Gets to be 4 o’clock, I’m more than happy to let the kids watch PBS Kids. Am I a failure? Shouldn’t we be at the park, or library or something? We do plenty of that — orthodontist appointments, playing at the park, then walking home when it’s nearly dinnertime, running by the library or the store. Some days I just am toast and so are they.
I don’t know what the line-up is now for afternoon PBS kids’ programming, they changed the sked. It used to be something like “Arthur,” “Maya and Miguel,” “Cyberchase” and… something. “Ruff Ruffman”? They are ga-ga mad for Ruff Ruffman. I kind of like him, too. His corny jokes and all. Now it gets to be 6 o’clock, PBS Kids is over and still, no word from my kids. Being a neglectful mother, I’m thinking, good, more time for me to get dinner ready, or have another glass of wine. (Sad, really, me giving up booze re: heart issues. I like a glass of wine.)
A couple of weeks ago I popped into the office. They were in front of the TV, absorbed, and wouldn’t tell me what they were watching.
“Just sit down,” Wacky Boy says.
“What’s the show?” I ask.
“It’s the one show,” Wacky Girl says, eyes glued to the set. “With the two guys. You know.” (Irritated.)
Me: “No, I don’t know.”
“Shhh!” (both kids, in unison.)
You know which show it was? Are you guessing?
That’s right. It’s This Old House. (Which I thought was canceled, but in the 1907-2007 time warp that is My Old House, it’s still on.)
“Oh, this is the good part,” Wacky Boy murmurs. They’re demolishing a kitchen. He’s right, it is the good part. I am a sucker for a good demo, just ask my husband. (Who hissed at me at one point, “No. More. Demo’ing while I’m at work. Got it?”)
My husband walked in at this point.
“What are you guys watching?”
“Just sit down, Dad,” Wacky Boy says.
“Is it…” he starts.
Wacky Boy, gesturing madly, “No talking.”
This afternoon they were both watching PBS Kids again; Wacky Boy was home sick with a cold, which didn’t deter him much from being a maniac. The rest does him good — it means he’s not using the couches as trampolines.
“Good,” his sister tells him. “It’s Monday.”
“‘This Old House,’” he says. “Ready?”
Ready? We’ll be doing some modest landscaping in the front, more radical in the back, patio, two retaining walls, so this family can really enjoy their home, now let’s take a look at this bush out front. No, let’s not. It’s a beautiful bush — lush and green.
“They’re going to chop it down!” I say, horrified. (But not, because, you know. I’ve watched the show before. And I’ve been talking with realtors for the last week. We are now in negotiations because they want to sell our house for $12 and I think it’s worth more. I think it’s worth $15, minimum. “The market is so smooshy right now! You’ll be lucky to get $12 for it.” Argh.)
You think it looks healthy, from the outside, this bush, but the inside, look. (Obviously, it is healthy, it’s huge and verdant.) (They rip the bush apart.) All. Dead. Wood. (I think if you click on that link above you will see the bush in question.) It blocks the house! You can’t see anything out front but the bush! It must go.
“It’s not dead, it’s frickin’ healthy,” I say. “What do they know?”
Wacky Boy, satisfied, “Yep. They’re taking it down.”
Honestly, people who don’t know gardening have no busy selling houses or doing big exterior remodeling jobs. I spit on them.