Monday, May 23, 2011


            A little EXPECTATION can be a dangerous thing.
            May is crazy-busy time for Fitzgeralds Gardening. Every single viola, dianthus and snapdragon we planted as popsicles in December thawed and grew full and floriferous by late January. The first night the temperature stayed above 70° a week or so ago, they all started the slide through tired to ugly. All 60-some of them needed to be changed out yesterday.

            We’d be a bit further along in the task except each client has one or two things for us to do “while you’re here.” We EXPECT that to some extent because I have a habit of making make rash promises: I’m always certain that adding in this little job or that little job won’t take as much time as it did last year. I’m always wrong, of course. You’d think I’d EXPECT it.

            For example, I told Mrs. C we’d move the 300 daffodils we planted for her last autumn. See, Tim and I are so damn good at what we do that I EXPECT the people we work for to fall in line with whatever I want them to, horticulturally speaking. However, Mrs. C has very definite ideas of her own. Two years ago, she asked for 16 bright yellow mums to line her sidewalk. In the first place, I hate mums, full stop; I especially hate yellow mums; I hate yellow mums even more fronting a yellow house, like Mrs. C's. When we went to buy them, I tried to slip in some bronzes and some reds. Tim stopped me. “It’s not your house,” he pointed out. “Get the stupid yellow mums.”

            One for Mrs. C.

            Back in November, I brought some 500 daff bulbs for the Cs. “Let’s put them here and here and here,” I bubbled. “I won’t like them there,” she said. “Who doesn’t like daffodils?” I asked rhetorically. “They’ll hide the Buddha,” she said. “Oh, they’ll have gone down by the first of April and stop blocking him,” I lied. “Okay,” she said, “but if I don’t like them you’ll move them, right?” “You’ll like them, I EXPECT.” “Mmmm,” she said.

William Wordsworth didn't think
you could have too many daffodils

            The daffs bloomed. They were beautiful. Mr. C loved them. The neighbors oohed and aahed. Traffic slowed. Mrs. C hated them. “Too many daffodils,” she said. “They block the Buddha. You’re going to move them, right?”

            “Yes,” I said, all the while thinking, There’s no such thing as too many daffodils. “We’ll move them when we come to change the containers.”

            Two for Mrs. C.

            This week, we took the time to move the daffodils, as I’d promised. It was harder than I EXPECTED and took longer, too. You wouldn’t think that bulbs placed on the surface of the ground and covered with some soil conditioner and cow poop would have set such determined roots in just six months. One of nature’s little miracles.

            I’ve given up on EXPECTING Mrs. C to do what I think she ought. Now, whatever she suggests, I nod and say, “Yes, ma’am, we can do that.”

            As everyone is by now aware, the Rapture failed to materialize as predicted by Mr. Camping, who has gone strangely silent, not to mention missing. My heart goes out to those who fully EXPECTED to enter heaven on Saturday as one of the two million saved souls, and who, in anticipation of the great event, gave away all their worldly goods and emptied retirement accounts to spread the word of imminent apocalypse. I am not a Christian. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a Christian as defined by my understanding of the term “Christ-like.” I had no EXPECTATION of being assumed into the Great Beyond, and was therefore not disappointed when it didn’t happen.

A life-long strategy of actively trying to avoid EXPECTATIONS has served me well. I’ve observed over the past 57 years that more often than not heartbreak lies on the far side of EXPECTING anything. And it’s not as depressing as it sounds: absent EXPECTATION, whatever happens is okay, and interesting, and a learning opportunity.

            You'd think I'd apply this life lesson to my dealings with Mrs. C. I EXPECT I shall from now on.

Talk about having one's work
cut out for one!

            Short post today. Why? Here’s what the side of our house looks like. All those flats of plants need planting before they go all leggy and have to be cut back, adding another unwelcome step on top of watering and sorting who gets what when. I’ve mentioned I’m an utter failure at multi-tasking, right? So early bedtime for this little cupcake and her best beau tonight.

            The blog passed the 3000-hit mark this morning, so thanks for dropping by. I really appreciate your interest and support.


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