Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Demon Vine

Welcome to Part III of Peanut’s and my weekend of yard work, in which we spent many hours enjoying the fresh air and communing with nature. That is, until nature actually showed up, then we pretty much switched from Gentle Communing With Nature to Murdering Nature In Creative Ways. Of course, by “Nature” I mean “things with more than four legs”, which are, of course, completely expendable. Part I covers my historical fear of all things creepy crawly, and Part II illustrates what happens on the Scary Side of the House and how Peanut and I did NOT set the giant spider on fire.

We spent the rest of Saturday beginning to clean the backyard, then we went to dinner at a fabulous little Italian restaurant and saw a movie, returning to Peanut’s to sleep because I was going to get up in the morning and continue to aid her with the yard work, because my will to live had been effectively sapped by the Giant Spiders. (Yes, that is plural, and no, I am NOT going to talk about it.)

Sunday dawned and we began to continue our work in the backyard, which at this point consisted mainly of 5 things: 1. Raking leaves and other debris, 2. Bagging leaves and other debris, 3. Breaking down large sticks, 4. Cutting down a large dead bush, and 5. Freaking out and creatively killing Creatures. I pretty much took care of number 1, while Peanut worked on 3 and 4, and we would come together every half hour or so for number 2. (Number 5 is a whole other issue, explained below.)

So I am raking, and raking, and raking, and things are pretty ok. For some reason I was far more afraid of the side of the house than I was the backyard, and so if I just didn’t look very closely as I raked I pretty much did fine with any Creatures. However, after only a few minutes of raking, I realized that I had a problem. Throughout the backyard, woven insidiously through all of the bushes and shrubs and trees and whatnot, was a vine. But not your average, everyday vine. This vine had an agenda. This vine had an evil and vile purpose.

This was a Demon Vine.

And as I continued to try to rake around it, stopping roughly every three seconds to fight my rake free, bend over, and YANK on the vine, only to either be completely defeated by the vine NOT MOVING, AT ALL, or to barely stop myself from toppling over backwards as the vine sneakily snapped off in my hand right as I put my whole body into pulling on it, my battle with the vine became personal. And I mean, deeply personal.

So basically, poor Peanut is happily working her way through the yard, destroying sticks and trimming bushes, having no idea that I am now enacting a personal vendetta against a plant that I have personified to the point of evil in my head. Therefore, she had no idea what she had done wrong when she casually mentioned to me, “Oh, don’t bother pulling the vines in that corner, I am going to leave them there.”


Now, was I grateful that there was a whole corner of the yard in which I would no longer have to battle the vines? Was I accommodating because, after all, it is HER backyard and she pretty much has a right to tell me what she wants done to it? No, no I was not. In fact, I was hurt. Hurt and a little pissed, that after NINE YEARS of friendship, she had the NERVE to choose the DEMON PLANT over me. Like, this was some sort of personal attack or test of our friendship. (I had completely and totally gone batshit crazy, in case you hadn’t noticed.)

What I did do, however, is hand Peanut the rake, explaining that I would probably be less careful around the vines than she would (less careful? Hello, Gross Understatement. I wanted those vines dead. Brutally, violently dead), so she should probably do that area. And I tasted the sweet, sweet taste of victory and vindication when after a few minutes of close, personal acquaintance with the Demon Vine Peanut threw down her rake, declaring, “SCREW IT. FUCK THE VINES.”

Delighted, I responded by asking, “So… I can destroy them?”

Peanut: “Yes, fine. I don’t care. Stupid vines.”

And yes, now, days later and in the air-conditioned comfort of my office, I feel a little embarrassed about what occurred next. Because I didn’t just kill the vines, I gloated at the vines while I killed them. Because I had won.

However, in addition to Demon Vines, we also had to battle the Wasp and His Nest. Funny thing? You know my whole pathology in re: Spiders, where I freeze and shriek and move faster than the speed of sound and Peanut laughs at me? Yeah, turns out she has the exact same reaction to wasps. Which basically meant two things, 1. The wasp HAD to go, and 2. I had to be the brave one. Yeah, I know, I know, I don’t exactly inspire confidence. But I was still giddy off my defeat of the Demon Vines, and trust me, what I make up in bravery I gain in sheer creativity. So Peanut and I managed to kill the wasp and nest, using the following tools:

1. Plastic Bag from Target.
2. Garden Hose.
3. Mexican Hat Dance.

See, the nest was in the candle holder part of an outdoor lantern-on-a-stick type candle. So first we got the plastic Target bag and tied it around the end of the lantern. Therefore, we could no longer see the wasp, and he could no longer see us. However, he also could no longer fly out of the lantern and attack us, so we were a step ahead. Then we removed the stick part from the ground, and carried it to the now clean Scary Side of the House, where the hose lives. We then proceeded to fill the Target bag with water.

Now, this was the scary part, because even though I was being all brave and “aren’t we clever” in front of Peanut, I knew that this had a roughly zero percent chance of working. Simply, wasps don’t drown. Growing up, I had an in ground pool, and one year for biology we had to do a “Bug Project”, which- much like spider crickets- I believe was invented purely to fuck with me. But my friend and I tried to be brave during the part where we had to gather and identify and pin insects, and we discovered several nice specimens, including a giant wasp, in the water below a layer of ice in the cover of my pool. Got that?

Under water.

About 20 minutes after we brought it inside, the wasp started buzzing around. My friend and I locked ourselves in my bedroom, which was on a different floor, and stuffed a towel under the door, and waited in terror until her father got there.

Point being? Wasps don’t drown. However, I was hoping the water would at least stun it. Which it seemed to, enough for us to get the bottom off of the lantern and shake the wasp out, into the Target bag.

Which we then did the Mexican Hat Dance on, until the wasp and the nest were sort of a Creature Sludge.

Eventually, Peanut and I did clear the whole backyard. There are only 2 things that are worrying me now.

1. Rumor has it, next weekend there will be mulching.
2. Peanut just e-mailed me, and she has POISON IVY.

I’ll keep y’all posted.