Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Back Yard

" I have a new rule - don't put bugs in your underpants."

I'm supposed to add that to the list of rules we keep on the fridge. This is because whilst sitting in the sunflower garden bed in the yard yesterday my daughter let/encouraged some ants and millipedes to crawl all over her and into her underpants. Then in a fit of pique she declared that bugs should be banned from your knickers. I'm good with that decision.

We spent a lot of time outside yesterday. I had penciled in coming inside for the Champions League final - which I did. But it was so one-sided and the epitome of anti-football from The Rent Boys that I buggered of back outside to get some work done when it was still a draw at full time. I didn't see the end but I'm sure you'll all join with me to congratulate Bayern Munich on easily winning when it went to penalties. It's not as if a German would miss penalty is it? Anyway - it was rather tedious and drab to such a degree that this is my son's verdict on the first half in particular. Seeing as it was such a nice afternoon my wife took him back outside to finish his kip.

Anyhoo - lots of yard-work done. My wife and I cleared out my daughter's designated patch where we plant sunflowers and transplanted all the stuff (vinca - my wife tells me) that grows in there to the big huge patch out back that I'd cleared off to make the back yard more visually pleasing. My daughter spent quite a bit of this time finding bugs in the soil and letting them crawl all over her arm. Then she'd take photos of them - which she told us she will make into a magazine today. I'm kind of pleased that her stated goals for life so far have been a nature photographer, geologist and a herpetologist. All noble and not at all the cliched, "I want to be a Princess with a pony that is just pretty enough for the older looking boys to want to sleep with!" crap you see all girls on television clamor to be.

I hope she doesn't use this photo though - seeing as my wife's first reaction was, "she looks like we caught her fiddling with herself..." Which considering she intentionally had ants in her pants is probably quite accurate.

Also yesterday we hit a few garage sales. It was one of those cool village-wide ones where you can park your car and walk around the neighborhood and look at all the tat that you don't want in the hope that something interesting will be offered for bugger all money. At a rummage sale in the midst of them all we found our tat - a perfectly functioning hand-crank metal double-beater whisk. It was a $1 to fill a bag so we had that and my daughter nabbed a whole bunch of Halloween, and Christmas ornaments for herself. The kids entertained themselves with them by moving them around the living-room and then screaming that they'd just uncovered some sort of frightening Santa Claus/ghost monsters that were likely to do something terrible if they didn't reach a certain pitch and octave. Actually my daughter picked out three relatively nice Santa-in-his-workshop ornaments and has decided one is the big man himself, the other his brother, whereas the last one is his wife. When I pointed out Santa's wife seems to have a beard my daughter casually said," yes - some women have beards." Yes, they do seem to.

Anyway here are some back yard photos so you can have some idea of what has been going on. First up is my daughter hiding in the bushes - something I fear she'll be arrested for at some point in the future.

Another patch of my wife's massive hostas. Take that double entendre fans.

My wife planted a bunch of bushes and trees around the side of the house. As you can my dog is already planning new places to pee on. 

This is way out back and is part of the ground I've been clearing out. It used to be an overgrown wilderness. That's one of about four wheelbarrows of metal, bones, shit and glass that I've dug up. it looks appalling now but that's the point. Next spring it will be completely covered in dark green ground cover that completely overpowers any other plants in it's path - thereby choking off all the annoying weeds and vines that are there right now. That way we can walk through it and never need to mow it. Genius if you ask me.

And here's the vegetable garden (and the neighbor's house) as of yesterday afternoon. Lettuce is ready to munch. 

Late in the afternoon whilst plugging in fistfuls of phlox into the mud I listened to a while bunch of episodes of The 99p Challenge and The Unbelievable Truth from Radio 4 on my MP3 player. All of which reminded me that my kids are not going to sound at all like any of the people I was listening to (in this case people like Nick Frost, David Mitchell, Stewart Lee, Bill Bailey, Peter Baynham, Arthur Smith and Armando Ianucci). I don't mean accents either. Although it does make me somewhat ill to think they'll sound like some people around here with their butchered non-ironic English statements like, "I gotta go get my hair did." It's more the plethora or ridiculously silly things British people like to say just because they sound funny and interesting. I can't even express how many swear words and euphemistic terms for wobbly bits there are that I'd be genuinely disappointed about if my kids don't use.

Therefore late in the afternoon yesterday I started a plan to drop into conversations things that I'd like them to adopt into their vocabulary. I tried out, 'you're always acting the giddy goat...' which my daughter quite liked. I wearily chanced my arm with, "well bugger me backwards" before settling on the absolutely ridiculous statement of, 'not many people know this, but a gnat's chuff is literally as tight as a gnat's chuff." Neither of my kids paid me any attention for that one but my wife did give me that look where she hadn't heard me or didn't understand what I had said, but she still relatively certain that it had been inappropriate. A visual klaxon, if you will.

I might have to settle on safe middle-class English things like, "chin wag" and "chuffed to bits" before introducing offensive slang for people's naughty bits. Although I'm fairly certain I can convince my kids that making fun of ginger people is fun.

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