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Report From PIA – June 6

When my kids were young I would occasionally give them an incentive to do something that was difficult. “That’s terrible,” other mothers would say. “You should never bribe children because they should learn to do something just because it’s right.”

“Oh really,” I’d respond. “And just how many adults would show up for their jobs if they weren’t getting a paycheck? Would they be willing to work without compensation because it is the right thing to do? People need reasons to do things.”

I was remembering these conversations because today I bribed myself. After working in the garden most of the day, and feeling ready to call it quits, I noticed the weed-filled patio. I’ve walked past these weeds since April, thinking, “I really have to pull these out…”

Tonight, I walked through the patio and said, “Why don’t I treat myself to a weed-pulling cocktail hour?” I promised myself a tall gin and tonic to sip while scooching around the stones and tugging the weeds out of the crevices. It was, basically, a bribe, and while pulling and sipping, I learned two things.

First, I saw that the thyme seeds I’d scattered in the cracks last fall had indeed germinated. There are many tiny thyme plants growing in this patio but I hadn’t seen them because of all the grasses and mouse-ear chickweed that flourished here.

Secondly, I found out that the tiny ants that I inadvertently dislodged, and for whom I felt absolutely no animosity, did not feel the same about me. Their bites stung for a long time!

Nevertheless, the job was done and I my incentive was delicious. Sometimes it takes a small reward to help us to knuckle down and do what needs to be done.

The grasses, like the ants, weren't so noticeable at first glance, but the mouse-eared chickweed was very prominent!

Ah, that's better! The patio still hasn't been swept, but what do you want? It was only one gin and tonic....

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