My husband is an IT Project Manager for an aerospace and defense company. In other words, he’s the guy who makes sure stuff gets done on time, so he doesn’t have egg on his face.
So, I thought he would jump at the chance to dig his heels into one of my weekend warrior ‘’projects.’’ Seems logical, right? Wrong! Turning over rock hard soil with a back breaking hoe before planting flowers and shrubs in the backyard wasn’t on his radar.
Playing eighteen holes of golf with the fellas? Now, that was a different story. But, he was supportive, after a few deep breaths and a cold beer.
DIY dirty details
The yard was a disaster; orphaned and unloved for decades. I guess, I stopped caring. And, stopped looking. It wasn’t a priority.
The last time I put my hands in the dirt was in 1996, when my sons’ parakeet, “Lucky,” kicked the bucket and we had a brief burial ceremony. God rest his soul.
My husband and I had our work cut out for us. Our first fixer upper team effort since we got married two years ago.
Would our marriage survive this encounter?
A trip to Home Depot was a must. We didn’t have any garden tools, whatsoever. Annuals and perennials? Fertilizers and mulches? They were all Greek to me. But, I was eager to put my garden gloves on.
Water, water, everywhere
We needed an immediate distraction from the chaos going on inside our home.
It was a perfect storm due to neglect. A new roof and siding were being installed on the condo.
The contractor neglected to cap off the gutter. Heavy rainfall crept through the top of the front door and wreaked massive havoc destroying walls, ceilings, and floors.
For three months, a revolving door of dry wall installers, painters, electricians and carpenters schlepped through the house to repair the living room, dining room, kitchen and family room.
Retreating to the backyard to water the flowers and plants was incredibly relaxing and therapeutic. It was better than ripping out my hair or devouring cartons of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
While outside, I laid eyes on my neighbor. She lives behind me.
After saying hello, I asked her if she had just moved in. She told me she and her husband had been living there for fifteen years. Yes! Fifteen years.
I was speechless, as I took my foot out of my mouth. I never saw them. Not, one time. Ever.
Pretty pathetic. Right? I was so busy, on the hamster wheel of life, that I never took the time to look out the back door.
Cleo is a kind soul with a soft voice. She is a hugger, like me. She is down to earth and looks into your eyes when she speaks.
She was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has weekly bible study at her home. We talked about my little upstart garden and shared our love of nature. She asked me if I liked Brazilian food.
To my surprise, the next night, while watering my flowers, she gave me a bowl of piping hot, Brazilian fish stew, made with cod, peppers, tomato sauce, onions, coconut milk and white rice. The aroma was incredible. My husband, Quentin, affectionately called “Q,” and I wolfed it down.
As a result of a torrential rainstorm and a broken gutter, there were lots of firsts.
Q and I started a lovely garden, I met a new friend and tried a new meal.
How do you handle life’s sour mishaps? Do you fall apart or try to deal with things in a positive way? Do you think outside the box? Maybe, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy your own bowl of Brazilian fish stew, one day.
I just hope, it doesn’t take you fifteen years.
Oh, by the way, our marriage survived! Q is a great partner!