Sow There! Water plants for a friend is a lot to ask

The interior of the new shade structure looked like the Rainforest Cafe when I went on a trip recently and asked friends to help water. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)
July 19, 2019 

It’s true that part of the joy of taking a trip is the anticipation. This is certainly the case for me.

I visualize my family and my rubber chicken running in slow motion along a pristine beach, the watercolor sunset making our skin glow with soft pink hues. In my trip-planning mode, everyone we meet is genuinely friendly and each expense costs less than our budget.

When in vacation anticipation mode, I look at Google maps and view endless photos of other people’s idyllic vacation moments. I’m genuinely happy for them.

Long before I triple lock the front doors, I’m breathing more deeply. Sometimes I swear my blood pressure is already lower, as if I’m soaking my toes in cerulean water and my tummy filled with fattening foods.

All of that … what fun to plan.

Unless you’re the plant lady.

Plant lady

I’m the plant lady. It’s an elite club.

  • Ladies living in shoes with too many children …
  • The gal with so many cats she can’t sit on the furniture.
  • The recycler with so many Cool Whip containers he builds a plastic tower in the living room.
  • Floor-to-ceiling displays of Franklin Mint decorative plates, covering multiple walls.
  • Readers with good intentions who have so many stacks of newspapers they no longer have room in their house for books …

We know who we are.

Guitars, Teletubbies, Precious Moments figurines, bulky exercise machines, DVDs, porcelain dolls, National Geographics, purses … it’s easy to have way too much of things we love.

I collect plants. Most of them are in pots.

I moved to my current cottage about four years ago. Certainly, enough time has passed that I could have built or paid for decorative raised beds and a simple drip irrigation system.

Nope, I wander around the yard nearly every day, with hose trailing. It’s a ritual I like.

Thinking is not important. I notice which flowers are just about to open. I witness bees doing important work and I squash cabbage worms.

The interior of the new shade structure looked like the Rainforest Cafe when I went on a trip recently and asked friends to help water. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)

In these moments of mindlessness, solutions to problems can come to me like the wind.

It’s hard to remain twisted inside when all that is needed is to walk 6 inches at a time, controlling running water.

Being the plant lady hurts no one, unless she wants to go on vacation.

Selfishly, I like to plan a trip in early July, when Chico is miserably hot.

“Hello (long, lost friend): It’s July — can you come to my house and stand in the bitter heat and water my plants?

“I know we haven’t talked since I started teaching last August. Yes, I’m great. How are you? I don’t have much time to chat. I’m leaving town in two hours. Can you save my plants from almost certain death while I’m frolicking in fun far, far away?”

Richard, good man that he is, gave an honest reply. “I would really rather not, but you know I will if you really need me.”

I couldn’t argue with that. He’s done my dirty work a time or two. I did all that I could to find other helpers. I want to ensure I can use him as a backup another time.

Luckily, I did not need to go door-to-door searching for a 12-year-old child and bribing him with $20 bills. I asked several friends to stop by and tend the hose once or twice, on a specific date. Teaching must have helped improve my organizational skills because this time, I made a spreadsheet.

I know exactly the right gift to give my helpers as a token of my gratitude: A plant.

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