I put on my gardening clothes: a T-shirt from when I weighed about forty pounds more than I do now and really could pass as a nightgown, sweatpants with the ankles tucked into my socks (I don’t care if it looks ridiculous: the ticks are really bad this year, people), a big floppy hat, and Crocs. In case you were wondering if I have supercool fashion sense, I think this description ought to solidify it for you: I sure do!
The first step was clearing the weeds, brush, and dead stuff. I got out the metal rake, realized quickly it was useless against the bittersweet ensnarled on the lawn, and got out the hoe. (Not the regular one: this one has a pointy head like a giant dinosaur tooth. I like to rawr like a T-Rex when I use it.
The hoe didn’t do a bad job of chopping up the vines, but I’ll admit, the novelty of pretending to be a dinosaur wore off quickly. My arms hurt. I’d forgotten to bring out water, and the walk back to the house—a good fifteen feet away—seemed too far to make the effort. But it was still beautiful out: if the sun wasn’t ready to quit, well, heck, neither was I.
Once the patch was clear, I was ready to plant. Except, of course, I had nothing to plant. I ran to the nursery down the road, found they were running a good deal on marigolds, and bought a flat. As I waited in line to pay, I tugged off my floppy hat to wipe the sweat off my brow. A man walking past to the aisle behind me dropped a couple of coins in my upturned hat.
I realized I was still wearing my gardening gear, only now, I was covered in dirt from head to toe, and had a tear in the knee of my sweatpants from where I’d ripped it on a large stone hidden just beneath the topsoil. The floppy hat had left my hair sweaty and unkempt, and I was so dehydrated the marigolds were drooping as my body tried desperately to leach the moisture from their soil by osmosis. The nice man in the gardening store thought I was a homeless beggar.
I would’ve been insulted, but his spare change made the marigolds practically free. I thanked him and went back to planting.
Four hours later, I had my flowerbed in and watered; the patch mulched, and I could no longer feel my extremities. I was done.
Sunday brought another sunny day. At least, it looked sunny from what I could see from my bed, where I stayed all day, groaning in agony every time I breathed. Every nerve, muscle, bone, and skin pore hurt. Turns out doing physical labor all day when you’re over 40 (and not used to doing physical labor, like, ever) is pretty dumb.
So the flowers are in. Here’s hoping the mulch keeps the weeds away, because I’m never doing that again.