My Ambitious Friend

This is dedicated to my ambitious friend. (You know who you are.) She has a perfect, gorgeous yard. Yesterday was a beautiful weekend day. The air started to finally feel like Fall and I was in the mood to spruce up the exterior of my home. So I wondered over to Lowe’s and discovered a large number of mums on the clearance rack – $1.50 each! Ok, so never mind that they were all yellow. They were cheap, and that’s all that mattered. I purchased 12.

After running my other usual errands, I arrived home to find my dear friend starting to go for a walk. Knowing what a green thumb she has (and I have a black thumb), I couldn’t resist asking her if she would mind helping me plant my flowers. She generously agreed. I know she has a little OCD, and is a perfectionist. (You can tell when you walk into her home. Not a speck of dust; nothing out of place. You would never know there are kids or pets in that house.) But I had no idea what I was in for by recruiting her assistance.

We started with a small area near the mailbox. If I were planting these flowers on my own, this tiny area would take me a whole 10 minutes – probably less. Dig a hole, put the flower in, fill in the gaps — Voila! That was not going to happen this time; as my friend tells me, “if you are going to do something, do it right.” Ok, I’m a firm believer in this philosophy; I’ve just never applied it to the exterior of my home. After all, the yard is my husband’s territory. I didn’t time it, but this time, I believe this tiny little section (1′ x 2′) took no less than 30 minutes to 45 minutes, as she meticulously raked through the dirt and pulled out every tiny last shred of the root carcasses from my previous, failed yard adventures. When it was complete, it was simply beautiful. Moving on to flower bed #2.

Flower bed #2 is considerably larger. Probably 10 feet by 4 feet if I had to guess at the measurement. So with the same painstaking care that she put into the first flower bed, my dear friend and I set off to transform the second one. There was one drawback to this flower bed. Near the back of it, next to the house there used to be a bush. Said bush was there before we moved in and had grown to the size of a tree. Because of its size, my husband had cut it WAY back, and it died. Four years later all that remains is a stump. As the beautification of this flower bed progressed backwards towards the stump, my dear ambitious friend announced to me that she wanted to remove the stump. I thought she had to be out of her mind. She insisted. So for the next couple hours, there we were, the two of us, digging around it, pushing on it, pulling on it, passing an axe back and forth, chopping away the best we could at this stubborn old stump. It grew a little smaller and a little smaller, but it just would not budge.

I have no idea how long we were out there working on the flower beds. It may have been four or five hours. I am sure our time on the stump alone surpassed the amount of time planting the flowers. I appreciated my dear friend’s determination, and it wasn’t even her yard! But I could see there wasn’t anything we could do. At least not without a chain and a truck. Given that neither of our significant others were home, I didn’t see that happening any time soon. At about 6 pm we called it quits. I know it pained her to give up. I’m sure the neighbors were sad to see us give up too. After all I am sure two women wielding an axe in the front yard probably supplied them with free entertainment for the day.

I am not disappointed. My yard looks beautiful. My fabulous friend educated me on the reasons everything else I have planted in the front of my house has died. I have faith that this time my yard will look good for the long haul. Thanks to my most wonderful, ambitious friend.


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