This is the fourth year since Ryan's passing. In commemoration of his being, I'm putting out a series of 5 tributes: a collection of short true stories of experiences we shared and in essence, give you a glimpse of his unforgettable character. With his 35th birthday coming up on June 5th, and going into the fifth year of his absence, I wanted the world know what a big impression he left on my life.
#1 - The Weed Whacker. (2002)
Newly coined Seattle homeowners and in our young 20s, Ryan and I threw ourselves feet first into the perils of ownership. We quickly repainted the interior of the house from its pink hues into all the shades Ralph Lauren paints had to offer: brick red kitchen, mustard yellow entry, navy blue living room, eggplant master bedroom, forest green bath and mauve spare bedroom.
Ryan didn't mind my wild color tastes for he grew up in a house full of color. He understood that colors reflect the way life should be lived: loud and bright.
As the days grew longer and the lawn began to grow unruly, we turned our energy outside. Unlike our college apartment days that either lacked yard or required a property management company, we had our own yard to manage. And in the Pacific Northwest, a neglected yard quickly becomes a rain forest.
One sunny spring day we decided to tackle the yard. I was cleaning a flower bed on the north side of the yard and Ryan was using the weed whacker on the south side. The origin of the weeder remains a mystery but we found it in the garage, gassed up and ready to go. Or so we thought.
Softly humming to myself I hear grunting in the front yard. The grunts turn into groans, the groans into expletives.
"JEN!!!! CAN YOU COME HERE????!!!!!!"
I tiptoe over to other side of the yard where Ryan is sweating profusely. He's trying to start the POS Weeder, pulling on the starter cord while on the ground, and as soon as he stands up it cuts out. He shows me this 3 more times before he just can't take it any more.
"I'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET THIS M.F. POS STARTED FOR TWENTY MINUTES."
We go into the backyard and I can't help it, a giggle seeps out. Ryan goes into orbit.
"F*&K THIS THING!!!!!!"
And with that, he swings the weeder like a baseball bat into a fir tree, breaking it into two pieces. I die laughing. The weeder is now unusable - more so than before. Ryan feels better, but we still have an overgrown yard to tend.
Within a week we bought a new John Deere weeder and the old one remains in the garage. Ryan's temper would continue to flair up over the years and more household goods were broken.
Though I can't be sure if it was his anger that got better of him or my laughter that taunted him beyond return.
He had his revenge - when the tables turned and I had a little bout with the bi-fold doors in the entry way. But that's a story for another time.