I Don’t Do Grass

Growing up in genteel south Louisiana, I had a daddy that firmly believed girls should be girls.  He never let us near the lawn mower, or any tool as a matter of fact.  Heck, I was in my 40s before I learned the beauty of “Righty Tighty, Lefty Lucy” when using a screwdriver.

Daddy died in January, 1979, one month before I turned 18.  What an unexpected shock that was.  The man who led his family was gone.  Thank God my mom had lots of business sense so we were good in the finance world of our household.

Spring rolls around.  The St. Augustine grass Daddy so lovingly took care of is sprouting out of control.  What to do?  I was 18, I figured I could conquer the world.  Took me, Mom and Sister about 20 tries to get the old lawnmower running.  I didn’t have the beautiful straight lines my dad regarded the only way the lawn should look.  But it was done.  Next, the edging needed to be done.  These were the days before the weed eater.  Took me, Mom and Sister 20 tries to figure out how to start the thing.  I remember hearing my dad proudly discussing beveling the blade to make the grass edge slant away from the sidewalk.  I ended up digging canals instead of dainty trenches.  The yard looked terrible.  My mom hired a professional service to cut our grass after that, figuring that expense into her new monthly budget.

Fast forward a few years, I married a man like Daddy.  He did all the man stuff around the house.  I tended to the house and flowerbeds.  Fast forward another few years as Hubby is getting a little older with aches and pains of his own.  He asked, “Why don’t you cut grass like my Mom and Sisters do?”  My shocked reply was, “Dude, you knew that when we got married!  Why are you asking now?  I DON’T DO GRASS.”

Fast forward many years later.  We are grandparents with replaced hips and replaced knees between both of us.  We can probably set off alarms anywhere with all the metal in our bodies.  And we live on 3 acres of property in south Mississippi where the grass needs to be cut every 3 days (year ’round if we have a mild winter).


Hubby has been quite concerned lately about what is going to happen to me and our property should he join the dearly departed early.  He is approaching the age his dad died.  Historically, most of the men in his family didn’t make it to 60.  I used to joke and say I was going to marry someone else WHO DOES GRASS.  Now that we are this age, that joke is not so funny.

This morning, I had an epiphany thanks to an article in July 2016 edition of Southern Living magazine about returning to nature.  I am going to join our local arboretum and start looking into natural plants.  These are plants I won’t have to baby.  These plant will attract insects that feed the birds.  These plants attract butterflies and bees.

So armed with my Avon Bug Guard (I DON’T DO NATURE WITHOUT AVON BUG GUARD), I am going to select a small, small, really small section of our 3 acres and implement a natural garden.  This is all new to me because I am used to lawns that look like golf courses.  I DON’T DO WILD.  So I am going to start with a small, small, really small area for natural and see if I can stand the tall, natural grasses.

If this works out, who knows, I might implement this into other areas of my back 40 (feet not acres) and give the hubby a break in cutting grass.  Then he and I can relax on the porch, point our rocking chairs towards the west, and enjoy growing old together because I pray this man is around long after 60 to enjoy our country life together.

Wish me luck and stay tuned.


God Knew We Needed a Cat

I never liked cats.  I wouldn’t touch one, much less own one. My two best friends from school (KB and PO) loved cats.  I’m surprised that friendship endured.  One of my more serious boyfriends, who I envisioned of marrying one day, loved cats.  That sunk that deal.  My kids never asked for a cat.  I figured they didn’t like cats either, or was it because they knew their momma would explode if they asked for a cat.

And then………grandkids come along.  My oldest grandson has persistently asked for a cat.  My persistent reply was, “No, no, no, let me think about it, no.”

He’s 12….he now owns a cat, several cats.

You see….while I was busy living my life like I thought it should be…..God was working another deal.  On Easter Eve, a very pregnant cat showed up on our porch begging for food.  We live in a rural area with only two neighbors (who did not own this cat).  We have 300 empty acres behind us.  Where did this cat come from?  But we had to feed her.  We couldn’t turn away a pregnant mommy.  I called the SPCA about bringing her in.  They said, “We don’t like taking pregnant cats.”  My reply, “Neither do I.”  They replied, “Well you have to make an appointment to bring her in, or it will cost you $20 to drop her off, and we don’t have any more appointments open today.”  My thought was, great, come Monday, I will probably have a herd of cats to drop off.

We fed and watered her.  The two grandkids living with me kept vigilance over her that day.  And guess what happened that night?  Yes, she went into labor.  The grandkids kept running to me giving me updates.  I would not go outside because I did not want to see.  My husband stayed up with her until 3:00 a.m. until all kittens were born, making sure momma cat was okay (Dear Husband doesn’t like cats either).

Easter morning.  I wake up to a basket of momma cat and 6 babies.  Good grief.  I started that moment preparing the kids that as soon as the kittens were able to go, go they would, and the momma would go too.  The momma cat didn’t like my Frank the Faux Pug.  Frank is king at my house.

And then……we named her.  Momma cat was now named Clara, after Dr. Who’s last companion.  We even said it with a British accent.  I posted pictures of Clara and her brood asking who wanted kittens in a few weeks.  One friend, a non-cat owner, immediately claimed one.  Thank you so much RHK!  The kitten would be named Begniet.

And then……one kitten died.  My grandkids had dubbed it Runt.  Runt was buried with ceremony on our property – which is turning into a regular pet cemetery.

The days were passing and the grandkids had a name for each kitten.  12 year old named one Whiney because it was vocal and full of meows.  I was furiously posting on FB for people to adopt these kittens.

And then…….I noticed my grandkids were outside more….off the computers…..off the tablet…….off the TV…….outside laughing, cuddling kittens.  I started looking at the kittens.  They were so darn cute with their antics.  We were quite entertained.  And the kittens were tolerant of Frank the Faux Pug.  12 year old resigned himself to the fact the cats would leave and asked me if I would only give them to someone we know because he wanted to know how they grew up and to make sure they were treated right.  My mind conjured an image of someone adopting Whiney, driving away, and 12 year old waving goodbye.  Broke my heart.  I spoke to Dear Husband (DH) about keeping Whiney and letting the 9 year old pick a kitten for herself.  It was agreed upon and we broke the news to the kids.  They were super excited.

I started noticing a change in my grandson.  12 year old is severely ADHD, a label I never believed in.  I always thought people who medicated their children were just lazy and didn’t want to discipline their child.  While that may be the case in some, God showed me that was not an attitude to take.  We, as his family, always saw a compassionate side in this child, but his wild streak dominated, wreaking havoc in home life and school.  My grandson’s compassionate side was growing beyond belief while nurturing these kittens.

Begneit was adpoted and is happily living with the RHK family.  No one asked for the other cats.  DH admitted defeat and said we will keep them all, including Clara.  Next order of business, spaying all the females.

While my skin still crawls when a cat brushes up my leg, and I go into orbit if one wraps its tail around me, I have resigned myself to the fact that I am now that lady – The Cat Lady.  (I liked it just being called The Avon Lady – what the deal?)

We dropped the British accent and now Clara is just plain old Clara, the American Calico Cat.  But I added a middle name.  She is now Clara Grace.  By the Grace of God, Clara showed up on my porch, pregnant and hungry.  By the Grace of God, Clara has pulled us away from our busy lives and we now sit on the porch all together laughing at Whiney, Skittles, Rae and Nix.  By the Grace of God, my grandson is becoming this nurturing, sweet little fellow.  By the Grace of God……..


Arrived Alive at 55

So I find myself at a crossroads at 55 years of age.  My job, that I truly love, is ending next week.  For the past 8 years, I have poured blood, sweat and tears into my career.  I am working for a government contractor.  Do you know who benefited from my blood, sweat tears?  The government and my company.  Sure, I benefited from a paycheck.  But I missed holidays, weekends and evenings with my family due to some task that just had to be done before – Before what?  Before we all die?  Before the company implodes?  Before the government shuts down (well, that one actually happened).  I think not.

I have ‘dabbled’ with an Avon career for 3 years now – working this only part time and halfheartedly.  In that 3 years, my team has grown to more than 30 reps and I am enjoying commissions from this.  Where would I be today had I put my blood, sweat and tears into my own business?  I bet my sales & team commissions would pay my house note – one less thing to worry about.

I will most likely find another job for insurance purposes mainly, but I am going to invest in myself and my family.  I am going to really work this Avon business because no one can pull the rug from under me. I am the only one who can sabotage myself on this.  No longer will another company profit off of breaking my back.

I am going to enjoy my Avon and get back to enjoying my garden.  I will speak with reps and customers on the phone as I am canning my veggies.

Now that’s a life I can enjoy!   And you know what – I can share this opportunity.

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I have arrived alive at 55, now it is time to quit playing it safe, take a chance and DO SOMETHING THAT WILL BENEFIT ME AND MY FAMILY.