I first noticed how neglected my house looks outside when I had the roof replaced in January. Walking around the house with the roofing contractor, I noticed things I had just never paid attention to before, because my late husband, Jerry, took care of them. My house clearly needs pressure washing to clean mold and mildew off the siding. My yard and gardens are full of debris, mostly from my plentiful pine and oak trees. I have an area in the back where I dumped lawn debris last year. I need a guy with a truck who can take that – and more junk from the garage – to the landfill.
I didn’t realize how stressed I was until I made a list of who and what I need. Clarity! The relief I felt then made me realize how happy I will be when all the action items, or at least most of them, are completed. I don’t have to do all these things myself. There are people who do them for a living! Friends at my book club meeting last week came through for me, suggesting several individuals or businesses that did just what I need.
Last year I did quite a lot of weeding in the back yard, and planted a few things in the vegetable garden Jerry had made. I ended up pulling up flowers in the flower garden that I thought were weeds and failing to grow any vegetables in the vegetable garden. This year my strategy is different. Jerry’s vegetable garden will go fallow. Anything I want to plant will be in a container, including flowers in my barrels. That way I can place them to assure they will get enough sun, which was the major problem last year. I might plant tomatoes, but chances are I will only plant parsley, which I use a lot in cooking.
I love harvesting vegetables, which we grew in a large garden at our previous home in Virginia. Digging potatoes is just plain fun, and asparagus is like a miracle shooting straight up out of the ground. But gardening is just not my thing. I harvested; I did not do much weeding. I helped to plant, if Jerry asked me to, but the garden was really his.
Now I am faced with roses in front and back that I have no interest in managing. Jerry planted so many things, most of which are perennials. If they will grow on their own, fine. If they need help, forget it. Some have gotten completely overgrown. I am hoping my “guy with a truck,” or somebody else, will take care of them. Still haven’t pinned that person down. I did take some time to pull vines off the azaleas in the front yard, which resulted in a run-in with a tick, which I found on the back of my leg at 2:30 in the morning. I go a little crazy around bugs sometimes, and I knew I could not go back to bed with that tick on me, but I managed to scrape it off with a fingernail.
Since Jerry died, I have noticed that I get stressed when I am faced with decisions in areas that I am not familiar with, jobs that he hired someone for or did himself. I feel like a fish out of water until I give myself a good talking to. This is not rocket science. You can do this. Every time I make a little progress I pat myself on the back. I am pleased that I bought a new laptop for myself, by myself, a couple of weeks ago. I did research with Consumer Reports, picked the one I wanted and went out and bought it. It was much easier to set up than in the old days, because so much is wireless these days. Now if I could only stop fat-fingering the keys I’ll be set.
So I have come to the understanding that it is all on me, which is okay. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s freedom! Freedom from others’ expectations, freedom to work – or not – in the yard, freedom to satisfy only myself. Although I have to handle everything, I feel real satisfaction when I succeed. If I run into difficulties, I will have to learn to ask for help. And continue to tell myself, just do it.