Sunday, May 27, 2007

My Ass Is Grass

Even though all I seem to do on this here blog is talk a lot of horseshit about movies and clothes and the really stupid embarrassing things that I seem to do on a daily basis, in real life I do have concerns that go beyond those things. Really, I do. I know it's hard to believe that I'm not just walking around worried about the way that my living room is color-coordinated 100% of the time, but I'm not. Maybe 80 or 90% tops. But still, I have plenty of other concerns. Worldy concerns. Philosophical concerns. Existential, political, all of it.

A big topic around my house these days is climate change. And before I even get into this I can assure you that I am not about to suggest to anyone that they use one sheet of toilet paper per use. I don't care if Sheryl Crow does that; she must not be doing any sort of number one-ing or two-ing of normal human proportions. Still, climate change is a big conversation in the Librarian Girl/Nordic Boy household. We've always been of the green persuasion, but now that we have our very own house, the conversations have escalated to where we're talking about it on the daily. Nordic Boy, I have to admit, is the more informed of the two of us because of his sustainable builder, engineer mind. I may think that having an energy efficient house is like, really cool, but he's the one that can tell you all about what system is the best, and oh, how to BUILD IT. That guy will tell you the R-value of your favorite slippers on your feet, he's so into this stuff. But still, we are both on board for this whole eco-stuff (see how I'm not the technical one? "Eco-stuff"? I mean, really).

A lot of the stuff we do is completely intuitive and common sense. Use less gas, live in a smaller space, buy local food, energy-efficient light bulbs, yadda yadda. No problem. Piece of cake. But then, a line was drawn. Nordic Boy presented an idea to me, and I balked. Complete and total resistance spewed forth from my pores. And it wasn't about giving up a food that I like. Or about cutting back on a luxury I was addicted to. It was about my YARD.

If you've been reading my blog for very long, you know about my new yard. It is a big shitty dirt pile that the previous owners neglected and so now Nordic Boy and I have the monumental (not even exaggerating) task of making it presentable. Add to this my need for things to LOOK NICE and the task becomes even more daunting. I have spent many months, as we have been cleaning up in preparation to start planting stuff, dreaming about what my yard will look like when this is all said and done. I had a vision, people. A dream.

Nordic Boy: You know, we should really think about planting our yard with things that are low-water use.
Me: Totally. I am down. Sign me up.
Nordic Boy: You know what's not low-water use? Especially with our soil make-up? Grass.
Silence. Silence. Silence.
Me: What?
Nordic Boy: Look, I've made some sketches of what our landscaping would look like with all native, low-water use plants. You'll still be able to walk on it. It will still be all green and lush. Just with native ground cover. Not grass.
Nordic Boy: Hey, look on the bright side! No mowing!

Who knew this was where my eco-friendly lifestyle would come to a screeching halt? Grass! It was the thing I could not let go of. I come from the Midwest, where people, even people who don't have a lot of money, have impossibly large lawns of grass. As a kid, I rolled around in grass, ran through grass, picked dandelion bouquets for my mom out of the grass. I am a lover of grass! Who knew? Had you asked me hypothetically what my feelings were on grass before this, I would have thought you were crazy. Who has an opinion about grass? Weirdos, that's who. Well, here I am, weirdo grass lady.

The no-grass conversation started last fall. Smart guy, that Nordic Boy. He knew I needed time to mull this over. And the sketches he presented to me-- very convincing. His landscape ideas were certainly gorgeous. Over the winter, I read articles about grass. I looked up alternatives to grass. And you know what? I got used to the idea. It took me about six months of grass-grieving, but one day, I woke up, and I was OVER grass.

Me: I totally don't want grass.
Him: You DON'T?
Me: Nope.
Him: What happened? You were so anti-anti-grass before.
Me: I just needed time. I'm sure I will miss grass at first. But I'm willing to give your way a try.

So on Monday, Nordic Boy got up bright and early and started phase one of Grassless in Seattle. I have to admit. It looks really good.

So I have let go of grass. It was stupidly hard. It's all well and good, you guys, but if I start with that one square of toilet paper thing, someone stage an intervention. Really.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl


Anonymous said...

Awesome! It's a slippery slope, however. Today, no grass. Next year, no electricity. Before you know it you will have one of those bio-eco green toilets integrated into your landscaping.
Don't get rid of your trees, though, because you'll need leaves to clean up properly after doing your business. One leaf per session, however!
Might want to replace the needle bearing trees with something more lush.
I'm not doing any of this. I'm going to start making my own toilet paper out of my grass clippings.

yola said...

I'm so impressed by your decision. I read
this article in the newspaper this weekend about why people "go green" and according to that study, for the most part it's really about personal benefit and not about the environment.

Which shows how selfless you are compared to most. I suppose what you do gain though is not having to go through the hell that is the push mower. I rented a little house last year that had a relatively small lawn, but I swear it took hours and hours of labor to get the damned thing cut. I never really could enjoy the lawn even after all that, and am now happily living in a multiperson dwelling with only flower boxes to care for. Nordic Boy was right, at least you don't have to mow!

Sauntering Soul said...

I kind of have the best of both worlds at my little abode. The back yard has grass. And apparently water is not needed to grow grass here in Atlanta because I never water, we are 11 inches short on rain this year, yet my grass stays pretty green and grows up to my waist when the landlords don't get the landscapers out here every 2 or 3 weeks. The front yard is all paving stones with landscaped bushes and plants and stuff.

Please tell us you will post photos of your grassless yard when it's complete. It sounds so cool!

Anonymous said...

What kind of landscaping/plants is Nordic Boy using?

Anonymous said...

My new yard is of the big, bad, green, and Midwestern persuasion. I admire your grassless decision both for the green factor and out of personal laziness... mowing and weeding are hard work! My man and I semi-jokingly discussed getting a pet goat to take care of business for us.

Anonymous said...

Your post totally reminded me of the "not a square to spare" Seinfeld episode! I too miss the carefree grassy days of my youth, but maybe you can just make friends who have grass in their yards to go hang out on?

cadiz12 said...

As a midwesterner myself, i'm very impressed. but if you're jonesing for that fresh-cut smell in the days to come, you can close your eyes and spray some of Gap's "Grass" perfume out in the backyard. If they even make that stuff anymore.

Jen said...

Know what else is low-water-usage?


If you've never been to Arizona, you may not know that rocks are a key landscape item.

(Why people bother to move to the desert only to make it lush and green completely baffles the crap out of me.)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Are we going to see pictures of this grassless wonder?? I am having trouble picturing it in my head.

The Kelly Green Rogue said...

Girl you can come mow my giant ass yard any time you need a grass fix. It's smack dab in the middle of the midwest. and oh yeah, did I mention it's one giant hill? You're smart to give up the grass, no mowing is a wonderful wonderful thing!

Anonymous said...

i recently had a similar heartbreaking "no grass" moment when the bf reminded me that our big dog would quickly kill all the lovely green stuff with his evil urine. but a backyard with no grass? we are currently researching our more dog-friendly alternatives that are also southern california desert climate appropriate. in the end, i just want it to look good. good design is always important.