Everyone’s aware I’ve had a rough time of it lately, yeah? I mean, I don’t need to go into all the reasons I can’t handle even one more thing going wrong right now—you just understand, because you’ve been following along and you get me, right?
Y’all, Clara started dropping leaves.
What’s worse, the lovely people who gave her to me have moved away.
What’s that? You don’t see how that’s relevant? Clearly you’ve forgotten my many issues surrounding gifts.
ME: We need to take Clara to the garden center, to see if they can help her.
HIM: Orrrr… we could get a new orchid. For like, $15.
ME: Matt and Sasha are gone.
ME: If I don’t take good care of Clara, Matt and Sasha will DIE!
HIM: (shakes head, silently vows to stop talking to me in public)
Thus resolved, I marched up to him the very next morning and—buck naked, because this always bolsters my position—informed him that we were going to the garden center today.
He agreed, of course. Feel free to use this negotiating tactic whenever you really need to get shit done—I don’t see how it could possibly go wrong, ever.
So we bundled Clara into the car only an hour or two later (look, the technique isn’t perfect, okay? Sometimes your opponent puts something else ahead of your item on the day’s agenda) and off we went. Our local place has a great big section in the greenhouse with a desk and a sign that reads “Help & Advice” so I presented Clara there.
GARDEN LADY: (eyeing Clara with alarm) No.
GL: (shakes head)
ME: (sets Clara on desk) And advice!
NEARBY CUSTOMER: Oh, no.
ME: You have to save her, or Matt and Sasha will DIE!
HIM: (steps away, pretends to have wandered in alone)
ME: (gives GL very best puppy dog eyes)
GL: This… this is dead.
ME: She can’t be. Fix it.
GL: (pours Clara out of pot) See how there aren’t any good roots left? This plant is dead.
ME: (at Husband, who has wandered too close) SEE WHAT YOU DID?
HIM: I’m out. (leaves again)
ME: This is what happens when people move to Ohio.
NEARBY CUSTOMER: Yeah, that’s the moral of this story.
GL: What do you want to do?
ME: (panicked) I DON’T KNOW!
Husband finally remembered he was a married person at that point and collected me. I spent a few minutes pacing and frantic, trying to convince myself that the fate of the two loveliest people ever wasn’t truly tied to an impossible-to-nurture plant before realizing the solution to all my problems was literally right in front of me.
HIM: What do you want to do?
ME: I want to get a new one.
HIM: (nodding, reassured that I’m finally making sense) Okay.
ME: Because if I get a new one, Matt and Sasha will come back.
HIM: I’m not sure that’s how—
ME: Hey, Garden Lady!
GL: Have you decided—
ME: Do the flowers always come back the same color? I need to pull a goldfish trick.*
GL: Oh no. (alarmed and disgusted) Were you plant sitting?!?
ME: No, no. She was mine. A gift, on the worst day of my life. And then they moved, and by killing the plant I might have accidentally killed them but if I get a new one they’ll come back, right?
GL: That’s… not part of our guarantee. But we have Phalaenopsis orchids over here… (leads me to orchids)
ME: I need one that looks like this (holds out phone)
HIM: (keeps offering me cacti)
And that is how we found Clara. The current Clara, who is sitting where the last one died (ick, right?) breathing my CO2 and listening to me type up this story. (I think; I mean, I have absolutely no idea how plants work but supposedly music is good for them, so… )
I debated briefly naming her Oswin, but Husband pointed out that Clara was only ever called Oswin once, when she was already dead and a Dalek so that seemed to be putting the headstone a bit ahead of the hearse. I also got a bit of a lecture (from GL) as to exactly what I’d done to murder the first Clara, so I can avoid doing it again. Still, the garden lady looked on my poor chosen orchid with undisguised pity, and I think if she’d been allowed to refuse a sale she would have done so. Do you know she actually said that orchids like it best when they’re around other plants, so I should pick the spot in my house with the most plants? Tch, unless she wants me to plunk her in that back corner of the fridge** I haven’t got anything growing around here, so orchid be on her own.
Occasionally I have some cut flowers dying on a small end table, but I feel like that’s not the same thing. Or maybe it is. Plant people, pull your feet out of the bucket and help me out.
Oh, and everyone remember: we’re pulling a proper goldfish switcheroo here, so nobody mention that the first Clara died and I’ve replaced her with another. Instead, if anyone asks we tell them that Clara is alive and well and blooming again thanks to my excellent care.
We’re all in this together.
* I tried googling for a link and couldn’t find one that wasn’t a disgusting reference to not what I’m talking about. For those who had honest parents, the goldfish trick is when a pet dies (probably due to neglect) and you replace it with an identical pet before the child has a chance to notice, thereby avoiding an awkward but necessary conversation about death and the importance of providing adequate care for dependent creatures.
** Yeah, I’ll admit to not always clearing out the leftovers in a timely fashion. I’m brave like that.