We were a little late getting to the market this morning because we both felt like sleeping in a little later than usual. I didn’t head for the kitchen to start the morning coffee until shortly after seven o’clock, and we didn’t hit the road until quarter past nine. There are some things you just can’t rush.
As it turned out, we didn’t get even so far as the end of the street before I realized something wasn’t quite right with the way the car was handling. I had to crank the wheel to the left to keep it going straight, definitely something I didn’t want to do for the six-mile drive into town. A quick walk-around after parking by the curb found the problem right away: the right front tire was almost completely flat. Changing it out cost us another twenty minutes.
Then, finally, we were on our way. We filled a basket with meat and veggies at the market, filled another with all manner of good foods and sundries at the co-op, but our weekly trip to the thrift shop was almost a flat-out bust except for the nifty platter My Darling B found buried amongst the china. We have almost as many platters as we have plates now. “We should start eating off platters,” B suggested. “Why not?” I agreed.
It was muggy and hot today, the kind of day when it would be best to crank up the air conditioning, grab a cool drink, push back in a recliner and read a book until the sun went down. I got as far as the first step, but as usual I got distracted and never did get around to the second step before I was doing something else.
“Something else” was yard work. There’s a corner of our yard, under the mulberry tree, where some volunteer raspberries have sprouted and begun to grow up, and I’ve recently acquired a taste for raspberries, so I’ve been encouraging them to grow.
Trouble is, there’s quite a lot of creeping charlie, night shade, wood violet and garlic mustard growing in the same patch of ground. I don’t mind having any of those growing in our yard, but in the past week we’ve had a little more than four inches of rain, and in our part of Wisconsin every quarter-inch of rain translates to at least a million mosquitoes. During the day, all those mosquitoes hide away from the heat under the leaves of whatever plants they can find, so that overgrown corner of the yard was one huge mosquito party.
In order to pull up all that undergrowth, I would have to dress up in long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and, just to make sure I didn’t end up looking like a smallpox victim the next time I went out in public, I’d have to throw a net over my head, the kind you see some bee keepers wearing. B bought one a year or two ago when the mosquitoes were really thick in her garden. Wearing all those clothes on a cool day that wouldn’t have been a problem, but on a day that’s muggy and on the hot side of eighty-five degrees, I didn’t have to spend much time in the yard before all my clothes were soaked through with sweat and I was gasping for breath.
I made three trips to the compost heap with our wheel barrow to haul away all the undergrowth I pulled up. It was thick and wet but came out easily in clumps. All I had to do was gather it up, hand over hand, and pull, throwing it over my shoulder as I worked my way across the patch. I thought it would be an epic battle but the hardest thing about it was enduring the rivers of sweat that ran off me, soaking every inch of my clothes.
After about an hour of that I was done and could go inside to peel off my clothes, which was almost more work than tearing up all that undergrowth. Then I sat in front of one of the air conditioning vents, sucking down pint after pint of ice-cold water, for about a half-hour until I felt normal again.