Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

After years of hemming and hawing over the idea, Ol’ Robbo signed up this week with a lawn maintenance outfit to do the weed and feed routine at Port Swiller Manor, my own recent ineffective efforts convincing me it was finally time to call in the pros. What actually put me over the top? Well, outfits like TruGreen and ChemLawn have forever sent me flyers full of overviews and ending in “give us a call to schedule an appointment for a free estimate”. I don’t like that. On the other hand, the people whom I am trying sent me a proposal that said this is what we’d do, this is when we’d do it, and this is what it would cost you. I like that a whole lot better. (I signed on for a course of six treatments – at a deep first timer discount – running from early spring through late fall.)

Marketers, take note. (Relatedly, out of curiosity Ol’ Robbo went to the CarShield site to see what extended warranty protection on La Wrangler might cost him. I was hoping it would be a simple, anonymous “enter your make, model, and mileage and here’s your estimate.” Nope. They wanted a whole bunch of personal information and promised an agent would be in touch to discuss “options”. Fook off.)

Anyhoo, we shall see what happens. My fear is that once the weeding is done there’ll be nothing left to feed. Fortunately, this outfit can also do aeration and over-seeding, which I am sure they would be eager to sell me and, in all honesty, the yard really needs after my twenty years of not as who should say neglect, but more general feebleness. I know a goodish amount about properly growing and maintaining some things but grass ain’t one of ’em.

Back in the Before Times, Ol’ Robbo used to take a daily lunchtime walk round the National Mall. I used to love watching the grounds crew doing their seasonal work on the lawns and daydream about lifting the keys to their tractors with all the various nifty attachments and sneaking them out to Port Swiller Manor. “Honest,” I would imagine myself explaining if caught, “It’ll only take a few minutes to do my yard. I promise I’ll bring it right back!” Heh. (Perhaps since the place is currently fortified and crawling with troops to guard against the phantom bogeyman “insurgents”, maybe I could borrow their stuff.) This won’t be quite like that, of course, but then again I’m not aiming for the same results. But with moss all over the front yard and clover and whatnot all over the back, it’s time to take steps.