Saturday mornings are exclusively reserved for garden work. Seeing that I don't believe in employing someone to do my dirty work while I hang around the shops (or lounge in front of the TV), I have to plan very well to get all of it done.
My schedule has to really be time specific, especially when we invite some friends around for a braai in the afternoon. I usually start with cleaning leaves from the flower beds, move to mowing the lawn and then sweep, suck or blow the paving – depending on how I feel that day. Sweeping takes a lot of energy and my dog attacks the broom constantly; blowing creates a sneeze episode, so sucking happens most of the time (still talking about the paving…).
Last Saturday would have been no exception save for the programme my wife had intended me to embark upon. On Friday evening she hit me with the "good" news that she would be at a kitchen tea in the morning. While I was thinking that I could then pump the hi-fi a bit, while grafting the garden, she handed me a note. A to-do list for Saturday morning; excellent, no play time for Johnny…
Now I'm not an aggressive, obnoxious person. I never shout (except when I do lose myself), don't like to fight or get upset and stay away from conflict as far as I can. Saturday mornings in town however, has a tendency to light my fire, so I steer clear of it in any way - unless an emergency arises - which this is, according to my wife. I notice at least six stops which already have my hands trembling, so I decide to pour my wife a relaxing sun downer to get her into a more malleable frame of mind. The strategy is to get her kicking her shoes off and then home in on the relaxed and open mind to try and diminish the list to at least two stops. I look up and down the list to start with the easiest scratch item.
I have chaired a few hearings at work, had some refresher courses on how to manage conflict, apply managerial coaching and mentoring and even (had to) attend some motivational speaking. Keeping this in mind, I wait till lovey settles into the second half of the glass and open with a classic:” Love; that purple toe nail polish suits you very much”. This is where it is make or break time - if she accepts the compliment I’m in business – if she sees through it; I’ll have to take the head-on approach (which is plan B, and entails getting her more than relaxed). She looks at me a bit funnily initially, but it softens into a grin and thanks me. I compliment myself on my excellent strategy and assume the position for discussion. I actually surprise myself with my emotional plead of how much work I have in the garden, how hot it will be tomorrow and doing all the work while still suffering from a mild tennis elbow, which I picked up last weekend screwing parts of the ceiling in place.
I get the list down to three items; she’ll do the others before the kitchen tea. While I wallow in my victory the next day, the sweet turns a bit sour upon a fleeting thought that I was played into going in any case. Anyway, I combine two items by a simple logical stroke of genius; that small tomatoes from our local supermarket must be the same as those from Woollies.
I commence my dreaded lawn mowing duties first, while I contemplate what time would be best to enter the streets of hell. Mowing lawn in the summer morning sun is quite a dehydrating affair so I decide to open a beer and have a cool-down session in the pool. When cooling down like this, I prefer naked as to not wet any garden clothes besides, it gives that extra “free” feeling. Since my children attend to their own respective Saturday morning challenges, I have no fear of being walked in on. On my point of exiting the pool, I notice a face ducking down at the neighbours. Well, I always believed that if somebody wants to see me swim in the nik, they really have to make an effort to get their eyes over the wall. I didn’t know the neighbours kids were playing ball, and their mamma looked over the wall to find the ball. Oh well, if she did see some jewels it couldn’t have been that big of a turn off, or on for that matter – as adults we really should know these details quite well.
I think not much of it, finish the lawn, do my 2 stops and return home to walk into a fracas. Neighbours are waiting with my wife heading the welcoming committee. Before I can even think of parking my car, my wife’s mouth is spewing something on the beat of Bruce Springsteen’s “working on a dream”, which encloses my field of hearing as the windows are still up.
It seems that the neighbour is very irate about my beautiful body. Her husband looks cross, and my wife looks at the small tomatoes, which are not according to specification. Another cold evening awaits me in the heat of summer…