Maybe you don’t know what gardening on the edge refers to, but this little story about my own gardening exploits certainly was enough to send right me off the edge.
This occurrence took place only a few short weekends ago.
My wife and myself had hopped up early on the sunny Saturday morning, donned our gardening shoes, and then we had ceremoniously put on our gardening hats and gloves.
We then spent quite an enjoyable morning together preparing a new garden bed in the front of our house.
Digging the new edges and borders and upturning the hard packed heavy clay soil. We had first worked hard to remove the grass covering, and then after digging up the heavy clods of clay, we had added plenty of cow manure, gypsum, and another soil improver or two, plus also a handful or two of a good organic fertiliser.
This was really a very good and productive morning’s work, and we were both pretty happy with the end result.
What sent me off the edge, was the following Saturday’s follow-up session that was all planned to take place within the same newly prepared and now ready to plant in garden bed.
Our intention was to plant the five small bushes that we had spent several hours browsing around a few nearby nurseries to carefully select. We had also bought two rather large bags of mulch to lay down on top of the soil to complete the job too our perfection, and to our satisfaction.
Read here: Really to my wife’s perfection and satisfaction.
She is so neat and methodical and she has such a good eye for this type of task.
I would have just started digging, but she had so carefully first marked out the lines for us to dig into and along with an orange can of spray paint.
There is a funny little aside story here, because my wife comes from a different culture to mine, and she hadn’t ever used spray paint before. Before I could stop her, she was looking down at the top of the can, and then she had without any further thinking about it, pressed the trigger to test if it was working or not.
I guess she expected it to spray downwards somehow, and not upwards. But you have to actually turn the can upside down to achieve this.
Unfortunately for her though it was all working most perfectly.
She had now sprayed orange marking paint onto her face, her nose, her hair, and some had even gone into her eyes. There was not enough to seriously cause any real problems though. After cleaning up inside with some water and face towels, she was soon back outside to help me once more again with the heavy work of removing the dug out grass clumps.
All that was left to betray what had happened to her was some orange paint still on the ends of part of her normally jet shining dark black hair.
Anyways, this next following Saturday morning was even hotter than the previous weekend’s had been.
We were fast approaching the hot dry summer season that we experience getting hotter and hotter every year now, here in Australia. The climate change scenario has struck here more than in other places it seems. It got up to 47 degrees Celsius in the shade in the suburbs here last summer.
We both quickly realised that we would be again needing our hats.
My wife then said to be something like this,
”You were the one to put them away, dear. Go get them for me. I suspect you put them in the shed, or maybe in the garage, didn’t you?”
Now, I am getting a little bit old and forgetful, and I already know the wisdom of not immediately contradicting my wife, in these matters. She is almost invariably right, and me wrong in the end, whenever I do this.
I scratched my head, and I wiped my by now profusely sweating brow a bit. This is one way that we men get our befuddled brains into gear. Most men need some type of a lever to pry out their memories, well at least I do.
Then I remembered that I had actually left the hats on the old barbecue under the pergola at the back of our house, and so that they were well out of the rain in that position, in case of if it had rained.
Feeling rather pleased with myself, I now walked quickly around to the rear of our house, leaving my wife in the front yard with the plants still to be planted. I fully expected the hats to be still there where I had left them.
Reaching the barbecue, I could see rather quickly that the hats in question where now no longer there at all.
Feeling more than a bit disappointed by this, I went back around the front of our house again now, and so I then asked my wife if she had taken the hats from the barbecue, and if she had placed them somewhere else.
She looked up at me from her kneeling position on the garden bed, as she replied again to me and sounding now a bit irritated, and quietly annoyed in her tensed tone of voice. I could always pick the added emphasis and reflections of annoyance that were added into her voice and gesticulations when she was upset, and I would usually then take cover very quickly.
”Well dear, I gave them to you to put away. Where did you put them? Go and have another look, and this time look more properly. Are you getting Alzheimer’s disease, or something,”
she had added this last bit rather sarcastically, and just a bit softer, but nevertheless loud enough for me to still be able to hear what she had just said.
I went back around the back of the house, as I was not really wanting to upset her anymore.
I was also starting to back down from my own strongly held position by admitting to myself that it was true that perhaps my memory was not so good at times as it used to be. And so I was determined this time to find those missing hats and prove that I was not going senile just yet after all.
There was still some grass in my top paddock as we Australians would say here. There was still some fruit in my fruitcake. At sixty three at last count, I wasn’t quiet out for the count as yet.
And so I now spent a good twenty minutes in the small garden shed now, before spending another thirty minutes after that in the garage looking for these missing garden hats.
I was getting very hot and bothered by this time. I was feeling very frustrated and I was about ready to give up the search altogether.
It was about then that my wife appeared at the garage door, eyeing me in the same way that she would a naughty school boy, and so she said to me rather crossly then.
”What are you still doing around here? You have been gone for over an hour. The planting is all finished, and the mulch is all spread. Don’t tell me that you are still looking for those hats?”
I replied hesitatingly, and I was faltering a bit in my reply, not wanting to appear too much of a fool for spending that much valuable time just looking for some old garden hats that I myself had stored away, well according to her anyway.
”Dear, are you sure that I was the one to put our hats away? I can’t seem to find them anywhere at all?”
I pleaded innocently now trying to calm down the coming storm.
She retorted gruffly building up her tirade to come,
”Get real Jim. (name changed) What on earth is the matter with you? Where did you put the blue bag?”
By now I was already not thinking too clearly at all, being flustered from spending so much time looking in the small clustered hot atmosphere of the tightly packed little garden shed, and then spending even more time still in the steamy and equally hot garage. It was indeed already a very hot and humid day, but at least I had been in the shade. My wife had just spent over an hour under the blistering sun’s intensive searing heat, and without even a hat on her poor head.
No wonder her mood also matched, and then had quickly overtaken my own bad mood.
I was really so confused by now.
What blue bag is she talking about? What has a blue bag got to do with anything anyway, I had then thought to myself really perplexed altogether with what she was now saying?
And so I only now most gingerly asked her innocently,
”What blue bag do you mean, deary?”
At least in our relationship, even when we are annoyed with each other, we still use pleasant sounding endearments such as this towards each other. The underlying deeper love is always still there, despite the surface waves crashing over us only for now in the short term.
”The blue cloth shopping bag. I asked you to put it away.”
I responded again still not knowing where we were going with this conversation, but sort of knowing intuitively that it all had something to do with the mystery of the disappearing garden hats.
And so I said to her quietly and soothingly,
”Well dear, I did put it away again into my car, so it will be there next time that we go shopping, and when we again forget to take a shopping bag along with us.”
With the trend towards the environment and recycling, plastic carry bags are largely a thing of the past in our small home town. The long arms of the Government’s reforms has even impacted on our small town, and its few stores.
My wife then played her ace card.
She told me then that the hats were inside the blue bag. Surely I would have noticed the extra weight and bulk she had added dryly, when I had placed the blue bag away into my car.
Of course I had not noticed, and I had had no idea at all in my head that the blue bag had contained something extra inside of it.
She was smugly satisfied. I had been proved wrong once again. It was me after all that had put the hats away, but without even knowing that I had ever done so.
Of course even until now, I have still not been game enough to as yet enquire why on earth she would ever want me to put our gardening hats into our blue shopping bag, while knowing full well that I would place it back in my car for use on another shopping day.
At least the hats were found at last, even though we had both been taken to the very edge of our own sanity to finally crack this mysterious puzzle wide enough open to see the right answer staring at me until I was blue in the face to match her still to be noticed hints of orange paint that were still visible on the fronds of her hair.
I will perhaps finish this article by adding an insight or two about what was really going on here, and the lessons to be learnt by all and sundry if they ever find themselves in the middle of a similar enigmatic event.
Love lets down its shades even as the sun keeps shining. Never allow outside heat to overheat the inner soft waters of your own hearts.
Blues should not be allowed to escalate into black and blues, and so laugh at your mistakes as much as you can live with the less than perfect communication being in your life at some such times. Clarifying issues first helps to avoid future pain. Be humble enough to let others see that you are sometimes forgetfully foolish, without needing to waste too much extra time to prove it to them then also.