Mulch madness.

It was the mulch that did it.

Before we moved to the suburbs, I thought gardening was a hobby for well-mannered senior citizens who wore long gloves and big floppy hats and pruned a bit each morning as they hummed their favorite oldies. I thought keeping up a yard meant mowing and watering. The End. I thought picking out lovely plants and keeping them in good shape just meant going to the nursery, saying "I'll take those, those, and those," and then they'd magically show up in our yard, and because I'm a spunky sort who doesn't need things done for me, nossir, I'd plunk them into neat holes that wouldn't be any problem to dig. Maybe I'd make Scott dig them, if the holes were large.

I was wrong on all these counts, of course. Planting and gardening involves science and heavy lifting. It involves endless weeding and finding out that your yard is composed of clay and unexpectedly large rocks. It means pulling muscles you never knew you had. Gardening is not for sissies. Those old people who like to garden? I wouldn't mess with them if you paid me, now. Who knows what they could do with a shovel?

But the mulch, damn it, the mulch was too much. I knew about mulch and its importance, vaguely, so the first time I planted some things I came home with a couple of bags of mulch—which were surprisingly heavy! Huh!—and proceeded to pull every muscle in my body dumping them out all over the garden bed, my feet, and most of my legs. I raked the mulch around, and then saw how little of the ground I had covered. And I wept.

It turns out, and I know you know this and you're shaking your head at what an idiot I am, you need truckfuls of mulch. You need to visit Mulch Planet, and fight the natives until they surrender or die, and then denude their Mulch Mountains and Valleys, and transport all that mulch directly to your backyard, and maybe that would be enough. So much mulch, you need.

And the mulch doesn't stay. It goes. And then you need MORE MULCH.

A sane person would say, well, we could have hired a landscaping company to do the lawn upkeep and the mulching for us. That would have been the sane, sensible thing to do, but it would also be the thing to do if we had any cash with which to do that. Sadly, if we were to keep our yard looking halfway decent, we'd have to perform the upkeep ourselves.

I thought I'd get used to the fertilizing, the pruning, and of course the mulching. But I never did. I'm sorry to say this, yard, but now I dislike you. I see you and you're just a nagging reminder of all that I need to do, all that I haven't done, or the half-assed job that I did do just to make myself feel better. And now that I've mulched everything in the front yard that required mulching and I can't lift my arms without screaming, I am officially over having a yard. I want to move to a magical place where I'm only responsible for the inside of my home. Where if I feel any guilt, it's just because I haven't used the vacuum cleaner in a week.