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I have a serious addiction. It’s not any of the commonly known addictions..it’s not even chocolate. I’m afraid no one has ever created a 12 step program for what I suffer from. I am addicted to gardening catalogs.
Really there is no hope for someone like me. It’s 25 degrees outside, and I can’t even stop shivering inside my house. The unsuspecting postman delivers glossy catalogs filled with pictures of everything that summer will bring. Broccoli, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Bok Choi, even those crazy Rutabagas. My husband brings the catalogs in, sometimes two in the same day, and he leaves them on the counter to tempt me.
This year is particularly bad. We mulched over a big area of grass at our new home last fall, and it’s sleeping right now, getting ready for all the vegetable seeds spring will bring. We also converted the old garden into a beautiful orchard area. That means nursery catalogs are an equal temptation. Who knew there were 14 varieties of Peaches?? Let alone Nectarines, Cherries, Plums, Pears, and those exotic Asian Pears. That’s not even scratching the surface. There are grapes – white, red, purple, seedless or not. Strawberries – June bearing or Ever Bearing. Raspberries, Blackberries, Loganberries, Boysenberries…and the list goes on.
I don’t know what a person with my condition is to do in January, when all they want is to plant things in the soil! I have ignored the call of those catalogs for a month now, and I knew it was finally time to look.
My husband and I have encouraged each other to have monthly Recharge Retreats. That’s a fancy name for getting away to do whatever we want for three hours once a month. Yesterday was my day. I packed up all the catalogs and headed to the library. The library?? Yes, I knew I could find a cubby, spread out all the catalogs and really enjoy the experience. Well, that was the plan…
I got to the library and found a cubby against a back wall, out of the traffic area, and next to a nice looking young man. I found my favorite catalog, and settled down for some seed therapy. These catalogs are arranged alphabetically, so the first vegetables up are always Artichokes and Asparagus. We can’t grow Artichokes here, and I already have a big Asparagus bed, so on to Beans I went. I was just contemplating the merits of bush beans vs. pole beans and green vs. yellow when the nice young man next to me let loose with a couple of profanities. Startled, I selected a tried and true pole bean and moved to Broccoli. Another word. Yikes! Well, it gets worse.
He picked up his phone and dialed. I didn’t think he would actually talk, and that was where I was sorely mistaken. He called Microsoft Customer Support (yes, it was absolutely impossible not to eavesdrop in the library). He couldn’t hear the first Support person he talked to, so he hung up and called back. The second support person patiently listened to him tell how he couldn’t install his new Microsoft program. She asked for his Key code on the package and that was where things really went down hill. He started reading the key – GHPX3THY7DTR3….. She read it back to him and got it all wrong. She asked for him to phonetically read it to her again. “G as in Gas, H as in Happy, P as in, um, I don’t know, I guess as in Pillow, X as in X-Ray, 3 as in the number 3 – you know what I mean, right, T as in…” You get the picture. I was dying by now. I could no more focus on Broccoli than if my children had been running around screaming at the top of their lungs. Then he had her read it back and she messed it up AGAIN! He started berating her and telling her he thought it was a conspiracy against him – that the first support person had probably faked a bad headset, and that she was messing up on purpose so he couldn’t get his program. I could not believe this was happening. Didn’t this guy know library etiquette? Didn’t he know I was on my recharge retreat?!?
Well, I wish there was a happy ending, like me swooping in and helping him install the program, but I’m not that smart, and I couldn’t stand it any more. I looked at Cucumber seeds for a solid 10 minutes without doing a thing. He was still on the phone and it had been at least 30 minutes by now. I was not enjoying my catalogs, so I packed them up and went home. I sat at the bar in my kitchen and finished my catalog perusing. My children were doing their normal children things, and it sounded blissfully quiet compared to rude library guy.
This made me very aware of the need to gain perspective sometimes. I thought I needed to get away from my life to really enjoy myself, and I was wrong! I had fun talking with my family about the seeds. I asked whether they wanted normal pumpkins this year, or if it was okay if I got weird ones. My husband asked what about us was normal – good point. I ordered the weird ones! I showed my little kids the crazy Watermelon radishes I was excited about, and my big kids groaned at the thoughts of harvesting all I was buying. Good stuff.
So I guess I should thank rude library guy for showing me that what I have is pretty great. I’m grateful for a family that endures my addictions. I’m thankful for a husband that allows me to plan out my weekends from March-May based on what needs to go in the ground. I’m thankful for a large garden and the knowledge to help it grow.
Is there something you’re forgetting to be thankful for in your life? I bet we can all come up with something. Think about it and express your gratitude. The perspective feels good. Enjoy your week and I will too – I’ve got some seeds to order!
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen