You know how sometimes you just get completely overwhelmed by life in general and things start to spin out of control and you feel like your brain is melting and you start checking your shoulders to make sure it's not oozing out your ears?
Come on, now. I know it's not just me.
I had one of those days a couple weeks ago. I don't even really remember what was so overwhelming about that day- it was probably just grocery day or something. Something about hauling three small children around three different stores trying to get everything on the list, not losing the list itself, trying to get the best possible price for everything, and keeping those same children from burning down the store sometimes makes my pulse pound in my ears and sets off an adorable little tic under my left eye.
I'm pretty sure this was one of those days.
Toward the end of this particular day, I went out to check out our vegetable garden. Last year, Derek's mom helped me build a fence around a small section of the backyard that's a good 3 1/2 feet tall, and also extends underground several inches to keep out those adorable, fuzzy-wuzzy little heathens that I have fantasies about burning on a homemade pyre set up over our fire pit (you may know them as rabbits). Shortly after erecting this fence last summer, I planted zucchini and pumpkins and watermelons and basil and I don't remember what else.
I got a lot of nice basil. I also got about a dozen little pumpkins, a few zucchini, and zero watermelons. All because of the squash bugs.
Rabbits make me see red and feel like I should be on blood pressure medication. Squash bugs wither my soul and make me want to curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb.
I'm not sure which I hate more: rabbits, squash bugs, or Japanese beetles.
There's just something so discouraging about putting all this time and effort into a garden, then seeing it eaten away by insects.
So this year, I decided I wasn't even going to bother with the garden. I had given it love and affection last year, and it had given me so little in return. If it wanted to be that way, I would shun it. I would paint a scarlet "A" on its breast and turn my face away. I would plant nothing.
Except some watermelon. And a few tomato plants. I had to give it one last, tiny chance.
After I planted those seeds and seedlings, however, I made good on my promised neglect. I did no weeding. I did not thin the watermelon seedlings. I did not water. I did not stake the tomato plants, but let them sprawl along the ground. I let the other 2/3 of the fenced vegetable patch go wild, so that it looked like I was growing a crop of creeping Charlie and grass.
On the brain-melting day, I went to go check out the little garden I'd been so studiously ignoring. And guess what? Those little plants were thriving. (As were the grass and creeping Charlie, in case you were wondering.)
Then I made the mistake of counting all the under-ripe fruit in there.
I counted seven watermelons. Then I started counting the tomatoes. When I got to thirty, I started freaking out.
I'm not really sure what was going on in my head. I somehow took that whole crazy day and put it onto the garden. And guess what? Things were going well in the garden. And that was not good.
I don't know why, but when things are going really well, I panic a little bit. If I can't find anything wrong with a situation or a day or whatever, I become all gloom and doom. Here we go, I think. Things are too perfect, which means there's a tornado coming. Or someone's about to die. Or that tree is going to spontaneously fall onto our house.
It's like I take the whole "calm before the storm" cliche too far and apply it to my entire way of thinking. There's probably a fancy psychological term for this, but I don't know what it is. All I know is, I don't like it when everything is just right. Something needs to be just a little bit off, or you're just begging for some calamity to befall you.
Anyway. I'm in the backyard, muttering about counting chickens before they hatch and tomatoes before they're ripe when I hear Derek's car pull into the drive. The kiddos and I race into the house in time for him to come in the front door and me to announce, "YOU NEED TO GO PEE IN THE BACKYARD. RIGHT NOW."
He was a little bewildered and made me repeat myself like ten times (possibly hoping he was just mis-hearing me), but I finally explained that I had recently read something about human urine helping keep vermin away from your plants, and that he had better equipment for aiming right around the perimeter of the garden, and then I tried to explain my little meltdown, but the entire time I'm talking my voice is getting higher and higher and I'm talking faster and faster and I'm starting to sound a teensy bit manic.
This whole post has gone on way longer than I intended, so let me just tell you that I did eventually calm down, Derek did not relieve himself in our yard (something about laws on indecent exposure and not feeling the need to "go"), and Derek's mom told me about a delightful little insecticide that keeps squash bugs away- which is thus far working.
I have ventured into the garden one time since then- to pick our first, perfect tomato- and managed to keep the crazies at bay.