Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unintended Consequences

The law of unintended consequences may be related to Dominoes of Revenge. In this particular tale of woe, however, it's hard to say where kharma gets off sometimes.

Following the many blizzards of 2009 and 2010, the shrubbery on the side of my house had suffered some serious beatdowns. I ventured out with broom and hand - Nanook of the North, trudging across the tundra, mile after mile, mindful of the yellow snow while I labored to save a well tended 15 year-old hedge.

Spring came. It became apparent that the hedge had fought its last battle. No amount of propping, cropping or staking was going to save my fine english boxwoods that I had carefully elevated to a serene yet towering bonzai effect. They had to go.
As a lifelong student of the school of hard pruning yet a dedicated conservationist of sorts, I decided to give the stumps a fighting chance. After all, Boxwoods are like American Holly, requiring purposeful eradication or they always come back, a veritable Lernaean Hydra of shrubbery.

I have also been known as "Mr. 90%" for a good part of my existence. When the deed was done the heaps of pruned hedges lay suffocating the lawn below. Well that's alright, I said as I stood back to marvel at my work. I proceeded to go inside and let the lawn fend for itself.

The following weekend the grass needed to be cut. So I decided to make Mrs. Incredible proud and clear the heaps of offending brush, tossing them just beyond the path and into the woods. Mind you, I tend the forest, so in my mind this was a temporary condition allowing me to mow the lawn. But apparently, Mr. 90% was only pushing 93%.

I left for an hour and returned to discover in my absence that Mrs. Incredible felt the need to rectify the situation. There she was, sprawled on the couch, having suffered some indescribable trauma.

(They think this about everyone, by the way)

It seemed the brush needed to be further in the woods. Who knew just beyond where I tossed them was a massive, soon-to-be-pissed-off ground nest of the meanest, nastiest yellow jackets east of the Pecos? Now, having had this experience myself in the past (and also having 6 white-faced hornets stuck under my shirt at the tender age of 6) I knew it was no laughing matter.
At least right away.

Yes, she stepped in it alright. Stung no less than 30 times. She had never been stung in her entire life, so this was pretty serious. But not so serious she would go to the doctor. After all, we had expired Benadryl in the cabinet! And surprisingly, she didn't find it interesting that the yellow jacket can just keep on stingin' till you squash 'em!

Well, it took no less than 2 weeks for the swelling to go down. I'm thinking she's satisfied with the location of the brush now. I know I am.