When was the last time you had to go to the dump? I would love to forget my last time, but the experience keeps me awake at night and I am still picking cactus spines out of my body. God I hate cacti….
My mother-in-law’s back yard was cactus free ten years ago, but oh no she just had to have a gardener plant two species of the critters I was not familiar with (I do think they are alive) and they multiplied like rats. The clumps were like demons from a horror movie, ready to take over the whole yard before attacking the house and moving in.
My goal was to remove the pestilence before they could grow any larger. Easy, I thought as I grabbed my ax, shovel, gloves and trailer then headed the short distance to her house.
After arriving, I stood in the back yard confident the task at hand would be short and sweet. Because the weather was hot and I had elected to wear shorts and a T-shirt, I donned my thick gloves and grabbed my ax to chop down the six-foot high aliens. Never, I mean never, wear shorts and tennis shoes when trying to remove cactus. The minute I swung the ax I knew it was not going to be a good day.
Did you know cactus spines can fly like wicked arrows? I was familiar with jumping cactus, but these were different and I didn’t think these spines would jump. They are awful when they hit your bare legs, but the testes – give me a break! It’s a good thing I do not plan to have any more children because they would probably turn out looking half human and half cactus!
I immediately went home, changed into jeans, heavy work boots and a long sleeve shirt. I had yet begun to fight. I returned to the scene of the crime and resumed attacking the cactus, but this time I used a pole saw for cutting high branches in trees. After adjusting the length to 15’ I was able to cut the nasty things down out of range of the savage arrows.
Now that all the devils were horizontal, I was able to cut them into manageable pieces so I could load them into a wheelbarrow for the trip to the trailer. I accomplished this using a flathead shovel at full arm’s length. The spines yearned to attack, but I was too far away from them. After filling the trailer to the max and covering the load with two tarps, I was ready for the trip to the dump. I got you now, you nasty critters! Wrong!
By the time I reached the dump and spent a great deal of time trying to back the trailer into the only spot that wasn’t occupied, the wind had picked up and the dump dust started blowing. The minute I opened the truck door, the smell accosted my senses with vigor. While the ravens were eating everything in sight, I was trying to stop gagging before I vomited. I noticed everyone but me had masks on and it was evident why. Too late to worry about it now, I needed to empty the trailer and get the hell out of Dodge before I contracted some kind of exotic disease.
After untying the tarp ropes, I grabbed and yanked the first tarp only to have the wind catch it and wrap the damn thing around my body. This in itself was not too bad; the bad thing was all the spines that had embedded themselves in the tarp. Pulling the tarp off me was like removing fly paper. I ripped the tarp off quickly –
I don’t know if that helped or not, I was in too much agony to notice. I did the bandage thing and then approached the second tarp up wind and managed to get it off without mishap. Needless to say the expensive tarps are still at the dump where they will stay for the duration.
I finally emptied the trailer and headed back to the check out shack. It cost $18.00 for the experience. I tried to get the lady to deduct for the spines I was carrying back home, but she only shook her head laughing hysterically. I hate the dump, dump lady, ravens and cactus! The next time the cactus grows huge in mother-in-law’s back yard, the butthead who planted them can remove them!
I’m just saying,
In loving memory: Betty Richardson…the best mother-in law on the planet.