Fountain Foundation

iPhone photos 562

The poster child of flood panic.

As the earth blankets with snow, I think of the struggles we faced this year. Water is the mother of life; clean drinking water is what gives North Americans good health and piece of mind. Millions all over the world face the threat of disease and death from drinking contaminated ground water. We are the lucky ones.

Without sounding too focused on what they call “first world problems”, when there are more important social issues to discuss and remedy, I am going to describe another one of my unfortunate tales.

The “mother of life” can sometimes be a b!tch. Where there is too much water in the wrong places, irreversible damage is imminent. This spring, our yard was a 4×4’ers dream. This spring, we owned a luxurious natural swimming pool in our garage. These things were out of our control and should not occur next year. My story is one of wrong-doing and I get to share it with passion and flair, because it was not my fault. This spring, Jack left the outside tap turned on.

The minute I parked my car in the driveway, I suspected something was awry; I did not recall installing a water feature beside our house. I had returned home to a beautiful fountain glistened by sunshine, spraying up toward the heavens. I rushed to the tap, turned it clockwise, and stood in the puddle a moment, hypothesizing what could have caused this injustice. Upon further inspection, I noticed a hole in the garden hose that was attached to the tap. The pressure had built up over a few days and the hose stretched until it could no longer handle the psi and burst, producing a rainbow sans the gold at the end.

I picked up my phone and immediately called Jack, who was working away from home.

“You’re not going to believe what just happened. The garden hose exploded.”

“What? How did that happen?”

“You left the tap on! There’s water EVERY WHERE!”

“Ohh man. Go check the basement.”

I hustled down the stairs and with relief I proclaimed the basement flood-free.

“Oh wait, there is water dripping off the electrical panel.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope.”

I proceeded to follow Jack’s ridiculous demands to open the electrical panel with a screwdriver that sent a spark flying half-way through the operation.

“F*ck this, I’m abandoning ship.”

This is the moment Jack (after being quit for 2 and a half years) started smoking again.

It turns out the fountain sprayed sporadically into a hole in the conduit on the outside of the house and ran down to the panel. If the good things in life worked out this perfectly, I’d be an Astronaut Model.

Advertisements

25 Character-interests I Share With the Retired

 

Image

This is not my grandmother, but those are some mighty fine geraniums she’s got there.

I’m 28 going on 58. In some ways I’m older than my 85 year old grandmother. In my defence, she’s hip for her age (and her hips are likely stronger than mine).

How can a 20-something year old have ANYTHING in common with a retiree? Here’s a list of 25. If you’re my age, I hope it gives you an “ah-ha!” moment. If not, at least give me a little “ha-ha”.

  1. I love deals! I can’t wait for garage sale season and I visit the thrift shop on a weekly basis (because I am “For Real Engaged” and planning a wedding).
  2. When I go grocery shopping, I park by the cart return so my cart is easily returned.
  3. Turkey Bingo is my idea of a fun Friday outing. For you young folk, this is where you can win a turkey, not enjoy a turkey dinner whilst playing Bingo.
  4. I am obsessed with gardening. For proof, read “Crazy Garden Lady”, “Still Crazy Garden Lady“, and “Crazy Garden Lady Recklessly Returns”.
  5. I threw out all my thong underwear years ago and ever since, my underwear has become more and more substantial.
  6. I am obsessed with cleaning my house. It’s fun!
  7. A glass of wine and I’m tipsy, but I don’t admit it to ANYONE (except you). If I consume any more than that, I have a headache for 2-3 days.
  8. I plan my meals around fiber content and I take a probiotic daily.
  9.  I don’t understand current fashion. I don’t understand how or why the “Mr. T” haircut came back in style. In fact, I don’t understand young people at all.
  10.  I watch Days of Our Lives, every day. And, it pisses me off William Horton was switched out for a less attractive version a few months ago. I don’t care if he portrays a homosexual character, he was handsome. BRING BACK WILL!
  11.  I get up to pee at least twice a night.
  12.  I wear diabetic socks. I am not diabetic; I suffer from poor circulation (and so does my Grandma)!
  13.  If I over exert myself (like at Zumba), I’m sore for days.
  14.  Loud music annoys me and hurts my ears.
  15.  I drive a 4 door sedan, the speed limit, unless I’m trying to run over the “Asphalt Alligators“.
  16.  I still use recipe cards. I don’t own one of those iPad thingys.
  17.  I’ve heard myself say, “They don’t make things like they used to,” on multiple occasions. Usually when I break shit and need an   excuse.
  18.  Texas hold ‘em is a cattle herding technique, right?
  19.  I go to bed at 8:30 on a weeknight and I turn into a pumpkin after midnight on weekends.
  20.  Any movie that came out in the 2000’s is a new release.
  21.  I use anti-aging night cream religiously. I wash my face every night because I heard every time you leave make-up on, your skin ages 7 days.
  22.  I’ve had the same haircut for 20 years – with or without bangs.
  23.  Sky diving? Never. My idea of adventurous is flying to Mexico.
  24.  I shave my legs once a month.

There is no #25 because I couldn’t think of one and I’m stubborn like that.

*Know someone that can relate? Share this post and give them the “ah-ha” moment they deserve!

 

 

Crazy Garden Lady Recklessly Returns

Image

This was last year’s garden. Ignore the grass. That was an accident.

I was standing in Peavy Mart staring at the walls of beautiful merchandise, picturing myself stacking a cart full of seeds and mini greenhouses. It wasn’t a dream. It was my yesterday.

Jack of Most Trades is somewhat annoyed at my gardening; I don’t see why 30 pounds of tomatoes at harvest last year is such a big deal. It’s not like it was drugs.

I have had the pleasure of working with people wanting to quit smoking. Although some of them succeeded, many others were plagued by the addiction following their every move. I know what addiction is all about, and I know what someone will do for their drug of choice. Gardening is my drug, my addiction. It makes me happy. By the end of the summer, I end up hating it because it’s a lot of work, but by mid-winter I long for my thumb to be a little greener.

Again, this was my yesterday. I spent a good half hour searching for the best seeds and calculating what would be my best move in order to get the most bang for my buck. I kept the bill under $20. That’s about the cost of an expensive pack of smokes in Canada. If I said I wasn’t going to go back over and over to stock up on the latest trends in garden paraphernalia, I’d be fibbing.

The following is a re-enactment of how my addiction exploded yesterday.

In my mind I was thinking, “I NEED more plants. I only have so much garden and flower bed space. I NEED to start growing more plants NOW. I only have so much sunny window space in our house.”

And I was saying to Jack, “I almost bought another greenhouse today but I refrained.”

“Another?”

“I mean one of those seed starting mini greenhouses.”

One. Two. Three . . .

“I NEED you to drop what you’re doing and build me a greenhouse.”

“OK. I could.”

He better not be patronizing me.

“Out of all recycled materials,” I added.

“Find me some plans.”  

And that is how I scored myself more future plants. I don’t mind waiting because I know I will eventually have more. I am OK with the 36 I started yesterday. This is a lie, I’m not OK.

I can’t wait to see what this greenhouse looks like. Probably much like the dog house Jack built out of an old deck. He spent hours on that thing so his little princess could have 5-star accommodations (and I’m not talking about me). The house had its own deck with partial sun and partial shade, and even though it wasn’t pretty, it did the trick. I need to emphasize how many hours, cuts, nails, and wood this project required. I think he used an entire deck from a real sized house. And it really did nothing for the curb appeal of our real sized house. Maybe that’s why Jack is so adamant on having plans this time.

I wonder if he has time this evening to just whip up a greenhouse for me. You know what, I’ll do it myself. Can’t be too hard, right? And it’s not like every labour-related task I do outdoors turns into a disaster. Like every time I mowed the lawn last summer. The mower got stuck in a hole and I couldn’t get it out or I ran out of gas so I just left it there. Every time. I would just tell myself, “I was done anyway” or “It makes for a good lawn ornament.” What about the time I chipped away all the ice from the down spouts (blog post “Down Pout”)? That was helpful and definitely NOT a disaster.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Still Crazy Garden Lady

If you were not convinced of my insanity from my “Crazy Garden Lady” post, maybe this will help. I write this on my laptop which is quickly losing battery life; just like the laptop and our house, soon I too will be powerless*. I know I complain about Mother Nature a lot but I just can’t help myself. The chat I had with her in April must have sparked a flame because she is being a crazy you-know-what again. See more on this in a second.

I had 12 tomato plants that I started from seed at the end of March. I gave 3 away to what I assume were good homes. I was sad to see them go (hysterical) but I will continue to be optimistic and hope they did not meet their early demise. The plants I have left are finally starting to bear fruit. I had an exaggerated sense of euphoria when I first noticed this. Before you start judging, you would be excited too if you nursed something from conception to maturity. It’s like peeing yourself all pregnancy long and the kid coming out with all fingers and toes (I cannot attest to this specifically, and I may always stick to plants, but I’ve heard things). These puppies have really grown over the past few months!

tomato seedlings second transplant tomatoes hardening off tomatoes big tomatoes

The first step toward recovery is to climb out of the hole of denial so here’s the truth. My obsession has expanded beyond the tomatoes. There was one minor snag in my garden plan which has turned into something major for someone of my nature. Jack of Most Trades (who is now not just my fiancé-to-be but my for-real- fiancé) staked out a rather large and grassy area for the garden of my dreams. He tilled up the lovely, rich soil as I swooned over it. I even documented this milestone in our lives by taking way too many pictures. If you are ever thinking about digging a new garden, don’t do it in the Spring and if you absolutely have to, Roundup that shit first. The once beautiful, tall quack grass is AGAIN beautiful, luscious and yes, tall. My garden is green and we don’t have to hill the potatoes because they are shaded by all the dang grass growing in there! The other good news that Jack of Most Trades shared with me the other day is that, “We will never make that mistake again.” By next year, I plan on having the garden of my dreams. The game fence around the garden seemed like extreme overkill but the deer that were walking their stubby hooves through my garden now walk AROUND it and stare longingly at the grass they will never have.

tilling grassy garden

Back to the power story . . . There was a huge storm last night including hail so I am afraid to go outside to see the damage my “pretties” endured. And, to prove that we are the rednecks of the neighborhood, we now have a generator accompanying our BBQ on the front stoop.

*I would like to take this opportunity to put my heart out to those in Southern Alberta who have been tortured by massive flooding. I know you probably feel truly powerless in this situation and I am sorry about what has happened to your homes and communities. It is a sad time and your fellow Albertans are taking action or, at the very least, thinking of and praying for you.  

Crazy Garden Lady

I can’t believe this is happening to me.

As a background, I grew up on a farm and all I knew was homegrown vegetables and my mom’s various gardens and flower beds which, over the years grew in size and quantity. Even now when their kids are grown up, you can venture out to the farm on any given summer day and you will find my mom tending to her vast garden. She still plants the same amount as when all of us were living there. Often I hear her say she could “feed an army” with all that she grows. In fact, she could and even after giving away the goods from half her garden, she still has two deep freezes, two fridges, a water well and a cold room full of vegetables! I have made a silent vow to never follow in her footsteps because I remember being worked to the bone; planting, picking, tailing, cutting, stringing beans, shelling peas, hilling potatoes, cross pollinating tomatoes; and the list goes on.

It’s a regular occurrence for me to call or text my lovely sister to ask advice. The other day, I called her at work because I was in Walmart and wanted to know where I could find “those little round dirt things you plant seeds in.” She knew exactly what I was talking about because we are sisters and all the misunderstandings when we were young have turned us into perfectly in sync, mind reading adults.

Obviously I am an amateur to the outside world because the Customer Service Rep looked at me blankly and then said,“Oh, you mean peat pallets? They are just over here.”

(Yes, peat pallets! Love those things!)

“I’m sorry, we must be out.”

“OUT?” (Instant hulk-like, little kid temper tantrum rage).

I grabbed my composure and moved on to another store. Luckily, they had the round dirt things and not just ordinary ones. The round things were surrounded by a glorious mini greenhouse! Genius; who comes up with these things?! I promptly bought the greenhouse along with seeds for two types of tomatoes and a variety of petunias.

I tackled the job of sowing my seeds yesterday. I had 24 round dirt things which seemed like not enough. I got my phone out to ask for more advice.

“How many tomato plants do you usually plant?”

“Four, and one cherry tomato. I get quite a few tomatoes off them.”

“Oh. I was thinking more like 12”.

“That would be a lot. You would be like Mom then.”

Noooo! I don’t want to be Crazy Garden Lady! It’s better than cats but all the neighbor kids will still point and laugh. This brings me back to my original point: I can’t believe this is happening to me. I thought about it for a moment and decided being Crazy Garden Lady might be the end of the world and 12 tomato plants was way too much. . . 

I have started 12 tomato plants. Like mother, like daughter.