• 34°

Coffee with Mimi: This and that

By MIMI BECKER

Community columnist

There is a local individual who comments on social media about just this and that. The offerings are always astute and thought provoking. And, often hilarious. I may be mistaken in saying his missives appear irregularly.

I do apologize that I am employing his format. Just this and that. In a time in which stringing together a series of unrelated thoughts is more likely than not.

For the duration of this situation, rules are important. The health officials said “no travel.” I did not. Until this week. This week I crossed a county line. Brazenly, more than one. It was five.  One way. I’m back now. It was surreal.  

I’ve been lucky to have travelled in foreign countries. The first time I was abroad, the world was a different political place. Each time a traveler approached a border between two countries, it was necessary to stop. There were barricade arms to encourage the point. Have your passport at the ready for the uniformed person to check your story.

Some people would consider this to be intrusive. It was great. I was young and completely thrilled to pass over my official documents. Like a little child, I wanted my passport stamped.  Every time. Once, leaving the continent on the return to England, the guy with the stamp and ink pad casually glanced at my passport and handed it back to me. What? No stamp? Please, stamp my passport. He informed me they didn’t really care if I was going back where I came from. I suppose I wasn’t their problem anymore.

Come on, please stamp my passport. Nobody checked my documentation at any point on this momentous trip this week. I felt a little cheated. It was a big deal. I had my license ready.  

With gas prices so nice here and not so where I was going, I thought it would be wise to top off the tank before the journey. My “distance to empty” feature on the dashboard indicated a pretty pitiful miles per gallon calculation. Makes sense. I’ve been stopping, idling, and starting, exclusively, for over two months. Based on that pattern, it would be necessary to be on the prowl for a fuel source on the return leg of the trip.

The picture improved, though my miles around the big city weren’t efficient, it looked like I would make it home, and out of the way of ugly pump prices, safely. Sure enough. My car is amazing.  I pulled into the home stretch and immediately picked up 70 miles to empty. Now, there’s a selling point for a vehicle. Back to the garage.

Same old song. Yard work and spring. Usually, I have a love – hate relationship with mowing the yard and general clean up jobs complicated with weather noncompliance and other responsibilities in the spring. I have not been neglecting my professional role, but tasks are approached and completed in fits and starts. Webinars and Zooms and video calls present a different timetable. But, what a break for my yard!  

I don’t mind mowing the yard. It is a great way to pile on the steps. However, and I know some have witnessed me at this very awkward task, there is one area of the yard which poses a serious challenge. Yes, it is right on the main, heavily travelled road in front of our house. Right at the sidewalk, there is a quite steep incline. Dangerously steep.

I am sure, even though my mower has all the safety features, that I will be pulled into the road by a runaway lawn mower or I will be found flat on the ground with the thing on my foot. Sure, I can use the trimmer for the hill. I do a terrible job on the hill. I leave gouges and tufts of grass all along the length.

A year ago, I gave in. Call in the professionals and get rid of the hill. Shows how little I know about landscaping and trees. No can do. That beautiful, huge tree in the middle of the yard is a problem. Well, I will never sacrifice a tree, even for a neatly, safely trimmed front hill.

Nature took care of the tree in February. Landscapers took care of the hill in April. A bonus feature of the project is the incredible berm in the back of my yard courtesy of all that dirt from the front of my yard. I hate to waste anything. Why haul away something useful? We planned a fence along the back. Now we got one with no effort on our part.

It has been a month since the dirt moving operation. I look to the back of the yard from my kitchen windows and see the next big project. Oh, yes. Now I have an additional yard project to add to my list. This thing is a process. The dirt has to settle, the grass has to be killed off, the slope has to be groomed and planting has to be devised.

But, I don’t have to worry about losing body parts on the front yard hill.