How soon till I become one of those crotchety old men wearing Five and Dime sandals over black dress socks, loud patterned polyester Sans-A-Belt slacks pulled up to my sagging man boobs and an ill-fitting dingy previously white t-shirt while standing in front of my house loudly coughing out to the neighborhood kids “Git off ma dern grass”? I ask because sometimes it does not feel that far away.
The other day I got home from work a little late but still wanted to get a lot done before it was completely dark out. I half changed out of most of my work clothes and jumped to it. I was feverishly running around grabbing this, putting that, shoving this, stowing that… quickly knocking stuff off my ‘To Do While My Wife Is Out Of Town’ list. She was away dealing with some not too pleasant family stuff and I thought it would be a pleasant surprise for her to come home and see some of our half-started projects completed.
Things were getting done and I was feeling productive but daylight and my energy level were both waning. I just can’t do what I used to. The closest I am to a spring chicken these days is when I’m in a KFC drive-thru. My head still thinks I can still continuously fly like Superman but before I’m ready to quit my body often fades to the pace of Tim Conway’s shuffling old man character.
It was the last remnants of dusk when I finally got to the front of the house with the hose in my hand. I stood there debating with myself if there was enough daylight and if I had the energy to grab the spreader and put a coating of Weed and Feed out ahead of the next day’s forecasted rain. Granted, I probably do not need a lot of light to physically push a plastic dorky looking seed spreader but it just seems wise to do this crap when you can actually see what you’re doing. I imagined checking my handiwork the next morning and discovering a mini mountain range of seed on one half of the lawn and three kernels on the other losing a hand to hand combat battle with a nasty goose-grass weed.
A couple of kids walked by as I was deep in the middle of my mental argument. My brain might have been racing but I’m sure all they saw was a doddering doofusy old guy holding a shut off hose standing there staring at the near-night sky like he was trying to remember what he was doing, where he was and what planet he might be on. That’s when that old man image of myself popped in my head.
Of course, to a bunch of kids I likely looked like that already. Why not? I was just standing there like a frumpy dressed freak-a-doodle. I mean I don’t like to think about it but I’m probably older than their parents. Shoot, I might be older than their grandparents. If my wife was around I probably would have yelled “Git off ma dern grass” just to try and make her laugh, (she wouldn’t have but I still try… its almost expected at this point) but standing out there alone in my own little world I just couldn’t muster it. Maybe it’s too close to home?
Unable to make a decision I called my Wife who recommended I put away my guilt along with the gardening tools and call it a night. I followed her sage advice then let my very anxious dog out to sniff and examine anything that I might have touched in his backyard. We each have our own jobs to do around the house and he takes minding any variation of the smells out there very seriously. That is when I discovered a couple of ducks in the pool.
Luckily my old dachshund is half blind and mostly deaf, otherwise I would have been fishing him out of the cold pool (again). Just like me, he is an old guy too that has no clue about his diminished abilities. Nor do I think he would have realized that Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were bigger than him until he was nose to bill. I shoved my confused pup into the house before he barely had a chance to inspect all the work I had done and frantically grabbed my phone to send my wife a picture. Something goofy like that might briefly make her smile amid the unpleasantness of her trip and the wishy washyness of her pestering Husband.
I kind of wished those kids were still on my lawn, because they likely would know better than me how to get a good dim light photograph with my phone. Like a woeful water-fowl paparazzi, I circled around the pool trying all sorts of angles but dusk was looking like midnight in my photos leaving my duck pics looking like blurry smudges of grey on a textured black background. Using a flash while taking a shot of water was not too effective either creating an image similar to all those lame ‘genuine ghost’ photos from those cheesy supernatural shows.
Before I could get a decent picture, the ducks got annoyed with my attention and loudly flapped to a calmer neighbor’s yard. I was amused by their visit but was glad they did not stay long enough to lay eggs. Unfortunately, they liked my yard as much as my dog does and I spotted them doing laps the next day. I got a nice photo to send the wife but I needed to find some old-school remedy for keeping them out of my pool. I was worried it was going to be as futile as stopping squirrels from emptying my bird feeder but after a few unsuccessful attempts, a dozen or so floating bouncy beach balls seemed to have done the trick. Which is good because the next idea was to stand out there all day like a demented scarecrow in loud ill-fitting old man clothes yelling “ hey ducks… Git off a ma dern grass”!!