Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In Which I Am Not Amused

I braved the flood-water mosquitoes to pay a little visit to my lovely hollyhocks this afternoon and I saw my first Japanese beetle of the season.

Ask my family what this does to me. They will tell you that I spend an inordinate amount of time patrolling my flower beds with a cup of soapy water, knocking those little buggers into it and reveling in their bubbly demise. They will tell you that I come down stairs in the morning ranting about how much of the flowering crab has been skeletonized by them in the last day. They will tell you that I cruise the Internet looking for something I could spray on them that won't harm the cats or the bees. They will tell you that when I've been especially lucky with my beetle murdering, I crow about how many I offed this time. I will be behaving in this obsessive way for the next month.

I just hate those things. Why didn't they just stay in Japan?

Then, I glanced out my front window and saw a guy from the water company spraying blue paint marks on our front lawn and flagging various spots. I went out and asked him (politely) what all this meant. He answered, "Progress!"

"Progress that involves digging up my yard?"

"Yes, but then the whole neighborhood will have fiber optic cable!" He was so cheerful about it.

Now. I'm not against progress. But in this neighborhood it somehow always means a month or two of jackhammers and trenching machines right in front of our house, and, this time, clearly up into the yard. We can pretty much count on this about every other summer. Can't someone else be the victim of progress just this once?

Anyway, I was feeling pretty darn sorry for myself. Then I opened up the new Newsweek that had just arrived today. And I realized, you know, the Japanese beetles are not as bad as having the Mississippi River running through my living room for days at a time. New fiber optic cable was a sign that our utility infrastructure was indeed progressive, unlike the "health care " system in Malawi, where the per capita spending to keep people alive and well is $12.00 a year. And the pain we are all feeling at the gas pump is pretty bearable compared to Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate is 3 million per cent annually.

So, come on, Joyce; try to find a way to buck up under hardship, will you?


Green Bean said...

I was going to commiserate at how the utility company dug up my cover crop last year but you make a good point. I guess it could be a lot worse. Thanks for the perspective.

Donna said...

There's nothing like a worldwide perspective to put things in their proper place.

Sorry about the beetles, though. In Oregon it's slugs and they can eat a ton overnight. Andrew thought it was really funny the time I made "slug soup," but it didn't work. Only one slug fell in and drowned. Back to the Sluggo.

Joyce said...

GB- At least I don't have anything special planted out there. Actually, that's why I don't do more landscaping out front; I know it's gong to be dug up repeatedly. Apparently there is something under the parking strip that hooks the whole neighborhood together. One of those things you don't know when you buy a house.
Donna- sometimes I just have to step back and remind my self, when I'm tired of dealing with the same-old same-old, that my little struggles are nothing compared to what some have to deal with. Attitiude adjustment needed.

eco 'burban mom said...

They are doing the same thing in our neighborhood. Every 8 feet they did a big trench and bury more cable. Though, you are absolutely correct. It could be so much worse. I need to keep reminding myself that I am indeed one of the lucky ones!

Rose said...

Very true! I remember when I was complaining about my wet basement at the beginning of the month, and then I saw the floods in Iowa and along the Mississippi. The little problems just don't seem so significant then.

I can relate to your Japanese beetle problem, though. You would think there would be some predator that would like to eat those things!

Thanks for the tip on the local photo blog--I especially love all the nature scenes. I'll have to bookmark this site.

Joyce said...

Rose, I love those pictures too, especially the ones with the gorgeous skies- that's what I love about living here, the skies.

Nan said...

I know, I know things could always be worse, but I HATE them, too. We didn't have them until a few years ago, and now they are everywhere. I found them on pea and bean leaves the other day, and they are eating the heart out of my rosa rugosas. Gentle little vegetarian me gets great pleasure out of killing them. :<)

Joyce said...

Nan, it's scary how much I relish killing them. They've taken the fun out of midsummer gardening.