I wake early on these spring mornings, slip on black sandals, and creep outside in my pajamas.
From the safety of the front porch, I survey the enemy’s nighttime progress. I check the stronghold by Palm Tree # 1, and then Palm Tree # 2.
I cast a frown at the house across the street, where the enemy has clearly won the battle with a full-scale invasion, a veritable forest of flags flying high.
Such carnage will not happen on my watch, I declare, and then I charge out onto the grass with gloves and a sack, swiping up any new enemies and stuffing them into a sack.
I am a conqueror. I am in an episode of Game of Thrones. I am at war.
These damn dandelions.
They have me in battle three times a day. I sweep the lawn at 6 a.m., and by noon, three new flowers have sprouted from nowhere, grown 6″ and opened.
I carefully pluck them, trying desperately not to spread the seeds. If I swipe a dandelion bud that’s just about to open, I’m even more excited. I’ve stopped the enemy before it’s hatched.
After, I come inside and show my husband the casualties. I suspect that he thinks I’m insane.
I’ve always had a weed-pulling compulsion, but it’s simple Psych 101. My life is overwhelming, almost all of the time. There are looming deadlines, paperwork, subcontractors and staffers to manage, late shipments stuck in snow, and many things I cannot control.
I can control the weeds.
As any girl in battle would do, I call upon my father for help. When he was young, he owned a landscape company and always has the prettiest yard on the street.
“Dad,” I say, “What can I do about the dandelions? They’re killing me.”
“You need a healthy lawn,” he tells me. “It will choke them out.”
He is right, but this is not really helpful. At Camp Sterling, the “lawn” is some kind of strange antique scrub grass. It is not healthy. And get this: the sprinkler system is powered by a cord that goes through a drilled hole in the front wall of the house and plugs into the only outlet in my office.
We aren’t replacing the sprinklers or the lawn until the renovation is completed, so I research and learn that you can kill dandelions with boiling water, with lawn-safe chemical sprays, and with vinegar.
Oooh, I think, maybe that will keep the dogs away too. (Oh, and a PS: Our lawn recently received a truly revolting non-liquid deposit from a dog. I figured it was karma for this. The dog’s owner left it, by the way.)
I consider my dandelion weapons and decide against them.
I want to continue my highly satisfying war.
This morning there were only 2 yellow flowers. Zero white puffs.
This is my first such victory.
Score 1 for Jaimee the Conqueror.