Monday, July 12, 2010

A Brief Furlough From Perdition

With temperatures mercifully dipping into the lower 80's today, I figured this would be my best chance to get the shin high grass cut down by the pond. So I pleaded with the Beast for some time off. He said OK, but to make up for it, next week I will have mow the grass down by the Lake of Fire. Well, the grass down on my pond really needed cutting after over a month, so reluctantly I agreed. I pulled the lawnmower out of the shed at about 11:30 this morning, and pushed it down the hill through the woods, to the long grassy area, where my property backs up to our communal pond.

I have about 400' of pond frontage, but the grassy strip on the bank is only about 60' at its widest point. There is a pretty good slope there, so there is a lot of pushing uphill. It takes about an hour for me to cut it all with a push mower, and it's an excellent work out, both aerobically and anaerobically. Thanks to the cloud cover today, the temperature was only 82°, but the humidity was a steamy 76%, giving us a heat index of 87°. So despite the lower temperatures, within 15 minutes I was still dripping with sweat. By the time I had finished mowing the bank, I was fairly knackered, but I still had the long push back up the hill through the woods. These two pictures were taken last fall, and don't really give a good indication of the grade, but I would estimate that my house up on the other side of the woods, sits between 35-40' higher than the water level in the pond. To push the mower back up the hill through the woods, you have to lower your center of gravity, and really dig in with each step. If any of you have ever played American Football, then you know what it's like to push a blocking sled in practice. That's about what it feels like pushing my Honda mower back up the hill. Going down is a breeze, but going back up, once you've spent an hour pushing it around, is a bear!

About halfway up, I had to stop and get my breath. I wear a dust mask while mowing, and in the thick humid air, that wasn't helping my breathing at all. It was like trying to work out with a paper bag over my head! So I pulled off the mask, took a moment or two to catch my breath, and then forged onward. Emerging from the woods into the back yard at the top of that hill, is always a relief, and panting like a pooch on a dog day afternoon, I put the mower back into the shed, thankful that that chore was over. I was still red as a beet and soaking with sweat, when I got back into the air conditioned comfort of my house and looked at myself in the mirror, but I felt nothing like I did a few weeks earlier, after cutting the back yard in full afternoon sun, with temperatures in the mid 90's.

Last winter sucked, because it was so extreme, and I wished for warm weather. When it was over, I was so glad. Now I know to be careful what I wish for.

No supper at my mother's tonight. She is in Pennsylvania, staying with my aunt, her late brother's wife. S is a very sweet aunt. I have always adored her. When I was a child, and my mother and her sisters were much younger, they use to make disparaging comments about their brother's wife. They were Polish/Welsh in origin, and she was from German ancestry. It used to embarrass and hurt me to hear those jealous remarks, because I knew from the moment I first met her, what a sweet loving woman she was. They did the same things about my late uncle Billy's wife Thelma. I stayed with them for a few days before we moved to Germany in 1964, and she treated me so kindly. She was a genuine sweetheart too! I never knew why my mother and her sisters felt that way, but now that several of my mother's brothers, and two of her sisters are gone, she and Aunt S are the best of friends. I guess it just takes a long time for some people to put their petty jealousies aside, and realize how much they have in common. Fortunately Mom and Aunt S became friends long before my uncle C, S's husband died. In fact my mom and dad went on trips with them to both Russia, and South America, before my father and uncle died.

My sister should be getting back to her home in Richmond sometime late tonight, from her trip to France, where she sang in Notre Dame. I probably won't see her until next Monday evening, when we all gather at our mother's apartment again for supper. With two people returning from trips, the conversation should be lively. I will be so happy to see my sister again. If it weren't for her and my niece, I wouldn't want to drive into town each week. Caroline, if you are reading this, please send me an email Sunday night, or early Monday morning if you can remember, to remind me to take my camera, so I can show you the view from ten stories up!

My sincerest condolences to our dear sweet Stace, in Holland. I watched along with you sweetie, and rooted for Orange til the bitter end, but it was not to be. Spain and The Netherlands both played an inspired defensive game. It could have gone either way, but Spain got the lucky break in the second extra time period. I know how painful this third attempt at a the Cup must feel to some, but The Netherlands has nothing to be ashamed of! It really could have gone either way. Time to shift focus to the future.

Now.........can we put those infernal vuvuzelas to rest?

To all of you girls in the UK who attended Sparkle this past weekend, I hope you all had a great time supporting and socializing with each other, and that your solidarity had a positive effect on your confidence as women. I'm looking forward to some of your accounts. You are to be envied! We have nothing like that here in central Virginia. I guess the closest thing we have is the Richmond Pride Festival in September. I dearly love my lesbian sisters and gay brothers, but I would love to see an exclusive transgender festival here. I fear there are so many more of us hiding away, because they think they are all alone.

Melissa XX


Caroline said...

Hard to imagine you imitating a sweaty exhausted pooch! So out of character.

Could you pull it with a rope more easily?

At least you are saving gym fees.

Caroline xxx

Stace said...

Thanks :) I am really impressed with the reponse of the Dutch - normally when the team drops out of a competition all orange dissapears within 30 mins. This time it's still there now, and the team are going to get the same parade though the canals of Amsterdam as they would have got if they won. And they deserve it too I think!

What I am less impressed about is the English attitude to the ref and the team - yes the kick to the chest should have been a red card, but outside of that I wouldn't say the Dutch played any dirtier Spanish. The English press seem to be making them demons to defend Webb's refereing...


Sophie said...

Perhaps you could find someone with a herd of goats to come over and help you out. Or raise them yourself and start your own goat dairy! Stay away from sheep though, they'll crop the grass too short.

Veronica said...

There is no defence for Webb's refereeing! It was truly awful. Inconsistency is the worst, because they the players never know just how they should play. I still loved the game, even though my beloved Oranje lost, sob. Spain played well, better really, but the diving is kinda disgusting.

Anyway...Melissa, I think Sophie has the right idea with the goats. They have cool personalities too!

Melissa said...

@ Caroline

I suppose I could install a winch at the top of the hill, but the push is good exercise, even if it does leave me panting.

@ Stace

I wasn't as sure as the announcers were, that the kick to the chest was intentional, It looked to me like he was going for the ball, and the Spanish player got between his foot and the ball, but I'm not that familiar with the game, so what do I know? At any rate, Spain seemed to have Orange on their heels, until Orange started to play more aggressively, from there on out, it looked like a pretty even match to me. Good to here they will still get their parade!

@ Sophie & Veronica

Actually, I had thought about getting some goats. They are great for keeping the brush trimmed back too. There is a farm just a few miles from here that raises and sells them, but my home owners association rules, forbid any "barnyard animals". We are allowed to have horses though!

Melissa XX

Two Auntees said...

Melissa, offer your property as a new place for the goats to roam, and let them graze for the day, They could use the variety.

My daughter herded goats around in Wyoming for a year. Male goats really stink, what could it hurt to offer. They won't belong to you, the goats would to to graze around the pond and no pushing mowers.


Melissa said...

@ Sarah

I would do it, but there is no fence between the adjacent properties, and my neighbor to the west has taken great pains to landscape her property. She would have a fit, if she found a bunch of goats grazing on her azaleas and rhododendrons!

Melissa XX

Caroline said...

No problem! my niece was told to keep her garden tidy by the landlord so she got just two goats, Kebab and Spit Roast, she is French! They eat loads and anything and she keeps them on a rope, I said I thought a chain would be better for not tangling but...

You have loads of trees to tie them too! Goat meat is really good.

Caroline xxx

Suzi said...

I hope you had a nice bubble bath after the mowing.

Orange never had a chance...Spain had the Octopus. :)Suzi

Rachel said...

Nothing but heavy rain here. As is write it's dripping into a saucepan through a hole in my kitchen roof.

A goat once ate my hat. I liked that hat.

Goats are best curried.

Stay cool

Rachel X

Lucy Melford said...

What's this about pleading with the Beast? Sounds like some diabolical pact you may come to regret! Like Dr Faust. (Only joking)


Melissa said...

@ Caroline

I think a chain would be better too. Steel is about the only thing a goat won't eat.

@ Suzie

A famous Spanish chef interviewed on NPR the other day, says he has removed octopus from his restaurant's menu, in honor of that psychic cephalopod!

@ Rachel

Never had goat, but I do like curry! Is it anything like lamb? I love lamb chops.

@ Lucy

Of course I'm joking about the Beast. It's been so infernally hot here this summer, that it just seems like hell.

Melissa XX

Calie said...

Perhaps a trip to the Left Coast, Melissa? We have a huge Sparkle (yes that's the name) out here, and you don't even need a passport!

Calie xxx