We live in a small 55+ community. Our home stood out somewhat, not because of its creative, unique landscaping. Au contraire, it stands out because of its lack of any kind of landscaping, at least in front of the house. All the other houses sport lovely curb appeal. Trees, plantings, porches. But not ours. The most distinctive landscaping effect we have is gravel. And lots of it. Unfortunately, below this gravel is soil cleverly disguised as cement. Impossible to dig.
My husband came home the other day and said, “I have a great idea!” Normally, when he utters these words I cringe.
Why, yes. That is a good idea. But one small problem. The hernia. He was unable to, “thanks Doc,” “lift anything heavier than an iPhone.” Obviously a 300-pound bag of top soil was heavier than a stupid phone. (Okay, so it wasn’t 300 pounds.)
We trotted over to Lowes where we found Wonder Woman who graciously offered to load six bags of the stuff into our car. Then we paid a local handyman $20 to unload it. We also had bought nine plastic planters of various sizes, ranging from normal large to humongous large. I knew what I had to do.
My dear husband, who truly felt bad that he could not participate, began to direct me. I do not like being directed. “Use the shovel to break open the bag. Don’t fill the bucket. Drag the bag of soil closer to the pot.” On and on he went. I said, in a most exasperated tone, “Just leave!” And he did. He sulked off.
Normally, on a beautiful day like today, there are cars going by, neighbors waving and being friendly. And even some walkers. After about an hour I realized not one car had passed. Not one. I honestly believe word had gotten out. “Susie is working. Do not go near her house if you are over 55.” This, naturally included the entire community.
So I began using my ole’ noggin to get these damn pots filled. I sweated, I heaved and I hoed, panting like crazy dragging those damn bags around, using a small pot to get the 300-pound bag to a weight I could handle, then dumping the remaining soil into the pots. I admit, I did take occasional wine spritzer, er, iced tea breaks.
But I did it. And was damn proud of myself. And my beloved? He graciously cleaned up my mess, as long as nothing weighed more than an iPhone.
— Susie Richardson
Susie Richardson wrote a humorous family life column for the Daily Oklahoman and continues to write even though her children are grown. She constantly and consistently finds humor in the mundane. Much like Seinfeld.