June 15, 2009

A Wild Hair Up My Ass

I'm having hazelnut coffee on our back deck, as I do every Sunday morning, when I see something that bothers the hell out of me. Around our deck on two sides is a bench, and on the side where our gigantic palm tree resides, you can't sit on the bench because the palm fans drape across it. I think, that sucker is out of control, spreading out rather than up (kinda like me). Worse, some of the fans rub and slap against my bedroom window on windy nights. The noise it makes reminds me of a bad horror movie; and I wonder, is it those damn palm fans? Or is it Jeepers Creepers? My cat hates it when I make her sleep with me just in case a monster breaks in.

So enjoying my java and watching the morning breezes bat those palm fans against my bay windows, a wild hair up my ass says, "Go! Get those clippers and prune that sucker." Apparently that's all I need to get anything done lickety-split, a wild hair up my ass. Despite being yardwork averse, I fetch the pruners and proceed toward the offending palm when my daughter TG comes out onto the deck with her coffee.

"Where are you going with those?" TG asks, taking a seat at the patio table.

"Pruning the palm."

She stands straight up again. "What? You'll kill it. Remember the peach tree?"

The event where I supposedly murdered an unsuspecting peach tree from over-pruning occurred in another house when TG was a teenager. How she remembers anything from her teen years is beyond me, as I know well what she was up to. Plus I don't remember all that much of mine and some of my friends swear they don't remember a thing. It was the early seventies after all.

"What are you talking about?" I say indignantly. "I didn't kill it. It was dead already. I just, um, cut it back some." Okay, I cut it back a lot. But I didn't do a George Washington on it.

At this house, most yard work is done by TG or her husband Prince George. TG likes yardwork. Prince George does what he is told. Despite TG's skepticism about my pruning abilities, I approach the palm.

My daughter Capeeta, visiting from New Orleans, saunters outside with her coffee then. "What are you doing, Mom?"

TG says with trepidation. "Remember the peach tree?"

Capeeta eyes me accusingly. "The one she killed?"

I sigh. "I didn't kill it. I pruned it. Generously."

They stare at me with skewed and doubtful faces. But I am not deterred. In fact, I am emboldened knowing my cat will thank me. I crouch carefully under overhanging palms whose branches are lined with sharp, needlepoint barbs. My shirt gets snagged and my shoulders get stabbed, but I ignore these inconveniences if for no other reason than to save face -- a yardwork-averse woman with a large cutting tool in her hands is no one to mess with. I position the pruners around thick branches, some of which are brown and withered -- dead without my help -- and I cut.

Capeeta's 34-month-old son hangs on her leg and cries plaintively for her attention. Poor child hasn't pooped in a week. "Later," she says. "I'm watching Nana."

TG's 34-month-old son begs for food and water. He is no doubt wracked with hunger pains, but she says, "Not now, I'm watching Nana."

It us under these watchful eyes, that I clip off the bottom dozen branches. After ten minutes of diligent snipping (my arms, hands, and various other body parts skewered by palm barbs), I say proudly, "Doesn't that look better? Now it will grow up instead of out."

"It's lopsided," is all the ingrates can say.

I clip off two more branches and haul the cut palms to the back fence. While they sit on their lazy behinds, I toss each fan over the fence (behind our house are empty acres and acres of weeds and brush). The wind picks up each one and tosses it back at me. I run for cover as the barbed fans strafe my skin. I glance furtively at my daughters, still sitting at the patio table, still watching me, and smiling evilly.

I did not think about taking a before picture, so you get the after. I think all my spontaneous hard work made the palm tree look better. What do you think? And if you would like to write spontaneous letters shaming my daughters for ridiculing my efforts at spiffing up the place, please do so at fragrantliar@yahoo.com.

50 comments:

Andrew Scott Turner said...

Everyone is a critic, aren't they?

And the most vociferous are related...and usually living with you

Lisa said...

The after picture looks fine. I usually the one cautioning the person with the clippers. MathMan once did a number on a lilac bush in Illinois. That was circa 1994. I still remind him of it.

I guess that lets me out of the shaming letter writing category, dang it. I love to write sanctimonious letters to women of toddlers.

Lisa said...

Dammit, that's mothers of toddlers. Women of toddlers might be another name for wives.

Kristina P. said...

I think it looks amazing! You are the Michelangelo of tree pruning!

ModernMom said...

Those who can't prune ridicule!
Well done:)

Expat From Hell said...

It is wonderful to be back home, and to see that you are still up to your old tricks. Nice work. And nice post! See you again soon.

EFH

Julie said...

I reserve the right to comment in a few weeks when we see whether or not the palm lives.

Jazz said...

Of course it looks better. Much much better. I do not argue with someone who has sharp scissors and is not afraid to use them.

Michel said...

That looks nice. Of course we didn't see it before and it might have had all kinds of flowers and coconuts and stuff and been like a holywood type of palm tree that people came to photograph themselves beside....

But I'm sure that didn't happen....so nicely done.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I like the way you all do coffee. I've got a cup here. Now where's that patio?

lisa said...

Tough crowd, here. The palm looks 10lbs. thinner and not bottom heavy like.....

creative kerfuffle said...

lol. why is it kids always ridicule us? i think the tree looks great. i get prune happy too, though i do loathe the yard work. there's just something so fulfilling about pruning, whacking away, seeing progress. so far i haven't killed anything but one of our rose bushes does look a wee bit sad.

Vic said...

I've never pruned anything to death (not that YOU have either!!) but once I put some "Leaf Shine" stuff on a ficus tree we had.

The leaves WERE really shiny. Also, they were all on the ground.

Is the tree still touching the window? Maybe a little more on the left? (Of course, then you'll have to trim the right, for symmetry. Pruning's hard!)

Jan said...

Well, just remember the old adage, "Those who can, do - those who can't, sit around and criticize their mothers."

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

Good thing Hubby is not there... he would wrap a chain around it and pull the whole palm up out of the ground as he thinks palms of any kind are quite useless. Come to think of it they really are useless. *hears sound of a chainsaw*

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Hit 40 said...

Looks good to me. Quality work. You have put in a full day.

Go get some more coffee with a little something irish in it!!!

Rebel Mother said...

OMG! How I laughed! A wild hair up my ass!!!

I think you did a good job.

I dont do gardening because I hack at plants until they're bald....I dont know when to stop.

Fab Job - well done!

RMx

smiles4u said...

Don't you just love grown children who love reminding us of things of the past? Who find amuzement out of watching us and expecting us to screw up? Little do they know, their kids will grow up and do the same thing to them! Then we'll see who's laughing!

PS I think you did a marvelous job!

david mcmahon said...

Beware the ghosts of peach trees!

Madame DeFarge said...

We have a holly hedge that my husband kills every year, but it keeps coming back more vigorous than ever. Maybe you can come over here and help us out.

otin said...

LOL! I wish I had your problems! My Palm trees are out of control! HAHA! I hate the way my mega yacht blocks the view of the marina! (Just kidding!)Oh, did I mention that I am a pain in the ass!

midlife slices said...

Dear skeptical daughters of FL,

Nanny nanny boo boo....she did it and no one died or had to go to the ER.

We are moms! Hear us ROAR!! :)

I loved this post because I'm not allowed to trim the hedges for that same reason but guess what.....it was all in my plan because I hate yard work anyway. Now who's the smart one??

Paige Lacey said...

Love it! I have a palm tree I hate, too. Twice a year it spits seeds all over my courtyard and the neighbors, but I don't have the heart - or the permission from the state - to get rid of it. Wanna come for a visit?

Pop and Ice said...

Huh. I don't know anything about pruning palms, but I know I tend to get overzealous when pruning so I usually leave it to someone mor level-headed. I hope your tree makes it. :)

♥Trina♥ said...

I think it looks great! If you get another wild hair up the ass, I have a ginormous camellia that desperately needs pruning.

Farmers Wife said...

Prune away, it looks great. Of course they will remind you of past pruning mishaps, they certainly won't let you forget....

blognut said...

I'm going to say it looks better, even though I have no idea if that's true. I'm just taking your side because I have no 'before' picture to rely on; only your word.

It DOES look better!

Fragrant Liar said...

Andrew Scott Turner: Everyone in MY house!

Lisa: Yes, sanctimonious letters to mothers of toddlers would make me feel . . . quite good.

Kristina P.: Why thank you! I FEEL like the Michelangelo of tree pruning! Thankfully, I don't have to get on the ceiling.

ModernMom: Thanks!

Expat From Hell: Yes, still and always up to my old tricks. 

Julie: All right, but so far so good.

Jazz: I have used them before, and I ain't afeard to use them again.

Michel: I love that you have my back. 

Pseudonymous High School Teacher: It's right out my back door. Come on over!

lisa: Careful, I've got a sharp instrument and I know how to use it!

creative kerfuffle: Why is it kids always ridicule us? Because they've made it an art form and they think they can!

Vic: Whoever planted this palm tree in the first place planted it too close to the house, so it's always leaning toward the sun and away from the roof – thank God.

Jan: HAHAHAHAHA. You are so right!

The Blue Ridge Gal: I like palm trees, but you are right. They are quite useless other than aesthetically.

Hit 40: Mmmmmmmmm! I didn't think of that. Something Irish! Must go to liquor store…

Rebel Mother: Reb, have you never had a wild hair up your ass? Do they not say that over there?  Seems I have a chronic wild hair going/growing.

smiles4u: That's right. Payback is just around the corner!

david mcmahon: The ghosts have followed us for about 11 years!

Madame DeFarge: I'm sure I could chop that sucker down for you, no prob!

otin: Alas, my palm tree only covers my bedroom window. I wouldn't be bitching if it was covering the view to my yacht. Probably.

midlife slices: See? We need to lash out more often. What you said!

Paige Lacey: Spits seeds? Dang! My palm doesn't spit seeds. Is yours a date palm? That's why it spits seeds. Ew, I just thought about that. It's a boy palm.

Pop and Ice: Unfortunately, I can't say I'm the more level-headed one. Just the one with spontaneous huevos.

♥Trina♥: Thank you! But your camellia will probably have to wait for my next wild hair.

Farmers Wife: If only it was just the pruning mishaps they liked to remind me of.

blognut: You've got my back too! Thank you. You know I'd never lie to you.

The Wife O Riley said...

As far as I'm concerned, if you were aquitted by a jury of your peers, you did not murder that peach tree.

Prune away!

Mental P Mama said...

I have those critics here, too. Funny how they never actually do any work around here for me to--appreciate;) I think the palm looks great.

morethananelectrician said...

Always think of us when you start these projects...BEFORE and AFTER photos.

And if everything you trim dies...remind me not to let you cut my hair.

linda said...

tomorrow the shaming letter absolutely, today bravo to you for taking your life into your own hands and wrestling the beast to the fence! you certainly did me proud...

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

I'm thinking of Edward Scissorhands here..needs a little more tufting at the top, don't you think?

Debbie said...

My husband is a radical pruner. All you did was shape that thing up!

bernthis said...

I just gave up on all that years ago. I saw what my mother did and realized we are two peas in that pod and so just let it all be

bernthis said...

I just gave up on all that years ago. I saw what my mother did and realized we are two peas in that pod and so just let it all be

Amy said...

Is it just me or are those fronds still scraping against the window glass? Hurry! Get the clippers!

(My parents used to make me do yardwork to punish me for various misdemeanors. I'd prune the shrubs until there were nothing but stumps left. I'd always feel remorseful afterwards for punishing the plants for my parents' insanity.)

Suzy said...

If you live in LA you did the right thing. All palms have to be pruned. OR you wait til they naturally die (the bottom fronds) and then clip them.

lovelyprism said...

I'm not allowed to prune anymore :( Apparently I'm not allowed to use ANY yard tools that require electricity either. I don't know why, I only cut through the power cord maybe once a Summer, and the finger I "pruned" healed right up!

Linda and her Twaddle said...

My husband freaks when he sees me with pruning shears in hand. The garden looks a bit nekked after I am done but does grow back.

Gaston Studio said...

Fantastic post and so funny; well, maybe except for the 34 month old grandchild being constipated.

Congrats on winning POTD Contender from David! You are so deserving!

Jane

Justine said...

Honestly? I think you need to take a little bit more off the bottom. LOL... I know what it's like getting stuck with those damn fronds. OUCH!

Justine :o )

Sandi McBride said...

Ah, a Stick Ass Bush...I'm familiar...also pruned a few to death..I mean liberally pruned a few...lol...congrats on Post of the Day mention at David's!
Sandi

nothingfancy1 said...

You did GREAT!!!!

Heather said...

I'm really wondering what it looked like before because it still looks like it has plenty of leaves! Nice work!

♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

Here from David with congrats! Great laugh! Good job on the palm, too!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

We have a ton of palms and I refuse to get near those fuckers. They HURT!

powdergirl said...

I think we both know what I think of things that rub and slap on the
bedroom windows !

Those are the things that cause lazy and ungrateful children! tsk.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

As a sister with the "over-pruning" disease, I salute you!

Fragrant Liar said...

I think I did an awesome job. I don't care what those ingrates say. Next up, I'm taking the hair clippers and shaving the trunk. Boy, they will really idolize me then!