Thursday, April 28, 2011

Before and After

I suppose anything that really brings great pleasure also has the potential to cause great disappointment. Such was the case last weekend. And I suppose, ultimately, I was the direct cause of the disappointment, but I'd prefer to blame it on El NiƱo, global warming, or some other matter largely out of my control. But no, last Friday night I didn't watch the 10 o'clock news and didn't know it might freeze. I left my beautiful tomato plants outside (in the cold house, mind you!) and am solely responsible for their demise.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I immediately looked outside because it was supposed to be a sunny day and I couldn't wait to see blue skies. Well, along with those beautiful blue skies I saw a completely frosted white lawn. I ran into the office to look at the thermometer—25 degrees. I went outside and opened up the cold house. From a distance, you wouldn't have known, but up close I could see the little frost crystals. Then I touched a leaf. Completely frozen. I brought them inside even though I knew it was too late. It was hard to make myself bring them in, because I knew as soon as they thawed they would look like beautiful baby tomato plants no more.

Sure enough, the warmth of the house thawed them almost immediately and they fell all over themselves—limp, wet, mushy, hardly recognizable versions of their former selves. It hit me hard this year because I had really worked to get good tomato starts this year—better soil, bigger containers, even a dose of fish emulsion. Oh well, so it goes. I started new seeds the same day with the realization that we might have to just buy plants if we actually want to harvest any tomatoes this year. But I'm not willing to give up on the seeds just yet. Judging by the cold, wet spring we're having (yes, there is a chance of snow tomorrow), it might be mid-June before I can plant them anyway!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I think it's interesting the different ways we track time depending on what's going on in our lives. I've been thinking about this as I'm nearing the end of a bottle of dish soap I have in the bathroom that I use to clean some medical supplies. I remember when I first got home from the hospital and realized I would need some dish soap in the bathroom. First I just borrowed it from the kitchen. How long would I really be needing it anyway? I remember it was an almost-brand-new bottle. After I realized I was stranding the Boyfriend mid-dishwashing with no soap, I bought a new bottle for the kitchen and kept the almost-brand-new bottle in the bathroom.

And now as I'm approaching the last few drops in that original bottle, I can't believe I've almost used the whole thing, drop by tiny drop. Part of me is dreading having to replace the bottle. It feels like a tangible admittance that things aren't normal yet. Part of me is hopeful. Every time I tip over that bottle for another drop or two I'm reminded of an hour glass. When that last drop runs out, I'm half expecting something miraculous to happen, as if the universe will take it as a sign that I'm ready to move on. The practical person in me knows that when I finally squeeze out the last bit of soap that is more soap bubble than soap drop, the only response will be me cursing the fact that I forgot to put dish soap on the list.

If it's not dish soap it's vitamin B6 pills and boxes of catheters. I finished my 100th B6 pill this morning, and so far, no response from the universe. That could be a good thing, because I wasn't quite sure how the universe would respond to me taking 10,000% (literally) of my daily value of vitamin B6 for 50 days in a row. I thought I would turn into some sort of B6 mutant, but so far so good. And by that I mean no more mutant than usual.

As far as the catheters go, I've gone full circle. I remember the first time the Boyfriend went to get some for me because I wasn't feeling good enough to go myself. I thought for sure the dozen or so they sent me home from the hospital with would be all I'd need. I couldn't believe it when he got me 50. There was no way I'd need 50. Now I'm happy to stockpile as many as I can afford for two reasons: 1) in case of impending nuclear disaster, the Boyfriend thinks I should have some on hand and 2) the fewer trips I have to make to the medical supply store the better. But that's a story for a whole different post.

And now I'm off to open my new bottle of B6 vitamins . . . bring it on, I even bought an extra.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring, at least officially

Spring blew in with a fury, and with the exception of a few nice days, it has remained rather furious. The standard for "nice" days seems to be lowering by the week. On the first day of spring, our fence blew down during a ridiculous windstorm. That's the kind of spring it's been so far. In any case, it's nice that it's officially spring if for nothing else than my mental health.

Despite the Corvallis-esque weather, we've been doing lots of spring-type things. Besides fixing our broken fence, the Boyfriend has started fixing up the raspberry trellis to replace the shoddy job I did last year. He had to start mowing last weekend and is sticking with the human-powered push mower another year. I even told him I'd buy him a powered mower, but he's tough. (By the way, Boyfriend, the offer is still good should you change your mind . . .) He's trimmed the perennials back, tamed tangled hoses, and lord knows what else. Thank goodness for the Boyfriend.

My main contributions have been planting, of course. I've got all sorts of seeds in the window sills—and some have even sprouted! Outside, I've planted pea, carrot, parsnip, lettuce, onion, beet, and radish seeds. I transplanted our broccoli plants into the cold frame and they're looking really good. I planted strawberry plants in the front hanging baskets. I don't know how they'll do, but I thought it would be fun to try. More and more pots and containers are switching teams from ornamentals to edibles, but I'm sure I'll try to keep a few flowers alive this season. The garlic has come up nicely. It's always so wonderful to look out there during the wet, snowy days of "spring" and see the bright green leaves bursting from the often frost-covered dirt. The raspberries are going gangbusters and have taken up quite a fight against the Boyfriend's attempt to keep them contained in their designated bed.

In bulb news, I'm loving the mini daffodils this year. I'm going to try to find more to plant in the fall. Our first tulips opened today and they're so happy looking. The most exciting news is what the Boyfriend discovered last weekend: our gladiolas, which I was too lazy or too crippled to pull out last fall, are coming up again this spring. They're not supposed to winter over here, but apparently ours did! Yay for lazy gardening working out to our advantage!