How My Tomato Plants are a Perfect Metaphor for This Summer

I aspire to be a gardener in the same way I aspire to be handy: first I borrow a bunch of stuff from my neighbors, then they end up taking pity on Mrs. Nostrikethat when it’s been two weeks without load-bearing walls and finally they end up doing most of the work while I am entrusted with operating the Keurig.

Every year, with glasses firmly rose-colored,  I try to take on a simple vegetable garden. Every year I manage tomatoes that could be called “tomatoes” in the same way that a Twinkie could be called “food”.

To make matters worse, I am surrounded by green thumbs. My mother relates to vegetables on an almost instinctual level–although I am sure being married to my dad has given her plenty of practice. My neighbors all have several successful well-established garden plots. My Facebook feed is ripe with Gaea’s Bounty, too:

Oh I have too many tomatoes this year, does anyone want some salsa?”

My peppers just won’t stop growing!”

Gardening is so easy and fun!”

Dutifully I watered and fertilized. My gifted starter plants actually grew and started to flower. I Believed.

I can totally survive the End of Days now. Who needs a grocery store? Man I am amazing.

Then my plants stopped responding to light, water, and nitrogen.

tomato_plants

 

They looked like Thursday night after a week of double shifts working to close.

I tried giving them coffee because that always perks me up and I get my vegetative qualities from my dad so I thought the reverse might be true.

Still they wilted.

It’s as if they said “It’s August, I’m tired of life, let me leave you with a sampling of anatomically ludicrous fruits to taunt you with what might have been.”

“P.S.- you suck.”

Now let me introduce you to my mums. Despite not even the slightest amount of concern from me regarding their well-being they have come back every single year, bigger than ever. They are the ordinary Homedepotus Onsaleacus variety bought 4 or five years ago because we needed some “fall color” or something equally womanly. I think decided to plant them in that little spot because it was a nice day and I was avoiding doing the dishes.

mums

 

We have had by all accounts a pretty fantastic summer. We’re luck enough to have friends. Some of those friends like us enough to invite the travelling Nostrikethat circus to go places with them. Our kids have amazing grandparents, near and far, who shower them with attention. We did swim team. We swam in a lake. We got lost in the woods. My most favorite moments, though, always seemed to just happen.

Sitting in camp chairs on the driveway drinking beer with the neighbors on a Tuesday night.  

Listening to the kids tell jokes at the dinner table. BANANA SANDWICH! HAH!

Sharing a quiet glass of wine with Mrs. Nostrikethat after the kids have exhausted themselves from playing outside all day.

Staying up late with my oldest to play video games.

I’m sure there’s a metaphor in here somewhere.

Or maybe I just need to remember to ask someone to water the plants when we go away for a long weekend.

Nah.

 

9 Kinds of Dads at the Pool

I really enjoyed the Scary Mommy post “Types of Moms you Meet at the Pool” and I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t very much diversity in the Dad ecosystem at my favorite aquatic habitat. So I donned my trusty fedora and set off to do a little field research, and now I can safely say I’m wrong. I present the results of my findings, complete with fake Latin names because I watched a lot of Wile E. Coyote cartoons as a kid.

Road-Runner-Latin

1) Just-came-from-work Dad

Paternis inasuiticus

This Dad is typically a nocturnal species, emerging as the sun starts to set. He appears, usually at swim practice, in full office garb, instead of going home to change first like a sensible person. This appears to be a remnant of behavior from pre-Dad days, as it advertises his fitness to reproduce by showing that he has a Real Job. If the mate is already present, it is definitely a show-off move designed to allow his mate to demonstrate her success at garnering a suitable breeding partner.

2) Yelling Dad

Paternis bellowsalota

This species’s primary habitat is on the shores of chlorinated bodies of water. This species is notable for a wide range of calls it performs at maximum volume. No one is sure why the Yelling Dad does this, but some researchers theorize he is attempting to use the air from his lungs to propel his offspring across the water. Yelling Dads are usually wearing athletic clothing from some other sport, frequently football, which leads other researchers to believe that perhaps this is not a distinct species at all and just some dudes who are lost on the way to a sports bar.

3) Statistician Dad

Paternis pencilpocketus

The “Stat Dad” is frequently found perched somewhere above chlorinated bodies of water, quietly but intently observing every activity in the pool. This dad is most known for his detailed, multi-tabbed, color-coded spreadsheet showing his offspring’s relative rankings at the club, state, district, and national levels. Statistician dads favor baseball caps and actually care about baseball. Do not make the mistake of assuming that their lack of volume does not equal ferocity: many a rival has woken in the hospital recovering from mechanical pencil stab wounds and a clipboard-induced concussion.

4) Fun Dad

Paternis throwthekidicus

Paternis throwthekidicus is the only observed aquatic species of Pool Dads. Fun Dads seem to prefer repeatedly ejecting their offspring from the water in what appears to be an attempt to get their offspring to swim away and start their own family. This never seems to work, however, as the offspring continue to return, only to be thrown again and again. Paternis throwthekdicus is easily identified by the outrageously bad pair of swimming trunks that were obviously purchased by his mate in an attempt to disguise his suitability for breeding and ward off competition. Sometimes Fun Dads can be found in the more shallow bodies of chlorinated water, in which case they can be identified by nearby pink or blue-colored offspring and/or an abundance of pool toys and flotation devices.

5) Granddad Dad

Paternis granpaternis

Grandad Dad is a close relative of Fun Dad and engages in similar behaviors, just a little more slowly and with more attendant grunts of effort. Paternis granpaternis frequently displays black markings on the feet up to knee height, and may also have a large floppy hat. Late in the day, although sometimes as early as lunch time, some are observed to turn bright red in coloring, because back in his day he didn’t wear sunscreen and he turned out just fine, no matter what your grandmother might say.

6) Office Dad

Paternis gottaworkus

Office Dad appears to be a relative of Paternis inasuitacus, and some researchers believe they might be the same. Office Dads are normally only found at indoor pools on the weekends, usually with the laptop, inkjet printer, folding desk, wheelie chair, and Nespresso machine. They can also be identified by their detachment from their surroundings, conversations with imaginary friends, and shortened life expectancy. Researchers theorize this may be an evolutionary  “dead end”.

7) Slacker Dad

Paternis notthatmucha

Paternis notthatmucha’s habitat is any shady spot near the pool which enhances the visibility of his smartphone. Noted for their drab plumage such as flip flops, shorts, and a faded Dead Milkmen t-shirt. Slacker Dads are notable for the lack of accessories associated with their (probably) nearby offspring, including pool toys, sunscreen, towels, and frequently bathing suits.

8) Hercules Dad

Paternis toofiticus

Paternis toofiticus is notable for being the most muscular of the Paternis family. Attire is usually a pair of Oakley sunglasses that are welded to his cranium. Females are advised to maintain at least a 10 foot separation as spontaneous, airborne pregnancies have been documented arising from close contact with Hercules Dad. Also avoid eye contact as that may cause leg weakening and uncontrollable lip-wetting. Researchers are unable to determine how this species can maintain a state of physical near perfection and be good with his kids because he’s obviously a giant d-bag I mean just look at him.

9) Mom Dad

Paternis nurtura

Paternis nurtura is a recent discovery but researchers are startled to find these members of the Paternis family in ever-greater numbers. Unlike every other member of the genus, the Paternis nurtura bears the primary responsibility for raising the offspring. This mystifying behavior has led some to believe that this species is actually not actually of genus Paternis at all, because everyone knows boys can’t be be loving, nurturing, or responsible. Mom Dads are identified by their multitude of pouches which contain an assortment of wipes, snacks, drinks, toys, and burbons.

Further research is recommended until Labor Day, ideally with a cooler containing beverages of an uncertain nature. If you spot any new species, let me know!