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.


rschmidt said...

....and I would like to thank my wife for her kind words of support (not!) that were instrumental during the time I picked up, delivered and installed the half ton of concrete block for the foundation...

rschmidt said...

Follow the keywords..."he knows I love him to >death<..." Could I paint a clearer picture?.

Susan Maxwell Schmidt said...

Which reminds me... you're gonna need a MUCH bigger ladder to install those skylights in the master bath, ya know.