Lessons from Mushrooms (and other things)


Posted by Hailey Goplen | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-12-2013

For the past three Christmases, Blake and I have maintained a tradition of each picking out an ornament to add to our Christmas tree. The catch is the ornament has to represent one of us in someway or ideally, represent something that happened throughout the year. And while our Christmas tree now looks a bit more eclectic and mildly chaotic than many other families who have color coordinated and well-planned trees, at least it has meaning. This Christmas was no exception.

A few weeks ago we headed to the store to pick out our ornaments for the year. It was a big year: graduation, new jobs for both of us, wedding, honeymoon, and of course… our first home. And while Hallmark had an ornament to represent all of these major events, it felt a little corny and cliche to pick out one that had a romantic cuddling couple etched into glass with the words “first Christmas” underneath (especially when this wasn’t actually our first Christmas together). Similarly, an ornament shaped like a house with a smiling couple standing out front and the words “our first home” scrawled underneath seemed a bit too obvious and gag-worthy for our taste.

Christmas 2013 Ornament: Blue, sequin, mushroom

And then, I saw it. A blue, sequin-covered, mushroom. This was our ornament. This represented our first home better than any literal “first home” ornament could. Let me explain–

A few months after moving into our home, I noticed mushrooms sprouting in our front yard. While I love eating mushrooms, yard-mushrooms annoy me to no end. So, I did the only logical thing I could think of. I ran up and kicked them over. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, a few days later, as I walked out to my car, I noticed not only had the mushrooms miraculously reappeared, but they decided to bring some friends along with them. Again, I walked up to the patch of mushrooms and kicked them over. Good riddance.

This pattern continued for a few more days (apparently it takes a while for me to learn a lesson) until the point our yard was more mushroom than grass. That’s when Blake suggested that maybe kicking mushrooms over was not the right solution to our problem. Some quick Googling revealed he was indeed correct. Kicking over mushrooms does not only NOT get rid of them, but can actually spread them.

Our option was to either buy chemicals to kill the mushrooms or to dig them out, making sure to remove the entire root

Blake removing mushrooms.

system. Digging them out seemed like the right option to us. What we didn’t think about was how, as mentioned, our yard was more mushroom than grass. In fact, when all were removed over the next few weeks, we filled four large recycling bins full of them (don’t worry, we just used the bins as a bucket… we didn’t actually try to recycle them). When all the mushrooms were removed, small holes pocketed our entire lawn.

The lesson here: try reading about how to remove and/or fix things before you start kicking stuff over.

As evident in this blog, our first home purchase has not been without trial, tribulation, and a lot of tears. However, we have also learned a lot about home-ownership in the mere six months we have owned Betty. And while some lessons have been ones we hope no one ever has to learn (such as who to call when your foundation is crumbling), others have simply resulted from typical, clueless, first-time homeowner problems (such as mushroom removal).

Our mushroom ornament represented more than a Hallmark ornament could. It’s a symbol of how hard we have worked, how much we have learned, how we still have a lot to learn, and most importantly, we need to be able to laugh at ourselves throughout this whole learning process.

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