Lifestyle

Yard work? Sure, after his nap

BusinessMetal and MineralSportsStarbucks Corp.EasterSociety

The social contract that I've established with this toddler is that he follows me wherever I go and behaves exactly the way I behave. If I sneeze explosively, as dads often do, he is to sneeze the same way. If I wink at the cashier at the garden center, he is to wink as well. He's not so much my mirror image as a walking, talking mulligan. A human do-over. We waddle off on a Saturday morning like two ducks headed for a pond.

"Let's get some pumpkin seeds," I say as we load up the shopping cart at the garden center.

"How about morning glories?" he asks.

"Glories are good," I say, grabbing a pack of blue ones.

He sits in the metal basket, encouraging me as I shop, affirming my every choice. It's spring, even if the sun hasn't noticed yet. Time to sink our fingers into God's good earth.

"Radishes?" I ask.

"Why not?" the baby says.

We go to Blockbuster on Friday nights and can't find a thing we really like. But on Saturday mornings, here at the garden center, we want everything we see.

Cucumbers. Peppers. 'Early Girl' tomatoes. We pick up a pack of each.

Squash. Eggplant. Sweet corn. Fire up the tractor, Ma. The soil is calling.

Back home, the baby and I make a plan. Herbs here. Tomatoes over there. Hula-skirt grass over by the steps. We approach the job with a fisherman's optimism. For what is life without promise? What is spring without seed?

"Anticipation is everything," I tell the baby.

"It is?" the baby asks.

"Without hope, we have nothing," I explain.

"We don't?"

"Trust me," I say.

With much work ahead, we take a nap. Men of action need their sleep. Even superheroes get a little drowsy after major triumphs.

"But it's 9 a.m." my wife notes.

"We've been up since 7," I explain.

"Blahhhh," says the baby.

"See? He's exhausted," I say.

"Blaa, blaa, blaa," says the baby.

"Don't push it," I tell him.

I am an early and constant riser. At 7 a.m., I was walking both dogs, standing for what seemed like hours as they licked last night's rainwater from the neighbors' ivy. To them, it's better than Starbucks.

Then I wiped their muddy feet — that's eight very soggy, very reluctant paws — made coffee, ran out for doughnuts, bought a yellow calla lily for Easter, picked out 12 packs of seeds and returned to the house by 9 a.m., at which time I called around to see if our softball game was canceled due to rain. It was.

"Dad's been busy," notes the little girl.

"Thank you," I say.

"We've earned our rest," says the baby.

"Well put," I say.

"Jeeesh," says the wife.

A little nap, that's all. You'd have thought they caught me putting hemlock in their iced tea.

As a friend recently noted about wives, the personal traits they found so appealing in us in the first place now seem to annoy them the most. In my case, that's a smoldering sexuality and a keen intellect.

Plus, a spontaneous side that leads me back to bed at 9 in the morning for a quick nap, from which I'll awaken refreshed and more dynamic than ever.

Who'd she think she was marrying, a machine? No. She was marrying me. The Willy Wonka of the American suburb.

"Did Dad just take a nap?" the boy asks when I stumble from the bedroom.

"It was more like a short coma," I explain.

I have another plan. In addition to rehabbing the backyard for summer, I want to put in a dog wash. "A dog wash?" You must be saying to yourself. "How brilliant! How moist!"

Yes, a little dog wash over along the side of the house, where I currently store the wheelbarrow and the empty clay pots.

It'll be like a mini-shower for the dog, with a flexible nozzle and a tiled basin with a built-in seat. I'll be able to bathe the dogs without lifting them awkwardly into the utility sink. When I'm done, I can tie them in the sun to dry.

This dog wash will also be a great place to water potted plants or clean out beach coolers. It may be my most important backyard invention yet.

"You're building a what?" my wife asks.

"A dog wash," I say, " a place to wash the dogs."

"Naked?" asks the little girl.

"I'll be naked," I explain. "The dogs will be fully clothed."

"That's a good idea," says the boy.

"Thank you," I say.

"Dad," the little girl says.

"Huh?"

"Dogs don't wear clothes," she says.

OK, there are still a few kinks to work out.

But that's what we visionaries do. We dream. We hope. We nap. All in the name of creating a better world. All before 9 o'clock in the morning.

So far, the results have been sort of mixed.


Chris Erskine can be reached at chris.erskine@latimes.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
BusinessMetal and MineralSportsStarbucks Corp.EasterSociety
  • Times Bookstore

    ++++++++++++++++++++ || || || ++++++++++++++++++++ || A compilation of 70 of the popular "Guy Chronicles" columns in the Los Angeles Times. Click here to purchase || ++++++++++++++++++++ || ++++++++++++++++++++

  • BOGO waffle sandwiches for National Waffle Day and free pancakes with Pancake Bob
    BOGO waffle sandwiches for National Waffle Day and free pancakes with Pancake Bob

    National Waffle Day is Sunday, and to celebrate, the Wafflette Cafe in Orange County is offering guests a buy-one-get-one-free deal. If you stop in Saturday or Sunday, you can buy one savory waffle sandwich and get one free. Some of the waffle sandwiches include pulled pork, smoked salmon...

  • Lena Dunham's red carpet looks
    Lena Dunham's red carpet looks

    Lena Dunham, "Girls" creator and nominee for lead actress in a comedy series, is best known on the red carpet for arriving in colorful dresses that suit her personal style. Here's a look at some of Dunham's recent turns on the red carpet.

  • How Lou Ferrigno stays Hulk-ripped at 62
    How Lou Ferrigno stays Hulk-ripped at 62

    Bodybuilder-actor Lou Ferrigno has remained true to form. It's been decades since he was a two-time Mr. Universe and starred as an enraged green behemoth in the “Incredible Hulk” TV series and movies, but you wouldn't know it by the 62-year-old's still-spectacular...

  • Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica to open Sept. 2
    Dunkin' Donuts in Santa Monica to open Sept. 2

    SoCal Dunkin' Donuts fans, your prayers have finally been answered. The doughnut chain is opening a Dunkin' Donuts location in Santa Monica on Sept. 2. The doors will be open at 5 a.m. 

  • Tension Releasing Exercises shake loose 'therapeutic tremors'
    Tension Releasing Exercises shake loose 'therapeutic tremors'

    I've been running for 30 years and lucky enough to avoid an iliotibial band injury until this year. But my luck ran out a few weeks back, and the physical therapist has banned many kinds of workouts for a while. That seemed the perfect time to try something called TRE, or Tension...

  • Julie Bowen's red carpet looks
    Julie Bowen's red carpet looks

    "Modern Family" actress Julie Bowen will be walking the red carpet as a fifth-time nominee in the supporting actress in a comedy series category, hoping for her third win. Here's a look at her awards show outfits through the years.

  • 'Okra,' 'Italian Kitchen,' 'My Paris Kitchen' are tasty summer reads
    'Okra,' 'Italian Kitchen,' 'My Paris Kitchen' are tasty summer reads

    Summer is the cruelest season for cookbooks. Caught between the spring fling and the holiday onslaught, it's easy for a good book to get ignored.

Comments
Loading