DesideratumÂ’s Doggie Dish by Janet I Buck
When we bought a new home and cleared up anymisunderstandings about who owned the bedroom closet, it was time to tacklethe job of landscaping the backyard. The one thing we absolutelyagreed upon was the concept of Â“low maintenance,Â” so we ordered six pilesof bark and enough gravel to pave the Oregon Trail and make it accessibleto those of us who think hiking and communing with nature is for idiotsand ground squirrels. When it came to decorative choices, I leftit up to my better half, since he was, I must admit, a veritable troopereach time I insisted upon moving the furniture around the living room untilit learned to walk of its own accord.
I vetoed any suggestions of pink flamingosand that tacky plastic green carpet, but we did concur on the purchaseof a few Â“decorativeÂ” rocks and an electric fence that was programmed tofry stray cats, tax collectors, and anyone who might be somebodyÂ’s mother-in-law(and not necessarily in that order). Rock shopping is, I mustsay, a little over-rated as a national pastime, unless your partner incrime knows how to spell Â“caratÂ” and use a Visa card, but I acquiescedand went along for the ride. Since I didnÂ’t make him take a hammerand chisel to one of those innocent cliffs up the road a piece, he wasbasking in the warm glow of matrimonial bliss. We ordered three prettylarge lava jobs, because as rocks go they had some interesting textureand enough holes to make great coasters for a six-pack of empty beer canson a windy day. Since backyards and power tools are a manÂ’s domain,I retreated to my study when the delivery truck arrived. Ishould have raised my eyebrows a bit when I heard the orgasmic sound ofan earthquake, but when I sit down to write, the only thing that stopsme in mid-sentence is the sound of someone slipping a spoon in my lastgallon of DryerÂ’s Vanilla, so I stayed put.
A half hour later, I went out to the kitchenfor some coffee and realized that Mount St. Helens had just delivered ababy in our backyard; on second thought, make that twins. Now weÂ’renot talking a little over-sized here; weÂ’re not talking big here; weÂ’retalkinÂ’ Gibraltar, Stonehenge, and enough cement to re-pave all four lanesof a federal highway stretching from the northern tip of Alaska to theMexican border.
I said, Â“Honey, these arenÂ’t the ones we ordered;canÂ’t we take them back?Â” ThatÂ’s rather like putting The Queen Maryin your bathtub and expecting it to do a right about face in the middleof a thunderstorm. It simply canÂ’t be done. While I believein miracles and Â“moving mountains,Â” this one was a little out of my league. Despite the indisputable fact that moving furniture is every womanÂ’s God-givenright, you just donÂ’t scoot twelve tons of granite six inches to the right,to the left, and back again so itÂ’s perfectly centered under a window sill,unless of course youÂ’re giving directions from a porta-phone at the otherend of the state.
After he filled in the moats the deliverytruck made in our next-door neighborÂ’s yard, my eternally optimistic otherhalf said: Â“On the bright side, at least we wonÂ’t have any more weeds poppingup, because if we canÂ’t squeeze a credit card between the house and theback fence, those suckers arenÂ’t going anywhere.Â” He had me on thatone. I did say, Â“Honey, I know IÂ’ve mentioned more than once thatIÂ’d like a decent-sized Â‘rock,Â’ but you didnÂ’t have to remove the kitchen,the bedroom, and the local mall to get it.Â” IÂ’ve spent a good manyyears polishing my proclivity for making a Â“mountain out of a mole hill,Â”and now he goes and takes the wind out of my sails: I can make a fairlysubstantial fuss when I set my mind to it, but you just canÂ’t top Mt. Everestsitting dead center in the middle of the backyard. When we put thehouse up for sale, I think IÂ’ll write the ad myself and without even asmidgen of guilt: Â“Rock-bottom deal! Two hundred square feetof living space and an absolutely majestic view of the mountains rightoutside the bedroom window. If Saturday night sex gets dull, youcan always go rappelling.Â” Then weÂ’ll sell the place by the pound.
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