Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The fertile, magic garden of brilliance

Note: This column appears in the 9/29 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/30 issue of the Peoria Times

I have done a lot of dumb things around the house. I don’t like to brag, but it’s kind of my thing.

I’ve put stuff together backwards. I once wiped down our stainless steel refrigerator with a damp paper towel almost immediately after my wife told me not to do exactly that. I have placed items on the ledge of our upstairs hallway, thinking to myself, “I really shouldn’t put this here,” and then knocked it off the ledge later after forgetting it was there.

I have spilled water on our laptop computer. I’ve hung pictures on the wall that have fallen down in the middle of the night and scared us half to death. Last year, while putting up Christmas lights and assuring my wife I’d be careful, I carried our ladder out of the garage, but it got caught in the hanging garage door string and caused the unhinged garage door to slam down with the force of a hundred stampeding horses, right in front of my face.

One time I dropped a giant glass container of olive oil on our kitchen floor. In fact, I would say that I have been on our kitchen floor, hands and knees, painstakingly looking for tiny, indistinguishable shards of glass at least six times in the past four years.

This is not to say I am completely inept. I have accomplished many things in and around the house that have gone unheralded due to their proper completion and lack of incident. One thing of my doing that has actually been a huge success is our vegetable garden.

When we moved here, I had the brilliant idea to put a horseshoe pit in our backyard. I had played horseshoes approximately four times in my life at that point, so this was a no-brainer. Then I realized that any potential horseshoe game would pose a risk to the integrity of our home’s exterior, so I had an even brillianter idea—one-sided horseshoes. You throw the horseshoe, go and get it, come back, and then throw it again. Party time!

One-sided horseshoes proved to be an unpopular and infrequently played game of leisure. So, last year I decided to make that square block of dirt and sand a vegetable garden. My wife, because of the summer heat and it being my concept, didn’t think it would work.

Amazingly, it has. It’s kind of like a magic garden. I actually cannot stop things from growing in there. The basil I had planted turned into a basil tree, and I needed to get rid of it to make room for my fall plantings. So last week I decided to make pesto.

I never make pesto the right way, and my wife doesn’t really like it, but that’s never stopped me before. I was having difficulty getting the basil leaves to churn in the blender, however. So I took the top off the blender to stuff the leaves down with a wooden spoon, at which point my other hand accidentally pushed the “chop” button and, well … yeah.

My wife, who was bathing our daughter upstairs when she heard the familiar noise of an inappropriate object being destroyed in an electronic device, yelled, “What happened?!” I did not answer.

Instead, I spent the next twenty minutes painstakingly looking for tiny, indistinguishable shards of wood to remove from my pesto sauce. I don’t like to brag, but it turned out okay.

5 comments:

mharris said...

Upside: Toothpicks included!

mkenny59 said...

Good point! Which reminds me -- have you ever forgotten a toothpick was in a sandwich ... ouch! I mean, me neither!

Anonymous said...

Maybe shards of wood are Dad Ursino's secret ingredient that you accidentally uncovered!

Joe S. said...

Ha! When we were buying a house a few years ago, we fell in love with one particular place because of its yard, which featured horse shoe pits. Like you, I've played it MAYBE once or twice in my life and probably not correctly. Not sure why horse shoe pits excited us - maybe we thought we'd grow our circle of friends, who also have never played horse shoes, tenfold? I mean, who doesn't like thinking that they like playing horse shoes?

We didn't get that house. We're now stuck with a grapefruit tree that produces more fruit than I could eat in a lifetime. I don't even like grapefruits.

mkenny59 said...

Joe, we should totally not play horse shoes together sometime! Or we can throw grapefruits against the wall or something.