My long game is genius.
It all began a year and a half ago when we moved into our new house. You see, I love to garden and grow edibles. There is something magical about going out into your own backyard to harvest dinner.
It’s also sort of a Hansen thing. My Mama Addie sacrificed lawn space along her driveway to sow precious seeds. My parents have always had a garden. I don’t ever remember coming in for lunch in the summers. We grazed along the bean poles and climbed high in our huge cherry tree to get the ripest berries. I’m sure my mom bribed us to come in for PB&J sandwiches so we wouldn’t break our necks, but it’s nostalgia, I can remember whatever I want to remember, so there.
My parents now have what you could classify as a small family farm. Fruit trees and berry bushes are fenced off to keep those rascally deer away. They live on a hill and don’t have any flat space so my dad poured cement steps into the side of a hill to create ample growing space. Whenever we visit in the summer, we go home with a trunkload of veggies. Like I said, magical.
As soon as we moved into our home, I bought a composter right away. For the last 18 months I meticulously saved all compostable material. Sometimes this meant scooping things out of the garbage and yelling at the rule breaker who was wasting precious dirt making material. Composting is not easy. It also makes you a slightly crazy hippie.
The first fall we lived here, we took out 13 trees because gardens need light and also, I don’t want to live in a tropical rainforest. My skin needs that vitamin D and so do those veggies (Do they? I think they need the sun for photosynthesis but is it vitamin D too? I don’t know and I’m too lazy to google right now.)
The next step took us all last Summer. The people that lived here before us apparently loved a good plant sale and deposited their bargain hunting finds into every single inch of dirt space. We ripped everything out of the back garden because most of it was overgrown and untamed. Plus, it just seemed easier to start with a blank slate. I’m sure there were beautiful flowers back there but I’m not a flower expert so it all had to go.
My goal for last Fall was to get the raised beds built and filled so all we would be responsible for this Spring was planting. This obviously did not happen because procrastination also lives in our house with us. That and we discovered so many addicting shows to binge watch. Game of Thrones and Dr. Who are higher on the list, sorry garden. Also the issue of an enormous ant hill took us weeks to overcome. Life can’t always go as you plan, am I right?
All of this long game took me to yesterday. Tim and I built the beds on the weekend and put them back into the garden. Then we saw the problem. The beds sat all wonky and uneven and looked like complete trash. We may suffer from extreme procrastination, but we will not tolerate un-level, un-precise crap We decided then that a tiller was necessary so I happily jaunted off to Home Depot to rent one. Secretly, I was psyched to wield this dangerous power tool. That, of course, didn’t stop me from groaning and complaining about the hassle of picking it up and all the hard work it would schedule. Tim rolled his eyes. He saw through my facade and told me to have fun as he drove off to work. He knew I would. I did. And it was AAAAAAAwesome!
My first roadblock of the day presented itself as a huge stump the tiller could not attack. I needed to go back to Home Depot for the big guns. And by big guns, I mean an axe. I needed to hack that stump into the depths of hell if my garden beds had any chance of laying level. Nobody wants crooked garden beds. That axe was necessary.
So I drove back to my beloved Home Depot. I knew exactly the aisle I needed because six months previously I had wandered the entire store looking for a “weed popper.” Tim’s dad helped us with our sprinkler system and with ripping out the back garden. We first encountered that evil ant hill then so he sent me to the store to get a remedy, oh and also he said we needed a “weed popper.” I had no idea that this was not the official term. I guess the Pell family has their own language. “Herkin” is included in their familial language too and I’d never heard of that one before either. I deduced it to be an adjective, being the synonym of enormous, but I digress. After getting several confused looks from the store employees, I finally figured out that a “weed popper” was a tool that gets dandelions out of your lawn. I still don’t know what the official name for that is because I am a Pell and those things are weed poppers. Forever and ever, amen.
My hunt for the weed popper gave me a thorough knowledge of the store layout. I also remembered that shovels and axes lived in the same aisle as weed poppers, a few blocks away from the ant killer granules. So when I walked into the store yesterday, I didn’t even need to pause for my eyes to adjust to the inside light. I gave the nice greeter/front door helper/enabler a smile. My strut said, “Nope, don’t need your guidance. I know exactly where I am going. I am going to the freaking axe aisle because I am going to axe some shit up when I get home. And I know how, too. I know everything there is to know about axes. Axe Expert is on my business card.”
Confidence oozed out of my pores. I began to glisten with badassery.
I sharply pivoted down what turned out to be the wrong aisle. I was one off, so sue me. To cover for my error and to maintain an unruffled pace, I continued down that lawn mower aisle and took the back way to the axe home.
My self-assuredness waned when I saw there were 50 different axe options. Do I want a wood handle (hickory or cedar)or a fiberglass? Straight or curved grip? Double or single bit? I mentally crossed off the 500 pound titanium axe because it was out of my price range and I needed to work out a few more months in the gym before that purchase seemed prudent. Luckily, nobody witnessed my hemming and hawing. (I know, because I side glanced enough times to make sure.) So I grabbed the best one, a 3.5 pound single bit with a straight, fiberglass handle, and headed to the cashier.
Nobody tells you what carrying an axe does for your self confidence.
Let me pause for a second for some necessary history. Previously, I’d been having a rough couple weeks. One hour I would be up then I spend the next day and a half, down. Sleepy, irritable and fuzzy had been the default, even when a reprieve would enter in for a few hours. My average demeaner slipped into a dimmer level each progressing day. I did not see any light at the end of the of the stuffy, dark tunnel, until I picked up that axe.
As I walked to the front of the store, I gripped my shiny new tool down at my side. (Don’t worry, I didn’t throw it over my shoulder like a lumberjack, I’m not a total idiot.) I pride marched past a few other customers straight to the self-checkout lane. (Self checkout lanes were made for people like me. If I don’t have to talk to anybody extra, I will always choose that option.) I was a little tempted to flaunt my purchase to the cashier and other customers in line, but I know my weaknesses. And one of them is oversharing. In this instance, I would have probably explained my entire store experience, long game gardening plan AND axe knowledge incompetency so I chose to remain aloof. I had to keep up appearances.
And so then I drove home to hack shit up like a total badass.
Nevermind the fact that I realized halfway through my stump slicing that my axe was dull. Do you even have to sharpen these things when they are new? They must be like knives right? You don’t have to sharpen razor blades when you pull them out of the box. (I just googled it. Yep, I should have picked up a file and other sharpening tools. This explains all the trouble I had with that offensive stump. Apparently, my prized tool was “dangerous and ineffective” but whatever, we are losing focus.)
This whole experience made me realize I may become an axe hoarder. Whenever I’m feeling down, or fudgy, or if I feel fat, or if I’m questioning my parenting strategies or life accomplishments, etc., all I need to do to feel better is to march down the axe aisle and make a purchase. That will bring back to the light for sure. But what am I going to do with all those axes? Do you think there is a Pinterest page for axe art? Maybe I can make an axe wreath. Or incorporate some wood palettes to make an axe rocking chair or an axe fountain. The possibilities are endless. Also, I am not a waster so I will definitely find ways to make all these new axes useful. Please don’t judge me when you go through my belongings after I’m old and gray and have died. Just think of my collection of four million axes as my gift to you. Really, I’m just bestowing badassery onto you. You’re welcome.
Still high on my axe purchase, I went grocery shopping at Costco. I don’t even need to tell you how bad this combination is. Included in my brimming cart: the 6 things on my list, plus 27 more packages of “family size” snacks, and a 15lb bag of lemons.
What the eff am I going to do with all those lemons? I don’t even know, nor do I care right now. One thing I do know, is that I am in no way making homemade lemonade. I’ve tried that already and it’s hard. Maybe I’ll just put them on display in a pretty bowl so when visitors come they will realize I am actually an adult. Okay – let’s be real – we hardly ever have visitors beside the neighborhood kids, but at least those hooligans will have a renewed respect for me. A bowl of fresh lemons is a magic elixir. So is buying an axe.
Moral of the story: Do what you gotta do to get your badassery back, even if it means hacking up fresh lemons with a new, dull axe.