We are still trying to fight turning into suburbanites. The final transformative step: purchasing an edger.

We mock those people who mow their lawns, then break out the edger (aka weed whacker, lawn trimmer) to make sure every piece of grass matches in height and no weed strays onto the driveway or sidewalk.

If we lived anywhere else, we wouldn't have to resist with so much effort. If we bordered woods, we could let those last little stragglers blend in with the pine needles and the trees. If our yard were larger, we could plant a wildflower meadow and forget about the grass altogether.

But our strips of lawn border the neighbors' strips of lawn on both sides, and are only divided by clean white fence that really highlights any uneven grass pieces. So, we have to do something.

Our non-yuppie solution: lawn shears, aka scissors for the grass.

I mean, our yard is small. How long could manual snipping take?

So, when we mowed the lawn today, I started trimming the grass along the back fence and the driveway. My legs grew sore and tired from bending over, squatting, and finally crawling on my knees.

Then I paused to look down at my hand and saw something disturbing: my index finger was swollen and black.

I really did try to press on and trim the grass with my remaining digits, but I became fearful that they all would begin bruising.

So I stopped and decided joining yuppiedom wouldn't be so bad and checked out edger reviews on the internet.

bruised finger

Ronak and Brian asked me why I didn't stop using the lawn shears when I first began feeling pain, but the funny thing is: my finger didn't hurt at first. It turned black quite quickly.

So I did another search on pregnancy and bruising easily - and found out I wasn't alone. Pregnant women have gotten bruised from sitting on iron chairs and riding exercise bikes. And some women weren't sure how they got their mystery bruises, because they didn't remember any trauma that could have caused them. Something to do with increased blood flow.

Still, I think I'll ask about this weird phenomena at my doctor's appointment later this week - just to make sure there isn't anything stranger going on.

Never having lived in new construction before, I didn't realize what a target our neighborhood would be for door-to-door salespeople.

Before we even moved into the house, I began a regular practice of checking the front door for fliers, business cards, etc. We seemed to receive at least one advertisement wedged into the crack or taped on each day. We actually got more "mail" on our door than in our mailbox.

Then we moved in, and the real snake oil sales shows began.

There was the guy who stopped by in the evening to tell us that our street "was scheduled for water quality testing" for the next two days. He wanted to set up an appointment for now - or shortly after right now. At first, we wondered if the guy was sent by the builder - or maybe the city water department. But when we started asking questions, he said we were not "required" to get our water tested, but our "water was very, very bad," so we really should. Technical terms like that are what really clinch deals. We told him "No, thank you."

Another man showed up on a Saturday morning while we were eating breakfast - just the time that people want to discuss auto repair shop services. This guy seemed to be offering us a coupon, but it was only redeemable if we signed up with his shop right now. Pressuring a person on a Saturday morning is another brilliant sales tactic. If only he had added, "And I saw your Geo Prizm, and it looks really, really bad." maybe he could have earned our business.

Threats and fear go a long way. (Just look to history and politics for examples.) A flier was taped to our door, letting us know that painters would be in our neighborhood the next few days to spray paint our house number on the curb, so ambulances and other rescue vehicles could find us in time in the case of an emergency. For just $20, we could save our own lives (or $25 if we wanted a fancier graphic painted on with our house number). I wondered how the spray painted pastel number on the curb, decorated with Texas stars, UT horns, etc. could be more visually effective than the large, metal numbers by my front door, illuminated by my porch light. I also wondered if a company could be trusted to paint numbers on a curb if their flier included so many spelling errors.

Carrots work as well with donkeys as sticks do. Luckily we aren't donkeys.

We were excited to see a coupon for Home Depot one day, since that store has become a second home of sorts, as we purchase yard tools, organizers, and hardware and repair items. Then we read the fine print. Some other company had sent out the post card, completely unaffiliated with the store. If we signed up with this company to aid us in figuring out what we needed from Home Depot, only then would we get a coupon. I wondered how much it costs for a personal guide in the hardware store, but I wasn't curious enough to call their business.

We've been both threatened and lured, in person and through fliers, so regularly that we are almost shocked not to hear a knock at the door or receive an ad or business card. (It's become part of our daily amusement.)

We've learned that our yard needs to be protected from grubworms and crabgrass - and our grass is of the bermuda variety. (I'm actually hoping they come by again and tell us why the leaves on our oak tree are turning brown, but I'm not sure they "do" trees. And I'm not sure they tell the truth since they called our pretty green grass "dormant.")

We have many options for home security systems, lawn services, water softeners, gutters, and yellow pages. But my favorite hawker so far was from Schwan's, a food delivery service. He impressed me because he was respectful, ringing the door bell, then standing back so we could see him and his uniform clearly through the peep hole. And along with the catalog and literature, he gave us three ice creams bars. Ice cream goes a lot further than threats or carrots, but not so far that we will be ordering from their meat-intensive catalog any time soon.

Another favorite of ours, were the people who delivered one of the many versions of the yellow pages. Watching them was as exciting as watching a Yankees game or an episode of Heroes. The van slowed down at the end of the street. Two teens got out, arms filled with bulky phone books. Each ran as fast as he could down the street, landing the books with amazing accuracy on each and every porch, never reducing their speed or turning their heads, keeping up with the van which was moving on to the next street. (Someone should recruit these kids for a major league team - fast!) About an hour later, Ronak and I left the house, and saw the boys again, running down another street, just as fast as they had been previously, as if they hadn't been delivering thick phone books all day. It was quite a show.

We were one of the first to move into our part of the neighborhood, so we were "lucky" enough to receive the greatest attention from the salespeople. These days, with all but one house sold, we don't get the unscheduled, high pressure visits that we did a month ago.

As entertaining as it has been, I can't say that I am that disappointed. At one point, we were so busy answering the door to hawkers, that I wanted to buy a sign I saw in a shop. It said:

Solicitors will be shot.
Survivors will be shot again.

Ronak thought that we shouldn't make idle threats. But do the door-to-door salespeople need to know that I'm gun phobic? Hey, this is Texas. Anything could be possible. I could be a collector. And hey, who threatened who first? They said I have really, really bad water. Them's fightin' words.

Yes, that's right. Roadrunners are real birds, not just a cartoon character that is smarter than a coyote that walks on two feet.

And Ronak not only saw one at his workplace, but had his camera phone with him, so that elusive bird was finally captured.

Check out the road runner and watch him do that famous little run of his: Road Runner.

Just FYI, that's not the roadrunner singing on the video. Ronak's workplace overlooks a highly-treed area that is filled with birds.

Now, I just have to see a road runner in person myself - and capture one of those cute armadillos on film.

Combine wind and a lake fountain. Add sunshine. And what do you get? A beautiful dancing rainbow display!

Here's a movie of the rainbow in the fountain: Fountain Rainbow.

The wind was really blowing as we walked around the Cedar Park Town Center Lake last Sunday.

Here's a movie of the beautiful effect the wind had on the lake fountain: Fountain in the Wind.

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In 2007, we moved to Austin, and this blog chronicled our adaptation to Texas life: festivals, wildflowers, and bats - oh my! Then we had a baby, and that changed everything, so now, we blog about where to buy organic food, what parks are fun for babies, which exterminator is taking care of our scorpion problem. (You know, the usual parental concerns.)

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