Most people schedule vacations to destress from their hectic lives. Some down time they say. Heck, I need an extra week of vacation just from the stress of getting ready for vacation.
I don’t know about you, but I always try and tie up loose ends before I go away. It is so stressful thinking about what I would have to come home to after vacation. So, I make my enormous list which is probably too hard for Superwoman to accomplish and ultimately end up cutting my losses a day or two before V Day to what I really need to get done…
The worse part is I am in gardening mode. (For my loyal readers, you know the second garden full of corn?) For those of you who are gardeners you will understand this. For those who are not, it is endless weeding, fertilizing, mulching, checking for bugs, composting, and so on and so on. Talk about sweat equity.
I add “worrying” to the list as well since I have had numerous seasons of cabbage moths destroying my broccoli and kale. I swear gardening is a second job.
The thought of leaving my garden is like leaving your young child home with a babysitter for the first time. It does not get easier year after year.
So, what was my list of what I wanted to accomplish?
- Finish creating the mulching beds around the second garden. For a look at the second garden, see here. The garden is about 30 feet by 15 with a five foot mulching bed around it. Lots of wheel barrow trips to the wood chip pile, runs to the recycling center for more newspaper and begging for more grass. Everyone seems to have mulching mowers these days. (Finished the day before the trip.)
- Box all the clothes that no longer fit my youngest son and distribute them to a family with younger kids. I realized that I must have had years of clothes that were piled on top of the boxes. If you don’t have a family to distribute clothes too, consider Freecycle or SwapMama. (Accomplished the day before the trip.)
- Putting pictures in albums. I am ashamed to say that my second son’s bar mitzvah was four years ago and my third’s son was a year ago. Their extra album pictures have been sitting in boxes that long. Unfortunately, they are still in the boxes since I could not get to this task.
- Paid all the bills and reconciled my checking account. Whew. Got this one done. I have a fear that something could happen to me and don’t want my sister to have to deal with my bills. It is a silly fear. I know. It is kind of like being brought to the hospital and you have holes in your underwear. (Was I the only one told not to have holes in your underwear?)
- Weed the gardens. I now have 21 beds. (I need my head examined.) I must have spent 4 days just on the strawberry plants. My kids refuse to pick them. (See above. Just one of the bowls of rotten strawberries.) They find this job too time consuming and agreed not to eat them if I required them to pick them. They beg me for any other task. I think they would clean the toliets to get out of picking the strawberries. I really have no idea what is the big deal. Any ideas? Yes, they are primadonnas of the worse kind.
Because they refused to pick them, most of them spoiled. I was so upset as I cleaned the patch to find a zillion rotten strawberries. It’s pretty disgusting to clean out the patch with a ton of rotten strawberries. I am talking black, molding, googy strawberries.
I decided this year not to belong to the “kind to critters” club. I learned my lesson last year not to throw the rotten ones to them. Last year, the critters who came calling (the crows) decided that I must have a luscious garden after sampling the rotten strawberries and attacked my tomatoes, corn, and peppers. I fought with them all last gardening season. So, this year, the rotten ones went into the compost. No more Ms. Nice person. Crows are ungrateful. And Rabbits are not that cute.
After it seemed like days with my hands stuck into goo, I moved onto the other beds. What I found, just made me sick. See the picture above. A bed full of hay or straw weeds. No one should have to weed this.
My husband brought home straw or hay a couple of weeks ago. I don’t remember. I thought it looked different than what I normally have. He told me that the nursery said it would not have weed seeds in it. I knew in my gut that this could not be right but I needed the mulch. Last time I checked, I am not an authority on weed or hay. Who is to say there is only one straw which does not have weed seed? Go with the flow, Anna.
When I visited the garden store’s sister store, and asked for more mulch, the store manager replied they do not sell straw without weed seeds. I explained I had bought it from their sister store. He replied that they only had straw which would in fact have weeds. It is used for erosion control. I flipped out. Thoughts of weeding 21 beds full of straw weeds would surely put me over the edge. Think small grass growing in all of your beds. Lots of it. A nightmare worse than the Grinch who stole Christmas.
Sure enough when I called the sister store, the manager confirmed that I had in fact bought the wrong mulch. I explained how my husband asked for the right material and that he should speak to his staff since none of them would be offering to weed my beds. I am a good customers of theirs to boot.
The manager just did not seemed to be phased about my complaint, and kept repeating the staff knows better. He did not offer to take back the balance of the straw or refund my straw purchases. I guess my business was not that important.
I was frantic and called home and told my husband to “rip” that blasted straw off my beds. Did I really think that the weed seeds had not distributed their little selves all over my beds? Sure enough as there are stars in the sky, it rained alot and lo and behold I had straw weeds. Not some but enough to make a grown woman cry. (Even a grown man…)
Here was the eleventh hour, and the weeds were so obvious that you knew that I had a blanket of them under the new seedless straw or hay. (I went back to my orginal source who I could rely on, and they gave me the right product.) One more week, and I would have to send a search team in to find my veggie plants.
I worked endlessly through the days with a small hoe and took out as much grass as I could. I only cleaned up 13 beds. The corn beds were the worse. Exasperated was an understatement of how I felt. I still had 8 more beds to go. My only hope is that the watermelon and melons will crush the living life out of the grass as soon as they start to sprawl. (Think urban sprawl when melons start to grow.) Has this happened to you?
- Give the potatoes more compost and soil. As potatoes grow, you have to surround them with more soil and compost. Almost finished this.
- Clean up my compost bin. Compost was spilling out of my bin. It has taken two years for me to finally make compost. I am a very lazy composter. I forget to turn it and it needs water since it is covered. The fact that I actually made compost is short of a miracle. Sometimes, G-d throws me a bone once and awhile.
You are thinking, who cares about the compost falling out of your compost bin. Leave it. Believe me. This is not me being obsessive. I do have those qualities.
Flies love to lay their eggs in compost. One year, I had a huge pile of compost from the recycling center sitting on my driveway. That Fall, I had hundreds of flies in my house looking for a warm place to hibernate. We still can’t figure how they got into the house. Anyone else have a fly problem?
Every year, I move that compost pile very, very quickly. I have gotten parnoid. I used all the compost I made around the corn since it likes to be hilled.
- Gave some of the heavy feeding plants fertilizer. (Done.)
- Covered the blueberries with netting. This year the blueberries seemed to be rippening sooner. The birds are circling…
- Write posts for the vacation…Never got to it. Doing it now…Thank goodness for internet connections in hotels…
- Clean out the garage. Couldn’t finish.
- Clean out car which had a ton of hay or straw in it. Third son who did not want to pick strawberries volunteered to vaccum.
- Give toys away. Gave games to my school. Still have preschool games and my youngest is 11! The pre-k did not want any donations.
- Cleaned out the refridgerator and froze everything I could. I even froze lettuce and turnips leaves from my plants!
- Unplugged all electrical plugs, increased the temperature in the house, and watered all the indoor plants.
- Moved the outside plants inside the house. I spent alot of time planting and nuturing those plants. I will be dammed if they die on me from lack of water. So, they are spending their week in air conditioning. (I want to come back as one of my plants…)
There are probably other things I swear I was going to accomplish before vacation, but never got around to it. I am so exhausted preparing for the vacation, that one week just does not seem to be enough. After writing this post I realized how compulsive I am…Scary.
- Do you find that you try and accomplish too much before vacation?
- What is important to you to get done before a vacation?
- How do you cure the “before vacation week” panic attacks?
Let me know your thoughts. Please tell me I am not the only one who burns the candle trying to get ready for vacation.