Saturday, March 10, 2007

industry & the evils of magnolia trees

Our house had sunk into a rare level of utter crappiness, with toys strewn everywhere, filthy floors, and hideous clutter. The husband had thoughtfully built a "tent" in the living room from dining chairs and blankets, which added to the air of clutter and resulted in the children hitting and pinching each other nonstop inside it, screaming out for me to punish their enemy sibling, which I steadfastly refused to do on the grounds that I had not seen the alleged misconduct.

The horribleness of the house was oppressing my spirits, and last night I reached a height of crankiness around 10 p.m. I had previously tried to get the children to bed at their regular bedtimes (they are usually allowed to stay up late on non-school nights) under the guise that today, Saturday, was "a special school day." It turns out that even a four year-old can see through that and insist upon her weekend rights. I did insist they pick up their multiple pairs of shoes and socks strewn about the living room, as well as a cushion from the couch which they preferred to tread upon with their feet, filthy from the floors. So why didn't I get up off my butt and clean the house myself? Because I was drained from working at Lola's preschool, where I led the children in a special cooking project. There is nothing like baking with a crowd of unruly four year-olds to suck up every last bit of energy available.

Today we cleaned the house and the back deck. The Sober Husband was all for doing it ourselves without involving the children on the basis that making them do housework would involve more work on our part than we would extort from the children. I felt strongly that they needed to be a part of the commmunal effort, although when I went to fetch them, they insisted they needed to watch "Hannah Montana" first. "It's about a rockstar," Lola said to me condescendingly, as though if only I could understand that, I would grasp why it came before housework. The husband snapped off the television at that.

Lola quite industriously raked up magnolia petals off the back deck, but Iris moaned and whined and dragged about with a stormy expression, continually crying about having to clean up messes she hadn't made. I pointed out that Lola hadn't made the magnolia mess, but Iris refused to take the point. For the record, the magnolia tree is one of the greatest evils afflicting me. Everyone thinks the tree is so beautiful with its pink and white extravagant flowers, but it's the most horrible fucking plant known to mankind. All spring it constantly litters the deck with slimy, slippery petals (when I am old, one day I will fall on one of those magnolia flowers and break a hip or neck. I will probably die of starvation out on the back deck, killed by that fucking tree). All summer, it drops its loathsome seed pods, which are large and heavy enough to cause discomfort when they rain upon your head. All winter, it sheds nonstop leaves. There is not a day that horrible tree does not create work. Even now, only a few hours after the deck was painstakingly raked, it is littered with hundreds of slippery petals. I am dying to chop that fucker down, but the children attach a swing to it at times and Iris climbs in it, and we sometimes put our parrot in it to climb about, and it would be a lot of work to get rid of it. (Also, if I were law-abiding, I would have to file a notice with the city, as local law prohibits anyone from felling a tree without giving the public a chance to intervene).

So by one o'clock in the afternoon, we'd cleaned the house and deck (although it already needs raking again, hatehatehate that tree), I'd made brunch (poppyseed pancakes and warm maple syrup), and the husband and I had had sex. After all that industry, the rest of the day feels like an anticlimax. What else is there to do?


Silliyak said...

Hopefully the sex wasn't on either of your "chore lists.

hughman said...


what's the parrot's name? does it talk? what is lola and IUA relationship to the P?

i have to admit the tent is genius on the SHs part, who didn't have a tent like that? although i agree with you - what happens in the tent, stays in the tent.

omg - i so want to live in your household. if you ever buy a bigger house i will a) babysit anytime b) watch the zoo c) cook and d) drink with you at will.


JKG said...

um... take a shower?

Anonymous said...

We have an olive tree in the front of the house we just bought. I know you are thinking, "olive, that sounds nice..." but when the olives fall on the sidewalk they leach their oil out in black stains, and then in the summer when the temperatures reach 125 degrees (phoenix, baby, hell's lobby)the oil turns rancid!!!!


Anonymous said...

Before the vermin ended our travelling days, the beer-drinking husband and I explored Italy, where we observed some nets strung under the olive trees in a terraced orchard. Perhaps something of that sort would make the magnolia detritus less heinous?

the Drunken Housewife said...

I don't think a net would work, because that would render the bottom of the tree less accessible, and that is where the tree has its (somewhat) redeeming value: we put the parrot up there to climb around (she can be very happy there when it's warm and there are leaves; she refuses to go up there if the branches are denuded), and the children climb up. Al the idiotic cat also goes up there.

Maybe a net would work for Kim II with her Arizona olive trees, though! I love olive trees myself; there were two behind the house I grew up. They had silver leaves and distinguished fruit, and they never made a mess which mattered. I have heard other urbanites bitch about olive trees, though. I do present to you, however, that there was a visiting judge in SF county ct. who was of Italian descent who climbed the olive trees in civic center and harvested the olives, which he then cured and ate. Perhaps you should turn your olive bane into your olive harvest glory, Kim? My magnolia tree produces nothing useful to me, alas.