Tag Archives: The Idiot Gardener

“JUST ONE FIX…ONE FIX…ONE FIX…”

Even though we haven’t actually hit classic Texas high temperatures yet, we’ve reached summer for all intents and purposes, and the Czarina and I finally have a little bit of free time. Most couples look at an impending holiday or just a free weekend as an opportunity to get out of town. The Czarina and I look at each other and ask “So who wants to vacuum the bedroom?” Having two big back-to-back shows, along with the insane preparation for both, cut into our general household duties, leaving the carpet in the living room filled with…bits. We think they’re claw caps from where the cats use the scratching post to hone their already ridiculously sharp armaments, but we’re not sure. I won’t even get into the dust rhinos underneath the Czarina’s favorite chair, or the three cats’ worth of cat fur I got out of the carpet last night, or that we were both so horrified at how badly our housekeeping had lapsed that we were vacuuming and sweeping at close to midnight.

What you have to understand as well is that I grew up in a rather singular household. My father comes from a very long run of packrats, and the old Scottish frugality is very strong on his side of the family. These days, it’s called “upcycling,” but when I was a kid, it was called “growing up Riddell.” I just looked in wonder when I’d visit friends’ houses and see them using garages for holding cars, instead of band saws, acetylene torches, and enough scrap wood to rebuild the USS Constitution. When I was eighteen, I read a book review in Twilight Zone magazine that talked about how “Grandma could stretch out a Thanksgiving turkey forever, until it was mid-July and she was trying to figure out how to make turkey-flavored Jell-O from the bones.” All I could think was “Are we related?”

My mother, on the other hand, was a budding minimalist, and was notorious for pitching anything that sat in the same place for too long without a purpose. I only saw my parents get into one fight as a kid, and that was when my mother decided to donate my father’s high school prom tuxedo to Goodwill. I could sympathize on both sides, and still do: I’m notorious for letting the schmutz pile up in my office for weeks and months, until one day something snaps and everything else is secondary to stripping the place clean and rebuilding.

And that’s what’s going on this weekend. No shows for a couple of months, until FenCon IX in September, although the call of Four Seasons Markets has promise. The summer heat hasn’t really started, and I’ve never had any interest in sitting around in shorts while watching ball games on a perfectly good Saturday. So what’s the option?

That’s right: I’m taking inspiration from The Idiot Gardener and hislatest run of fence porn, and putting up a new greenhouse. If you don’t hear from me by next Wednesday, just feed what remains to the plants, okay?