Call Me Doomfinger


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.


keyboard with PANIC! key


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:  …
HIM:  What?
ME:  Matt and Sasha are gone.
HIM:  So?
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.


good idea

You’re welcome.


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.
ME:  Yes.
GL:  (shakes head)
ME:  Help!
GL:  (whimpers)
ME:  (sets Clara on desk)  And advice!
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:  No.
GL:  Yes.
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.
ME:  (glares)
GL:  What do you want to do?
ME:  (panickedI 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)


(from "The Good Place) glitching Janet hands Eneanor yet another cactus


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… )


Tall orchid blooming


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.

Closeup of orchid blooms with vase of cut flowers circled in the background

Are those close enough to be helpful?


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.


Janet from "The Good Place" gives a smiling thumbs-up and says "ride or die"







* 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.





18 comments on “Call Me Doomfinger

  1. Ritu says:

    I sympathise with you… I’m not green fingered in the slightest and more than several beautiful gifts have ended up dead as dodos in my care!
    Good luck with Clara take 2!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bexoxo says:

    I have an orchid plant in my office at work that was left by the previous tenant almost 2 years ago. I’m not a plant person, but I water it once a week and it has kept its leaves, then just last week, out of no where, it blossomed! I now have 5 orchid flowers!! This is quite an accomplishment from someone who has killed multiple cacti….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mamadeyoung2012 says:

    My orchid..ulp..s (sorry, plural) like indirect light. No direct sunlight for more than several hours. Cool feet, don’t let pot get warmer than room temp…uh, under 65. Water with a couple ice cubes once a week. No warm drafts, cool drafts ok, and again no warm feet. Roots like it coolish so if there is sunlight on the pot the roots will dry out too fast and then fall off or just dangle there looking mangled and neglected. Flowers in this, cared for, condition last 30, 45,if happy, 90+ days. Never feed your orchid while in bloom unless you have plant food specific for orchids-in-bloom. Then following the loss of flowers…after a year, a year and a half, two years…if patience is your virtue, you will enjoy more blooms….BUT, they might not be the same color as there are hybridized orchids mass produced in the color of the year, produced from hardy stock. Most likely, from a garden center, one would expect such is not the case and your orchid will bloom true to color and form. Hardy stock color is normally a deep burgundy. A bajillion plants, orchids among them, have died while under my care… so no worries if it dies, givers of plants are still alive, I’m still alive…your friends will live. PS feel free to use the goldfish m.o. whenever your friends, or their friends visit….or add it to you holiday photo! All the best to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve got nothing but indirect sunlight for her, so I think she’ll do fine there. I was told the biggest mistake I made was getting excited to repot her into a bigger home—in the hopes this would encourage her to grow bigger faster—before she was strangling in her previous pot. Apparently orchids work exactly the opposite of any pet I would keep in a cage or container, since moving those to a bigger home encourages growth. Once again, my instincts failed me. This time, she’s in that pot for five years minimum, and I’m to check back with a qualified professional even then.


  4. Arionis says:

    The buck naked trick would have the opposite effect for me. However, kudos to you on using your lady garden to get him to the actual garden center.

    I’m not really a plant person so I have nothing to offer there, but you can count me in on the goldfish trick cover up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Phyllis Eddings says:

    My co-worker, an orchid goddess, has never heard of the “orchids like to be around other plants” advice. Perhaps GL was trying to make a bigger sale? She said they DO like humidity, so perhaps that is lacking in Ohio?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do keep my house much dryer than is typical up here, since these people seem to have gills under their clothes… I’m miserable at around 45% and keep the house comfortable for me. I’m sure poor Clara would like it if I kept the house all wet like other people do, but I keep everyone fed so my ability to breathe trumps her comfort.


  6. ellenbest24 says:

    That is the exact plant and colour that I have just allowed to die, my bonzi is in autumunal mode when apparently they do not go into autumunal mode … I think I provide plant euthanasia by osmosis. Unlike you I will not be replacing either. 😯😕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Best post of the day! The naked negotiation was exceptional and the convos at the garden centre were pure gold. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yeah that is definitely how gift plants work, I am 100% with you on this. The tea plant my parents got me as a ‘just thinking of you’ gift recently died, so I’m dealing with a lot right now.


    I think you have gamed the system by in naming her Clara. Because that’s how Clara in Dr Who worked for a while. She just kept dying, and they kept replacing her with another Clara, and apparently that was all fine. So I think what you’ve got here is an orchid that jumped into your timestream, in which case Matt and Sasha are safe, death doesn’t count anyway, and everything is fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Read this comment aloud to Husband, who reminded me that the “first” (chronological, from the Doctor’s perspective) Clara wasn’t the one who sacrificed herself. This means that we can look forward to many more orchids before we meet the one who bravely casts herself into the timestream.

      I am 1000% okay with this, now that you’ve explained it. Yay, science!

      Liked by 1 person

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