. Oh wait hold on, what I really meant was behind my second mobile home there were only two cherry trees. Now there are many. How we got from one to a shit ton was that, when you stop mowing the lawn, apparently the cherry trees take that as in invitation to spread motherfucking everywhere.

Instead of looking at this as an unfortunate event, we said, hey free cherry trees.

So, in a moment of optimism so foolish I am kinda surprised we went for it, we decided to transplant the trees into buckets. So that we could then move them out of the yard and into the orchard at our leisure.

Ha ha ha.

So armed with shovels and a wheelbarrow we went out behind the other mobile home and began to dig up trees. Now, one of things about trees that are all growing together out of one master tree is that the roots will be one giant mess. But if you cut off too much root the tree won't make it and then you will be a tree murderer and then you will never be able to go into the woods again for fear of angry Ents.

Also, and I not sure I have really mentioned this enough, the soil is really rocky. Did I say really rocky? I meant like super totally a lot sweet Jesus god where are these stones coming from rocky. So what started out as a simple concept, dig in a wide circle around the tree and then pry up to force the root ball out of the ground became a super fun full sun adventure.

First off, I would only ever make it about a quarter of the way around the tree, before I hit a rock. Then I would move to another side and try that, only to hit another rock. Then I would have the choice of making the circle wider or smaller to avoid it, if it could be avoided, and then I would fuck it all up and kill too many of the roots and then Scott would glare at me because he is really good with plants and all the trees he dug up were perfect and alive and shit.

So after murdering a few I got the hang of it.

And by got the hang of it I mean I was so paranoid that I would dig an extra wide perimeter and then separate out the roots by hand. Which of course was just the fastest method ever. However even with my crazy paranoia about my unintentional plant murder, we started to run out of tree tubs. So then Scott went to the shed and got more tree tubs. And then we ran out again and he went and got all the tree tubs.

Which is how we ended up with 25 trees.

Which is, for those of you not following along well at home, a lot of motherfucking trees.

So then we were all like, where the fuck are we going to put these? In the end we ended up setting the tubs right outside the garden. Which was up hill from where we were working because of course it was because life is a dick like that. So in end we just lined them up outside the fence and Scott watered them and petted them or whatever it is one does with plants and then I went inside to wash my hands and discovered I had sunburn all over my torso. Again.

So now wearing my shirt hurts and the garden looks like a Chia Pet and I am dead tired but it's all worth it because now we have more cherry trees that are probably about to die.

Did I say that? I mean that they are going to live forever and we will love them and they will be the happiest trees ever.

Yes. Ha ha ha haa. That is what I meant.


Also, Ent's aren't real, right? I mean hypnotically speaking, if I just accidentally killed a bunch of fruit trees and then said that the ones we moved are going to die, they wouldn't come to my house and kill me right?



Oh boy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fruit Trees and Not Getting Enough Sleep.

The past week has been an triathlon of not sleeping due to that job thing I have to go to. Basically, I was working ten hour days, and one fucking motherfucking 20 hour one, and catching three hours of sleep between jobs whenever I could.

Because money.

Of course we would plan on planting trees the day we got home from work, because we are bad at thinking things through. Now, in a fit of preplanned madness, Scott had already purchased all the trees, and set them up on our deck. Which happens to be right outside our bedroom window.

So we did our overnight job, said goodbye to our coworkers, and drove in the darkness. When we pulled into the driveway the sun was just starting to come up, turning the eastern sky an unfortunate shade of pink. So I staggered into the house took the dog out, checked on all the ungrateful hungry mouths, and then face planted into bed without taking a shower like a fucking hobo.

So when I awoke, sometime around noon, my first thought was that I should go back to sleep. Possibly forever. I felt hungover, even though I didn't get to drink anything. Which is bullshit people. Unfortunately my sleep forever plan was interrupted by me rolling over and looking straight out onto the deck where the fruit trees were watching me.


And then I had to get up.

So I tore myself out of bed and threw on whatever clothes I could find because it's not like I had showered anyway and then I threw myself outside. After a hasty breakfast Scott, King (the backhoe) and I went out to dig the holes for the trees. Which was the best part of the whole thing really. After spending so much time digging things by hand, watching King dig holes was like watching the hand of god come down. It was all like, BOOM. DONE. It's what I always thought being friends with a dinosaur would be like.

It was everything I dreamed it would be.

Which was probably a good thing, because holy hell the rest of this sucked. There is some sticky, horrible place that involves not getting enough sleep, and of running yourself into the ground without pause that once you get to certain point, nothing short of sleep and food will fix it. And I was at that place.

So out of the nine trees we needed we cursed and fought four of them bitches into the earth. Of course the holes had so much rock we were running out of dirt clay mush to refill them and then we kept having to stop working to do that thing where you zone out and stare out at the horizon for a few minutes because everything is pain.

Although that wasn't too bad because it was the perfect day. Warm and soft and not yet spring but almost, where the breeze is soft and smells no longer of snow and the sun is hot on my back. Where I can look out over the mountains and it seems like the whole world just opens at my feet and keeps going out and out forever and everything is wholesome and good and gentle and open and free and wonderful in every meaning of the word.

Which is pretty much how I got my first sunburn of the season.


Monday, April 15, 2013

A Drunken Conversation with my Super Best Friend.

Presented without comment, an evening of drunken texting:

ME: Oooooohhhhh fuck. I just drank an entire bottle of wine. Fuck. Should I open another one? Oh god. Quick Best Friend SEND ME RICE KRISPY TREATS THRU THE PHONE!

BF: ha ha ha I'm not sure another one is the wrong idea... it might not be the right idea either but it's surely not the wrong idea. I made bowl cake instead.

ME: QUICK BEST FRIEND! SEND ME BOWL CAKE THRU THE PHONE! Oh my so drunk. I am making a paper angry face for the wine bottle, is this normal!?

BF: If I could only mash it in there, I'd send it. I'm pretty sure it's totally normal.

ME: Okay you can do this Best Friend, just, just, okay, like put it next to the screen and hit send, an then I will lick my phone okay? Ready? Are you Ready?

BF: haha oh shit you really are my favorite person ever.

ME: That did not taste of cake, Best Friend. That did not taste of cake at all. It tasted like phone. FOCUS BEST FRIEND!

BF: Stupid phone interfering with cake transmissions.

My wine bottle is very disappointed in you. Or maybe it's disappointed in me.

ME: Did you get that picture? On your picture getting thing. Ohhhhh I don't feel so good. Maybe, maybe I should drink more?

BF: I don't think I can receive pictures. Maybe it's time to drink some water?

ME: Yeah I made some tea and chugged two glasses. Wait. Waaaiiiittttt. All those pics I sent you they, they don't work!!?? But but Scott wearing the backhoe intertube like a toga, YOU NEVER SAW THAT!?

Annnnd then she stopped texting me. Possibly to save us both. Also I have to explain that she can't get pictures anymore because she lost her cool ass expensive phone in a bar. So there is that. Also, I did very little spelling correction here which means that I am pretty good at this texting thing even when I am drunk. Go me. Yeppers. Something to be proud of. My head is killing me.

Then this afternoon I made cookies and asked her if I wanted me to text her some and then she said that she doesn't think that her phone gets cookies either. Which clearly means that the moral of this story Super Best Friend needs to get another phone.

It's totally not that I am all banana sandwich crazy.

Nope not at all.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Struts are Done. It is Over.

Today. Sweet Jesus God, today. It started off bright and early when I rolled over in bed and my body started to demand answers. Mainly it wanted to know why I had thought that opening the liquor cabinet and mixing what ever mixers we had with peach brandy was a good idea. It wanted to know why I thought drunkenly eating wheat crackers at 11pm was a super sweet idea. It wanted to know why I hate my fucking liver.

Because car repair, that's why.


We got up, did things, my innards screamed about shit, and then we fired up the truck and drove off to the promised auto parts store clutching the broken sway bar control link Patrick Swayze bar. We get there, and I try not to make eye contact with their display of air fresheners that are really just pictures of half dressed B reel porn stars printed on scented cardboard. The guy behind the counter looks at the part, asks those questions the car people ask that I never have an answer to which is why I got married, taps some shit out on his plastic covered keyboard, and tells us that he doesn't have the part in stock and that whomever said they did on the phone last night was wrong.

Have you guys been on the Internet long enough to have seen one of those images where someone has photoshopped out the background in a picture of themselves into a massive mushroom cloud explosion to signify anger?

That happened. To me. In real life.

At an auto parts store.

I would not have guessed that either.

So we get back in our truck and we drive to the junk yard where Jim Bubba Country Face tells us that no one here drives dem foreign cars and that he is real sorry but maybe we should buy a Subaru or a Chevy or something.


So we get in the gas guzzling truck and start looking for additional auto parts stores. In the middle of nowhere. On the way we passed a hardware store and Scott said grimly that if we couldn't find one he was going to make some goddamned motherfucking sway bar control links. I said that if they didn't have it I was going to make them get out every Patrick Swayze bar they had and compare them and buy the ones that looked the closest.

Well as luck would have it we found a store. It had no cars in the parking lot, and it looked like the 70s had called and wanted their building back. We pulled into the parking lot, not even bothering to pretend there were lines on the faded blacktop that constituted the parking lot. (There were none.)

The inside smelled like mold someone had poured bleach on. We approached the counter, clutching our damned sway bar control link like it was some sort of magic wand. A younger bearded guy with a belly and a T shirt that was tight in all the wrong places asked if he could help us. We asked if he any sway bar control links -rear- for our car. Or anything close to it.

Him and Scott spoke for a moment in the ancient and beautiful mechanics language. He typed things into the computer. Then he looked up and told us that he had the parts. At first I didn't even hear him. I had already opened my mouth to tell him to bring us anything that might fit. He whisked himself off into the dusty labyrinthine storeroom. I crossed my fingers. After a moment Scott crossed his too.

I don't know what he thought, coming out of the storeroom to find both of us with our fingers crossed staring at the boxes like they were priceless relics from an ancient world, but he opened one box and held the part up to the part Scott had.

They. Were. The. Exact. Same. Part.

At that point I told him he was my hero.*

I paid for my overpriced (probably) sway bar control whateverthefuckatleastIhaveitnows and got the hell out. We drove home, I tried to pretend I was not hungover, and then we went to install them.

Ha ha.

You know the reason that we had to cut the old ones off? They are lock tight nuts. Meaning when you put them on they will never, ever come off. Also meaning they are a damn bitch to get on. Especially on this part because the whole center piece will just spin along with the bolt like it's a goddamned teacup ride up in my car. Which meant we had to hold the back end of this thing with vice grips. Except of course the vice grips didn't really fit. So Scott took it upon himself to grind a pair into something resembling working.

Which is when the shed floor caught fire.

Apparently one of us had left one of those cheap flimsy disposable blue plastic chemical gloves on the floor, and a spark hit it and BAM. Being me I yelled “THE FLOOR IS ON FIRE” and then Scott did that Russian dance on the glove and everything was okay.

Needless to say, getting the parts on was pretty easy after that.

So, all in all, this job, which according to the repair guide should have taken an hour, at 30 minutes a side, took us four days, cost us two broken deep well impact sockets, a broken allen key, about a third of my liver, Scott's sanity, vice grips, the right side trim off the drivers side, all of the original parts we had to sawzall and it caused a fire.

So, all in all, I'd call this a win.

* I actually said this to him. He laughed.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Repairing the Struts: The Bitter Taste of Defeat.

After recovering from the previous evening of getting trashed and yelling at the movie Thor, plus the countless drunken reenactions of said movie, we drug ourselves back out to the car with the same motivation and energy as Frodo crawling up mount doom.

Except this time I can't get Sam to carry me.

While waiting for our parts to show from within the ancient and tumultuous world of the Fedex truck, we decided to replace one of our motor mounts. Which went about as well as anything else we have done recently.

Meaning that we had to use the angle grinder to remove a bolt because apparently when they built my car they used grade F bolts. Ha ha. Luckily we had already anticipated this move and bought a replacement bolt, because when life just keeps raining shit on you, you learn to buy an umbrella.

I'm still a little bitter.

So we fight the motor mount out and fight the new one in, and then we give each other the saddest slowest most painful high fives while sarcastically saying go team with dead sounding voices and then I went in to eat a goddamned sandwich.

Which is of course when our new sway control bar links Patrick Swayze bars would arrive. Because sitting down and eating is for losers. So we rip open the package and discover that the bars did not come with nuts like the pictures would have us believe.

Remember the old nuts? The old nuts that we sawed off? The nuts that are laying in three and four pieces in a coffee can in the shed? Those nuts.

What followed was the saddest montage ever, where we went to sheds and got every bin, coffee can, peanut butter jar, and plastic organizer of bolts and nuts and dumped them all out on the kitchen table and proceeded to go through them.*

None of them fit. Not a goddamned one.

We also noticed at this juncture of despair and anger, that these parts looked suspiciously like not the right part. But, we knew these were the generic part, made to fit several different cars so we armed ourselves with the part and some nuts that almost but not quite threaded and marched on up to the car.

We pulled the tire off, assembled our tools, and realized that these were not just the wrong part, that these were totally super not the right part in the history of ever. For one thing, they were about three inches too short. For another, the bolts were not even facing the right way.

At this point I had to talk Scott out of fashioning a working Patrick Swayze bars out of the parts we had. Citing such compelling arguments, as in, it won't work, it's not safe, no really this will not work, and it's getting dark.

So Scott left to call the place we ordered them from. It turns out that they were the right part.

They were just the right part for a MERCEDES.

Which is so far from what my car is, you can't even see it from here. Needless to say they are giving us our money back, because if they didn't I think I would have to get on a plane to whereeverthefuck and murder them in person.


We called every auto parts store ever and found one that had the part. Which we would have picked up that evening except our truck, aka the only fucking vehicle we own that runs, has no headlights to speak of.

Which means that we will be going to the auto parts store bright and early to pick up the bars, and the motherfucking nuts, drive home and finally repair the damn car.

So if anyone needs me, I think I'll be drinking while cursing the cold uncaring universe that drove me to this point.

Pray for me.

Pray for us all.

*I cleaned it afterward, stop looking at me like that. Although that sandwich was damn gritty.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Second Strut, or Why I Started Drinking Again.

So we woke up this morning feeling like we had been pummeled by invisible dream donkeys during the night. It was a very specific kind of pain, is what I am saying. So after completing our morning chores, shoveling the three inches of snow off the car, we put on all the thermals ever, girded our loins, and crawled out of the damn house to tackle that second wheel strut.

Well after having all that practice the first time* the second time seemed to be going better. Until we hit that damn sway bar control link Patrick Swayze bar again. After a few token attempts to remove the bar, in which we learned the bolts were so rusted on that they had become one with the universe, we just sawzalled the damn part off again.

This is not the recommended solution, we were just all out of fucks to give.

Also Scott had ordered two Patrick Swayze bars on the internet, because we are capable of learning from our mistakes and also have learned to assume the worse is going to happen. So we cut the bar off like fucking wizards, took the strut out, and shove the new strut up into the wheel well. Then we reattached the break assembly high fiveing, about how much faster this attempt is going. Then we go to take the clamp off the spring and discover that the spring has become unseated and we have to take the damn thing off again. Completely. Which we had to do TWO MORE TIMES.

Did I mention that the repair manual states that this a 30 minute job?

I didn't?

This was supposed to be a 30 minute job. A 30 minute job that we were into day two of. A 30 minute job that was going to run into day three because we had just taking a power saw to a crucial part of the car and weren't going to get the part until tomorrow.

So using the power of team work, and the power of heart and swearing, we got the goddamned, motherfucking bitch ass strut into the fucking wheel well and locked down. I repeated yesterdays performance a THIRD time, and shoved the bolts back into the break assembly and then we put the tire back on went inside and started drinking.

Halfway through dinner, I looked Scott full in the face and said, I want to crank the wood stove up to eighty, get naked, get drunk and watch some stupid, mindless Hollywood blockbuster on my laptop in bed for the remainder of the evening.

Which is how I ended up getting totally wasted to Thor.

And it was awesome.