March 22, 2010

Handful of Blisters

Will and the kids and I spent just about the entire weekend outside. Almost too much time outside, if that's even possible after the winter we've had. Halfway through the day on Sunday Briton started asking if he could go in and just watch a movie. Too bad kid, the sun is shining so outside it is. Fortunately, about that time the neighbor kids popped their heads out the door and the wild rumpas began. As for the grownups, well, we dug, and dug, and dug some more. And then we hauled mulch, and more mulch and even more mulch. Although, if you were to catch a glimpse of mount mulch out on our curb, you would think we hadn't touched it. I think I went overboard on the mulch order.

We dug so much that I spent last night sprawled out on the couch, half asleep, with my hands coated in Bag Balm. Bag Balm, in my family, is like Windex in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Remember the dad's obsession with Windex? Well when I was a kid the answer to any ache or pain was inevitably "put some bag balm on it!" Although, my dad has since tried the Windex thing and has added that to his arsenal as well.

The highlight of the weekend (well, for me, for the kids it was the big carousal that the city brought in for Festival of the Book and which they rode over and over and over before dinner yesterday) was the deal I scored on some laurel bushes at Home Depot. I had been dispatched to buy a sprinkler (yes it was THAT warm) for the kids to run through and while I was there thought I'd pick up some plants for the newly mulched beds. While I was wandering the aisles of the plant section I spotted a table of 3 foot tall shrubby type things with a big old "Now $12.98" sign under them. Perfect! We needed some shrubs and who could beat that? The three hosta plants in my cart cost the same. Talk about bang for your buck.

So I loaded two onto my flat bed cart and, along with the hostas and some dahlias and pinks, I pulled up to the till. When she told me the total I just about died. WAY more than I had though. I knew I'd gone a little crazy but not that crazy. Turns out the bushes were mislabeled and they were actually $40 a piece. Now here's the thing. I am a TERRIBLE negotiator. Will STILL tells the story of our first furniture purchase, a futon couch. We were not going to pay full price. We would bargain and hold firm and get a deal. And then I walked in and said "Great" to the first price the guy quoted. So As I sat there with my shrubs (which, by the way, turned out to be Cherry Laurels and not the Japanese Holly on the sign, hey, how was I supposed to know) I decided I was, for once, going to stand firm. I pointed out that the sign clearly said they were $12.98. With an ARROW POINTING AT THEM. And then I shut up. Because otherwise I would have caved and just returned them. Or worse, gone home with my summer plant budget blown. The guy stared at me. I stared back. ANd then he gave them to me at the $12 price. Ha! HA!

I was so excited I called will and told him I got a steal. Once I'd assured him that no, the cops weren't after me and that I had really meant I'd just gotten a good deal (kids screaming with glee in the background + overexcited mommy = confusion) I drove home and we unloaded all the plants into the yard for planing on Sunday.

Of course I woke up to find that Nigella had pulled every plant (other than the laurels and a mondo grass) out of its pot and then given it a shake for good measure. Karma, I guess, Got a good deal on one plant, lost a few of the others. We saved most of them and them spent the rest of the day planting. In the end it doesn't make that much difference to the yard. It still looks a little barren and sad. Lots of grass, lots of mulch, not a lot of plants. But between the bulbs and the seeds and the pinks and, of course, the laurels, well, it'll get there. It helps that our giant, and well loved cherry tree burst into flower yesterday, making everything seem a little brighter. But flower gardening, I'm quickly learning, has a much slower rate of return than vegetable gardening. But I can be patient. I know I can (grow quicker, grow quicker, grow quicker).