TALES OF THE URBAN JUNGLE, CH. 567

First of all, ivy is overrated. Second, it should never be allowed to overtake every square inch of your house, yard, trees, fences, and small, lazy pets. Third, it can maim you.

In an ambituous weekend effort to “make things better” in my yard in deepest Casa Linda del Norte, I started whacking the invasive pest. First on the ground, then in the fences, and finally airborne, along the side of my house and up and over the gutters along the roof.

This latter required a ladder. I was doing fine, brandishing hedge trimmers like Johnny Depp in E. Scissorhands, until a perfect storm of coincidence. First, while pulling rope-thick layers of ivy from the eaves, I stuck my hand into a bird’s nest. Which distracted me enough that I didn’t notice the buzzing insect, possibly a wasp though I’m no entymologist, that distracted me even further, so that when I resumed clipping, the trimmer blades sliced through the line to the ancient TV antenna hidden in the thick of the ivy plating.

Grabbing for the loose end of the antenna cord, which I didn’t actually need since I have overpriced DISH [whole ‘nuther story], I tipped the balance on the ladder. Which began to fall.

Only by an adroit, nay, Olympic-level hip swivel did I right the aluminum frame, and keep from plunging to a certain death, which I assumed would include impalement on the hedge trimmer.

I was pretty smug about not falling until I felt the sharp pain in my lower back muscle, which, to cut to the chase, is why I’m on mega-Advil this morning.

P.S. I cut away the worst of the rest of the ivy, playing through the pain. The little bird came back later in the day, quite perplexed, but as far as I can tell is rebuilding its nest. I assume it will be eaten in time by the large orange cat next door.

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