by Aurora Bordeaux
So this post may not exactly be about being childfree but the hubs said I should write about it because he thought it was funny. It does in part relate to the childfree lifestyle because the roses I’m about to tell you about were planted to keep these little rat-child neighbors out of our yard. (Are we curmudgeons? You bet, and proud of it!)
I had heard of people getting huffy and “firing their gardeners,” but I always thought it was a silly problem facing only the aristocracy. Only people with wives named Muffy who had tiny embroidered whales on their patchwork madras pants had these kinds of issues. I was amused by their Downton Abbey style seen on television and overhead as a guest at country clubs, almost charmed by the way they’d storm about the grand ‘ole parlor with balled fists as they mumbled curses under their martinis about “what that gardener did this time.” Silly rich people with their Jeeves and Wooster non-problems. What kind of oddball would ever get mad at a gardener? Gardeners seem so nice, tending to the earth all the time, what what.
We had arranged for the folks who mow the lawn to trim the front yard bushes and trees. Seemed easy. I requested several times that they let me know when they’d come by so I could be home and talk to them first about what we wanted. They said they would. Our relationship has been pleasantly kosher to date, so I saw no problems on the horizon. The yard is simple and we take good care of it.
I pulled into the drive from krav maga one afternoon, listening to psychotic Britney pop on the radio and minding my own biz, and noticed the front yard bushes and trees had been scalped. Hmm, I thought, I guess they chose not to let me know they’d be here. Oh well. The bushes were trimmed a lot farther than we wanted, but I let that go. Life’s short, don’t sweat the small stuff, whatever.
When I took the dogs out back to pee, I saw our fence gate was yawning wide open. They know we have two dogs, and it pissed me off. I then noticed a large bonfire sized pile of clippings and branches looming in the back of the yard. What in the world? Why would they haul all that debris to the back yard and then just leave it there?
The clippings were the pool of blood that served as a warning sign of what was to come. Slowly, oh so slowly, my eyes followed the invisible crime scene tape to the nearest back yard rose bush, a beautiful yellow dandy the hubs and I nourished into bountiful growth over the last three years. The hubs planted it as a special surprise for me. We have nothing but wonderful, pleasant memories of this yellow rose bush. It gives me fresh flowers all summer for the dining table, and I look at it while I wash the dishes. Sometimes I hold the dogs up in the summer so they can sniff the flowers.
“No, no, no, no…” I muttered, sucking in a deep breath. My eyes flicked to our little hill, where the hubs planted even more thorny roses bushes to keep cut-through neighborhood hooligans at bay. These roses are awash with color every summer. They are (were) massive, grand, and lovely. They attracted butterflies and made the drab hill explode with vivacity and joy. They were also going to help us sell the damn house.
Murdered, too. All dead looking, shriveled, and wasted.
I felt like those poor villagers must in Legend of Zelda when Link blows through willy nilly, lets the chickens out of the fence, scatters pots, breaks into secret basements, and viciously unearths expensive shrubberies without permission. Then the little wank has the gall to pocket coins for his trouble. I stood there with my hands dangling by my sides, helpless in the winter rain. What did I ever do to these Link gardeners? What kind of person would Sweeny Todd our roses this way, especially when we never even asked them to go in the back yard?
Oh, I was so firing the gardener. I fumed, stormed, paced the house. I considered a martini and putting on one of my few preppy accessories, an LL Bean belt with whales on it. But alas, I had to go back to work. I wrote a frank email to the gardener explaining my dismay.
The gardener came by that same afternoon to shake my hand twice and apologize in a way that was so sincere it melted my icy resolve for retribution. He was sorry about the rose bushes, and sorrier about leaving the gate ajar. His glasses were fogged, he smelled like gasoline, and his manner and figure were so Hobbitlike I couldn’t help but let him off the hook.
If I crane my neck from my home office, I can see the deflated bushes. It makes me a bit sad, but I’ll get over it. Honestly, the feeling of forgiving the poor guy was pretty refreshing. I think we spend a lot of time counting grudges, but less time writing them off. It’s okay to feel your anger, but letting go is good.
After all, there’s no cut that a little time and sunshine can’t fix. Now Muffy, where’s my damn martini, what what?