Sad cactus

Both my great-grandmothers can make things grow just by looking at the ground hard enough, and my grandmother always had bursting flower gardens while I was growing up.

…Let’s just say that talent hasn’t trickled down through the generations.

Green things do not grow in my presence. Our landscaping is sad because, while I know what I would like to grow there, I don’t have the slightest starting idea of how to make it happen. We have mulch. Do I have to remove the mulch? Can I just plant things through the mulch? Do I have to dig holes or can I just put the plants on top and pile on more dirt until they are buried?

Can I just buy whatever flowers I like and stick them in the ground? Or do I have to put certain flowers in certain places? Can I even plant things in June or is there a special window when things can be planted and I’ve already missed it for the year?

See? It’s sad. There is very little hope for me.

I reminded my mother of this last Christmas when she presented me and the Mister with a small potted cactus. I told her I would kill it, because that’s just what mysteriously happens to plants when they are left in my care. But she was insistent. “It’s a cactus. You can’t kill it.”

(Well we’ll see about that…)

Fast-forward about six months. The Mister and I have attached the small magnetic pot to our refrigerator, in a room that gets a decent amount of light during the day. We have followed the instructions on the tiny hanging card meticulously. The Mister set a recurring reminder on his phone to water “Bob” the cactus every two weeks. I wrote it on the calendar so I could remind him to check his reminders.

We measure exactly two ounces of water into a little scoop and pour it in carefully, making sure nothing spills and the water is evenly distributed throughout the tiny pot.

We’ve probably put more concentrated effort into this minuscule cactus than we have into keeping our dogs alive! (Of course, our dogs clearly let us know when they are hungry. Bob has been strangely silent on the topic.)

All of this, and guess what we discovered yesterday?

One of Bob’s leaf shoots fell out of the pot. Then we touched another and it was completely disconnected too. Then we nudged poor Bob and, lo and behold, he doesn’t have any roots at all! Not even shallow roots in his tiny pot.

So there you have it, folks! Bob is dead. After all this time and all that work, Bob is dead. Bob has probably been dead for a while and we just didn’t know it.

(Although he is still green… a fact we can’t seem to reconcile with his seemingly obvious demise.)

The lesson from this story: If it doesn’t bark, paw, scratch, scream, cry, dance or moan when it’s hungry, I will probably kill it. This extends from plants to include fish, hermit crabs, hamsters and really any other form of silent dependent.

The really sad thing is that we’ve gotten used to having to take care of Bob. We’ve become more attached to him than we have to any other planted thing in our lives. And now that he’s dead, I really don’t know how to process that. So we’ll probably just leave him on the refrigerator and continue to water him faithfully until he finally shrivels up and starts to smell and there is no longer any pretending that he is alive and well.

So I’ll just live in denial until that happens. Happy watering day!

Advertisements

Weeks ago, my husband nudged me awake.

“Babe, your alarm is going off.”

Wait… what…?

I sat up and listened. Hard.

“I don’t hear anything.”

He pushed me again.

“Trust me. Your alarm is going off.”

So I rolled to the edge of the bed and, sure enough, my iPad screen was on and a still, small sound was barely audible. I’d left the volume turned down to the lowest possible setting from the night before. I pushed the button and rolled back over.

“How can you hear that but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you?”

“What? I dunno.”

[flash forward a few days]

“Honey, I still don’t know how you could hear my alarm the other day, but you can’t hear me when I’m talking to you. I was right next to it, and I couldn’t hear it ringing.”

“Well, I spend all day, every day, listening for small sound changes. Heart murmurs, valves closing, that sort of thing. So big sounds just get tuned out. You talk all the time. You’re a big sound. I don’t even hear those anymore.”

…….

…….

…….

Well, there you have it.

ūüėČ

The Next Great Adventure

So, we moved this weekend.

That’s right. We moved. We weren’t planning on it really, we were just going to get a few boxes out of the way, but a friend with a truck came over and one thing led to another and bippity-boppity-boo I suddenly looked around and thought “Oh no! What have we done?”

So now I have two places that are a wreck – the house is full of boxes and random stacks of cleaning/painting supplies, and the apartment has miscellaneous objects scattered around that either weren’t boxed up or have not yet been needed at the new house. I can’t get the apartment cleaned because I’m trying to sort out the new house, and I can’t get the new house sorted because I’m trying to go back over and clean the apartment. So it’s been an interesting few days.

I have to admit, there were a few moments in the moving process when I felt gripped by a sudden panic and an intense desire to put everything back where we had it. I liked our apartment, all in all. Everything was (mostly) organized and had a place, and I liked it that way. But, as the Mister has reassured me several times, it was time for us to move on.

We had our first great homeowners adventure immediately after our moving-helpers left, when I went into the guest bathroom and heard the distinct sound of running water, which seemed to be coming from the wall next to the shower (which, yes, was turned off). There was no visible dripping or puddling or signs of water damage, but nothing we did would stop the noise. So, after much banging on and listening to of the walls, I made an appointment with a plumber.

The plumbers came yesterday and, at first, thought replacing a few parts in the toilet tank would fix the problem. But the noise persisted. After an hour and a half and about 10 trips into the crawl space, the man¬†finally diagnosed “house gremlins.” (Actually, it’s a long and complicated story, but essentially the toilet bowl is leaking directly into another pipe, so we hear the water dripping but it’s not actually leaking OUT anywhere and causing puddles or mold. So we’re just going to learn to ignore the noise and move on.)

So that’s done, but now my brand-new washing machine is making a terrible noise and I’m probably going to have to call Lowes and have them come out and look at it.

*sigh* Why did we do this again?

But really, hiccups and panic attacks aside, I really do enjoy being in the new house. Our bedroom is bigger, our closet is bigger, and we don’t have the neighbor’s unruly children running up and down the stairs right outside our front door (although there is a very suspicious poodle close by). The dogs are starting to settle in, I think, with Lucy adapting much faster than Meera, who is still sort of on a food strike.

Maybe someday we’ll have more than just the few badly-painted walls that I started the day of our closing.

Happy Tuesday,

The Missus (of a new castle)

 

Because I married a caring man…

Because I married a caring man, I am sent inside to take off my heels while he walks the dog after work.

Because I married a caring man, I am allowed to sleep until my alarm goes off, even though he has to get ready for work as quietly as possible.

Because I married a caring¬†man, I have a visitor for lunch on his day off. (This may also be because my building is a Pokestop, but we’ll let that pass.)

Because I married a caring man, we swerve for birds. (We are those people.)

Because I married a caring¬†man, we’re getting another dog.

…Wait…. what?

Yes. You read that right. We’re getting another dog. I will admit I have not been on board with this over the past week, but this is me¬†making an honest effort to¬†get on the puppy train.

Yes! A puppy! We’re getting a puppy. Her name is Lucy (I named her, that’s something, right?) and she is approximately nine(ish) weeks old. She and her four siblings (no, we’re not bringing home the rest of them) came into the Mister’s clinic about a month ago after they were found abandoned at the local farmer’s market.

The Mister had been one of their primary caregivers for all these weeks, and had taken a shine to a particular favorite: a black lab-ish female with a white chest and two white toes on one foot.

This is Lucy.

Lucy is one of four remaining puppies after¬†the first got sick and died. In an effort to save the rest of the litter, the siblings were split up last weekend and sent home with the clinic technicians. The Mister’s favorite quickly started to show symptoms. Bad symptoms.

This is the kind of disease that is highly fatal (but thankfully not transmissible to Meera), so the only options were to attempt to treat her (with small chance of success) and bring her home, or go ahead and put her down.

We made our decision Sunday night. Things did not look good for our little visitor.

But, because I married a caring man, Lucy’s 11th hour came and she was pardoned. A phone call to my office said, “I just can’t do it. I’m going to try and treat her.”

Surprisingly, our little friend has rallied throughout the week and is expected to go home early next. Home. To our apartment. With us.

Like I said, I admittedly have not been on the puppy train this week. I might not be on the puppy train next week either. But, because I married a caring man, I’m actually surprised this is the first time this has happened. So I’m making¬†an effort to get on board. It’s not like this is the first dog we’ve ever trained, and it won’t be the last. We move into our house in just over a month and will have a yard and a lot more room then, so it’s not the end of the world.

And who knows, maybe this little black wiggly ball of fluff will worm her way into my heart like she’s done with the Mister. Meera already likes her, anyway.

[No pictures yet, but updates will come next week, I’m sure.]

The good and the bad

Well, I sadly have to take back my last post. The damage the body shop found under the fender was just too much to handle, and Scooter has officially been totaled. I said goodbye to him at the body shop Friday, and it was a sad, sad moment in my life.

At least one of the employees was nice enough to take my picture with my baby before I said goodbye.

img_0173

So that didn’t turn out so well. That’s the bad.

The good is that, about two hours after I posted last, we got a call that the home owners had accepted our offer on a house!


Ain’t she purty??!!

We’re still in the process of all the paperwork and approvals, but if everything continues well, we should close in time to have trick-or-treaters!!

Not excited. Not excited at all. Nope. ūüėÄ 

It’s really not about you.

As the official start of “wedding season” approaches, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share a few thoughts I’ve been carrying around since the Mister and I tied the knot almost four years ago.

(Four years?? Wait a minute, that can’t be right…)

I saw this article on Facebook today and thought it hit the nail on the head. I wish we had registered for fun things we would actually use. I wish my dress had had¬†a Scarlett O’Hara-esque skirt. I wish we had done photos together BEFORE the wedding, tradition or not, so that the Mister and I could have spent the majority of our day together instead of him spending it in a bathroom while I walked from place to place.

Those things are important, and I would suggest them to anyone I know who’s getting married, but there is one more important thing that still nags me to this day.

I don’t know who was there.

Wait… what? What do you mean? How could you not know who was there?

I mean, I was so wrapped up in May 19th being MY day – a day where the Mister and I could do whatever we wanted and ONLY what we wanted and ONLY with the people we thought mattered the most.

We were selfish. (And by “we” I mainly mean myself.) Looking back I can see that now, and it is definitely my biggest regret.

We have all kinds of pictures with our family and our wedding party, but we don’t have any photos with our guests. Those people who weren’t chosen to stand up with us, but who made the trip to see us anyway – sometimes from 12+ hours away.

Three groups still haunt me today.

An old high school friend and her sister that¬†I hadn’t seen in more than six years came. I didn’t expect them to care that much, but they came all the way from Knoxville to see me get married. They pulled me aside and congratulated me and probably wanted a picture, but I greeted them quickly and moved on. I haven’t seen them since and don’t expect to ever see them again. I could have gotten¬†a picture.

A group of the Mister’s friends from the university judging team where there too. They stood in a huddle in the lobby for most of the reception, waiting to catch us for a photo. I was so busy hurrying back and forth, checking off the list of must-do things, that I didn’t even realize that’s what they wanted. We have pictures of the whole group at other weddings, but not at ours. I had other things to do.

Third, and worst, I feel, were an aunt and uncle who traveled from out-of-state to be there. I saw them waiting in the hall as we left for photos and, to be honest, I didn’t recognize them at first. We don’t see that branch of the family much, so I didn’t know who they were until I had passed by. I waved when they did, but I didn’t stop. I figured they would wait until we returned. After all, it was all about us.

I didn’t know they had started their 12+ hour drive in the middle of the night, arrived just in time for the ceremony and were leaving as soon as I passed them to head home. They weren’t there when we came back from taking photos. I haven’t seen them since. All I can think about when that moment passes through my mind is that they made a¬†mind-numbing 12-hour drive through the mountains, and I didn’t even stop to acknowledge them. I don’t know that that horrible feeling will ever go away.

So I say all of that to say this to all the brides and grooms and hopefuls out there: your wedding day is not really about you.

Let me say that again.

Your wedding day is not really about you.

Sure, it’s the day you start a new life joined to your husband or wife, and it’s a huge commitment. You should put effort into making the festivities reflect who you are and who your spouse is and who you will be together. But really, when it comes down to it, you will be just as married at the end of the day as you would have been if you’d gone to the county courthouse in your pajamas.

What it’s really about is the people who love you and who have made an effort to be there and witness such a happy occasion in your life. It’s about those people who have had your wedding invitation on the refrigerator for months; those people who spent weeks making handmade¬†gifts that you’ll probably never use, but that you appreciate anyway; it’s about the people who fill all those delicate matchstick chairs and sit in the uncomfortable sunshine to see your smiling face and hear your “I do’s.”

Because without them, you would be standing in an empty room (probably not even decorated, since I’m sure they helped with that too).

So don’t get wrapped up in the check list. Stop to take pictures with the people who are there. Make them part of the memory and let them share in your joy. They want pictures to remember the day you got married just as much as you do. Don’t take that away from them.

Thank them, not just for coming but for being a presence in your lives. Even if you don’t know all the guests from your spouse’s side of the hall – take pictures with them too. They might not be important to you, but you are important to them or else they wouldn’t be there.

If you look through your guestbook years down the road and didn’t even know most of those people were there, you did something wrong.

But if the cake cutting was a little off schedule, and maybe you didn’t throw the garter or blow the bubbles, but you have an album full of photos with the people who loved you most on the happiest day of your life, that is something you won’t ever regret.

Adventure Weekend

So this past weekend was likely the last the Mister and I will have to ourselves before he starts classes again at the end of the month. We took advantage of the time by leaving the mutt with a neighbor (huge props to him for keeping her, by the way) and headed north to Land Between the Lakes for a day at the planetarium and nature center.

I’d been there with my family before, many years ago, but had forgotten how much they have to do there! The nature center has birds, wolves, deer, turkey and all sorts of other animals. They also have craft booths and games for both children and adults set up along all the walkways. August is the Hummingbird Festival at LBL as the birds migrate through on their yearly trip to Mexico, so there were hundreds of tiny birds filling the air everywhere. The back yard at the nature center was like standing in a beehive… except with hummingbirds. It was very cool.

We used real maps (you know, the folding kind that fit in the glove compartment) to get there and even took a few smaller highways on the way back. Without warning! We just saw them on the map and went that way. Isn’t that cool?? (Ok, I actually do use paper maps on a regular basis, so this is sarcastic, but I know people that have never unfolded a map in their lives.)

In keeping with our weekend of adventure, I attempted to make pickles last night. (Key word there being “attempted.”) Results are yet to be determined. They are just refrigerator pickles, so they didn’t require any fancy canning equipment – which I didn’t even know might be necessary until a friend told me you don’t¬†just pour the ingredients in the jar and leave them like that. So… we’ll see.

I really know nothing about canning and preserving food. And when I say “nothing,” I really do mean NOTHING.¬†Some of my friends who grew up in small towns and out in the country know all about it and try to teach me, but I guess that’s just a piece¬†of my brain¬†that is too city-girl to understand. I was thinking back on it last night, and I don’t think I’ve seen my mother can a single thing in my lifetime. (If this is incorrect I’m sure she’ll call me tonight and let me know.) My grandmother either. My great-grandmothers do preserve¬†things and do such magic as making jelly, but I’ve never actually seen them do it.

I like the idea, as it seems that if you grow the food and then store¬†the food you wouldn’t have to buy so much food through the rest of the year. And that it hopefully would still taste like summer in the wintertime… but like I said, this is a completely foreign concept to me. My best friend says, “cucumbers are easy, just can them and drop in a water bath and you’re done” and I hear, “put veggies in a jar and wash it.” Turns out that a “water bath” is an actual specialized thing with rules about how deep the jars have to sit and that they can’t touch the bottom. How would I EVER have known that??? Just buying the jars was overwhelming because I had no idea there were so many contraptions included in the home canning section.

I really don’t think my friends understand the extent of my non-country-girl-ness.

But, in the spirit of adventure, I actually chopped a clove of garlic (fyi – a clove is one of the little bulb pieces, NOT a whole bulb) and bought fresh dill. (In my world, both things come dried in a little shaker can.) My hands will now smell like garlic for the rest of the week, but Hey! maybe by Thursday morning we’ll have pickles!

Hopefully a little better than Aunt Bee’s….. (bonus points if you understand that reference)