As per usual we had about a week of spring here in the tri-state area before summer hit us full in the teeth. In between those two seasons we had about 10 days of rain (which is also the name of my Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band). Montclair now looks like a rain forest with lush lawns, flowering plants, big green trees, snakes roaming freely in the streets and bugs the size of your fist (I might have made a couple of those last ones up). The notable exception to this suburban Eden is my backyard, which resembles a mud pit.
Here's the deal, we recently had the backyard entirely redone by a lovely woman who I'll call the hippie gardener. Under the direction of my wife, this woman burned our old back yard to the ground and rebuilt it from scratch. Think of my backyard as a young marine recruit going through basic training except with more trees and shrubs.
As part of the deal we wanted to replace the old brick patio with a new flagstone (or is it bluestone?) patio. To make this happen, the hippie gardener introduced us to a mason who I'll call Nutjob. Nutjob came highly recommended and set to work immediately mapping out the new patio. My wife was handling most of the interaction with Nutjob, but for some reason he really wanted to meet with me to walk me through his plans. So I showed up and after discussing the merits of various types of bricks (I'm a big fan of the clinker brick!), Nutjob launches into a rant about the end of the world (this was pre-May 21st rapture) and how it has something to do with the Bible not liking gay people.
I never really know how to deal with situations like this because you understand that he's clearly insane, but also a supposedly great patio guy. So I did what I felt was right ... I basically said, well, if the world's going to end you better get moving on this patio. Oh, how we laughed ... then I pretended that my phone was ringing and had to take a "work call." Thankfully I only had to deal with Nutjob one more time when he showed me how the new patio (which looks amazing!) would drain properly.
Back to the hippie gardener. After breaking the spirit of the old backyard, the hippie gardener started to build it back up. She planted a bunch of bushes, a couple of trees, and really made it look great. Except for the lawn. That is where my idea of landscaping and hers diverged. I thought she'd just lay down some sod, I'd water the shit out of it for a few weeks and then we'd be done. Nope. She felt that seeding the dirt would provide a better long-term lawn solution. Which is fine I guess, but apparently you have to water the dirt three times a day to get these little suckers to grow and that turned our backyard into a pond since the grading was all out of whack. Even with that issue, grass eventually started to grow until we received the previously mentioned 10 days of rain (Freebird!) and the decision was made to re-grade the backyard and start again with the seeds.
So that's where we are now. The mud pit backyard is slowly growing a green lawn and the patio looks great. The new trees and bushes seem happy and I guess the next step is to get some new patio furniture so we can enjoy the summer in style.
P.S. A co-worker of mine has a lawn care business idea and she's looking for investors. The basic idea is "Hot College Girls Landscaping." She (this is a woman's idea remember) thinks that people will pay to have scantily clad college girls mow their lawns, etc. If you're interested in investing please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org