Let the record show that since The Pony left home, forsaking his loving mother for COLLEGE, so far, far away that even her helicopter can't hover...the job of taking the trash dumpster to the end of the long, long driveway, and bringing it back down the next day, has fallen upon Val Thevictorian.
Puppy Jack has calmed a bit, and only jumps up on my legs a couple times each direction. In addition, I have added two more circuits of the driveway as a bit of exercise and brief respite from my dark basement lair. Every evening for the past month or so, I have joined the world of the tree pollen to take a hike. A hike that lasts a mere 15 minutes, but still a hike. The dogs come running. They celebrate like it's Mardi Gras. Without the embarrassing bead shenanigans, of course.
Every day, between 4:00 and 5:00, I hit the gravel. The exception being that time I was sick due to the Casey's clerk hand-coughing before giving me my pizza and change with her disease-riddled meathooks. Even though I just this week got over that 3-week crud, I only missed two days of walking, during the height of the lung congestion. Those two days fell upon a Saturday and Sunday. I was right back out the next Monday, on wobbly knees at a snail's pace, but making the effort.
That first day back was torture! "Oh, I'm so out of shape! This seems 10 times harder than it was Friday, and I'm pretty sure I had a raging fever then. But this is worse. Maybe I'm debilitated from my illness. The allergy index WAS in the orange zone. All that gunk in my lungs is making it hard to get a good breath. But why do I feel like I'm underwater? The lungs shouldn't affect my LEGS! This is SO hard!" But I kept with it. It wasn't any easier on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, when I had to pull the dumpster, it was excessively taxing.
I told Hick how weak I felt. Like I was walking on sand, if each grain of sand was an inch in diameter. He just said, "Huh. Well, you've been sick."
"It's almost like you did something to the driveway. It's not packed down any more."
"I didn't do nothin' to the driveway.'
Yet every day was as hard as the next for me to walk on it. I wasn't getting any better. But I kept walking. Surely I was just out of shape from being sick, like my loving husband suggested. It only took me a day and a week, but then I saw it.
No, not that cute little long-fellow standing guard. I'm talking about the ridge that's casting a shadow. Like an off-center center line down the highway of my driveway. In case you've never lived around gravel roads, let the record show that they settle. Tires make ruts that are pretty much just dust, while the gravel shifts off to the side, or stays in the middle. Grass grows up through the middle where tires don't tread. It makes a kind of flat mat of vegetation that lays undisturbed. In fact, that is the area I choose to walk on much of the length, because there are no rocks slipping around under my soles.
Here you see that my humped-up vegetation mat is gone. All the gravel is at the same height, except for that ridge. Which did not rise up by its own self.
So...I finally realized that Hick had been less than truthful with me. Every day I upped my interrogation tactics. AND HICK'S STORY CHANGED! I caught him in his web of lies!
After applying more pressure, about how I KNEW something was different about the driveway, Hick said...well...he had driven the Gator on it. I countered that he has done that before without messing up the driveway.
So Hick said that one of HOS's (Hick's Oldest Son) daughters had driven the Gator on it, too. I professed that it's not like she was fishtailing a stock car on it, throwing dirt clods out of the curves. A Gator shouldn't mess up a driveway.
THEN Hick said that he had also driven the lawnmower over it. I pointed out that he does this every time he mows, to get from one side of the yard to the other, and it does not disturb the driveway.
AND THEN Hick said that he had mowed the grass strip in the middle of the driveway. Which didn't make much sense, since it was more of a matted-down lichen kind of vegetation, and did not grow tall like a regular lawn, and was not even high enough for the blades to nick it.
Uh huh. Too much evasiveness. I swear Hick used the blade on the driveway. Whether by tractor or by lawnmower, which came with all kinds of attachments for the $1700 he spent on it without telling me. Problem is…where it used to be a rut on each side, almost down to dust, it’s now all loosey goosey with gravel. It’s hard to keep from turning an ankle or having a knee wobble on that stuff now. Oh, and where I used to walk in the middle on the grassy part…there are now odd rocks there the whole length of the driveway.
AND on Sunday, Hick tried to tell me another whopper. I pointed out that I KNEW he did something, because rocks don’t lay on top of the grass and grow up as it does. YES THEY DO, Hick insisted. How do you THINK rocks get there? Um…the rocks are there, and the grass grows up through the cracks. He was having none of it, insisting that grass lifts up the rocks as it grows. I don’t know what kind of a 15th-rate physics teacher he thinks I was, but grass does not lift rocks as it grows!
I'm pretty sure Hick is at least plotting for me to pull up lame. You've heard what they do to horses with that problem, haven't you?