Thursday, August 29, 2013

In which Doris' present becomes a further burden

Rember that stupid Meyer lemon tree that Doris sent us as an anniversary present a few years ago? She was nice to send us a present and she was very nice to send us an anniversary present - as far as I am concerned, the only two people who have to acknowledge an anniversary are the people inside the marriage. Primo and I celebrate our anniversary by exchanging greeting cards with kittens or penguins on them and by going out to a nice dinner - the kind where you don't wear jeans. But other than that, we don't do much because 1. we don't need more stuff and 2. we are trying to save money.

So Doris sent us this plant which wouldn't be such a bad thing except

1. A Meyer lemon tree (a little wee baby one, about ten inches high) is a tropical plant.

We do not live in the tropics. We do not have ten hours of warm sun a day for the plant to bask in.

We live in a cold climate where the sun disappears for days in the winter. We live in a house that was built in 1928, which, to anyone else who lives in a cold climate knows, means a house that leaks heat and money in the winter. It means unless you want to spend over $400 a month on heating in January, you close off half your house, turn the heat way down, and wear lots of clothes.

A Meyer lemon tree is not supposed to live in the cold and the dark. I googled "Meyer lemon tree care" and got lots of information about "Florida" and Meyer lemon trees.

We are not in Florida.

(Thank goodness, although I would happily move to Miami again. No snow there! Cuban food! What's not to like?)

2. I do not like houseplants. I had no houseplants until the lemon tree. Now I have one. Which is one more than I want. Houseplants are way too much responsibility.

Wait. I have two, if you count the kitty grass that we keep for the cats so they don't get (it doesn't work) hairballs in the winter. They still get hairballs, but they happily graze on the small pot of grass that lives in the kitchen window. Which is not a place where the lemon tree could live because it gets too cold in that window and it certainly does not get ten hours of sun every day, not even in the summer.

The kitty grass is easy: it lives above the kitchen sink, so I remember to water it. If it dies, oh well.

But the lemon tree.

My gosh she might as well have given us a puppy. A potted lemon tree cannot be ignored.

So for the past few years, I have moved that darn tree in and out of the house, depending on the season. In and out of the kitchen and the stairwell, depending on where the sun is. Watered when I remembered. Which is infrequently.

I put it outside once the weather started getting nice and hoped I could forget about it for a few months.

That was not to be the case.

There was a huge windstorm the other night.

The only thing that was damaged at our house was the lemon tree. It blew over and the pot broke.

Now, I am not sad about the possibility of losing the tree, but the fall did not kill it. Which means I have to try to save it. Which meant that last night, rather than goofing off and reading my book in peace because Primo is on a work trip so I have the house all to myself with nobody bothering me, I had to glue that darn pot back together. Of course the first tube of glue was completely dried out, so I had to go back to the basement to look for more glue. I wanted to throw away the dried-out glue, but didn't feel like arguing with Primo upon his return and his eventual discovery that the glue was gone.

The man has a photographic memory for things like that, but if I ask him to do one tiny thing like print something for me next week, he will tell me there is no way he can be expected to remember something like that.

I think he remembers what is convenient for him.

Anyhow, I promised him years ago that I would not throw away any of his crap without his permission and I have tried to stick to that, although I was sorely tempted when I was in his office last night and saw the raffle tickets we bought in March still sitting on his desk.

We did not win that raffle, which happened in March.

Yet the tickets rest on his desk still.

I itched, I itched, I tell you, to throw them away.

But I promised.

Primo would be hard pressed to find anything of mine to throw away. Sure, I still have some old address books and calendars, but I have two boxes of stuff compared to his office full and basement full of crap. Phone bills from 1997? Employee manuals from 1992? He's got them.

I don't want him dead, but I have thought that if he did have a car accident, the first thing I would do, after tearing down and burning the protest signs in his office and the framed photo of themselves that Sly and Doris gave us for Christmas a few years ago, would be to throw away all of his boxed stuff in the basement without even looking at it. My theory is that if he brought that stuff with him when he moved here from California eight years ago and hasn't opened it since, it is nothing necessary for life.

I put the dried-up glue back and found another tube. Glued the pot back together, cursing the stupid plant the entire time. Tonight, I will repot it. And wonder why it continues to survive despite the neglect.