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Welcome to Hell

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According to our neighbor, Hell is the house on the corner.

You know the one. It has green shutters and dried ivy sneaking up the chimney.

It is a blasted wasteland of exposed dirt. A place where dandelions roam freely in the backyard and trees grow out from the middle of other trees. [GASP! Oh the horror.]

Even without the fresh fertilizer that I just spread this afternoon, our yard is a hellhole.

Or at least, that’s what I’m told.

Among my many other faults as a co-homeowner I am:

  • self-absorbed … you know. Like you do when you’re a millennial who works 40 hours a week for the public school system and yet manages to volunteer with two separate organizations.
  • a liar … because we are not actually putting in a rock garden which I so flippantly suggested last fall.
  • and that being 7-months pregnant is just another excuse for not actually doing anything in my yard.

Today, I learned much about residing in the underworld.

Writing on the sidewalk is an attention-getting pastime.

Asking our lovely German neighbor from across the street to weigh in on the state of our yard is juvenile.

Being repeatedly told that our yard is shitty is apparently not, however, sustaining verbal abuse. Huh. Could have fooled me after a 15 minute tirade without any provocation.

Since my mister and I are living in a fantasy world, where we believe that planting things in our yard is a way to magically make things better, I’ve been trying to figure out who exactly that makes Mr. Pirate and I.

We’re not high-ranking enough, I’m sure to consider ourselves Lucifer and Lilith. Probably not Hades and Persephone for that matter. Ellie is clearly our Hell-spawn and her play structure in the backyard is evidently the Devil’s playground.

I wonder if this means that we should get a dog and name it Cerberus?

Tomorrow, I might process the truly eerie photos that I took of our yard, the portal to the underworld, and our adorable little spawn.

For now though, I will contemplate cross stitch — one hobby I have not yet managed to undertake — and leave you with this delightful homage to the Bayeux tapestry.

Crafty credit to stephXstitch.

Crafty credit to stephXstitch on Etsy.



Suburban Warfare

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Little by little we have begun to wage war on our weed-choked yard.

Daily, Elle and I go out to the front lines and I pull weeds while she supervises from her picnic blanket. On weekends, Mr. Pirate and I both tackle one part or another of our unsightly little postage stamp.

Like the house, our yard basically has good bones. At some point, one of our home’s two previous owners cared about our curb appeal. There are wild hedges out front and evidence of a couple of flower beds in the back. Given the amount of overgrowth though, the last time anyone bothered weeding was probably sometime in the early 90s.

The weeds that make up our lawn have thick and twisted roots systems like something out of Lovecraft. There are roses in the backyard, but as a friend pointed out even a rose is a weed if it’s growing somewhere you don’t want it to.

We’ve had allies in our struggle to reclaim our yard.

Up until last summer, stringy elms clustered up against the back of the house threatening the foundation and blocking the natural light from the east-facing windows. Then Mr. Pirate’s parents visited and hacked them all down.

Last month my folks came out to see Elle and my dad helped me reclaim the clothesline from the monstrous villain that is our grapevine. It yields sweet Concord grapes, but the years of growing out of control had left it a grapevine rampant.

Since we moved in I’ve just taken the attitude that at least the weeds are green. However, having a new little person in our lives is something of a game changer in all things.

We’d both like for Elle to have a good place to play. Good place for me means grass appropriate for our arid climate so that she can develop a love of walking around barefoot. For Mr. Pirate that means excellent climbing trees.

She is not yet mobile so I figure we have at least the rest of this summer and fall to truly become weekend warriors. We aren’t yet on first-name basis with the folks at the garden center. But we’ll get there.


Identity Crisis

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I am beginning to wrap up my obligations to SkillsUSA. Our state conference concluded Friday and in theory, as soon as I hand off the scrapbook, I will no longer be reporter. However, before I can do that, I need to surrender the skillsreportergirl handle and pass ownership of Red Ink In Her Veins over to my other self.

It’s more confusing than it ought to be and I think I might give up for now and return a sense of normal to our living room instead.

Today, we moved the toolbox upstairs to the hall closet. Strange place for a toolbox except for the part where we’re doing more projects inside than outside. Also, we planted a toilet bowl full of petunias this weekend.

These things at least make perfect sense.