Thursday, April 30, 2015

Boxing In Spring

All I wanted to do was plant some pansies.  I thought it would be a simple matter of pouring potting soil from a bag into the planters attached to our front porch, grabbing a pansy by its neck, yanking it out of the little plastic rectangle without leaving half the roots behind, sticking it in the dirt, watering it and then waiting for it to bloom. 

I’ll just mix in some new potting soil with this old dirt and then plant.  Right?  I don’t need to replace all the soil with new stuff do I? It’ll be good enough without all new soil, right?

That should work.  But you need to dig the dirt down and line the inside of the boxes with heavy plastic before you add the potting soil.  If you don’t, the wood is going to rot out because those planters weren't built correctly.

And that was my mistake.  Asking.  Because Dean thinks that projects need to be done “the right way” not just the “good enough way.” I never learn.  I should just proceed with my plans quietly, but no, I have some idiotic need to double-check the procedure with Dean before I begin. 

There’s no end to this dirt.  It’s just one huge box with two sides and some front boards.  The dirt goes all the way to the ground.  There is no bottom to the boxes.  How do I line each box with plastic if the dirt goes all the way to the ground?

Isn't that why we have children?  So we have grandchildren who will feel sorry for us and do the hard work?
I heard his heavy sigh from all the way over by the garage.  He tore himself away from sorting the pile of screws scattered among all the other “you never know when I’ll need this” bits and pieces of detritus covering his workbench and walked over.  He looked.  He thought.  He looked some more.  He sighed some more.  And finally – delivered his verdict.

I need to rebuild it.  You can’t plant flowers now.  I need to take it apart and put in new wood.  See there?  See where it’s getting ready to rot?  If you just add dirt, even if you line it with plastic, it’s going to rot completely and then in a year or two you won’t have any boxes at all for planting flowers.  It needs to be done “the right way.”  It won’t take that long. 

And then he went to get his “tear down almost perfectly fine flower boxes tools.”

My jaw clenched, the back of my head began to throb, and my shoulders tensed because I knew his sense of “not that long” was not the same as mine.  I cursed myself for not just throwing in more dirt and quietly pushing in those pansies.  I had a sinking feeling the planter was going to go the way of my favorite rocking chair which has been stored in a box somewhere in the wood and metal strewn jungle, otherwise known as Dean’s garage, waiting to be reassembled – for over 25 years – all because I’d once innocently mentioned one of the joints was loose.  I didn’t want the planter parts to also disappear into a forlorn heap never to be seen again.  I wanted to plant flowers in those boxes and I wanted to do it now. 

Fortunately, over the years I’ve become a bit more skillful at offering creative solutions to a problem.  And let’s face it, what I’m really saying is I’ve figured out how to manipulate Dean to get what I want pretty much all the time … usually … mostly … a lot … for sure sometimes.  

What if we just dig out all the dirt and enclose the boxes by putting boards on the top?  I can fill pots with flowers and set them on top and that way there won’t be dirt inside to rot out the wood.  Plus, the best thing is you won’t have to rebuild the whole thing (and I won’t have to wait 1,000 years until I can plant flowers.)

He looked, he thought, he looked again, he thought some more, then he nodded just slightly and agreed that was a good solution.  He started sawing boards for the top, I did my part and attached the boards, and before the day had ended we had planters built “the right way” with pots of pansies soaking up the sun.  

If only I could find that box of rocking chair parts.  I could start to cobbling it together the “good enough way” and ..... maybe .....



Art Elser said...

Did the retired geologist--is there such a thing?--show up to sort through the dirt to find rocks to lick? I don't think geologists ever retire because their sense of time passage is tied to the movement of tectonic plates and is so much different from that of normal human beings. Thanks for the latest issue of the "manipulating Dean" digest. Did you bake him cookies then?

Abby said...

43 years later and you're finally learning. Smarty-pants.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Too bad he could"t use rocks to hold each tier like a Japanese stepped garden.