Before we moved into our home, she had sat vacant for five years, so the neighbors have told us. She wasn't in terrible condition, just sadly neglected. But we liked the neighborhood and the price, and she was in better shape than a lot of abandoned houses in Vegas. So, last January, we bought her. Immediately, we tackled the most important work. We fixed what was broken and scrubbed what needed scrubbing. We ripped up the filthy carpets to lay shiny new floors; and then we unpacked.
Right about that time, of course, began our five months of lousy hell, wherein all household renovations were put aside while we battled the bugs.
Then it was summer in Vegas and too damn hot to do anything.
But in the lovely temperatures of fall, and bug-free, The Coop finally got at our home-in-progress projects again, painting and decorating, and tending to our abode with all the TLC she hadn't had for so long.
"It's starting to feel like a home," said Sunshine, and I agreed. Warm hues on the wall and some attention to cozy and comforting details had made the difference--on the inside anyway, but there was still the matter of the yard. In the front it was fine. The demands of the HOA ensured that the bank had kept the grass watered and the weeds plucked, but the backyard was a whole other story.
For five years, the backyard, which was obviously once rich with greens and florals and palms, was left to grow dry and die, so that by the time we arrived to clean her up, we were forced to yank more than two thirds of the original trees and bushes, more than thirty, in total. And the driest of dirt had long ago replaced the back lawn.
First we tried seeding. The result: Many, many birds. Then long weeds grew, in sporadic clumps, of the few seeds our feathered friends had missed.
We would need to sod, we determined, but it would be expensive--and double that for the labor.
"We'll do it ourselves," said Balthazar.
And, this weekend, we did! Or rather, they did.
Hollywood hauled the sod from the driveway, where it had been delivered, to the backyard.
Balthazar layed it out.
The Storm stamped it down and watered it.
And Sunshine tilled the dirt in prepartion for it all.
For my part, I made and delivered pancakes--they started very early on Saturday morning.
Kids today aren't required to do much manual labor, particularly anything so strenuous as laying sod. In one sense that's good; In another, it's a shame. The physical exertion of heavy lifting is so thoroughly satisfying; the pride of a job well done is utterly fulfilling; and the pillow on your bed, at the end of it all--aah!--there's not much better.
All three of the kids had a blast! And Balthazar was mighty proud of them.
Sure, they were a bit sore the next day, but it was that good kind of sore.
As for me, now I can say, without a doubt: The grass really is greener on my side of the six foot wall!