Every year my sister and I struggle to come up with something to give our mother for Mother’s Day. She’s retired and, like most older people, is trying to get rid of stuff rather than accumulate it, so we can’t give her things. Even before she retired, she didn’t want us to give her things because anything she wanted or needed she’d buy for herself.
My sister’s go-to gift is usually flowers. Our mother loves cut flowers so it’s a safe buy. My go-to gift was orchids because (a) our mother grows orchids and (b) refused to buy anything other than Cattleyas so I had pretty much free reign to get others that she liked but wouldn’t buy, like Lady Slippers. But she’s pretty much stopped her gardening, so that’s out.
She insists that her kids not buy gifts (she reluctantly accepts the flowers because, well, they just show up and she can’t do anything about it) so I need to be creative. Over the last few years, I’ve taken to doing yardwork for her for Mother’s Day. Though she lives with me and not vice versa, she pays closer attention to the yard than I do. I’m pretty much a plant-and-leave-the-things-alone kind of guy, other than pulling the occasional weed. Or 500. So I do yardwork for my mother because she doesn’t like living in a house with a yard that looks like the house has been abandoned.
It’s not much of a gift but it’s something I can do that she’ll see and appreciate. This isn’t the usual mowing the lawn or raking leaves or anything; that’s just regular maintenance that I do, often after a particularly annoying client leaves a message asking me to do something. What I do is trim the bushes and iceplant. Cutting iceplant itself is more regular than special, so even that doesn’t count.
But trimming bushes does. When you live in an area that doesn’t get much water, plants of course grow more slowly. Slow growing plants means trimming bushes and trees is more an annual than bi-weekly affair. I trim the bushes in front of her bedroom so she can see out the windows (and, truth to tell, so she can surreptitiously spy on the neighbors).
Today was the day I decided to give my mother her “gift,” and trim the bushes. So after finishing off some work, I went out and trimmed the bushes. I have an electric hedge trimmer.
One of the cords I use is an annoying one that got pretty twisted up because I never really learned how to loop a cable or cord properly (did you know that looping it around your arm isn’t the best way? Oh, the things you’re taught in Boy Scouts!). I went about trying to trim the bushes and the blasted cord got in the way. I managed to keep it away from the trimmer’s teeth.
(If I haven’t telegraphed it to this point, you probably can see where this is going by now.)
At some point, just as I happened to near finishing the chore, put the finishing touches on my ‘gift,’ I got the trimmer too close to the cord.
I bitched and moaned and my mother found a new cord she’d bought at Walmart some time before.
I set out to trim the rosemary bush at the edge of the house. Paying closer attention, this time I made sure the trimmer stayed away from the cord. Some of the more nettlesome rosemary branches were my targets, the ones in danger of rooting themselves to the ground. I stopped the motor so I could kick away the cut branches and see what else needed cutting.
The cord slipped in between the teeth as I leaned forward to kick away the branches.
That’s why I bought my mother extension cords for Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day!