Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Life on the Balcony - Adventures at the Edge

Hey, I'm a pretty cautious type. I don't live life on the edge unless it's the balcony with the nice safe railing in place.

Recently, I decided I needed to get out more. You know, commune with nature. In line with my attitude towards edges, I thought I'd do it by hanging out on my balcony more. Ever since the dry spell in California last summer, all my plants were withered and my barbecue had been bitten by voracious squirrels. "Big Brother", the cypress tree around the place had dumped it's leaves everywhere, no doubt in genteel horror over the seedy view and savage neighbors. I hadn't swept in months.

Armed with a broom and triply-dosed with allergy medications, I ventured out, swirls of pollen filling in my footsteps. Looking around at the number of tree cones, each one an eager tree fetus, I'd say Big Brother's social life was doing much better than mine. I managed to clear the place, tree fetuses and all, but I'd say it was a Pyhrric victory since I had to shower and then use one of those sinus rinses before I could speak in a normal tone after that. After washing the ole orbs with medicated eyedrops to deal with my reaction to communing with nature, my eyes stopped streaming long enough for me to notice the balcony is looking pretty spare. Barren.

Clearly, this place needs some color. Some pollen-generating flowering plants should do the trick. If I use enough decongestant, I should be able to smell some fragrance too. Off to the gardening center.

At the gardening center, I spot a real treasure right off the bat. A pair of nitrile coated gardening gloves for those with latex allergies. My gut tells me this is the right place for me. Clearly, they have dealt with my type before. Reassured, I march confidently toward rows of gloriously flowering shrubs, vines, trees...

Hmmmm. Just how big does nature grow these things?

Hastily, I return my 5 lb bag of potting soil and go for a bigger sack of soil.

A little more cautiously, I pick my way through rows of plants with high maintenance issues like "full sun", "six feet of soil for roots to spread", acidic soil, a need for ceiling heights greater than 8 feet. I work my way through the displays until I finally reach the dark, dank back of the garden center. Here, were all the plants that could live in Big Brother's shadow. Ferns. Moss. Yes, they'll sell you moss. Here's a leafy looking plant. Nevermind, those are it's flowers. By gum! Here are some plants that look like plants! They are... impatiens. Hooray! How about another plant to give the place some variety? Those are... impatiens...more impatients... Isn't there any other plant that likes shade and looks like a plant? Let's try the seeds...

Well, six impatiens plants and a packet of impatiens seeds later, the place is looking pretty habitable...


I acquire several thousand new housemates

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