Category Archives: Yard Care

Sometimes Life Just Sucks

It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster ride the last few of weeks. On Wed, Sept 28th my daughter complained of her side hurting. Kids complain a lot. I’m used to dismissing most things as an ache or growing pain, and then it’s never talked about again. She persisted through the evening that it really hurt. I told her to put a heating pad on it, thinking it could be a pulled muscle. The next morning she said she couldn’t go to school because she was in too much pain, so I made her an appointment with her pediatrician. He ordered blood work and we waited. The results came in later that afternoon and all appeared normal. She woke up on Friday morning, doubled over in pain. I rushed her to the Emergency Room.

After 10 hours in the ER, she was diagnosed with having a large softball-sized cyst in the left side of her abdomen. Five days later, on Wed, Oct 5th, she had surgery to have it removed. Everything went well. They removed the large cyst, but it was also entangled in her left fallopian tube, so it had to be removed as well. Her ovary was untouched and able to remain. Her reproductive system will be fine. I was so relieved for her.

She ended up needing to stay two nights in the hospital. It was difficult, but necessary since she had a c-section type incision. She was such a trooper. I am so proud of her. She was discharged the afternoon of Fri., Oct 7th. The weekend was a good start to her recovery. She has been improving very well each day and can hopefully return to school next week.

In the midst of all this chaos, I was a bit of an anxious wreck, but I was taking it day by day. In between her ER visit and her surgery date, I did many things around the house and pre-planned for a change in our normal routine with my work and her brother’s schedule too. The weekend before her surgery, I did some much-needed yardwork and cleared out overgrown flower beds on one side of my house. It was a nice day and therapeutic to be outside, burning off some of the anxiety of the week to come. I showered immediately after doing yard work, happy to have another thing checked off my list.

On the day of my daughter’s surgery, I scratched at my forearm while in the waiting room. Then scratched again, pulled up my sleeve, and saw a small red rash. I was so stressed out from my daughter’s surgery and now having to hang out with her father for the next 3+ days, that I immediately thought I had some kind of stress rash. I wiped it off with some alcohol and put some hydrocortisone cream on it. For the next couple of days, that’s all I did with it. It did not become worse. A couple of people asked me if it could be poison ivy. Nah, it wasn’t very big and even though I did yardwork recently, it was 5 days ago.

Fast forward to Mon, Oct 10th, and I had a pus-filled golf ball-sized boil on my forearm as well as welts popping popping all over both of my arms and on the side of my face. WTF? I was itchy and in pain and the most uncomfortable I have been in a very long time. By this time I realized it probably was poison ivy, but I still wasn’t convinced since it had been so many days since I’d done yard work. It had been 10 days. I’m typically a research junkie about just about anything. But with everything going on, I never once looked up timeline information on poison ivy rash. Apparently it can start forming up to 5 days after being in contact with it, and it can continue popping up wherever you made contact with it and it can last up to a month. WHAT!?

On Tue, Oct 11th, I took myself to urgent care. It was the fastest urgent care visit I’ve ever had. They took one look at my miserable rash and prescribed me a topical cream and some prednisone to start the relief process. Little did I know that the rest of the week was going to be miserable with my best relief being cold water and ice packs, alcohol wipes, and hydrocortisone cream. My nerves are shot, I’m wired and tired at the same time.

I’ve been trying my best to work at home, care for my daughter, care for my son, and maintain some sort of functional comfort with this poison ivy rash, but it has been so difficult. I can’t sleep at night. I fall asleep quickly but wake up at 1 AM with my arms burning with itchiness. I spend the next two hours trying to relieve the itch and pain, only to wake up to my alarm to face another day of discomfort, work, and mom duties.

Somehow I managed to go to two nights of parent-teacher conferences in the middle of this week. Not ideal, but I had to get all of my daughter’s missed work, and I definitely had to keep tabs on my son’s behavior. Tinted moisturizer and mascara helped make me looked somewhat normal despite the red splotches covering the left side of my face. I slapped on a smile and got that mom crap done.

Last night I hit a breaking point after 1 and 1/2 weeks of nonstop stress. I went into the bathroom for my evening routine of running cold water over my rashy arms and hot tears rolled out of my eyes while I sobbed uncontrollably at the pure suckiness of life at the moment. I was so happy that my daughter has been recovering so well, but I personally felt like complete shit. I’ve had two babies, gone through a divorce, had my career crash (and rebuild), had to live at my parents, have had horrible dates this year, have put up with lice in my home, have experienced people dying in my life… and I’m letting a poison ivy rash break me?

That’s when I realized that it was PMS week, and just about anything was going to make me break. Haha!

October is half way over and has sucked the whole time. I guess sometimes life just sucks. Today is feeling better. I think the prednisone is finally starting to take effect after 4 days. I’m hoping for an upward swing for all of us.

Stifle Me Not

May 17th Lesson: Pulling My Thought Weeds and Proud Me

I did yard work from 10 am to 5 pm today. I took a break for lunch and put my son down for a nap, but I was on a mission. I wanted to fully weed the flower beds so I can put flowers in and mulch down tomorrow. Then I mowed the entire yard.

All I could think as I was weeding is that it was like navigating thoughts. If you don’t consistently get rid of the bad weeds, they will take over the flower bed and everything will be a mess. If you consistently pull out the bad weeds, it may be constant work, but its manageable and the flower bed stays maintained.

Okay, I’m over analyzing weeds. I need to get a life.

I’ve been trying to not be negative lately. Sometimes its hard to stay positive, and I don’t think I really have to be all “I’m great!” and be all overly positive. I sort of just want to punch overly positive people in the face. How negative is that? Anyway, I’ve been trying to just not let negativity overtake my mind. Yesterday was rough because I was feeling nothing but rejection from every direction. Today I was overthinking and making weed analogies, but at least I don’t feel like an emotional pile of dog poop.

By the time I was done weeding, it was 4 pm and I was beat. My back was aching from being bent over all day. My quads were on fire since I literally did squats all day. And my hands felt like they were in a permanent state of carpel tunnel. So what did I do next?

I mowed the lawn.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m a lawn mowing newbie. This is only like the fourth time I’ve mowed the lawn on my own. Yes, ever. I was 21 years old when I met my husband. I lived in some sort of apartment and rented throughout most of my 20s. I was 27 years old when we bought the house I live in now. And 11 years later, this is the only house that I’ve ever personally owned, and I just never had to mow the lawn. I have always been the housekeeper and the gardener, but not usually the lawn maintenance person.

I may talk about lawn mowing like 50 more times on my blog, so let’s just prep you for that right now.

I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. My not-yet-but-soon-to-be-ex-husband took the kids to the park so it was just me and lawn mower. Mr. Lawn Mower started up on the first attempt and I happily trotted around the yard like I finally knew what I was doing. I even knew when the bag was full of grass and emptied it before blasting grass clumps all over my lawn.

As I moved to the backyard, I just couldn’t help but be glad that I’m in decent physical shape. This day kicked my ass, but I could handle it. I was counting my blessings that I have a healthy fit body,. This crap is hard work. I will say that I have a newfound respect for all the work my husband has been doing on the yard all these years, but he’s double my weight and has quite a bit more muscle mass, so whatever.

It makes me happy when I’m able to get something done that I don’t usually do. It makes me even happier when my not-yet-but-soon-to-be-ex-husband brought the kids home and told me the yard looked nice (with a look on his face like damn, she’s actually is doing it). I really don’t care if he gives me compliments anymore. I don’t trust anything he says. But I still know what he’s thinking. I know what the look on his face was when he gazed out the back door at the nicely mowed lawn.

So, after six long hard hours of yard work, I learned that today I’m proud of myself with my new lawn mowing capability. I know I’m not the first woman on the face of the earth to mow a lawn because her shitty almost ex-husband no longer lives there, but it’s my own little proud moment, so I’ll let that little light shine.

Stifle Me Not

May 11th Lesson: I’ve Got This

Today I mowed the yard again. It was easier this time. The mower started right away and never stalled once. That was nice. It’s been a week since the last time I mowed, which was frustrating as all hell.

Are you all sick of me talking about yard work yet? It’s damn metaphor for my life right now. I can’t help it.

I was never one of those women that was all “I don’t mow the lawn” just because I couldn’t mow the lawn. It was because my husband always just did it. There was no big discussion where I announced that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do it, and he never said that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it. He never cleaned the bathroom, and I never mowed the lawn. There were just some tasks that we each owned and didn’t share. I certainly wouldn’t have been sad if he cleaned a toilet as I’m sure he’d be quite happy if I mowed the lawn (correctly, his way).

So here I was today, confidently strolling through the yard with my non-stalling lawnmower. I didn’t even mow over anything dumb, like a bunch of rocks. Before I knew it, I was done. I gave myself some positive self-talk before I started and that may have helped.

I know that the next time I mow, it may not go as smoothly. There may be some challenge. But for now, I’ve got this. I can do this. Today I learned that I’ve got this.

Stifle Me Not

May 7th Lesson: Cleaning Up the Pebbles of Abandoned Hope

For the last year (maybe more, seems like forever) there have been several bags of pea pebbles in the driveway next to the garage. Some of the bags were split open and the pebbles oozed onto part of the driveway. Dead leaves were collected on top of the bags. It was an ugly mixed up mound of pebbles and dirty leaves sitting there like an ugly eye sore.

My husband originally bought the pebbles to create a bed of gravel under rocks around a fire pit that he built in the backyard. The fire pit was built and has been used, but the layer of pebbles that were supposed to go under the paving stones never made it there. He just gave up. I would nag for him to clean it up, he would respond with some good-at-the-minute response, and then he would ignore it.

I wasn’t the one that wanted the fire pit that bad, so why should I finish it? And I didn’t leave the pebbles out in the driveway, so why should I clean it up?

Weeds were starting to grow out of the pile of pebbles and leaves. The hope was gone that anyone else was going to do it. Clearly I am the only one.

Tonight I cleaned up the pebbles. It took me all of 10 minutes to do it. I was taking the trash out, looked at those pebbles and just thought “My driveway looks terrible, that needs to go.”

Today I learned that I’m not waiting around anymore. I’m taking responsibility for what needs to be taken care of, mine or not. I’m letting go of hope that someone else will take care of it for me.

Stifle Me Not


May 5th Lesson: Choosing the Positive Path

I woke up with a chip on my shoulder. I do this sometimes. I wake up with one idea in my head and I ruin the rest of my day. I’ve heard before that you need to just choose your attitude, not let it choose you. Easier said than done, right? I went to bed mad about a conversation with my husband, and I woke up still mad the next day. This is why I don’t ever stand my ground with him – because he has a perspective from the inside of an armpit and I’m left blinking furiously every time, seriously wondering if I’m crazy. I am not. I’m actually very reasonable and mild mannered. I cannot allow his words continue to make a negative impact on me.

And so I consciously chose not to not let that happen.

Yesterday I had two main goals: Mow the lawn and spend time with some friends.

The bigger goal: Don’t let him ruin my day.

Let’s start with the damn lawn. I’ve lived here for over 11 years. When my husband was here, he always mowed and weed whacked. I maintained the flower beds. I’ve mowed the yard twice in the whole 11 years, and according to my husband, I messed up something  both times. The first time I didn’t have the lawn bag on the mower correctly so there were grass clippings all of the yard. The second time, I mowed over an outdoor outlet in the  middle of backyard (what, it was covered by long grass so I didn’t see it). I never mowed the lawn because I didn’t have to and he already set the tone that I didn’t know how to properly do it, so that was that.

One of the biggest attractions about this house when we bought it is that it is in the middle of the city with a BIGGER yard. Now this wonderful big yard is long and full of dandelions. The lawn care episode of the day started like this: I got the lawn mower own, got it started (proud moment – this is a feat for my skinny arms), mowed one strip of grass, and it stopped working.

I took the mower in the backyard so that my neighbors couldn’t see me losing my shit. And yes, there was gas in it. It took numerous times to get it restarted and a few tears. Eventually I learned that this cranky old mower has some quirks of its own. You have to pay attention to its sounds and adjust to it. Eventually, I had the entire lawn mowed. I was tired, my arm hurt from pulling the start string, and I was dirty. I don’t like being dirty. Most importantly though – I was proud. I did it. My kids got to see me not give up and get it done.

Later on my husband came over to get the kids. I pre-scolded him about how he wasn’t going to sabotage my night out with my friends. He didn’t fight back much. He must’ve known I meant it because I didn’t get one sabotage text or call like I normally do. I went to my friend’s house where a few of us laughed loudly, drank margaritas, and ate entirely too many chips and dips. It was much-needed friend time.

I mowed the entire yard for the first time and I spent quality fun time with my friends. And I didn’t let him ruin it for me. I had a positive and fun day. I did it. I learned to choose what I want to happen.

Stifle Me Not