A weekend of gardening

I believe I have mentioned a number of times to all my friends that I hate to garden. I don’t like dirt under my fingernails and I don’t like it on my hands. One episode of ‘Monk’ has him in the woods, saying “I have nature on my hand.” My feelings exactly.

A friend of mine is on a working vacation at an archeological dig in the Middle East. She asked if I would look after things for her. I said no prob a) because that’s what friends do — they help each other out and b) I had a knee replacement and she was really there for me.

It has been terribly hot and nasty, even for this time of year. Town has been filled with people from all over, coming in for two art festivals. That makes parking, even in a residential area, a real bear. Luckily, my friend’s house has a driveway. I say luckily, but not because of the car.

The borough is very picky about maintenance of property within the borough limits. One day I go over to the house and there is a warning wedged in the door jam. “The shrubs and weeds in the back are hanging over into the public alleyway and must be clipped back. This will be your only warning.”

After work the next evening I took my gloves and clippers, and started clipping. The burrs and chicory didn’t pose a problem at all. Now she had told me about the “false bamboo” but I had no idea what that was. Plus I didn’t really know where the property ended. I know now.  On both counts. “False bamboo” leaves don’t look like bamboo leaves, but the stalks certainly do.

I figured where the neighbor ended trimming was the property line.

I had asked where to throw the clippings and was told to throw them in the dumpster across the alley. Burrs and chicory — again no problem. The false bamboo clippings filled most of two dumpsters. My intention was to toss in the rest of the clippings the next morning if the dumpsters were emptied. If not, there was room for the tenants to throw trash. Certainly the dumpsters would be emptied on Monday.

The remaining clippings I dragged into the driveway. The pile was taller than I am! All told it took about 45 minutes to complete the hack job I did on her shrubbery.

I wanted to get a drink when I was able to drag my exhausted, sorry butt up the drive and up the stairs into the house. There was another problem. (Since I didn’t tell her about this, she will yell at me if she reads this entry.)

My friend keeps kosher. That’s not really a problem except I don’t know which glasses are for dairy and which are for meat. Also not a problem, you say, since water is parve? Au contraire. Problem! After I drink the water, how do I clean the glass? Does she have a sponge for meat and one for dairy? I am willing to bet that’s a “yes.” Do I know which is which? That would be a “no.” I wasn’t about to leave the glass in the sink until she returns. Sticking my head under the faucet of her kitchen sink and possibly getting hair in her sink was also a “no go.”

My solution was to wash my hands, use my hand as a cup, then use her air conditioner in the guest room until I felt like I could move again.

After all was said and done I noticed the wound.

It looks like a fluke worm bite, but surely I would see a water creature in the shrubs. I figure the mark was left by a run-in with the end of a stick.

The next morning, the dumpsters were emptied and now the driveway is clear. However, in my mind, I still feel like I have nature all over me. UGH!

Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed is Fifty Shades Finished

This past Memorial Day weekend was brutally hot and humid for May. It felt more like 4th of July weather. I was able to finally finish the last bits of gardening I had to do rewarded myself with some shopping and reading.

I read the two remaining books in the Fifty Shades trilogy. Neither was quite as intense as the first and that’s a very good thing. Unfortunately, neither were quite the character studies that the first book was, either.

Fifty Shades Darker is at least still somewhat in the same genre as Fifty Shades of Grey. With an ex-sub threatening the life of the girlfriend and a run-in with the former dom cum friend, the second book has essentially the same feel as the first.

Fifty Shades Freed takes a sharp turn and rides the trilogy right off the rails.  Destination: Fanficdom. Dream extended honeymoon, sabotage of the corporate helicopter, attempted kidnapping, arson, car chase, car accident and successful kidnapping — it’s all there. FSF is not exactly erotica/romance/character study. That’s ok, I guess, but I felt a bit let down. The plot “twists” are messy and unnecessary. The psychology is pure Psyc 101 textbook. I think the three books could safely be pared down into two. Not being a “Twilight” fan is a definite disadvantage when reading Fifty Shades Freed. I did a lot of skimming instead of reading.

J.R. Ward wrote about Vishous (my Kindle’s eponym) and his “alternate lifestyle” but never employed the cheesy plot tricks E.L. James uses. Ward writes about vampires who are a different species, not undead, and Lessers, who have had their hearts taken out, put in jars, and they a bleed black oily substance. Um … hello! If the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s plot comes out a winner over a more reality-based plot, how far has James strayed from the pack?

Still and all, the first two in the series were worth the read.

Gardening

I hate gardening.

Let’s just get that out of the way up front. Hate, hate, hate. I don’t mind watering. I love seeing the the flowers in bloom. I love using the herbs and flowers that grow in the garden.

It’s the dirt I hate. It’s the digging in the dirt, lugging the dirt, filling the pots with dirt, playing in the dirt to get the plants positioned correctly. Dirt.

They say that in mental institutions, patients were allowed just to play in the dirt, pretending to garden, and it would make them calmer. The very thought sends me over the edge. Psychotic break much? Or as Monk would say. “I have nature all over my hands.”

I think the problem starts with the fact that there is mold in the soil. If I play in the dirt sans gloves my hands get red, itchy and they swell, my eyes itch and I wake up the next day with swollen eyes glued together. That happens even when I take allergy meds. Aversion therapy there.

I can’t stand getting dirt under my nails. That drives me completely nuts. I wear Mud Gloves. Those things are great. Cloth dipped in latex makes the gloves comfortable-ish, durable  and washable. As an added bonus, mine are purple. Mud Gloves do a good job at keeping the dirt on the outside — mostly . A certain amount always manages to find its way under my nails. Damned dirt is insidious.  Unfortunately, Mud Gloves do nothing for my eyes.

So here I sit, typing this with swollen eyes and planting half done. I ran out of dirt and still need another bag or two to finish the job. That means another trip to the garden center for the bags of dirt, more playing in the dirt, more dirt under the nails, swollen eyes in the morning, wash, rinse, repeat.

I hate gardening.