And the extended weekend is over. You ever have one of those extended holiday weekends where you start by telling yourself what you’re going to accomplish at the start, and you wake up the next Monday morning sighing “Wow, I got everything DONE!” as you’re walking into the shower? Me, neither. It was, however, still an awfully productive time, what with odd weather, surprise trips, and visits from strange wildlife. Thirty years ago, my professional garden career started when I was dragooned by my mother into helping a friend of hers clear out her flower beds. Three decades later, I still have dreams that I’ve died and gone to Hell, and my eternal punishment is to pull Bermuda grass root nodules out of North Texas clay. This…wasn’t quite so bad.
On the more humorous side, this was the weekend where I learned exactly how extensive the Czarina’s vocabulary can be. It started innocently enough, as she was reading one evening, and I shared one of my upcoming project ideas with her. “You know those eight-foot-tall gumball machines you see in supermarkets?”
“…yes?” The Czarina doesn’t have prominent eyebrows, but what she has were both rising toward the ceiling, ready to strike.
“Yeah. I just figured out how to convert one into a terrarium.”
“Oh, really.” No interrogative at the end of that sentence. Instead, the emphatic period at the end sounded like the last nail pounded into a coffin lid. I understand playwrights call it “foreshadowing”.
“And even better, I figured out how to make it a useable terrarium AND still dispense gumballs.”
“REALLY.” At this point, her famed elbows were sliding out of their sheaths, and the noise of the venom drooling onto the floor from each one was exactly the sound of spare mortar splashing off a bricklayer’s trowel onto a bottle of Amontillado. Oh, she’s going to LOVE this, I thought.
“Yeah. All I need is a Plexiglas tube and some sealer at the bottom and a good cap at the top to keep out moisture…you don’t think I can do this, do you?”
“Oh, no. I believe you can do this,” she said to a paralyzed Harry Dean Stanton who was now really regretting leaving Ripley and Parker to look for the ship’s cat. “What I want to know is where you’re planning to put it while you’re working on it.”
“Well, there’s the garage…”
“NO.” The sound of the crypt sealing forever, the sound of a crocodile dragging its prey underwater, the sound of the crowd at a science fiction convention when I idly mention that Firefly bored me to tears. Death wasn’t in that voice, because Death was so spooked by that voice that he took a new job in Calgary.
“Well, there was this guy clearing out his garage at that apartment complex down the way, and he had it for sale for only fifty dollars…”
“The fact that it wasn’t in the garage when I got home is probably the only reason you’re still alive. Why didn’t you bring it home?”
“…he had to sell it right then, and I couldn’t bring it home on my bicycle.”
See? Bicycling to and from work IS healthy for you. Well, that and pricing storage spaces, so I have the room for the next gumball machine I come across. Just don’t tell her, okay?
EDIT: Somebody told, and that’s where her eloquence in English profanities came to the fore. Heck, she threatened me with defenestration after she threw me out a window.