It’s a Saturday morning in April. Spring is in the air. But so is snow. And it’s on the ground. And I’m wondering about my dandelions. Will this untimely last blast of winter compromise these loyal harbingers of warm weather that have never failed to rear their ugly little heads?

In truth, they are really not that unappealing to the eye, but we have labeled them weeds, and so they must be eliminated or we bear the scorn of our neighbors—even risk a note from the homeowners’ association. In my cul de sac, we call it the Yellow Alert.

I used to have a theory that there was no need to put down a weed preventative because everyone else in my neighborhood performs the pre-emergent ritual. I figured there was no chance for my lawn to become taken over. I mean, where would the nasty seeds come from? My theory, of course, was tragically flawed—though I am unclear why—and by April every year the yellow dandelion blooms are poking up out of the ground, taunting me to respond to their infestation.

I go out with my trustworthy weeder, carefully slide the device under the root system, and pop the whole pesky plant out of the ground. I am ashamed to admit this, but I enjoy the process. Annihilating an evil is liberating, especially when the enemy has spread in total defiance.  By the way, I refuse to spray Roundup on the offender. You would never see Arnold Schwarzenegger squirt the enemy.

 Here’s what drives me crazy: after I extract every single dandelion on a typical morning, I go into the house, read the paper and have breakfast. Two hours later, there they are again, sunbathing on our front yard.

Where did they come from? How did they get there? There is no evidence of my possessing a green thumb anywhere else. Last year I reseeded a small area on the side of the house where the grass had died. I watered and fertilized. The patch was in full sun, the perfect conditions for the sprouting of new turf. Nothing happened. Bare as a baby’s…you get the point. But on my driveway a perfect dandelion sprouted in a crack in the concrete.

I am perplexed by the dandelion’s ability to magically reappear, so I am obsessed with seeing one pop up and bloom before my very eyes. And that’s why I stare intently through the front door window, hoping to see the actual blossoming of this ubiquitous intruder. This made Mary Ellen very suspicious, so I stopped using the binoculars.

Maybe the dandelions know I am watching and they wait for a lapse in my attention.  Perhaps I am not very observant.  My son, for example, went from 21 inches at birth to 70 inches in 16 years. I never saw him budge.

I still plan to keep an eye on my front lawn. Uh oh, it looks like I have to mow the grass again. Funny, I never saw that coming, either.


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Every night at dinner my wife and I ask each other, “What are you doing tomorrow?” I’m not sure why we do that. We never to listen to the answer. In the morning we repeat the question. Then later that night when we both arrive home, we ask again: “So…what did you do today?” We get the same response as before, but it’s always fun to hear it for the first time.

We are both retired from full-time work, yet my wife is still constantly busy. She always has something to do. I, on the other hand, sometimes have nothing to do. I mean NOTHING. Honestly, I look forward to that. I try to run every errand the day before it’s scheduled, take care of any obligation related to my part-time work at WISH-TV, and make sure my column is written early. Then I can wake up in the morning and when Mary Ellen says, “Tell me again, what are you doing today?” I can say: nothing. And when she gets home at 6:00 p.m. and asks, “What did you do today?” Once again, I can say: nothing, or better yet, absolutely nothing.

My friend Bob is retired. I often call him, but he’s seldom home. I figure he’s doing something. So, just this morning, when I successfully managed to have absolutely nothing to do, I called him. “Hey, Bob. I can’t believe you’re home. What are you doing?”

“Nothing, what about you?”

“Hey, that’s exactly what I’m doing. And I thought I was the only one who was that lucky.”

“Dick, when I say nothing, I don’t literally mean nothing. I’m paying some bills, doing a couple loads of laundry, cleaning out the car. You know, nothing, really.”

“You call that nothing? That’s something. Don’t you know anything about nothing? Now, I am really doing nothing.”

“Look, are you bored, Dick? Do you want to do something?”

“No, Bob, that’s the whole point. I want to have nothing to do with you.”

“Well, you don’t have to get nasty about it.”

I had had enough of Bob. I called my wife. She always wants to know if I’m up to something. “Mary Ellen, it’s me. I wanted you to know I am home right now and I really have nothing to do.”

“You’re at home where the lawn needs to be mown, the back deck needs to be washed, and the garage needs to be cleaned… and you say you have nothing to do? I’d like you to get all that done before I get home tonight. Now go do something.”

Mary Ellen kind of put a damper on the whole darn day. Now, all of a sudden, I have like nine things to do. I guess I better get started on my chores.

I might as well. After all, I have nothing else to do.

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