So, I can count the number of you who could possibly come to this on the thumbs of one hand, but just the same, I figure I'll mention it.
Every year I have a birthday barbecue, and this year it's the 12th of June. I've bought the charcoal, a new grill for the grill (um, the wiry metal thing for the weber kettle - there must be a better way to say that). The weather looks promising - not too hot, not too much likelihood of torrents of rain.
I've run the lawnmower over bits of the lawn tonight - I've got to go through and pick up the clippings tomorrow, weather permitting. The flower garden that looked so swell a few weeks ago already has grass growing in it. And big patches of the lawn are brown - perhaps a symptom of weeds and/or moss, perhaps a symptom of me being ambitious with chemicals that I shouldn't be playing with. I'm already steeling myself for friends giving me a hard time about the only croquet course with sand traps.
One of my coworkers informed me that he wouldn't be able to make it because his project has shifted into mandatory-overtime mode. I half-jokingly commented that if we worked for Big Dice Games, he wouldn't have to work. He took that to mean that my birthday would be a company holiday, and I like that idea. What I meant was that if I were in charge, I wouldn't be penalizing programmers for mistakes that the producers (or higher up) made.
Metaphor for life moment: So, I was mowing around the edges of my storage shed, and I'll admit I've been a little lax about that part of the yard (more lax than the rest, which really is saying something). There were daunting amounts of blackberry vines that I kept nibbling at the edges of. I've got photos here and here, but they fail to communicate the shoulder-high carnivorous mass of vines that I'm talking about. I'd come in from one side with the mower, and get a little bit, and come in from the other side, and get a little bit. Tonight, I was coming down from the uphill side, and got stuck. In front of me, probably 10 feet of blackberries. Behind me, a slippery slope that my mower was none too eager to take in reverse. I hopped off to try to push the mower up the hill, but no luck there - the thing's heavy, and it was where it wanted to be. I considered waiting until I next saw my neighbors, and getting them to help me push it, but I hardly ever talk to my neighbors. I considered that the mower might catch flame and burn itself and the blackberries to the ground - a fine solution to two problems, but I filed that under "Plan B". Eventually, I turned the mower back on and nigh-on literally plowed through the blackberries. Big old vines grabbing at my arms and legs, almost like that time that I broke up with that desperate octopus. The mower wasn't making much headway, but I was committed. I rocked side-to-side, to try to put more weight over the wheel that was slipping (damn you, differential transmission!). An inch here, an inch there, and suddenly the wheels hit solid ground and I burst out of the leafy maw of the blackberrybeast.
I took a few victory laps over the same area, and it's amazing to me how effective a couple of spinning blades powered by an inefficient gas engine can be at teaching blackberries who's boss.
I'm hoping that I can get in some time on the treadmill tomorrow morning around 7am, so that I can go out and get gas for the blackberrytamer before 9, so that I can clean up the grass from the parts of my lawn where grass wants to grow. Weather permitting.
I'm mostly not serious about this invitation - the nice thing about only giving you people a week's notice is that it's a really convenient excuse for not making the trip out here. But you know, if you wanted to make next year's party, it'll be about the same time. Mark your calendars. Bocce, croquet, burgers, volleyball, maybe some ice cream if I ever get my act together, huge pitchers of high-octane margaritas, impending storms, unexplained mystery bruises. Good times.