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Suburban Garden: A Lesson in Humility

gardenSo, we have recently decided to grow our first garden.  We are doing this for several reasons ranging from something to keep the kids occupied over summer to us trying to become a little more self-sufficient.  This being said, we load up the family truckster and roll on over to Gebo’s.  Let me just tell you that this store is exactly the same as I remember it from my childhood.  This particular store is even more impressive in that it originally must have been out in the country a bit, but now has an entire shopping center built around it.  All of this, and yet, when you walk through those doors you are instantly transported to Small-town, TX.  The same line of John Deere toys, the same standard feed store fare, the same live chickens for sale for $2.  Watching the kids with the baby chicks was worth the trip alone.  Alas, we are here for one thing, and one thing only.  We are starting a garden!

Rather than tear the hell out of our yard because, let’s face it, we are amateurs and this garden may not last the summer, we opt for a less permanent option for our garden.  We peruse the outdoor section of the Gebo’s until we find exactly what we are looking for in a livestock water tank.  But hey, if this keeps me from digging up my yard, I am willing to take on the added cost of $12o “que cash register noise”

Next stop, Calloway’s!


Calloway’s is a less-than-affordable gardening mecca to which the local affluent flock.  Unfortunately, we were unable to find veggies for sale this early at our local generic hardware super center, so we are forced to shell out a little extra…again.  4 tomato plants, 2 cucumber plants, 2 water melon plants, 1 jalapeno plant, 2 cilantro, 1 basil, 1 mint and various bags of vermiculite, soil, peat moss, and human feces (at least it smelled that way!) leave us with a full truck bed, less $150 “again with the noise”

But hey, were are moving toward self sustenance here, so what’s a little (or lot) of cash up front, right?  “Onward and upward “, like some overly peppy scout leader once said.  So, we make the actual garden assembly a family event as to involve the kids from the beginning.

HAY!  Don't laugh at my kids!

HAY! Don’t laugh at my kids!

Surprisingly, this goes well and without incident.  However, when it comes time to water everything in, we end up with two soaked kids. Somebody please tell me why the hell a kid is incapable of working a garden hose without ending up on the wrong end of it and completely drenched??

Needless to say, our first garden is planted!  We are stoked and ready to get those thumbs turning from brown to some form of green.  Yes, this is the part where you, the reader, starts to wonder about this story being too good to be true.  You must be thinking,  “How could those idiot bastards pull off a successful garden on their first try?”.  Well, fear not because your instincts have not failed you.

On a whim, we decide to check the forecast.  Whoa Nelly!  Are you kidding me?  We are at the end of March and the forecast calls for a hard freeze…and not just one night!  No, it’s going to freeze for the next 3 nights!  Being the prepared boy scout that I am, I spring to


action and find some cloth tarps to cover the garden with.  I can do nothing more this night other than funnel wine down my craw and feel superior to those poor bastards on Shameless.

Wouldn’t you know it…all of the effing plants are effing dead…eff my green thumb!  Eff this oversized tin of dirt in my yard! and eff gardening!  I am already in the hole a three hunny and now I have to re-buy most of the plants again!  Maybe those hippies at the commune aren’t all that “far out” after all…Oh well, it’s off to Calloway’s for round two.  I guess this thumb ain’t gonna turn green on its own.  Now, if I can only find one of the kids’ green markers…

Best i could do

Best i could do

My Little Nudist: At It Again

One generation removed from the flower children of the ’60s, I find myself struggling with the notion that my three-year-old daughter is a would-be nudist. (see ). 

Yesterday afternoon I am doing some cooking out on the grill and it was still in the upper 90-degree range, so I decided to hop in the pool while the grill heated up.  Of course nothing gets by M, and she had already noticed that I am wearing a swimsuit despite my best efforts to conceal the fact.  I had not been outside for more than two minutes when I hear the faint rumblings of her little hands banging against the glass door.  Knowing full and well that she will not give up, and that the glass pounding is only going to intensify, I relent and let her come outside with me.

Not being able to withstand the heat any longer, I step down into the refreshing pool a couple of steps and of course M had a radar lock on me.  She immediately has both feet in and is standing on the top step holding her somewhat 1960’s era throwback dress up around her thighs so that it did not get wet.  Of course she is not going to be satisfied with just getting her feet wet.  She is so close to reaching her goal of swimming that she will not be denied.  I tell her that she can not swim because she will get her dress and panties all wet.  I am thinking that will halt her progress, or at the very least, send her back inside to hassle Mommy about putting on a swimsuit. 

As I expected, she steps back out of the pool and heads back toward the house.  However, what happens next is NOT something that I expect.  I turn around to look over at the grill to see if I still have a few minutes to enjoy the water when I hear this almost wicked little cackle from behind me.  I whip around toward the pool steps to see my toddler wearing the exact outfit that she was born in.  That’s right, she is standing there completely naked on the top step to the pool maniacally giggling.  She is oh so proud of herself.  All that she is missing is a peace symbol-laden headband and a hand-rolled joint and we would have a Woodstock re-creation.

I immediately break out laughing.  It has to be the cutest, funniest thing she has done in a while.  Of course, I can not deny her access to the pool, so I let her experience her first skinny dip.  In fact, I have not even skinny dipped in our pool, so she is crossing new boundaries all around.  I swear I can hear Jimi Hendrix wailing out the Star Spangled Banner on his axe.  I can smell the marijuana in the air as freedom and love flow through my veins.

The Man

After a quick “swim” (she does not know how to swim yet, so Daddy floats her around as if she were swimming) around the pool I land her back at the steps and we both get out of the pool.  (If I don’t get out, she won’t either).  I wrap her in a towel, stick a flower in her hair, and send her in to regale Mommy with the tale of her freedom swim.  Needless to say, Mommy is not very happpy with M…or Daddy for that matter. 

I continue to chuckle to myself as I unconsciously flip sweet corn and chicken on the grill.  I had hoped that the whole nudity phase was coming to and end, but now I can’t help but wonder if my sweet little daughter could be Janis Joplin or Gypsy Rose reincarnate…


Gypsy Rose, Stripper of all strippers

The Great Janis

Is My Daughter A Nudist??

A disturbing trend has begun in our household.  My 3 year-old daughter is becoming a nudist.  The first symptoms began as rare instances when M would somehow end up clothes-less on a random weekend day.  Soon, like the spread of AIDS in an African village, the instances became more and more frequent.  Now, it seems that M somehow ends up stripped down to her panties almost every day after we get her home from school.  The reasons for shedding her clothes range from understandable to complete nonsensical.  For instance, she sometimes spills her drink on her   shirt or dress.  Naturally, she doesn’t want to sit around in wet clothes, so she takes them off.  The problem is that the wet clothes never seem to get replaced with dry clothes…or any clothes.  Instead, she would rather lounge around in Dora the Explorer panties munching goldfish.  If she were a balding, unshaven, beer-bellied man, you would only need to replace those goldfish with a Pabst Blue Ribbon and you would have yourself a textbook example of trailer trash.  I suppose you might need to replace the Dora panties as well…maybe not.

Lately, it’s gotten so bad that if so much as a drop of juice or a smidgen of ketchup hit her clothes, they are off and she is free…I fear that, at the rate we are going, she will have dreadlocks and be living in a tent in the back yard by the end of summer.  Her name will change from Merrit to Moonbeam and she will craft the finest hemp products that she will trade for organic food and non-animal tested-products.  I can still be a proud daddy…

So, I ask you fellow parents, Is this a phase, or is this just the inner hippie in my daughter coming out?  Is this something that all toddlers go through? Embarrassed parents just toss this tidbit into the pile of bones in the closet to save face during those  “look-what-my-toddler-can-do” conversations they have with other parents. You know those conversations with those annoying parents? Mine would go something like this: “Little Jimmy can write his own name and he’s only 6 months old”, says one proud (but lying) parent. I rebut, “Well, my little Moonbeam just fashioned this blanket from the grass clippings in our yard.” 

I suppose in either case, it’s not the worst thing a little girl could do…thank GOD she finally got through her cocaine phase…