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Morning Glory, Dishes And Regular Backups

July 18, 2018

My dad sold real estate for a few years. He always suggested buying the worst home in a good neighborhood. I’m the second owner of my house. The first owner never lived in it. It was always either a rental, or empty. I live in a nice neighborhood.

It’s a typical suburban neighborhood. Saturdays in the summer is filled with the sound of lawn mowers. The sight of people out working in their gardens or caring for their lawns. The evenings are filled with smell of BBQ from someone’s back porch.

Our town used to be called Battle Creek, Utah. Someone decided Pleasant Grove sounded more inviting. And it really is. However, as a rental that often sat empty, my yard was typically the worst in the neighborhood. And I have a fairly prominent corner lot. It was not unusual for the neighbors on our street to take turns assigning their teenage sons to mow down the weeds in our yard simply to keep them from seading out and infecting the rest of the neighborhood.

To prepare to sell the house, the realtor, or owner simply mowed everything down and slapped down sod on top. It looked pretty, but those weeds underneath didn’t die. They just came up through the sod.

My neighbors take great pride in their lawns. I asked one neighbor, “Do you even have any weeds in your yard?”

“Sure, I have one. It’s next to the driveway. I’m working on it.”

He was serious.

However, there’s a benefit to buying the worst house in a nice neighborhood. Whatever you do is an improvement. For five years, I consoled myself with the idea that even if I had weeds, the lawn wasn’t all weeds. And it looked better than before we moved in.

But, slowly over the past 6 years we’ve worked on improving the yard. This year, I’m finally feeling pretty good about it. We’ve pretty much vanquished the dandelions. My son spent hours digging out the crabgrass last fall and it seems to have worked. The thistles are all gone. The only thing left is Morning Glory.

If you’re unfamiliar with lawns, Morning Glory is a vine. It’s kind of like ivy. Really obnoxious, not-nearly-as-pretty-and-harder-to-control ivy. It’s technical name is field bindweed. Some people actually plant it on purpose. Those people are idiots.

Once Morning Glory gets established it’s nearly impossible to eradicate. It loves to strangle your flowers and anything it can climb. Even in a lawn, it will send out shoots as much as ten feet. It has what some consider pretty flowers.

My kids are responsible for doing the dishes at our house. We have six kids at home so they rotate the chore so no one has to do it constantly. And if you think about it, dishes are something that are never complete.

Back in the 1980’s there was a show with Pierce Brosnan and Stephenie Zimbalist called “Remington Steele.” Zimbalist played a female private detective who can’t get work because no one thinks a woman can be an effective private detective. She invents a “boss:” Remington Steele. Pierce Brosnan is a conman and he figures out that Remington Steele doesn’t actually exist so he assumes the identity and ends up working with Zimbalist since she can’t very well prove he’s not the real Remington Steele. Anyway, the way he figures out that Remington Steele doesn’t exist is that he searches his room. There are all the requisite accoutrements that a man would need, but the razor has never been used. There is no hair in the hairbrush.

Dishes are like that. You don’t own dishes to simply put them on the shelf. And as soon as you finish cleaning the last of them, some kid comes through wanting a drink of water and BOOM, you have dirty dishes again.

IT system are like that. There’s a common joke, “If users would quit screwing up my systems, I wouldn’t need to keep doing maintenance on them.” Of course, the system exist to service the users, not the other way around. You can choose to ignore the maintenance. Put it off month to month or year to year. But, if you do, you end up with a yard full of Morning Glory.

Not my yard, fortunately

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that like server backups and dirty dishes, I will have Morning Glory in my lawn for. . .ever. But, I also know that I can either let the dirty dishes stack up month after month hoping against hope I don’t need to restore from backup, or I can put in a little time doing backups on a daily or weekly basis and ensure that I pick the Morning Glory before it can start to mold in the sink.

Because some things are never “done.”

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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