Sunday, March 8, 2009

Full moon over the crepe myrtles

What is it with adding "stretch" to all items of clothing these days? (And as an aside, just what the heck is "stetch?" Lycra?) I find that shirts with stretch in them hug my curves (::cough:: chubby rolls ::cough::) just a little to close for comfort or public consumption. And pants with stretch? Don't even get me started! While I appreciate that the addition of stretch has made it possible for me to continue to wear the pants I bought myself 20 pounds ago, albeit a bit uncomfortably, I have a pair of jeans that highlights everything that is wrong with this fabled "stretch." These pants fit me beautifully, if a bit snuggly, when I put them on in the morning. By about 10am, they are a bit baggy. By 2pm, I have to continually hike them up. And by 5pm, I could host a party in them with room to spare (git yer mind out of the gutter!). I basically live in jeans and this doesn't make me happy. Lest you think I am the only one to suffer from this problem, know that in the misadventures of my life, it has also affected my neighbors, many of whom now need cornea transplants.

The weather has been fairly variable here lately and I noticed that neighbors have been getting out and working in their yards, planting pansies, and trimming bushes or trees whenever the weather has been warm or dry enough. I noticed this trend but didn't feel compelled to join in just yet. However, two days ago, when I noticed we were the last ones to have trimmed our crepe myrtles down to a reasonable size, I finally gave in. The sun was out but it wasn't too hot. I put on my jeans with "stretch," grabbed the clippers and the ladder and set to work. Trimming these things was a lot harder than I thought it would be, not least because I am short and even on a ladder, couldn't really reach the spot they'd been trimmed to last year. So I crossed my fingers and trimmed lower, thinking that it would be a shame to kill such pretty trees. Well, they aren't pretty trimmed down. In fact, they share an unmistakable resemblance to firewood when they are trimmed. But when they explode in blooms and leggy growth, they really are gorgeous. So I struggled to cut each branch, hiking my pants up after every limb that fell.

I climbed off the ladder and moved it off the cement walk into the flower bed to get to the back of the first crepe myrtle (and thankfully, we only have 2). I climbed back up the ladder, noticing that it was slowly sinking into the very soggy dirt. Knowing that D. was not very likely to trim these for me since he doesn't like heights and since he likely couldn't wield the clippers yet post hernia surgery, I perservered anyway. So the back of crepe myrtle #1 is trimmed lower than the front. It is stupidly Chalrie Brown looking but given that I had to juggle the clippers, hauling my pants back to my waist at an ever increasing rate, and ducking each and every time a limb actually gave way, I think I did fairly well. I only hit myself on the head with limbs a couple of times, took a few small divots out of my hand from scrapes, and managed to keep the ever stretching jeans mostly on my rear.

Given the length of time it took me to finish the first one, I debated leaving the second one for D. to do. But I am nothing if not stubborn so I moved the ladder and got back to work. This time, the ladder started sinking immediately but since I had wedged my foot in the dratted tree to get better leverage to cut a rather fat limb, I was kind of stuck. As I squeezed as hard as I could on the clippers (who knew how wimpy my poor muscles really were), my pants started heading south. Given that my butt was facing the street, I probably should have dropped the clippers as fast as possible but I was convinced that if I let up on the pressure at all, the limb was never going to give. Don't know if that was true but I was starting to feel a breeze down the back of my formerly well fitting jeans. Even worse, the jeans were dragging my underwear down too. The limb was really starting to give but I had an x-rated version of a plumber's smile directly facing the street. And we don't live on a quiet cul-de-sac. Oh no. Our road is the main drive in and out of the neighborhood. And for some reason, everyone who was at home that day felt compelled to drive past my house as the moon rose over the crepe myrtles that morning. Perhaps this would not be so mortifying if I had a more shapely bottom but no one needs to see pasty white flab wobbling on the top of a ladder, and especially no one who you might have to look in the face at the next neighborhood block party! My only saving grace is that my head was so far into the stupid tree I plan to disavow all knowledge of whose rear that could have been. Of course, the fact that when I finally finished the tree and hiked my jeans northwards for the last time, the crepe myrtle looked like someone the size of an Oompa Loopa trimmed it will probably be a giveaway. And if D. proudly tells anyone else I did myself, without any help from him, I might have to whack him with one of the trimmed bits, now neatly piled by the side of the driveway. I'd rather my butt stay unidentified even if I don't get the kudos for the work!

So, why put stretch in fabric? Is it for that unexpected thrill of seeing someone's bits exposed by accident? Or is it a ploy by the belt industry to compell me to finally go buy a belt? I think I'm off to find some more traditional jeans that'll stay where they start out in the morning first!

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