I got a email. About gardening. In my very unknown, incoming-only, address.
It’s another account I keep to keep clutter from my real email.
You know, the one that people I actually know have and where the important stuff goes.
Anyway, the beauty of this junk box is that it fills up nicely with coupons and offers and a lotta ‘free.’ I love freebies. Even if I don’t need it, or won’t use it, if it’s free – I snag it and pass it along.
Samples are a great way to experiment, especially for less money. It’s a win-win. For me, experimenting for less is a happy mind expansion thing. Plus, deals and coupons save me money on stuff I know I’m going to buy, anyway. Same sort of mindset as Fetch and Ibotta. I just love layering.
I get a few newsy-type dailies that let me know when and where to find good stuff. I was particularly excited to learn Lowe’s was having a series of garden give-aways. Hypocritical, I know considering how hard I take the ‘annual that which I despise’ obligation.
I shared this with my gardening friend who had already heard about and tried to get into it.
Registration for the first event opened at midnight and her experience was that the site was overloaded and she didn’t get anywhere.
That was a bummer to hear. I’m not that driven to stay up until midnight battling it out with other batty internet users. Strangely, enough, though…
By the time I’d finished my weekly blog, sent it out into the social-universes of FB me, FB Knabble, WordPress, IG and Twitter it was 11:20 PM. I still thought it might be a little over the top to be hovering over my keyboard for 40 more minutes.
I puttered around prepping for the next-day work-day by re-filing blog fodder, and just generally straightening and restoring my desk back to the ‘real job’ configuration. At 11:47 the idea was still free-floating around in my head. I still had a bit of time on my non-gardening, don’t-like-to-get-too-dirty hands.
I turned up Spotify and tuned into Grandson. It’s not the kind of music you can tune-out to. Hence, the love. The first time I heard Grandson was through an IG video reaction site; totally recommend a follow. Besides the music/reaction, dude’s got an oddly sense of humor. (Links’ll be below.)
11:58, I thought I’d just try and slip into the site. Get queued up. No dice. Just a bit of a reprimand that it wasn’t time, yet.
So, I outed. Then, I inned. And outed and inned. Mmm hmm. Turned into an online version of the day after Christmas at Wal*mart at 4:00 AM in Tennessee. That’s a story by itself. Never again, folks. Never, again. Although, I did end up at a Michigan Kohl’s one black Friday. 5:00 AM. Easy in, easy find. Horrible two and a half hours of standing in line to check out. Never, again, to that, too. At least Kohl’s, handed out candy canes.
Stroke of midnight at Lowe’s online, I got it right! I got right in.
Instead, I conquered the annual “That Which I Despise.”
In record time due to:
It actually being a bi-annual event.
A lovely friend willing to haul me out some mulch.
I skipped 2020 with absolutely zero guilt. COVID, and none of the box stores who were just beginning delivery were willing to ship soil or mulch. I’m generally not a fan of gardening, unless it bears salsa.
Last fall, I determinedly dug up the interlocking brick border and moved each about 2 inches further in, toward the building, so there’s be future less to tend. I also took a good number of bulbs from my oft-trampled only true floral bed. The damage really irked me at first. But, what else is a child supposed to do without siblings or much outdoor supervision? Permitting use of the imagination is a much more important investment, anyway. It’s also a convenient reason not to attempt to weed amongst wreckage.
The other south-side bed has been mulch, weeds and two obnoxious prickerly bushes. I’ve tried to kill them three times. Seriously. Chopping as mercilessly as the greenery would gladly prick me, I poured multiple helpings of all-natural, safe for pets, liquid weed killer down the stumpy gullets.
The stubborn regrowth hadn’t gotten very far, when the mulch angel stopped by. A little side comment about how much I really dislike those maroon-ish meanies, prompted an immediate, “I’ll take them.”
To which I promptly replied, “Let me go grab you a shovel.”
I also pulled up two white grocery sacks, a pruner, hand rake and gloves. Happy-to see-holes devoid of dangerous thorns inspired a fiendish grin. Then, What I thought were wild-spreading, brightly beautiful purple-flowered weeds were actually flowering bulbs of some sort. A hefty number of those departed, too.
After that, the only thing left to do, was to thickly cover the rest of the space with dark brown clumps of moist wood chips. My precise method? Dump a bag, smooth it out. Move on.
I did. I dumped a bag and a half into the two split beds leading up to my real front porch. I did take care to kind of paw some away from plants that I know are plants. Yellow daffodils, orange lilies. I also invested a few moments trimming that something-piney half-bare tree-like thing that lives to the right of a living room window. Probably not the right season to prune it, but every time the wind blows, it stretches an awkward, arm-like branch into my couch-view. It’s especially alarming at night.
From there, I rounded the corner to my new-two-years-ago railroad tie garden space that has yet to become one. I did mostly succeed in deceasing an odd, low-low-to-the-ground viny, yellow and green thing. My friend asked what the lone clump of greenery was. I don’t know, but it sort of resembles daffodil sprouts. Only thinner. I mercifully gave them breathing room, and dumped the rest of half bag I was holding.
Hostas are hardy enough that even I can’t accidentally kill them. Even when, say I didn’t forget to clip the tendrils and cut them back before the first Michigan frost. In my defense, the frost came early and I hadn’t been engaged in caring.
“Do you think I need to clear out all the dead stuff?” It was a hopefully inquiry. The hope was that the answer would be, “No.” Unfortunately, I was, as expected, informed that it would be a good idea.
That was a quick go, too. A couple of handfuls of dry, brittle, bud branches and leftover fall foliage was all it took. Again, I considerately brushed away bits from just sprouting buried shoots. I’m particularly fond of hardly-ever-need-water and ever-expanding Hostas.
So, maybe I do have a little landscaping desire buried deep within. Maybe, I’ll indoor-pot some poblanos next to the already potted cat grass.
(Correction: someone pointed out that there are four C’s. Ok, fine. Cat, Chiropractic, Car & … Correction or Continued. Or, maybe, Carrots, because I had to toss two wilted ones last week. )😉
In what seems like a significantly too short a time, HBlu is on his way back to me.
As he is being re-lodged in the back seat, I begin my questioning.
“Wait,” I say. “We’re supposed to pick up his thyroid medication. It was ordered last week. Did he get his blood draw to check that the thyroid med isn’t harming his liver? Did he get his steroid shot? How did he present? Did he hiss or flinch when his back was adjusted? Should he still be on the pain meds?”
Yep, I’m that crazy cat mama.
Back he went; back out he came. He was reported to be a sweet boy, still very tight and hunching, but no fussing or hissing. Seems like HBlu reserves that stuff for only me. Blood drawn, meds in hand. Great! Off we go, ahead of schedule.
Or, not. The strangest thing: turning the key released 50 deranged woodpeckers ambushing my engine.
My first thought was, “What? I got here just fine.” Truly, the car started without any trouble at home. I mean, key in, crank, tah-dah!
Ok. Any doors open? Nope. Any warning lights? Nope. In park? Yep. The anti-theft blinking red dot was engaged. Hmm. I locked and unlocked or unlocked and locked the doors and tried again.
The peckers were replaced by a marching band of squirrels made up entirely of cymbals.
Because denial is ingrained trait of mine, I waited about 30 seconds and attempted a 3rd try.
A conga line of long-nailed, tap-dancing vermin-fans of the Squirrel Band partied on behind them.
At this point, second guessing sets in. “What? Did I suddenly forget how to start a car?”
I gave my engine a full 60 seconds to clear its throat, positive it would get a grip on itself and start.
Nope. Same awful ratcheting noise.
One big calming breath later, I pulled out my AAA card and made the call of defeat.
AAA is 100% automated now. But, brilliantly, they will send you a link to click which will help the rescuer pin-point you. Which, 100% beats my, “Um, I’m off US-12, behind a Tim Horton’s, in an office strip mall, in front of a vet’s office” would-be offering.
Appreciatively, the kindly, yet sterile, robotic informed me my approximate wait time would be 1 hour and 15 minutes.
So, I phoned a friend. Chatted, waited. Waited, chatted. Checked the arrival time update and it had moved 10 minutes in the wrong direction. Harrumph, but… Ok.
As it got closer to my supposed saving, I began the pivoting, neck-stretch search. I was watching the driveway entrance and noticed the car next to me had a holographic purple hued blue coat. It was a really pretty and distracting color. I sat there contemplating whether it could be a custom color or if I could get a car like that. Ponderance complete, I glanced over at the driveway.
No savior insight, on my eye-swing back, I noticed that the car alongside me had an agitated driver. On the phone. Staring at me. Or staring back at my unfocused stare. Clearly not amused.
The first two words were never something I imagined ever saying in conjunction.
The third, well… I’ll get to that.
Here’s a not-so quick kitty update.
Blu’s back is messed up and has been since we were on our regular morning cat leash-walk and encountered an unleashed large dog this past summer. The vet had been asking if he’d had a fall. Turns out he did; from my arms, after shredding my chest. He hit the ground hard, sort of on his side, but jumped up and ran straight home. He was there was waiting at the door to be let in when I caught up. It took me forever to remember that because he seemed fine for quite a while after.
Anyway, the cat chiro is a bit of a drive and requires wrangling that selectively wily Blu cat in his carrier. Illogically, the carrier is where he likes to sleep in the daytime. Somehow, all I have to do is silently think, “It’s almost time to get going,” and he lumber-sprints. This pending trip, the little booger bolted and wedged himself under the basement stairwell.
I had the fore-thought to warn my hunched-over self, “Ok, when you get him, just don’t stand up because you’ll bonk you head.” Grabbed him, rolled him up in my ratty don’t-care-if-you-shred-this-any-more-than-it already-is-holey sweater, aannnd… stood up. Quickly, moving with significant force and speed, which resulted in stars and swearing and a lumpy bluish front forehead bump.
After being blind-folded and jostled up the stairs, he took being pushed into his bag rather mildly. He even rested quietly while I changed out of my not-to-be-seen-in-public top, but, then, began thrashing while I put my shoes on.
Shoes are another trigger. He associates them with leaving the house, now. Sir Harley is fine in the car, until it begins to move. Then, it’s 20 minutes of whiny-boy crying and me apologizing, asking for forgiveness. Explaining, I really do love him and that’s why we’re doing this, again.
I got a little turned around on the way there this time which added an extra 5 minutes travel and yakking. Luckily, we were going to be early. Arriving just on-time at our destination, all is quiet again as soon as the car’s set in park. I call-in to let them know we’re waiting.
The vet briefing is over the phone, and then someone comes out to take him in. I really dislike this COVID necessary scenario. I want to be with him and see how he reacts and ask a million immediate questions. Instead, I’m stuck in my car along, sitting sandwiched between two other pet parents.
It’s a little chilly, but I turn the car off. I’d cranked the heat on the way and wearing a ridiculous-looking but ridiculously-warm bright red, branded but free, puffer coat.
I’ve reached the necessary age of Michigan Non-Vanity, adopting the Who cares how I look? I’m not shivering! way of life I probably should have years ago. I suppose the fact that it’s 36 degrees in December, categorized as only ‘chilly,’ proves I am indeed, somewhat adaptable.