Watering My Life Away


From One Job to the Other

I thought shoveling dirt was the worst job in the world, but I was actually pretty good at it.  Or at least I was better at it than I would be the next phase of putting in the lawn.

The lawn at Carissa came from seeds.  My parents spread the seed and fertilized it, but I was the designated waterer.  Even at that tender age, it was well known that I didn’t do idle very well.  I may not have loved shoveling dirt, but it was a very active thing to do.  You might think watering would be simple in comparison, but I felt as if I’d been taken out of the frying pan and thrown in the fire.

I had to stand on the sidewalk and shoot water at every inch of the yard in the exact right amount at exactly the right pressure.  The problem was, I didn’t seem to be able to get the knack of it.

  • “Jane, what is the matter with you?  I told you to water the yard evenly and all you’ve done is create a mess.  You’ve washed away the seed over there and it looks like a desert over here.”
  • “Jane, what is the matter with you?  Did you even turn the water on?  It looks like all you did was wave the water hose over the yard without any water coming out.”
  • “Jane, what is the matter with you?  The front yard is a pond!  You are washing away all of the seed.  We are never going to have a lawn at this rate.  Please just do what we asked you to do.”
  • “Jane, what is the matter with you?  We told you to go out and water the yard at least three times today while we were at work.  It looks to me as if the water hoses are right where we left them yesterday.”
  • “Jane, what is the matter with you?  It looks like you finally managed to water the way we asked, but the hoses are spread all over the place.  Don’t you have any pride in doing a job well?” 

There were several things wrong with me.  The first was that I couldn’t grasp the concept of keeping the ground moist.  One day I watered too much and the next day it would be too little.  The hoses were a whole ‘nother problem.  I felt like I was wrestling boa constrictors.  I wasn’t supposed to drag them over the lawn, but I didn’t know how else to get them from one spot to another, nor was I to step on the tender grass seedlings.

In spite of the other frustrations, which were many, like many mosquitoes and many distractions and many ways to fail, the real problem was that it was the most boring job I had ever been given.  I would stand there with my arm stretched out aiming the water at a designated area and I would continue to do so until I thought my arm was going to fall off.  I’d keep at it with fierce determination, in spite of being bored out of my mind.  Eventually, I would realize that I must have gotten distracted, because suddenly I’d be looking at a puddle, wondering how the spot got from desert to estuary so quickly.

Still Not Good at It 

I must confess, age and experience have not improved my ability to water things.  Just ask my bestest buddy from college.  We had an apartment together for about a year and she thought my room was the perfect spot for a hanging planter of which she was quite proud.  She was a horticulture major and she thought she was doing me a favor putting the plant in my room.  She thought everyone loved plants and wanted to have them around.  In return for her “favor,” I was to do her the favor of opening the blinds every day and watering the plant.  You know where this is going.

Or ask my husband.  When we were dating, he thought the lack of live plants in my apartment was the result of a lack of funds.  I wasn’t exactly rolling in dough, but I could have bought a few live plants.  I just didn’t want anything to water.

My husband is more stubborn than my bestest buddy was.  She got disgusted with me and moved the plant out of my room.  Not that she was happy about it.  Apparently my room provided just the right amount of light, but I had kept forgetting to open the blinds and had almost killed the poor plant.  Let’s not even discuss my watering habits!

In spite of my obvious inability to provide the right amount of water to any plant or plot of ground, my husband keeps trying.  I’m not much with weeds either and have no interest in growing flowers.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love gardens, I just don’t want to have anything to do with the growing of them.  Still, he continues to delegate gardening duties to me.  I always try, reluctantly, of course, but obediently.  We’re about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, so it looks like one of us would learn – but that hasn’t happened yet.

My mom on the other hand had green fingers – everything she planted grew.  Come back next week and I will tell you about that.


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