Month: March 2016
We repotted our beloved orchid.
I say “beloved” because, quite literally, we love this plant.
Bill loves it because he just loves orchids. I am not a plant fan. In fact, I could never have another plant again as long as I live, and I would be perfectly content.
But this particular plant has sentimental value. When Bill and I first started dating – years and years and years ago – Bill bought this orchid for me. I remember him skipping around the corner with the pot under his arm, and this long, skinny stick with a flower on it nearly hitting him in the head.
Bill was very cute, carrying that plant.
So I kept the orchid, in my dark basement apartment. It survived. Eventually, I moved to a lighter basement apartment. Then Bill and I got married and moved into a tiny house, where the orchid really started to bloom.
I mean, it really started to bloom. As we got married and started having babies, the orchid went hog wild. Our cat died, and we got a fish, and the orchid bloomed and bloomed. We got a dog and the larger our family got, the larger that orchid got. We got three more fish, then five hermit crabs. And every few months, Bill would say, “I think that orchid is spiking again.”
If I straightened out the longest (current) spike, it would be almost four feet tall. It blooms constantly. The orchid is so big now, the repotting was more for our sanity than for the orchid’s health.
But when we repotted it, the orchid mix we used apparently had some gnat eggs in it.
So gnats started showing up in our house. In fact, so many gnats started showing up, we had to buy glue cards so that the new gnat population in our home would dissipate or, preferably, disappear altogether.
Did you know that a female gnat can lay 100 to 300 eggs? One gnat. We repotted this thing before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day has come and gone. And we still have gnats. The cards are catching hundreds, and we still have gnats.
You can’t kill a gnat very easily, either, because you really can’t see them until they land in your food, or fly right past your eyes. One. At. A. Time. All. Day. Long.
So, since the orchid has – for me, anyway – symbolized my marriage, I am taking this as a sign. The gnats are, quite simply, a bothersome thing that has happened, while we were caring for our orchid – er, relationship.
And there are many bothersome things that happen, every day, in our relationship. I don’t live well with other people. I am very much a loner; Bill is very affectionate. I am bothered by nearly everything he does. I still love him, of course, but I wish he would do more things the way I want him to do them.
Some things are bothersome, but swatting at them does no good. I have to wait patiently until they fly away on their own.
Which, I believe, they will never, ever do.
So I was sick – totally bedridden with some sort of stomach flu – for three days.
During that time, Bill and Shane left for two days of Outdoor Education – the most fun a sixth grader can have and still call it school. Bill chaperoned. Dylan went to school and had play practice until well into the evening. Then he came home (well fed, thanks to my parents) and took care of our dog – and himself – even getting himself off to school in the morning, on time, with lunch in tow.
I am not happy to have been sick.
But I am happy that, even without me, my family is able to thrive.
This morning in the gym locker room, where most of my socializing is done, I overheard a woman talking about her garden.
“I don’t play favorites. Anything that is on my broccoli has to be killed. I kill everything.” She sounded proud.
I thought of all the little bugs, born in nature, trying to find something to eat.
“One guy said, ‘you just killed a monarch butterfly,'” she continued. “I didn’t care. They were caterpillars, you know? I killed a whole bunch of monarch butterflies, in the caterpillar stage. I say, if they wanted to live, they should have stayed off of my broccoli.”
Monarch butterflies are disappearing by the billions in this country, almost exclusively due to farms and pesticides. Less than a year ago, a campaign began to save the monarch butterfly from extinction. There are only about 30 million left.
“Well you want to nurture your garden,” said the broccoli gardener/murderer’s friend. “You have to use some pesticides.”
“Oh, I don’t use pesticides,” said the butterfly murderer. “I don’t want that stuff on my broccoli! I use scissors and cut them in half.”
At this point, I wanted to vomit. I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to ask her if she also supported banning Muslims from the country. But it was done, and there was nothing I could do to stop her from her killing spree.
Even if I’d said something, she wouldn’t have changed.
I did print out a copy of the article about the campaign to save the butterfly, and next time I see the woman, I will give it to her. After that, it’s her decision.
Then, to help the butterflies I can save, I bought some milkweed seeds for my own garden – which, thus far, consists only of two butterfly bushes and – now – some milkweed plants.