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Marriage survives yard project

July 8, 2012
The Herald-Star

One reason I've always liked working for a newspaper is because you see the fruit of your labor on a daily basis.

You start something. You finish something. And, boom, there it is. You gave it the old college try, you made the effort, dealt with the deadline, and another newspaper is off the presses.

You have rendered unto Caesar once again.

At the end of the day, when my head and pillow connect, I have a sense of deserving rest, of feeling content and entitled to call it quits for another day.

Oddly enough, yard work can be the same way, though I'd say I'm a far better newspaper person than I am any kind of master gardener or landscaper.

Most of the time, the only thing I can grow is angry at not having much of a green thumb or not being able to visualize the potential of a flowerbed beyond the weeds and wildflowers.

But Better Half and I gave it the old college try here last week when under a self-imposed deadline we decided to tackle a yard project where there once was this great big tree with some space around it suitable for plants.

The great big tree came crashing down last spring during a wind storm, leaving in its aftermath just a tree stump and a bigger space around it still waiting patiently for plants or someone with a little grow-something gumption.

So in the midst of last week's heat and humidity, Better Half and I came up with a not-well-thought-out plan.

Hey! Let's git-rr-done. Let's start a big outdoor project. Let's make a flowerbed or something out of this barren space.

I honestly didn't know midway through this decision if our marriage was going to survive because husband-and-wife projects done under deadline duress in high heat and humidity probably don't have a high success rate.

We forged ahead anyway, making more trips to the store and more decisions than I ever imagined.

What kind of flowers? How many flowers?

What color mulch? How much mulch?

What kind of border?

Plastic for weed control?

I am hard pressed in the grocery store's ice cream aisle to make an under 20-minute decision on whether to get waffle cones or sugar cones or tin roof sundae or moose tracks if that tells you anything about how much fun I am in the make-a-decision department.

But every day we somehow managed to make a little progress, even though we were probably the makings for a video on how not to do a flowerbed.

Every day we felt a little sense of achievement, that our weariness and filthiness from our fingernails to our feet was testimony to our effort.

In the end, we started something, finished something, and boom there it is. A flowerbed.

Plus we're still married and talking to each other.

Given that, I won't be in this space next week because I'm taking a well-deserved vacation.

I may need the extra time to think up something else we don't need to do under deadline pressure.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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