All right - after one month of gardening, here is what I have learned:
Seed packets lie.
Gardening isn't some pleasant, pastoral, Sunday afternoon activity for little old ladies in funny hats. Gardening is war. Gardening is the ultimate battle for survival. And the weeds always win. Particularly the nasty weeds, the ones straight out of some sci-fi flick, complete with saber-like hard-to-see thorns growing all over their stems and leaves. Those plants are vicious. They are evil. Throwing a weed barrier over them is akin to wearing a raincoat to ward off radioactive fallout. I spent my birthday money on that (expletive deleted) weed barrier, and those weeds are eating it for breakfast.
I've got to calm down. Take it easy. Like my compost pile. It's just sitting there. I chop up what I throw in, I stir it every day; but those little pieces of celery leaves and onion skins and zucchini ends refuse to meld into anything even resembling rich, healthy soil. Perhaps I need more patience, but it seems to me that those flower seeds I tossed into one of my boxes and watered diligently aren't doing much of anything either. An entire packet of cutting-flower mix, and I've got 2 lousy sprouts to show for it. Nothing like the picture on the front of the packet. I see those bunches of beautiful flowers at the Farmers' Market and think, "I can't afford to spend 4 dollars every week on something I could grow myself." Well, I can't grow them myself; and I'm starting to think 4 dollars isn't a bad deal.
Zucchini, apparently, is easy to grow. That and the basil plants I bought from the farm are the only things that are thriving in my plot. The zucchini even survived a transplant, which is more than I can say of the cherry tomato plants that a pitying neighbor gave to me. They keeled over almost before I got them in the ground. They know when they're in the hands of an amateur.
I don't know - maybe it's the heat. I'm a tad discouraged.
On the homefront, things are going fairly well. We seem to be avoiding cabin fever by our trips to the pool and to Target; and when we are home, the children manage to amuse themselves in ways that (usually) don't involve whining. Today we whiled away our leisure hours looking for our cordless phone (which is different from a cell phone, but I don't know why). We noticed it missing yesterday evening, but our usual suspect was sound asleep and we weren't able to question her until morning. At first Rachel led us to believe that she had nothing to do with its disappearance; but after we got a little more aggressive with our interrogation tactics, we were able to pull the truth out of her. Unfortunately, by that time, the trash men had already come and gone; and I don't think I could have paid our kids enough to paw through the trashcans in 99-degree heat, anyway. I really liked that phone. Rachel claims she thought it was broken. So, we went to Target (again), where I bought a really cheap phone to replace it (hey, if they're going to be disposable, I'm not going to spend a lot of money). When we came home, I discovered that there was a flashlight and several pieces of chalk in the powder room toilet, a situation which I could have handled with more equanimity if Brian had only remembered to flush the last time he had been in there. So, we're keeping busy.
Oh, and Larry came home from work today with the killer stomach virus that he thought he had ducked by being in while we all suffered. Just when you thought it might be safe to visit....