Tuesday, July 17, 2007


For most of my life I've hated -- and I mean loathed - gardening. I couldn't walk on grass in bare feet until I was a teen. I shaded out when my mom needed help weeding the front or back gardens or I offered to clean all 3 bathrooms so I didn't have to weed or plant. Even when we first purchased our home, I insisted Vince do the real gross part of the gardening chores. He hated the hostas so much, he could remove them...and all the snails and worms and strange bugs that made their habitat beneath them. My best friend Jocelyn was in town for our friend's wedding the first autumn we were here and she and Vince weeded and planted mums. I went to Home Depot and loaded the mulch and supervised.

So it's been 18-24 months now and I'm finally getting past my prissiness of grass, soil, some bugs.

Some people are petrified of the ocean...of swimming in the sea for fear of what's beneath them and they either wear those embarrassing water shoes, enjoy life on a floaty, or don't put more than a toe in the shallow end. This doesn't bother me. A crab? A jelly fish? Seaweed (which does creep me out -- it's like grass. Obviously I don't like it)? But I swim around them. I can paint and throw a pot or smudge charcoal over paper and paint, slip, and charcoal covered hands and nails don't bother me one lick. Something about bugs - snakes, leeches, spiders, worms, the frightening ground creatures I learned about in Bio class...Gross.

But I'm armed with cute gardening gloves, the weed fork (which is effing fabulous), and the desire to make my house pretty and give it some curb appeal. The other day I cleaned out the shed and everything was humming along well until I reached this old piece of wet, rotted wood on the concrete slab. I knew...KNEW this was going to be bad. I gingerly lifted it from one corner. I peeked cautiously underneath. Instantly I dropped it and jumped back. Scary scary creatures under there...the kind that only exist in damp dark places. There was a white spider crawling around that I'd never seen in my life. I surveyed my organizational work - it was swept, clutter free. Sans this one piece of wood, my work was complete. I left it for Vince to haul.

These moments still find me. I'll be laying brick and suddenly a worm is staring straight at me. I weed and a snail surfaces. I back off and collect myself. Then I return. People make fun, but it's OK. They laugh that I still cannot touch dirt without gloves (but you paint?! Isn't clay the same thing?! -- NO, it is not. Clay and paint are CLEAN). But it's progress. At 29 I've come a long way from the prissy girl that would rather touch bathroom grime than the earth.

And after this week, my front and back yards will have petunias, lilies, and a host of other flowers. Good for me.

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