Confessions (of a Black Thumb)

Kevin Costnar had a voice whisper to him from the cornfield, “Build it and they will come.” If that same voice was to whisper to me there would be a couple of differences. First, it would most likely be the voice of that creepy little Malachi from Children of the Corn, and second, it would say, “Plant it and it will die.” Yep, if I plant anything other than my ass in this chair, it will die a long slow death before going up to the greenhouse in the sky (or the festering compost pit below depending on the moral character of said vegetation). While others have a green thumb, I have a black one. Now, it’s not particularly evil (like it’s cousin Toe J. Simpson–that’s a story for another blog), but it kills shit, nonetheless. It wants to be sweet to the plants: love them and squeeze them and water them and feed them….and accidentally kill them. My thumb is like Lennie from Of Mice and Men.

My thumb = death

My thumb = death

Because of this tendency to commit botany-cide, I pretty much refrain from planting things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t give it a try every once in a while. There was the one year my mother brought over her BIG, BEAUTIFUL house plants to live on my glassed-in patio. In less than a month, they withered from a green canopy fit for howler monkeys down to something wilty you’d pull out of a dish of lo-mein. But I’m not taking full responsibility for this manslaughter. Sure, I didn’t really water them outside of an occassional spilled beer, but I also think it was the withdrawal from the constant stream of Marlboro smoke they received at Mom’s. The proof was that they made a full recovery when she rescued them from their deplorable conditions at my place.

So I stayed away from plants for several years until around 2009 when I decided to plant tomatoes and peppers in pots on the patio. And they did well!! I was constantly shocked when I’d go outside and they were not only still alive, but producing little veggies (or maybe they were tumors). That went great until I woke up one morning and they had been reduced to twigs that Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree would have made fun of. On the twigs were big, fat caterpillars with horns. I deal better with animals than plants, so I decided that at least we’d get to watch them turn into the Hawk Moths they would become. They started making cocoons and then the birds found them. Talk about a massacre. You’d think that would be enough to convince me that God would just prefer if I left his leafy creations alone, but I have a short memory, so I tried again.

I went way out of my norm and tried this crazy thing called “watering.” I did that to the azalea bushes out front and then went really crazy and planted flowers. For the first time ever I had a colorful front yard. That lasted exactly one week before the mother of all hail storms came in and beat the chlorophyl shit out of the garden. The storm was so bad that it made our fence look like somebody had taken a machine gun to it. 40k in damages. 8k on just one of my cars alone. The flowers should have been the least of my worries but I was furious that my one moment of botanical glory was taken away by a freak storm.

Now it’s 2013 and that’s been more than enough time to make me forget about the two plagues already sent to warn me to cease my bad behavior towards plants. This past Saturday my ADD whispered “Let’s plant flowers” in my ear and I drug all 3 boys to Lowe’s and loaded up on petunias for the sunny spots and impatients for the shady. Things have gone alright in my opinion, but I recently found out that not everyone feels the same. One particular flower wants to tell his story by sharing his journal. At first I wanted to shut him up so I could keep up my little charade of gardener going, but I just learned another hail storm in moving in tonight, so this may be the only thing we’ll ever hear from Tommy the petunia, so here we go…

Meet Tommy the petunia and some of his roomies.

Meet Tommy the petunia and some of his roomies.

Day 1:

I’ve been moved with all of my neighbors I’ve gotten to know in the greenhouse. It was a long, bumpy ride, but I’m still stoked about seeing the world. I can’t wait for the freedom to stretch out my roots and really see what this world is all about. Til tomorrow –Tommy

Day 2:

Wow! Finally made it to this country called Lowes. It’s really crowded so I’m guessing it’s a pretty metropolitan kind of place. Not all of the locals are friendly and I don’t understand some of the languages, but its all kosher. Me and my bunk mates have settled in at this little hostel on shelf 2 of aisle 6. I at least got a shower to wash off some of the dust from travel. I can’t wait to see what the next leg of the trip will be. Laters– Tommy

Day 3:

Dude, it was a crazy freakin’ day. There was like a parade of these huge people like the ones I’d see in the greenhouse. They came in and out, taking entire trays of my friends with them. I was getting a little down, thinking about all those lucky bastards getting to head out for their next big tour. But then–THEN, it was my turn. This woman came in with 3 smaller humans. They were really loud and talked about farting a lot, but the smallest one snatched up my bunk along with my 5 roommates, and put us in a cart. There was another bumpy ride and then I was unloaded. The leader of the group they call “Mom” seems really excited, but in  a “needs some meds” kinda way.

Don't look her directly in the eyes.

Don’t look her directly in the eyes.

She at least took me and some of my mates out in the sun. It feels good to be alive and out enjoying God’s green earth . Ahh…Wait. What’s that? It’s big and shiny…

photoOh…I see. I think she’s just making a soft new pad for me to chill in. I’m totes cool with that. Ok, she’s picking me up and…Wait! Wait!! Oh, sweet Jesus, she’s turning me upside down!!! Oh, God!!! Stop the shaking! Please stop the shaking!!…Oh, holy hell!! She’s pinching my ass…I’m falling…Oh, God, I’m falling. Somebody help me. I’m naked and her fingers are in places that they shouldn’t be…Oh, hey…wait. She’s putting me in that hole she dug. Wow. This is nice and warm. I’ve got room to stretch. Not bad. I feel like a total tool for acting like a punk-ass wuss. The boys aren’t going to let me live this down. I just need to chill and… Oh, my God!! What the hell is that?!?!?

photoOh, wait. She’s just making my bed extra soft. Yeah, I know– call me “Mr. Overreaction.” I must have some sort of jet lag or something going on. Maybe somebody slipped me some bad stuff in my food while I was in Lowe’s. Never know about some of those crazy foreigners. I just need to chillax and take some deep breaths. Photosynthesis meditation, baby- Carbon dioxide in…oxygen out…All better…and hey, there. The scenery is improving…

photo…How you doin’? Nice buds. Wait! Where you going? She waits ’til I get all chill and then she leaves me. I guess that’s chicks for you. Oh, well. Time for a slumber. Laters– Tommy

Day 4:

Things are going pretty well. The sun is up and birds are chirping. I’m getting to know my neighbor, Carl. He’s as chill as they come. Nothing shakes his mellow. A fat bumble bee was swarming around him and he was all like, “Hey, brother bee. Come partake in some of my pollen goodness. Use part of me to make your sweet honey.” He’s like a purple Yoda. I think I can learn a lot from this dude. Check ya later– Tommy

Carl

Carl

Day 5:

It’s another awesome day on planet Earth. Things are going pretty good. I guess my only complaint is that I don’t get the regular showers I had in Lowes. I’m feeling a little parched but nothing to complain about. I think I’ll spend the day basking in Carl’s wisdom. Peace and love, brothers– Tommy

Day 6:

I’m feeling a little dry today. The sun here is great and all but it’s getting a little too hot to go without a cool beverage. Carl’s just taking it all in stride. I just need to suck it up like him…Oh, wait. It looks like I have a visitor. Maybe she brought some water.

photo

Oh, God!!! That so wasn’t water. Where am I? Why in the hell did I deserve that? I’m good to people. I mean, there was that one time I didn’t call that hot little begonia the day after our roll in the mulch, but she acted like she’d been in more than one greenhouse, if you get my drift. This sucks!! I have to get some water. Oh, wait!! Yes! It’s one of the two-legged people. He’ll help a dude out.

photoWhy?!?! Sweet god of geraniums, why?!? I thought humans used toilets. Why do the male ones pee on everything? That was so not cool, dude!! Go get a REAL waterhose and wash me off. In the name of Miracle Grow and all that’s holy, please get me some water.

Day 7:

Still no water. My face is feeling crispy. I keep stretching my roots as deep as they can go, but no water. I got bit by a grub today and a bird shit on my head. I’m starting to realize I’m in hell. It’s like a horror movie. Carl isn’t looking so good either. If water doesn’t come soon, I’m not sure what will happen. Pray for me– Tommy

Day 8:

We lost Carl. He’s gone on to a better place. He’s the lucky one.

RIP Carl  February 12, 2013- April 15, 2013.

RIP
Carl
February 12, 2013- April 15, 2013.

Day 9:

My prayers have been answered. There are clouds in the sky. Even these serial killing assholes who have me captured can’t beat nature. Come to papa Tommy, sweet mother’s milk. I’ll drink it in and grow strong again. Then I’ll avenge Carl’s death. Just wait, crazy garden lady. Just wait.

To be continued…

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Confessions (of my inner White-trash)

I have enough embarrassing photos of my children to keep my life with boys series going for a decade, but I get bored pretty easily (You did catch that whole ADD thing about me, right?). So I’m going to mix it up and embarrass myself, too. While rummaging around on the internet for healthy recipes to cook for my family (I can hear my husband laughing all the way from his office), I came across this little thing called a Challenge Meme. Essentially it challenges a blogger or anyone with an internet account that gives them the ability to annoy others from great distances (Facebook, Twitter, and the particularly horrifying Twilight fan fiction sites–we must never forgive them for birthing 50 Shades of Grey), a prompt to write about everyday.

There are lots of them out there ranging from the mundane to the insanely specific. We’re talking everything from writing and drawing challenges, to crazy shit like organizing and green smoothie challenges, to the little bit pathetic ones like Justin Bieber and Spongebob. I’m not sure I really want to know what’s involved in a 30 day Justin Bieber challenge and I’m pretty sure that 30 days of green smoothies would also be classified as a 30 days on the toilet challenge. But back to my point, this idea appeals to me. My ADD loves it some lists. It wants to be organized and a list with specific, attainable goals, tickles the shit out of it. It gets all giddy like when it used to take tests in school. There was no way my ADD could make it through hours of mind and butt-numbing homework, but it thrived on tests. They were short and required hyperconcentration. If my ADD hadn’t rocked it out on the ACT I would have never gotten a scholarship, which means I probably would have never gone to college, which means I could have very well ended up a stay-at-home mom with a blog…Uh…hmmm….Just give me a sec to run down to the liquor cabinet and numb that pesky part of my brain that likes to do things like make realizations….

Trailer 3

…Ok, all better. Back to this challenge idea. I’ve decided to do a 30 post challenge about confessions. I’m not sure why that’s what popped up, maybe it’s the new Pope; but I think it could be fun. I can embarrass myself and my family, and you get to laugh and be thankful that I’m not responsible for your care. So let’s get down to business with my first installment.

Confessions of my Inner White-trash

I was born in Tennessee and raised in Arkansas. I’ve never lived in a trailer or a shack. We were poor but we weren’t poor white trash. I had shoes I just chose not to wear them as often as I should have, and we certainly ate beans and cornbread on occasion. People assume that all Arkansans are hillbillies and rednecks, but I’m going to give you a quick lesson on the classification system of Southern crackers (white folks, not saltines).

Country: People known as “country folks” are good people who’ve come from a long line of people who made their living off the land or doing manual labor. They may not be educated but they’re smart, often wise. They love God and their family above all else. They typically aren’t very worldly but they don’t see a need to be. They enjoy simple things but they are not above leaving cars, old washers, or even school buses out on the back of their property to rust away. My extended family would be classified as this (including the school bus).

Rednecks: These are country people who like the finer things in life, which mostly means things with big wheels that you can drive through the mud. They are louder and more brass than country folks. I even dare to say that many lack some of the manners of the country folks. They are more apt to be in your face, sometimes with a gun. What they lack in refinement they make up for with ingenuity.

Trailer Trash (AKA: poor white-trash): These folks are pretty much the dumb cousins that the country folks and rednecks couldn’t stand to be around. They don’t have the wisdom of the country folks or the drive of the rednecks. They don’t need no school or nothin’! They like their life of government cheese, brawls with gas station hookers who stole their money, and visiting the jail more than once a year. Not all people who live in trailers meet the qualifications to be trailer-trash. It takes a special brand of stupid to make this cut. (side note: there are way more trailers in Florida than Arkansas.)

Hillbillies: Take the poor white-trash, move their trailer to a mountain and replace their Pearl beer with some moonshine. Give them a possum coat for good measure.

Now, I don’t think I fit into any of these categories but you can’t grow up in this rainbow of diversity and not have it rub off on you. So, here is the proof that somewhere down deep inside there is a Country-Redneck-White-Trash hybrid that occasionally gets my ADD drunk on some canned Coors and influences its creativity. And here is the proof that will probably provoke my husband to go into hiding:

When your inner white trash gets a hold of your ADD it will tell you that a perfectly good substitution for having to drag your kids, a caravan of shit, and your bloated self down to the pool is to create your own waterpark in the back yard…

Come on down to Wild Bucket Country! Free pork rinds with every admission.

Come on down to Wild Bucket Country! Free pork rinds with every admission.

When you actually get snow in Dallas (which never freakin’ happens), your inner White-trash will help you engineer a snowsuit from hand-me-downs and recycled crap from the garage…

"Mama, I'm goin' back to the igloo-trailer for my possum blanket and a hot beer."

“Mama, I’m goin’ back to the igloo-trailer for my possum blanket and a hot beer.”

(Yes, those are latex gloves from the garage over his mittens secured with masking tape. Target bags over his double-socked feet with more tape. Ain’t no snow gonna keep my boy from havin’ fun with his cousin-brothers.)

When Christmas comes around and you have a toddler who wants to pull the Christmas tree down over and over again, your inner white-trash will help you rig that sucker up to withstand a F1 twister with nothing more than a Lego table, an empty crate, and some twine. Your children will then dress for the theme…

"Mama, can we make more of those fancy ornaments out of fishin' lures and beer cans?"

“Mama, can we make more of those fancy ornaments out of fishin’ lures and beer cans?”

Well, there you go. You can take the girl out of Arkansas but you can’t take Arkansas out of the girl. If you want to witness the depths of my inner white-trash please go buy a copy of Fifty Shades of Puddin’. Who doesn’t want their erotic love stories to take place in a trailer park? (Yes, another shameless plug so I can support myself when my husband divorces me.)