Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thoughts on Mothers & Planting Iris

Got up with the birds this Mother’s Day and flew to the computer, chirping with ideas, prepared to write long and lovingly about the wonders of motherhood, the joys of giving birth and the pleasures of potty training (my kid’s are grown so we’re talking about bleached memories).

But the birds' chirping got louder and more intrusive. Finally I stood up from my desk, pulled open the blinds and peered into the dark. No sight of birds on a branch, but the sound continued, louder. It came from the fireplace, which hasn't been cleaned since winter. I got down in the settled ash, craned my head up the chimney. The buggers had built a nest, probably in the chimney cap, and were raising a family practically in my living room.

Back to the computer with blackened hands for an Internet search of chimney caps and how to evict squatters turns up this advice:

1. Without a cap, rain will run into your fireplace and/or ruin your walls and ceilings.

2. Birds and other animals will enjoy the warmth of your chimney and possibly clog it with nests. The cap helps keep them out. (Not at my house.)

3. Metal chimneys are made of two or three layers of metal with air or insulation between them. Without a cap, water can get into these layers and cause premature failure of the chimney and other problems.

My Problem: Mesh on my chimney cap is too large and therefore nesters slip in undeterred. I check the time. At 4 a.m. on Sunday, Home Depot doesn’t open for three more hours.

Solution: Coffee on the back patio.

Next Problem: The 20-30 somethings across the street are having a tiff. Yes, 4:30 a.m. is early or late for such wrangling on my front lawn, but, hey. I’m not here to take the inventory of other people’s children, but really? Exchange went something like this:

“Let me in you @#!%&.” “#$%!
"You!”
“You piece of trailer trash!
 “You don’t know anything about my life!”
“I know you’re screwed up and selfish.”
“%$$hole!”
“Unlock this GD door or I’m calling Mom. Right now!”

4:30 a.m. Happy Mother’s Day! I’m glad they're not calling me mom.

By now, it’s getting on to 6 a.m. I stretch. More coffee and more thoughts about mothers. I hope my children are sleeping safely, grown men that they are. I think about my own mother, dead more than 20 years. I think about my sister, nieces and my granddaughter Ada (who’s coming from Wisconsin to visit in in June). I think about iris in late spring, about my sister-in-law Melanie and her mother, Kay.

Melanie sent a Facebook message the other day that included a photo of blooming iris and a thank-you to Kay for dividing the iris from her own garden, sharing them with Melanie, providing beautiful continuity, one generation to the next, one nest to the next, chirping and raising hell.

I suppose that’s the reason for Mother’s Day. Happy Day to everyone.

Look for me in the garden!