Sunday, April 17, 2016

Gardening in Suburbia

There's nothing I enjoy quite so much as getting dirty working in a garden. I have my Dad to blame. By the time he lived in a place large enough to accommodate a garden, I was the only male child still living at home, so I became his garden slave at the ripe old age of 10. Even though I whined about my servitude and begged for emancipation, over time I grew to enjoy it. Now, I live in a lovely suburban neighborhood in Short Pump, Virginia...not exactly 40 acres and a mule territory...so I must content myself with faux-gardening. That's when you head over to Strange's, pick out your tomatoe plants, herbs, and other flowering plants, then throw 3 or 4 big bags of garden soil in the back of your Pacifica. What follows is a wonderful day of planting cucumbers, peppers, and squash, digging your hands deep into a bag of soil, crumbling out the clods and inhaling that marvelous moldy aroma of dirt. It was a great day for it, sunny and clear with a refreshing breeze. We did well:















However, as it is with most good things in life, there's a downside to all of this communing with nature business. Inhaling all of that moldy earth, and spending nearly 5 hours sucking in lungfulls of airborne allergens began collecting their fee from me yesterday around 4 o'clock in the afternoon. It started with a few innocent sneezes. Then the corners of my eyes began to itch. I pulled my first tissue from the box of Kleenex around 4:15.

Two Pepto-Bismol pink Benadryl pills were popped around 4:30. This had the unfortunate effect of making me feel drowsy while I sneezed while doing nothing to prevent me from sneezing. The eyes were still running and I was going through tissues faster than a room full of women watching Fried Green Tomatoes. At 9:30 then, for no apparent reason, I popped two more pink pills and headed upstairs. Now I felt drowsy and nervous. My legs started feeling jumpy. But the best part was just getting started.

Those of you out there who suffer from seasonal allergies will understand and perhaps sympathize with what follows. Those of you who do not...might want to skip the rest of this paragraph. As I laid my head on the pillow, my nose began to run. I'm talking Niagra Falls scale running. This wasn't simply post nasal drip, this was Old Faithful putting on a show for a gang of Japanese tourists with Canon's buzzing. So, I began casting about for just how I was to lay my head on the pillow to minimize the flow. I tried laying on my left side. No luck. Laying on my right side was a non-starter...as soon as I did I sneezed so hard it flapped the curtains 6 feet away! I finally settled on an uncomfortable pose that featured laying on my back with the crown of my head making contact with the pillow, my hose and mouth pointing to the sky. If my mouth were opened wide I would have looked like one of those baby birds in the nest when Momma bird flies back to the nest with a worm. As uncomfortable as it was, I benefitted greatly from the gravitational impact. Now all I had to do was fall asleep. That's when the sleepy twitches began...in both legs. There I was, clutching tissues in both hands, my nose thrust skyward like Thurston Howell III, with leg spasms. Of course Lucy thought the twitching movements of my legs from under the covers was a fun new game I had invented whereby whenever I twitched her job was to find my toes and playfully chew on them. I thought about getting up and kicking her out of the bedroom, but I didn't dare move.  I feared that if I did, all of the built up mucus in my nose would be released. God knows what that cleanup would have been like. So, I just lay there, hoping I would at some point wake up and it would all be over. 

I did wake up. But, it's not over. I'm practically typing this one handed, my left hand is occupied with drip-control. If Trump wants to build a wall somewhere, he should build one inside my nostrils!

So, that's been my last 24 hours. At some point today, the waterworks will shut down and things will get back to normal. The good news is...in 70 days we will have a bumper crop of tomatoes!