What you buy in the winter is not the same in the spring. We sign our purchase agreement for the cabin in April which, in northern Minnesota, is still full-on winter complete with mukluks, touks, and snow measured in feet not inches. What I see that day is what makes me want it.
You may remember this passage from my earlier post about our realtor, aka Marge Gunderson, and our first visit to the cabin-that-is-to-be-ours:
“We make our way down to the dock, left in the water, frozen in place by neglect or distance or lives that have just gotten too busy. The shore is rocky with big boulders for sunbathing and a tiny sliver of pebble beach, all tucked into a forest of birch and cedar. I turn around and survey silently all the things on my wish list.
“So is this kinda what yer lookin’ for?” Marge says.
It’s almost like she’s mocking me. Goading me. But in a nice Marge Gunderson way. I actually fight back tears – no lie – but I swallow it because I just think it’s a poor business decision to cry tears of joy in front of the person who’s trying to sell you a piece of property.”
But when we arrive in June, I’m like “where my rocks at?” It never occurred to me that there were weeds and bushes and thorny things lying dormant under all those pretty rocks. What once looked like the photo above now looks like this:
Bushes sprawl and cover up the rocks that made me cry when I first set eyes on them. Those were MY rocks! I paid for them! I want it to look like the goddamn Baltic out there!
(picture of me at the actual goddamn Baltic. See? All rocks. No weeds. FYI, I was pregnant, not husky).
So I start pulling weeds. I hate pulling weeds. I say that I hate pulling weeds but the truth is that I can’t stop pulling weeds. So I hate it but I can’t stop. It’s a really dysfunctional relationship.
I weed for hours every day; Mike and Liam go out in the boat and fish all day and when they get back I am still weeding. I’m a badass weeding mothertrucker. It becomes my sole focus, my identity. I weed, therefore I am. Next time I go to a party and someone asks me what I do, I’m going to say “I’m a Weeder. Yeah, I weed. It’s awesome. I’m pretty good at it.”
I’m good at it but not good enough. I need some help. I need poison. The kind that poisons the earth and the sky and the lakes and the farms and kills all the fish in the sea and all the little animals from Disney movies. I read a reminder in the local paper about keeping your shoreline wild for the benefit of the lake ecology – I know it is the right thing to do but I can’t stop. They don’t even have to mention how bad it is to use poison, we should all know that by now. For two weeks in a row, I bring ingredients for an environmentally safe weed killer that never gets made. There’s just no gravitas. No anger at the weeds. I feel like the environmentally safe weed killer is going to politely ask if the weeds will please leave. So I have to get my real poison wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap so no one will recognize me. Actually, I buy it at home at the big box store in the suburbs where no one is going to recognize me but I feel guilty enough to hide my identity anyway. Like maybe I’m hiding from god who doesn’t want me to poison his lake.
I see the poison on the orange shelf and I get kind of excited and I actually say the words “mofo’s goin’ down!” and then I try not to run to the register. I throw down for the I’m-gonna-git-you-sucka-beware-cuz-this-is-gonna-kill-everything-including-your-cat formula. As we pack the Jeep for the trip up north, Mike says the mega jug is not going to fit. I pretend it’s no big deal, like I don’t really care about weeding. But really, I’m starting to sweat; if the poison can’t go, I don’t think I can go. But then, thank god, he squeezes it in between the homemade all-natural DEET-free bug repellent and the lake-friendly, sulfate-free Dr. Bronner’s soap. Whew.
And when we arrive, guess what I find on the porch? Another mega jug of the same exact I’m-gonna-git-you-sucka-beware-cuz-this-is-gonna-kill-everything-including-your-cat formula. I was so excited about the poison, that I completely forgot that I had already spent time obsessing about the use of poison. I loved checking that box so much that I checked it twice.
When the weeding and the pulling and the poisoning are done, I should feel good. Complete. But I don’t. I don’t feel done. There are woody plants that need to go and I can’t pull them out with my bare hands. So I get the loppers and I start lopping the shit out of anything I don’t like. You’re goin’ down Prickly Bush Thing. I’m like George Bush clearing brush except I’m lopping goddamn raspberries. I have a no-thorn policy on my property; if you scratch me, I take you out, assh*le.
There are some things I take down with my loppers that probably require a saw; we’ve moved on from weeds and bushes to actual trees. But I have no saw and I can’t wait until next week when I could get a saw from home so I will lop the shit out of you anyway because you were not invited to my party. I will lop and lop and lop until I get what I want. I probably could’ve taken those things down with nail clippers because I just CANNOT abide uninvited guests so get out of my way while I fell this bitch.
And instead of yelling “TIMBER…..” I let out a “mothafucka!” holding my loppers high in the air as she goes down.
Then I pull my arms down and look around quickly……I really want to be a good neighbor so I vow to say the naughtiest words under my breath from now on.
And when I’m done, I go inside and try to write these words. But I can’t because my forearms are weak and throbbing from hours and hours of lopping things that should’ve been taken down with a saw. I wrap my whole hand around the pen like a paw and stab at the paper with a floppy arm in an attempt to scratch words. Here is a picture of my actual writing post-lopping….
Notice that I write “And when I’m done, I can’t ride these words.” Which means that the weeding/lopping episodes are messing with my brain, making it dull and tired and stupid.
It could also be the poison…..
I think I’m okay with that. Cuz it looks like the goddamn Baltic out there and when spring comes I won’t need a brain to go sun myself on that rock.
(Photo credit for featured image: Peter Weimar)