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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Potted Payback

A full moon is nothing compared to the first full day of sunshine after a winter full of sullen snowflakes to make people act crazy. The first day I looked to the heavens and felt the sunshine warm my face with magic fingers, I knew it was time to murder more houseplants.

If Christmastime is the season of Poinsettia Slaughter, then March brings Geranium Massacre Madness. Garden shops are teeming with folks loading up their carts with future victims. Satellites overhead are busy transmitting my picture to plant nurseries across the country: Armed and dangerous. Spotted with peat moss and a trowel. Before nightfall my mug shot will be hanging over the succulents at Home Depot stores everywhere.

I still have three house plant survivors from the Flora Trail of Tears that so many African Violets and Swedish Ivy cuttings have taken over the years, across my kitchen counter to the waste bin outside my back door. The road is difficult and tortuously long, but I have faith enough to keep widening the road and beginning beautification projects along its borders.

Just now I’m rubbing my hands together and gazing lovingly at two jade plants and an aloe, ripe for repotting. I think my neighbors phoned in a tip to CSI. Helicopters hover over my house. SWAT teams are rappelling down the chimney. Hostage negotiators are ringing my cell phone. “Back away from the potting soil and nobody will get hurt.”

With sunshine streaming in between the blinds, I lock the door and carefully spread newspapers across the table. Is it a bad omen that I have selected the obituary page for this project? I turn the paper over to government news. Somehow that seems more fitting for the spreading of manure.

My sons, both avid participants in Role Playing games, roll their dice to determine my luck. Hmm, Critical Fail. Yeah, but naysayers told Christopher Columbus to turn left at Nova Scotia, too. If he had listened, we wouldn’t be sucking the cream filling out of cannolis today. Sometimes you just have to stick to the North Star and make sure you have the right ratio of dirt to fertilizer.

Thirty minutes later the deed is done. I fling open the back door and announce, “The transplant was a success!”

Then I trip over the old pots on the back step and land with an overly large crash in the trash can by the door. Picking peat moss out of my hair and feeling a bruise the size of a dieffenbachia on my backside, I realize something important.

The Trail of Tears has claimed another victim.


Carolee said...

Glorious! I think we must be related. Not because of my horticulture skills, mind you, but my mother has been known to kill the plastic plants that magically bloom on her front porch. And my mother in law calls me every time she spies a brown spot on her only surviving plant, but unfortunately that is after she puts three spoonfuls of Miracle Grow in the pot and douses it with a gallon of water. Did I mention that it's a cactus? Lucky for me, I inherited my mad skills from dad. My hubby says I was born with three green thumbs and that I can bring just about any plant back from the grave. You can put me on speed dial if you want.

Amy Mullis said...

Be vewy, vewy quiet. I am now stalking Carole.

Anonymous said...

Amy, you and my mother share a passion for plant murder that is difficult to understand but fun to watch (until they outlaw horticulture abuse, of course). Of course, she does have an unwanted accomplice in the form of a large iguana that feeds on the tender shoots of her orchids while we sleep then disappears in the morn.

Amy Mullis said...

I think your Mom and I might be twins! We could be triplets, but I'd need to see a recent photo of the iguana.

Angie Mansfield said...

Pff, you throw them away after they're dead? Amateur. I still have the dry, brown carcass of my spider plant on my entertainment center. It was dead three months ago. I leave it there to remind myself that I'm no darn good at growing green things, and because there's too much junk around it to remove it without major earthmoving equipment.

Amy Mullis said...

Angie--Your planticide-fu is even greater than mine. I hope to learn from your achievements!

Kirsten Lesko said...

"I knew it was time to murder more houseplants."

So funny! Not sure what made me laugh harder - that snappy prose, or the fact that I'm gearing up to do the same thing. :)

Amy Mullis said...

Kirsten--Together we can defeat the Peace plants that threaten our world!

the Bag Lady said...

I just bought an Easter lily. I'm hoping to keep it alive until Easter. That's only 2 weeks, right?