While Tim and I were overseas my parents came to stay in our house, mainly to take care of the dog. Mum asked me to write down some instructions before we left- the number for the vet, how to use the Blu-ray player, and that sort of stuff.
I sometimes overachieve when it comes to unimportant stuff, so we ended up leaving them with a 30 page booklet entitled How to keep the dog alive (or have fun trying). It had pages of shopping advice, scans and diagrams of our many remote controls, and two chapters that were dedicated to Dad:
Things that Dad is allowed to fix; and
Things that Dad is absolutely not allowed to fix.
My Dad is a handyman, and sometimes when handymen run out of things to fix they start to fix things that are perfectly okay. That’s how we’ve ended up with new caulking in the kitchen and bathroom, assorted lengths of wire and wood, empty bottles with assorted potential, and lightbulbs which have been rotated to achieve maximum efficiency.
One thing we forgot to mention in either chapter of our booklet was the garden, so Dad took it as an invitation to improvise. When we left it was the end of Winter so the days had been short for a long time and there were some weeds that we’d left alone for a while. Other than that we thought the garden looked pretty good.
Dad thought differently. He started pulling a few weeds the day he arrived, and by the time we came back the garden was transformed.
The weeds? The slow ones were murdered quickly, and those that remained understood their fate and quietly called themselves a cab. Then Dad noticed that a church down the road was giving away free mulch so he used our wheelie bin to make trip after trip (after trip!) to bring it all home. Once the garden was beautifully mulched he added a few plants, and then realised that what we really needed was a little brick path inside our front gate. He found some bricks from a building site down the road and carried them home.
The garden looks beautiful, and he’s so proud of his hard work that he bugs me every second day for photos of the roses.
Since returning home I’ve been throwing myself into the other half of our yard, which is around the back of the house and entirely paved and concreted. It’s the part of the yard that is actually private enough to hang out in, but since there’s not a blade of grass out there it’s not the most inspiring place to be. We had some pot plants out there, but they were mostly ignored through Winter.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been reviving the plants that held on, and adding new ones to the mix. I used a bunch of half wine barrels to create some levels and now they’re bursting with colour.
My Dad is taking all the credit, but that’s okay.
He started it.