A Thorny Situation
It started harmlessly enough.
Our backyard is a mess. The combination of a California drought, a broken sprinkler head, and dead pine needles killing every bush in the very back of our yard, we needed to start the cleanup.
What I hadn’t realized was just what kind of trees and bushes the builder had actually planted there.
I’ll be honest, we’re only renting the home, but I’m supposed to keep up the landscaping. I hated the landscaping, though. First were ugly palm bushes, and I’ll be honest, I was glad those died off. Then came the other bushes. I love the rosemary bushes and others, and they’ve thrived.
But the trees…those have been a pain.
The pine needles were everywhere, and most of them were nearly mulched by now from more than a few years of sitting there. I think the previous resident let them be and that wasn’t good.
I cut major, dead branches, picked up pine cones, cleaned out crap, dug up roots, and fixed the sprinkler head.
This all came Monday night after work. As an indication of what living as a kid is like in the Manoucheri household I informed my four children they had to help. When my son said he was wearing flip-flops I told him that was a horrible idea and forced him to put on socks and shoes.
The smiling boy on the right there is my semi-brave twin. He’s game for all roller coasters, adrenaline rides, zip lines, you name it. He’s had a staple in his head from falling out of a bounce house and broken an arm trying to skip across three rungs of monkey bars at once.
So it should not have surprised me when he went inside that I heard, from his sister, “oh my GOD!”
I walked into the house and it was like walking into a scene from the Belgrade war zone. Blood was everywhere on the floor. His shoe sole was ripped up and his sock was red.
His hands were bloody and his foot was, too. It was as if the demon barber of Fleet Street himself had wandered into the home.
Turns out, one of the harmless-looking trees wasn’t so harmless. In among the pines in the back was what looked like a simple tree whose category I hadn’t realized. When I looked at the branches after the aforementioned incident, I came to the realization that every branch was filled with one to two-inch thorns. One of those thorns had found the perfect spot in the bottom of my son’s shoe and ripped through . . . hitting his foot.
Turns out, his sisters had used all the peroxide so I was on the floor, cleaning his foot, worried he needed stitches.
After stopping the bleeding, staining socks, ruining his shoes and covered in blood myself, I covered the wound in gauze and medical tape – left over from a mishap with a can lid of my own.
This morning we saw the doc. Turns out that it was a simple puncture. My use of antibiotic cream, washing, and cleaning had worked well and he was fine. The large number of capillaries in the foot (also scalp, hands, etc.) make things look far worse than they are. I spent the evening cleaning up the war zone and washing towels, rags, and the floor. I had used a sick day to make sure . . . worried that he had ripped far deeper and the cut looked like it was really long. That had sealed up well, though.
So we bought new shoes, since these were now caked in mud and blood, looking like some new-wave version of a civil war boot, left over from the battle of Antietam.
But my son smiled, looked at me, and said “I knew you’d take care of it, Dad,” and against my better judgement, I smiled. After all, I forced him to do the chores.
Leave it to him to be the one to suffer the battle scars of daily life.