Monday, October 12, 2009

Generally Inhospitable: The Final Chapter

I know, I know, I've been remiss. Mostly because I've been so sore for the last 24 hours I couldn't even move, and my hands hurt so badly I couldn't even type. Really, I'm not makin' this up. And all this is WITH a Fentanyl patch and a very unhealthy level of but extremely steady supply of Excedrin. And with that...

Day ten: I got R up at 12:30pm to do the last remaining bits on the interior of the greenhouse, *really* feeling the stress of the promise of a 42-44 degree night temp looming. I know that 12:30 sounds late to most peeps, but R didn't go to sleep until 6am. In case you haven't figured it out yet, we're "night people." Well, R is "night people," I am "all night people." It's 7:45am and I'm writing this *before* I go to bed. I also realize that 44 degrees doesn't sound very cold to some peeps (I personally don't even consider wearing a coat until it gets down well into the 30s). After all, it's not the typical "killing frost" temps we're talkin' about here. The problem is that my passion is orchids and tropicals. Anything below 50 degrees is major trouble. And when I mean major, I mean MAJOR. You might say I have more than a few plants.

At 3:30pm I couldn't stand it anymore, I thought for sure that after a few hours even R would be done putting in a few brackets and reassembling some very simple greenhouse shelves we had left over from our last, crappy greenhouse. Eeeewrong. The stress of the situation called for action, and I could see I had no choice but to break my own rule and "do" rather than just "point." This took some defiance in not only breaking my own rule (which is always in place, regardless of physical condition), but in defying what has been the "prescription" for some time for what is likely either piriformus or a seriously screwed up disc in my back that has had me practically bedridden for almost a year (the MRI I am about to have will hopefully and finally put an end to the guessing games). No problem, rules are made to broken, and I am known to love that. What the hell do the "experts" know anyway? They've not found a solution yet, right? And besides, I happen to be the Queen of Pain (HAH! Try a hotter poker next time, loser!). Just don't tickle me, to me that's infinitely worse than any pain you could possibly inflict (YESYESYES, I'll tell you ANYTHING you want to know AND pay you to stop! BIG MONEY!!!). I digress. I break down and tell you this because you need to understand my position, and because you need to know the Fentanyl patch isn't around just for good times (I have a 'scrip for Percoset for THAT... it's just a damn shame they make me puke my guts up). Truth of the matter is, if one were to be totally honest, I literally can't stand up for more than 2 or 3 minutes without wanting to scream in agony. I'm not exaggerating. Thank GOD my job practically requires that I sit (well, other than it may have caused all this to begin with). And the peeps I know personally whom I suspect are reading my little diatribe that I didn't fill in on all this needn't freak out. I'll live and besides, it gives me more options in making R suffer ("Sweetie, would you get [fill in blank] for me?"), so there's obviously a good side to my dilemma. Enough about me.

So with fresh patch of uberdrugs installed and reinforced with three Extra Strength Excedrin (it's the caffeine that makes it works so well, ya know), I get up and go [crawl] downstairs and out the door. I look out over the back patio and there is just "crap" everywhere, mostly tree droppings in the form of leaves from our over-anxious "forested" property, mixed in with anything the four puppies decided was fair game for chewing on (mostly my potting materials), and the occasional tiny dog poop (it pays to have small dogs) from when our precious babies didn't want to get their little paws wet and venture out from under the roof and into the incessant rain this summer to do their thing. Not having actually been out on the patio for almost two months, I refrained from suggesting that maybe the patio should have been swept up in the meantime. After all, I still needed R to play along with this whole greenhouse thing and I wanted to keep him in a good mood. But still.

"Sweep the patio so I have a clear path and don't have to dance around anything to get to the greenhouse. I'm going to help you."

My husband isn't exactly the type who thinks someone in extreme pain *shouldn't* help him, so there was no look of shock or argument on his part. There was even some mild protest about having to sweep (which made it even harder to resist suggesting that an adult, responsible male might have done it sooner), but after his requisite complaining and some requisite (though mild) bitching on my part, he did it anyway.

When I arrived on the scene, the interior was done as far as building materials were concerned, and R was just beginning to work on the shelves. As he assembled the frames inside the greenhouse, I would spend short, exceedingly painful, bursts of time getting up from my seat on the patio, walking down the path to the greenhouse, and then into the greenhouse to install the actual shelving that sat on the frames. It didn't take us long to get this part done, mebbe an hour.

I had R put a patio chair right outside the greenhouse and he started using trays to bring me plants. I would spend my time between getting up every time he brought a tray and putting the plants where they were best suited in the greenhouse, and literally running to the chair to plop my ass into it before all the neighbors would hear me screaming and think that R and I had finally decided to kill each other. I'd say we started this routine about 5pm and it never varied from that point on (other than the occasional smoke and ill-advised excessive dose of Excedrin on my part). After the greenhouse was finally full of all the plants that would comfortably fit and were suited to greenhouse living, we started bringing the remainder into the house (mostly hanging plants and my really big babies). Since it had already dropped well into the 40s only a couple hours after we started working together, I tried to categorize the greenery from "most delicate that I love" to "at this point I'm in so much damn pain I don't care if it friggin' dies, save it for last." Without stopping once for even a 5 minute break, we finished around 2:30am. Did I mention I might have a lot of plants? I might even have more plants than shoes. Mebbe. Nah. But close.

When it was all done I know R was a hurtin' puppy, and I was practically suicidal. Richard went up to take a shower and I lay down on the couch in the den, with the agreed upon intention that when R came back down we would reward ourselves by watching some stuff we'd recorded and spend the rest of our night (your morning) snooging (our word, we own the trademark) and generally just spending some time doing nothing more than being together. Unfortunately, Magnolia (one of our bichons), who happens to be very snoogy in her own right, decided Mommy's head was a good place to be, and with very effective puppy paw blinders in place, I fell asleep almost instantaneously. I awoke at 6am to find R asleep on the other end of the couch (it's a biiiiig couch) and myself painfully pinned to the leather at my end by all four dogs. How they ever figured out to lay on me because they know it will cause me great pain to move (and thus being much less likely) while they slumber, I have yet to figure out, but they sure know where the most stable of sleeping environments is. I got R to get up and let them out and sent him up to bed. I fortified myself with mass quantities of Excedrin and worked until 11am, and then slept until 4pm, when I finally woke a complaining Richard up.

And so the saga ends, though I might point out that my initial prediction that this project might be painful in more ways than one certainly came to pass, though not exactly how I had hoped (I have to admit that only mental pain was anticipated on my part... my index finger failed me in end). Yes, we still have to figure out the final details of how to heat the thing until the leaves fall and how the high pressure sodium lights are going to be hung, among a myriad of other greenhouse-type concerns, but our little greenhouse is doing what is most important for the time being. All-in-all, the project was a success and the orchids and tropicals are safely ensconced in their winter home, protected from the nasty cold. And though I do love to give my hubby a hard time, he knows I love him to death and am grateful for all the hard work he put into the project. Well, at least I *think* he does.

And it only took him ten days.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Ten

Day Nine (yesterday). Houston, we have a door.

So, all that's left to do is finish the interior floor, all the brackets that attach the roof on the inside, the outside corner doodads, the shelving, and get all the plants in there before it drops to 44 degrees tonight.

I feel like cackling insanely.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Nine

Day eight. Door still isn't on. Apparently we "dropped a screw." Apparently we also have not mastered the use of a flashlight.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Eight

Day seven. We survived the wind storm and our greenhouse is still firmly planted at its "aesthetically interesting" angle to the fence.

Because Richard knew the missing door thing was potentially a big issue (we have a lot of high winds here), and knowing he would have little remaining light after work, I asked him to work on the greenhouse as soon as he got home. He did. About an hour later he came into the house.

"So, you got the door on?"

"No, I did the vent."

"You did the vent?"

"Yeah, I just put the door together."

Let's just say that prioritizing is not my hubby's strong point.

"So, you put the door on and then you're done, right?"

"Well, no."

"But you said all that was left to do was the door and the vent."

"I just read the manual and there's still a lot to do."

"Wait. You just read the manual? You mean you didn't read the manual before you started working on this?"

"No, not all the way through."

"You didn't think you should at least have read the whole thing before you started building?"

"I did, just not all the way through."

Notice that R just stated that he did do something he immediately contradicts in the same sentence... "I did [read the whole thing], just not all the way through." He does this all the time. It's a large part of why having conversations with R can make my brain hurt.

Three nights from now it is going to get down to 44 degrees. I better have a friggin' door or guess who's gonna be sleeping in the greenhouse.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Seven

Auntie Em, Auntie Em! Hate you, hate Kansas. Am taking the dog. But check out these to-die-for shoes, will ya???


Oh yeah, it's windy. Seriously windy.

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Six

"Richard, look out the window and tell me what's wrong with the greenhouse."

Looking... "Why? What's wrong with it?"

"You don't see anything wrong with it?"

"No, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. Nevermind. Read the blog when you get to work. And send your supervisor to read it as well."

That last part will never happen. Richard actually admitting it's way crooked won't either, but I've obviously been forced to come to live with these things.

"There was a crooked man, who had a crooked cane. He walked a crooked mile, down a crooked lane... "

He had a crooked smile, and a crooked brain, and though he is a goofball, I love him the just the same.

And that my friends, is what you call "poetic license." And mine is about to be revoked.

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Five

I was still awake working when I woke R at 9am. At noon he made it outside to work. I do have to admit he made breakfast (our own version of quick Eggs Benedict, to boot), but THREE hours? Welcome to my nightmare. Oh wait... you're already part of my nightmare. Nebbermind. And I'm so sorry.

I fell into an egg-induced coma shortly after noon. I awoke about 3:30pm (I don't sleep like a normal person, in case you haven't figured that out). Afraid to look out the master bedroom window overlooking the "greenhouse area," I intercommed R on the phone.

"Howz it goin'?"

"Well, if you look out the window, you'll see I have part of the frame up."

"You mean the pavers are done?"


Miracle #1

I worked, avoiding the whole window thing. A little after 5pm I hear R's cellphone ringing in the kitchen. Then again. Then our house phone rang. Someone was sure desperate to get hold of my hubby... and the rest of this diatribe demands a bit of a back story.

It was a call from Richard's supervisor at the university where he works. Now, let it be known that, as much as I can complain about my husband in just about every other aspect of life, my husband is a computer supergenius. An ubergenius, even (think "savant"). And having been a professional geek for a decade before becoming a jewelry artist (longer than he has been), and the fact that I love to pick on my husband (duh), this is a HUGE compliment coming from me; however, one I cannot in good conscience deny him. If it's impossibly complicated technically-intense software he's never seen before, he simply WILL make it work. The RIGHT way. Better than the support peeps from the software company will. EVERY TIME. However, he was hired by the university as a lowly programmer/analyst. He took the job and a HUGE cut in pay in exchange for a 7 minute commute to work and a much less stressful lifestyle. This lasted for 15 minutes, until the university realized they had hit gold. Now he administrates just about every major system the university runs, but STILL gets paid his original pathetic programmer/analyst salary. This has been an ongoing point of contention between us and the university, with them continually promising a big raise and promotion are moments away. My husband is pretty forgiving, and though he does nudge them on occasion, he's not pushy about it. I, on the other hand, want him to quit his job and find one that will pay him what he's worth (a girl needs the occasional Dior accessory, no?). I am also not shy about letting the university know they can kiss my ass every opportunity I get, which are few. My husband also has an incredibly annoying habit of jumping to the university's every beck and call. It's what he loves. Still incredibly annoying.

Now that you have the back story (I'm paraphrasing here, I didn't take notes):


"Is Richard there?"

"He's out working on the greenhouse."

"I need to know if he was in the system and changed anything. Somebody did, and things are not as they should be and it's causing major problems."

Now, as annoying as it is that his supervisor would call him on a vacation day (and this happens EVERY vacation, though I also realize that's because R holds ALL the marbles), I also know she wouldn't call if it weren't a major issue. Heheheheheh. BONUS!

"I don't think he's logged in today, he's been outside working all day."

"Oh, well, would you please have him call me, I just really need to ask him a quick question."

Really? Would you PLEASE KISS MY ASS?? Like I'm going to have him stop working to call you. So NOT.

"Sure, I'll tell him you called. THE NEXT TIME HE COMES INSIDE."

"Oh. :::pause::: OK."

Damn right, OK. And you may BITE ME. Do you understand I am being denied DIOR????

Around 6pm R came inside. I mentioned the call. HE WENT BACK OUTSIDE TO WORK WITHOUT CALLING HIS SUPERVISOR.

That, my friends, is Miracle #2.

Content I had done my bad deed for the day, I fell asleep again. I awoke at 8pm to find a freshly showered hubby and a bevy of puppies surrounding me in bed.

"And?" I asked, with no small amount of trepidation.

"Well, you can't see it because it's dark now, but everything is done except for the door and the bracket that lifts the vent."


Brain cells immediately fire, losing all remnants of sleep. I made him say it again. He said it the same way.

Miracle #3.

So everything is hunky dory, right? Ummmmm... no.

Eventually he did call his supervisor, and the extent of the call was to tell her he didn't change anything. Life goes on, he works, I work and nap and work, and at 2:45am he comes up and tells me he's going to bed.

At 3am Weatherbug decides to throw a wrench in the whole business.


Back on the intercom.

"We have issues."


"High wind advisory and there's no door and nowhere for the wind to go."

"I'm sure it will be fine."

This from the man who has pulled our umbrella AND glass/iron table out of the pond more than once.

"You don't KNOW it will be fine."

This is an argument we have often. If it means work for R, it will be "fine," no matter what the situation.

After clearly explaining the basic laws of physics to my husband, and painting the scenario of our brand new greenhouse ending up an acre away in our new neighbor's yard (I finally irritated the old ones enuf to move), I apparently made enough of an impact to convince him to at least put the piece of fence he removed back in front of the door before he leaves to go back to the blood-sucking university. I'll be waking him up in 12 minutes to do just that.

I also just looked at the greenhouse for the first time. I wonder if he'll notice the first time he sees it from above how much of an angle it sits in aspect to the fence it is supposed to butt up against at 90 degrees. Assuming he is not aware of this already. There had to be something, right? Well, of course there did. I am forever doomed to look down at a crooked greenhouse, apparently.

And as Day Six gets underway, we have high winds, a possible complaint from the boss (one *so* hopes), a door, a bracket, and one hell of an explanation about our lack of actually measuring anything to look forward to. I just know you live to see how this ends.

As so do I.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Four

Day four. At 4:30pm I was informed the pavers are 2/3 done. Now I'll be the first to admit that math is not my strong point but it seems to me if one is 2/3 done something, and then one works on it for another four or five hours, one should make some progress. I bet he's out there hammering on cement to just make me *think* he's working. He's probably laying in the hammock, sipping a pina colada, and striking a piece of paver with a mallot every time he swings in that direction. That's my guess.

I wonder if all our tropical plants will survive the winter if I just shove them in the box with the unassembled greenhouse.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Three

End of day three. Pavers are "2/3 done." Apparently we're "moving right along."

Generally Inhospitable: Episode Two

Day three of greenhouse construction.

Well, I was wrong. I didn't hear sand. When R quit working last night, the ground wasn't even level. He got up at 10:30am today and made it outside by 11:30 (a new record). It's now 2:50pm and the ground is *almost* level. Did I mention this greenhouse is 8' x 6'? And lest you be thinkin' he's carving out a mountain trying to make it level... so not. The ground is flat. Really flat.

He came in a little while ago to uhhhh... say hello, I guess. I asked, "The sand isn't even in yet?" and received a response of "That's next." I know it's next. It's been next since this project started, it's the second step.

Will the pavers be in before the first killing frost? Will I go insane and have to be institutionalized? Will there be more bloodshed? Stay tuned to find out!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This is Gonna be Paaaaainful... in More Ways Than One!

OK, so hubby is finally putting up the greenhouse we bought *months* ago. It's supposed to take two people one day to assemble. Since as we discussed earlier, I don't "do," I "point," I figure it should take one person 2-2.5 days to assemble. Sounds reasonable to me. Hubby has five days (three of which were taken as vacation time specifically for this project) and I'm takin' bets. And I should state here that hubby doesn't *want* me to help. On that, we agree.

First and foremost... do I call the medics and have them on standby? R came back into the house after about 30 seconds of working on the thing with a slice in his finger. Nevermind he bought gloves for the project Thursday night. New gloves because he can't find the old gloves. I kissed it and sent him back outside but that's not going to suffice if he amputates something.

And why is this the most major thing I have to report? Because he was supposed to have all the supplies to do this weeks ago. Au contraire. R didn't go to Home Depot until Thursday night. Friday was *entirely* spent going back and forth to Home Depot (in Delaware, no less), to pick up what he couldn't haul Thursday night. It's now well into day two, and he's still putting in the paver floor. No actual greenhouse has yet to be assembled. In fact, I don't even think any pavers have actually been set yet, he's still leveling the "huge" 8 x 6 area.

So far today he's been in to show me his "boo," complain about his muscles from unloading the pavers from the truck yesterday, to assemble a rake (which for some reason had to be assembled in the *bedroom*), to "take a short break," and to tell me about his future plans for the patio area... a project that will take place several years down the road (after the waterfall and edge of the pond he started building four years ago finally gets finished). By the way, he started work at 2:00pm, 1 1/4 hours after he got his ass outta bed. At least he rushed right out there to make up for all the lost time. And yes, for R that IS rushing.

And lest you think I'm just sitting on my own ass... I am. But I also happen to be sitting on my ass *working.* I've been sitting on my ass working since noon, when I got up. I went to sleep at 9am after I finished working last night (*my* last night). Don't give me no crap.

I'll keep ya posted. Either I end up with a greenhouse or a divorce. It's a win/win.

Oooooh, wait!! I think I hear sand!!! Ground must be level. It's 6:36pm Saturday. It's dusk. Will the pavers get set? Will Richard live another day? Will we stay married? Tune in tomorrow for another episode of "Generally Inhospitable" to find out!