15 September 2008

I do not live in Sunset Magazine.

Every single year for Christmas my mom (Hi Mom!) gives me a subscription to Sunset Magazine. The Guide to Living in the West. If you are a perfect, secret Martha type but look super hot wearing yoga pants to the Farmer's Market, this is your guide. Sunset has a sunny, low key vibe and remodeled houses that were once humble but now nine trillion times better houses than anywhere I will ever live. Yet still livable and casual and breezy. It's always breezy there in Sunset. Oh and the homeowners, they did the work by themselves but we suspect they are totally lying. Stunning, yet casual photography of all said projects. And the type of houses that are usually not mansions. Houses like mine but so so so much better and bigger and cooler and probably snickering at my house behind their bungalow and mid century new front doors.

Lots of landscaping in the Sunset. The cult of the Outdoor Room. Everyone has little couches and pergolas and patios and the right plants that look artfully disheveled on the flagstone and vintage brick pathways. And here is where my delusion took me for a ride about 10 years ago. I was still being a for hire Art Director and loudly demanding giant buckets of money to work insane long weeks of no sleep for dot coms doing Branding and Visual Design. Which meant giant paychecks then periods of unemployment during which you pay the giant taxes on the now dwindling paychecks and spend the rest before going on to the next dotcom begging to throw you some money into your money bucket. Maybe spending weeks with a shaved head, flip flop wearing CEO debating whether the parrot's feet look FRIENDLY enough and is his pirate hat at a rakish enough angle. A lot of teeth grinding. Yelling. Demeaning work for an Artiste but the whole buckets of money thing, seductive.

Somehow during all this, I also decided I was a landscape designer and also had the super human powers that would allow me to do all the work and labor of my designs on my entire back yard. Which prior to this delusion was a tree and cement. I believe delusions came as a result of all the door slamming and screaming at caffienated little stock option whores when they decided that the flying saucer should actually be a VW bus and can it be done by tomorow. Or being told, WE REALLY REALLY REALLY LIKE PURPLE AROUND HERE by newly minted millionaires younger than me. Or make it edgier, but not that edgy. Or archie. Wait, arty, not archie. How about make it Purple? My friends, I was losing my mind. Me with Timmy under my arm, taking conference calls. Oh man. The conference calls that made me want to claw my eyes out with the nearest decapitated plastic horse leg. You get it? I moved to Crazyland, peoples.

Uh, where was I?

I am a Landscape Designer! I feel the earth! Rototilling. Cement jackhammering. Tree murder. Dirt adding. Much using of shovels and wheelbarrows. Hauled rock and acquired plants here and there and built a hill and in my shrimpy yard the size of a Kate Moss's little tummy. Guys, no dog agility here 10 years ago. Outdoor Room! There was a lush jungly section with ferns. Cactus area. Trees. Fountain. Outdoor rooms! Flagstones not quite level. Plants that came from finding in the street. Sort of not looking so Sunset somehow. Everything I touch, usually goes that way. Laura is our...(here is where the long pause comes in) Quirky friend. Quirky nice way to say, god, just looks insane. Why does she hang those silver reindeers from the TREES???

Over the years, the gardening thing just grew tiresome. Thought we were moving a couple years back and just sort of let it go to hell. Outdoor room my ass. Try dead and brambly weeds if we're lucky. Hill sort of became the dirty silt that washed away in the rains. And, let's just drive that last sharpened chopstick through my heart, the gophers attacked this year.

There were always a few. Lovable little rats that hopefully the cat and dogs will rip a limb from and send on their way. Not a big deal. Until they had some kind of abstinence educational promotion in their gopher high school where there were no dinosaurs in the gopher science books and they all got pregnant at once and then there are millions of them. Taking over the universe which lives under my dead plants. Which is a universe of secret tunnels and likely houses nicer than mine the way the little rodents seem to be working. Like you take a step on any part of our yard now and you feel like maybe you are going to drop 1000' feet down to the center of the earth.

My extermination crews? A joke against these armies. Some general I turned out to be. Deployment of extra neighborhood cats gets us nowhere. They mock me, or actually don't. They don't care about humans. They just care about tunneling out every bit of dirt under my yard. Dogs don't catch them anymore, don't see the cat with them. They're so deep. Dogs just frolick at the site of little wiggling chunk of crab grass, pounce on it, and go back to sleep in the sun.


Anonymous said...

I love the gopher drawings!!! Put them on etsy so I can buy them and maybe give one to Tash!!

team small dog said...

Your every wish is my command.

Elf said...

Hah, I once thought I could do landscape design and interior design, too! Took some classes. Bought tons of books! Anyone who saw my house or yard in connection with any kind of "design" would run screaming in the opposite direction. Maybe that's why we all do agility now: There is no "design" in agility.

Anonymous said...

You need team small evil white dog... the gophers who did dare to enter our yard were quickly dispatched and we have the craters to prove it:) No worry about snakes either. They take care of those too.