Yeah if I had a quarter for every time I said “That’s what she said” yesterday? I could retire.
My darling chosen father showed up with a rototiller at 10 o’clock. He’d driven by a week ago and saw me weeding in the garden and I got a call later.
B- Hi Jen, I drove by and saw you trying to do the impossible. Call me. I’ll go get the tiller.
I couldn’t ask him to till it again. He did it last year and I let it go to shit with my terrifying water bill and full time job. All that work and I didn’t even pull it off. I couldn’t call him back.
So he showed up with it anyway.
My Bill. My dad, as I’ve taken to calling him. He’s been there for me since I was a kid.
When I was 14 or 15 he met my mom and offered to help. He drove me to school for years. He’s always been there for me and has taught me a million things. He taught me how to install insulation, how to drive a snowmobile and a boat. He’s happily married and a complete pervert. He regularly comments on my boobs, as he always has.
B- When are ya gonna take that rack out and get a husband, this is ridiculous to do alone and you shouldn’t be single.
J- I have horrible taste.
B- Obviously if I’m the one driving the tiller.
His youngest son died suddenly last summer. It’s been a hard year… and yet?
He’s always been there for me.
He loaned me the money to save me from getting the water turned off after the leak from hell and when I had nowhere to turn and no idea what to do.
He gave me a car when mine broke and it was too expensive to fix it.
He tilled my garden, for the second year in a row… and he’s picky like me so he went over it twice without me asking. He paid for it, wouldn’t take a dollar and came and left like the real dad it feels like he is to me. I tell him every time that I love him. He’s not one of those guys… but as long as he knows I do- we’re good.
Beyond all the help he gives me, and the real support he’s always been to me?
He calls me on my shit.
B- Time to get that hibernation weight off you. It’s high season in the lake and you need someone to help you around here. Time to get out there and find a nice husband.
J- What if I don’t want one of those?
B- Maybe I should buy a tiller.
For all the shit he gives me, he’d kill a man for being disrespectful to me, he destroys the undercarriage of his shiny new black Corvette to come down my driveway to check on me… and he shows up for the worst of jobs… like climbing under the house. Ugh.
He puts the time in. He get’s his hands dirty… hell he gets cut and bleeds over this damn garden every year- and yesterday was no exception. He got here early- around 9:30… and I was still in my bikini and a nightgown. I threw on my garden boots and raced out to the garden to meet him and he started laughing.
B- Trying to drum up more volunteers?
B- Oh hell are you gonna start doing yard work in high heel shoes again?
J- If I do, I expect you to support me.
B- I’m not a hippie. I’m not worried about hurting your feelings. I’m going to tell you when you look like an idiot and when you’re tromping through the soil with your heels sticking into the mulch? You look like an idiot.
Which is when another person walks up to the fence and says…
L- It’s SO big!!!
he laughs and shouts back..
B- Thank you, but I’m afraid I don’t remember our night together.
She frowns and walks away.
J- You. Behave… these are my neighbors.
He laughs and goes back to plowing. I’m in full fledged suffering mode. Shoveling huge garden cart loads of compost and spreading it over the entire garden. Every muscle in my body is screaming out and begging me to reconsider this enormous commitment.
I can feel the sweat run down my spine. My eyes are burning from my epic allergies this spring and the tires are flat on my garden cart. I’m absolutely knee deep in purgatory. I can feel every single thread of every muscle running from my tailbone to my neck.
I’m reconsidering every inch of this garden… not to mention that it’s nearly an acre. The blisters on my hands from pulling the cart are breaking against the dirty cold metal handle. Ouch.
Which is when the hot bald volunteer shows up.
D- Hey. Jen?
I look up and die a little… and have to laugh. My pops turns the tiller off and comes to stand next to me when he sees him jump over the fence.
B- Are you a Jehova witness? We don’t need a watchtower, we need tilled soil and a fence.
D- Oh I offered to help her fix the fence.
B- Great. Follow me.
J- Slow down. How about you meet each other first.
D- Hi, I’m,
B- She needs a fence, so thanks for offering. Let’s get you all set up, come here I’ll show you the wood.
So this is what it’s like to have a dad. I feel like I’m living my own version of Meet the Fockers. He’s not usually like this, but he’s not fucking around and when the shiny volunteer starts to balk, my Pops laughs and walks back to keep on tilling, shaking his head.
D- Maybe we could get a beer next week?
J- No, but thank you.
He made his excuses and exited the line of fire fairly quickly. Pops was all over it the minute he drove away.
B- If he was serious he would have come dressed to help.
J- I know.
We finish out the day just dragging through it. Exhausted on a level I haven’t known for a while. I’m sunburned, I have dirt in my hair and an acre of bare soil staring back at me, daring me to pull off the impossible, yet again.
Standing back to survey the absolute lunacy of growing a garden this big, alone… an idea hits me.
J- Maybe I’ll make it into a rainbow this year!
B- I don’t think that’s a good idea.
J- I think it’d be beautiful!
B- I think it would attract the wrong guy.
He’s my Pops… and we laugh like hell when we’re hanging out. We had to rinse all the dirt off the tiller before returning it and it hit the wrong piece of angled metal on the tiller and I sprayed him full force in the thigh. He left, soaking wet & laughing… inviting my daughter and I over for a martini and a soak in the hot tub. At this point breathing hurts and every muscle in my body just wants to hold very, very still. Ouch.
He hugs me goodbye with the most amazing sentiment.
B- Let me know if I can help you with anything else. We’ll get the fence figured out, don’t worry.
J- I love you Dad.
He smiled at me and threw a piece of dirt at me.
B- I love you too, good luck planting all that. You need to make friends with some hippies that don’t have a garden or start wearing less and wait for a nice guy to volunteer.
I stood there in an acre of open dirt and laughed. Here… look.
Any suggestions? I like it round but it’s a bit of a pain to navigate with hoses & weeding. Hmm…