Summer has arrived in Omaha, Nebraska. To some, the arrival of the warm months means swimming at the lake, picnicking in the park, or listening to music at outdoor concerts. But to me, summer means I must begin guarding my pruning shears twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week from my husband who is obsessed with trimming everything but his nose hairs.
On a recent afternoon, I heard my husband rustling around in the garage. I ran out to investigate and found him tip-toeing out of the garage with the pruning shears stuffed under his shirt. “Where are you going?” I asked suspiciously just as the pruning shears fell out of his shirt and to the ground with a loud clatter.
“Ohhhhh, I just thought I’d do a little thinning in the backyard,” he answered nonchalantly as he picked up the shears.
Experience had taught me well. I followed him as he sauntered over to a tall bush next to our house. As he lifted the shears to begin cutting, I yelled, “WAIT! Do you have a game plan?”
He looked at me like I was crazy. “Game plan?” he laughed. “I’m going to cut out all these branches over here,” he waved his arms about in no general direction at all, “and then I’m going to cut all these branches over there,” he waved his arms around again, “and then I might thin out the middle of the bush.”
I knew there was no turning back now. As he began cutting, I remembered back to my childhood when my mother used to give us haircuts in the kitchen. Each time she began cutting my bangs, I held my breath and hoped for the best. With each snip, I could see her frustration building. “If I could just get these straight,” she’d say as I watched clumps of hair fall to my lap. I should have known not to trust her when I saw her concentrating so intently on my bangs that her eyes crossed.
Finally, after what seemed to be hours, she’d smile, seemingly happy with the result. As she handed me the mirror, I silently prayed for a miracle. After I slowly summoned the courage to open my eyes and look at my reflection, the mirror revealed bangs exactly one inch long (and that may have been a slight length exaggeration). Once again, I realized that it was a mistake to let my mother handle sharp objects.
While I had been distracted with my childhood memories that had obviously caused me years of therapy, my husband had chopped a hole in the middle of the bush large enough for an entire host of sparrows to build a community of nests. “What is this?” I asked while waving my arms wildly about in no general direction at all.
“Just trimming the innards,” he chortled.
“But there’s a giant hole right here!” I pointed.
“Oh,” he said, “Well, let me just fix that up right now.”
I closed my eyes. It was too painful to watch. Branch after branch landed at his feet until finally, he announced he was done. I opened my eyes and gasped. “Doesn’t it look great now?” he said proudly. Our six-foot bush that once had hundreds of branches was now twelve inches high with just three barren twigs sticking out of the ground.
I sighed as I wondered why there wasn’t a warning on all pruning shears that said, “Do not operate without wife’s supervision.” At this rate, it was going to be a long summer.
Later that afternoon, I decided to take matters into my own hands and managed to find a great hiding place for the pruning shears where he’ll never find them—in the cupboard with the cleaning supplies.
Unfortunately, the weed wacker is just too big to hide.
Do you have any tales of gardening gone awry? Share them below!