Stupid Ideas My Husband Is Willing To Pretend He’s Willing To Go Along With, Vol. 923

We have this wonderful fire pit in the backyard.  It’s the only successful outdoor project I’ve ever accomplished (never mind that you’d have to be carried off by wolves halfway through in order NOT to succeed at something so simple).  I just dug a wide, shallow hole in the grass and then ringed it with the biggest rocks I could find.

It’s so great to have a spot for a campfire.  Little kids roast marshmallows

medium kids loll around it feeling cool, and adults wait until the kids go to bed so they can relax with a couple of beers and finally have a chance to spend a little private time together, so we can . . . talk about the kids.

The only thing really lacking is a comfortable seating arrangement.  I know, I know — we’re outdoors, so how comfortable is it supposed to get?  But I figure when one is pregnant with one’s ninth child, one is allowed to seek out comfort pretty much all the time.

On the other hand, the last thing I want is more stuff cluttering up the yard.  Our property already looks like it’s waiting for FEMA  to come and assess the damage.  This situation is the result of my enlightened, progressive philosophy of radically unstructured childhood

which means that I can feel GOOD about snarling at the kids to go outside and play with their bits of wood because Mama is doing research.

So it was obvious to me that what we needed for the firepit was something like those library floor chairs

except made out of grass.  Lo and behold, there is actually a kit for such a thing!

But it seems to be out of stock.  So I says to myself, “Do I really want to pay for specialized cardboard anyway?  How hard could this actually be?”  And of course it turns out there are DIY plans for a grass couch, although the photo

is clearly a big fat, photoshopped lie.  On the other hand, any project that concludes, “Once the sod has taken root, remove the chopsticks” certainly sounds like something we would find ourselves involved with.  On the other other hand, it also seems to involve measuring stuff.  So that’s out.

My next idea — actually, my next idea was an in-ground trampoline

but we cycled through that terrain of stupidity pretty quickly and emerged unscathed on the other side (not that it’s not an incredibly awesome idea, which it is, but because the way it would work out at our house would have all of the usual jammed fingers and shattered clavicles associated with normal trampolines, plus a live burial or two).

But my next idea after that was to pick up one of those free couches from the side of the road and just cover it with dirt and chicken wire, throw some grass seed on, and see what happens next time it rains.

Usually, my husband considers it one of his primary duties to talk me out of bringing other people’s vermin into the house — so in the past, he’s been against the idea of one of these road couches.  But what if, this time, it was supposed to be covered with bugs?

But honestly, I don’t actually want a whole couch.  I just want a little back rest, so there will be something to catch me if I have a second beer.  So now I’m thinking, what if we pick up a couple of wooden kitchen chairs from a yard sale, chop off or maybe even bury the legs, and make some kind of stupid fortification around it with stakes and chicken wire, and then fill it with dirt and grass seed?  Huh, huh, what about that?

Someone either talk me out of this, or tell me exactly what I need to do to make this happen, please!  It’s either this or I start thinking about raising ducks again.


And this is why I vote for those useless Republicans.

CONCORD – The House voted today by the necessary two-thirds majority to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of a parental notification law that requires an abortion provider to notify a parent 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor.

Lynch is a decent governor and I believe he’s at least partially responsible for keeping unemployment relatively low in our state (although my husband, like many others, have found work in MA).  But his protest that the parental notification bill was unconstitutional because it didn’t provide exceptions for rape, incest, or emergency situations is completely unfounded —  the bill was crafted specifically to avoid those snags.  The Supreme Court has been really clear that it’s constitutional to require parental notification (not consent!!!  Just notification!!!  In a state where minors cannot get a fake tan or take an aspirin at school without parental consent).

And that’s why I vote for Republicans.  Gutless, unreliable, ineffectual Republicans.  Because they’re just like anyone else:  when there’s enough of them, they find the courage to do what they know they ought to do.  I honestly thought this pro-life wave would peter out after the midterm elections were over, but for whatever reason (coughlilarosecough), it seems to be gaining momentum.  Amazing times.


7 Quick Takes: In which I think I can garden, for some reason

1.  Never mind “you can never step into the same river twice”  — you can never dig the same garden twice.  This is my fourth year gardening in this Heraclitean yard, and every year I dig up something that wasn’t there last year.  Soccer ball-sized rocks, for instance, in a spot which was groomed and aerated to a fine, soft bed last year:

But also strange blue spoons, door knobs, legless action figures of obscure wrestlers, flattened marbles — and, unnervingly, what appears to be broken sections of sewer pipe.  Probably just some extra pipe that isn’t for anything in particular, right, heh heh heh?  Well, maybe I won’t have to fertilize this year.

2.  My kids are lazy.  L-A-Z-Y.  They get plumb tuckered out after tugging feebly at a piece of clover or two, and have to go put their feet up and watch Wonderpets with some ice water for a while.  I’d call them pansies, but . . .

3.  I actually admire pansies now.  I don’t generally care for floppy flowers, and the weird markings on their faces always reminded me of those irritating, simpering lap dogs:


But they are so tough!  They bloom from early spring to late fall, they live through snow, they perk up after being stomped on.  They just put their heads down and focus on being flowers.  So now I like pansies.

4.  I feel the same way about earthworms.  How wonderful to be designed so simply, and to do one thing so well for your whole life!  Or maybe I just can’t help identifying with something that’s really just all about digestion.



Go, worms!

On the other hand, I guess you could say the same about mosquitoes, and I do not feel the same way about them.  Stupid circle of life.

5.  If I were you, I wouldn’t go up to a worn-out grandmultipara who is feeling old, haggard, useless, baggy, and drained and ask, “Mama, what does ‘gone to seed’ mean?”  Even if you were just thinking about dandelions.

6.  Also from the Department of Taking Gardening Too Personally:  The seed packet says “thin seedlings when they reach a height of 3-4″.”  We’ll see, we’ll see.

7.  Some people truly don’t enjoy gardening, and do it out of duty or something.  Some people start out all enthusiastic

and then suddenly hate it very much.

Still others have this expression on their face the whole time they’re working in the dirt:


but they are very, very happy.

Bonus 8:  My daughter says she remembers how, last year, we used to go outside and EAT stuff, and that was FUN! And why we don’t have a venchable garden this year?  (She doesn’t consider basil to be a venchable, I guess.  What is this, June?  Maybe it’s not too late!)


Even More Faces of Mary

Yesterday, I was so sick (and unable to take any useful medication, like Sudafed or ibuprofen) that I was able to do exactly three things:  drink tea, type, and whine.  Out of those three came this post for the Register:  Even More Faces of Mary, in which I repeatedly misspell Steven Greydanus’ name, because it seemed really, really funny at the time.

Follow-up question for you smart people:  Why is it, do you think, that people used to routinely depict the holy family wearing the styles of the artist’s day — but now if you do that, people freak out?  When did this change, and why?  Modernist self-loathing?  Mistrust of contemporary art in general?  Cultural illiteracy (Rembrandt and Fra Angelico’s saints look fine to us because they’re clearly wearing old-fashioned clothes, and that supplies the necessary sense of historical space, even though it’s still off by many centuries)?  Or have people always freaked out when artists did this, and I just don’t realize it?  Or what?