Once upon a time, there was a writer. Not me, but someone exactly like me living in a universe just like this one, in a house of the same color with the same street number and geographic location.
Now this writer – we’ll call her…me…had a very bad lawn. Not just bad, or moderately bad – we’re talking the kind of bad that makes a six year-old turn to his three year-old brother and say “when you get big, don’t ever let your lawn look like that.” The kind that makes the neighbors refer to you as “That House.”
Yeah, that was me.
So a few months back, my husband and I decided to give up the Bermuda-and-crabgrass war and do what any red-blooded American couple would do in our place. We resorted to napalm.
Ok, he wouldn’t let me use napalm, so we did the next best thing: we hired a landscape contractor to dig up the old lawn and put in a new one. And not just a lawn. A beautiful lawn. The kind of lawn dreams are made of. (Really itchy dreams, with a superfluity of bugs.)
And for several months, we were happy. Really happy. The kind of happy that only comes from a brand-new, plushy, weed-free lawn. (Or children. Or ice cream. Or french fries.)
Then the trouble started.
It began quietly enough: a strand of Bermuda grass creeping in at the margins, a crabgrass spawning in the driveway cracks. First one, then two, but all easily contained. Until today. Because today, when I went out to mow the lawn, I discovered the horror lurking beneath that lush green surface, waiting for me to expose it to the light of day.
I was standing smack dab in the middle of the Bermuda Quadrilateral.
Sometime when I wasn’t looking, the Bermuda grass invaded the Brand New Lawn. As I mowed the good grass low, it popped up in chunks and swatches, taunting me with its brushy, many-fingered strands.
Now, six months ago I would have brushed this off as nothing, going back inside with a shrug in the invader’s general direction and a thought that ran something along the lines of “well, at least it’s green.” I’d have thought no more about it (except, perhaps, to the extent that I felt proud of growing lawn in some color aside from beige).
But no longer. After processing the horror of it all, I did what any self-respecting person who recently paid for the privilege of a brand-new lawn would have done. I finished running in little panicky circles, got down on my knees, and dug the Bermuda grass out of the lawn.
One piece at a time.
For an hour.
While strangers toured the house for sale across the street. (Which, not surprisingly, remains for sale.)
On the positive side, the lawn is now free from Bermuda grass and my tale of horror ended. It only cost me a little time, a few shreds of dignity, and the public acknowledgment that the woman with the Brand New Lawn really has lost her mind. (I like to pretend some people still think I’m sane. The voices in my head like playing dress-up.)
Yeah, it was totally worth it.