Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Joy of Garden Centres (or How My Mom Turned Our Living Room Into The Little Shop of Horrors)

So, like, while I was sick, I spent some time at home watching unfortunate day-time TV, which included MTV's Teen Cribs.  In case you've never had the extreme pleasure of watching this highly intellectual program, it's basically about spoiled rich kids between the ages of 13-22 who live in homes resembling spas/resorts.  The parents are interviewed in this tiny little pop-out bubble in the corner of the screen and they say things like, "I just wanted to give my kids a good life and a place that they could come to with their friends.  I want my kids to wanna come home during college breaks and have happy memories, you know?"

And since I feel particularly emotionally sensitive when I'm ill (i.e. homesick), I started to reminisce about my family home in Washington.  I think about how sad I am when I notice little things have changed when I go back for visits e.g. a new microwave or *fridge (*the fridge is a really sore point for me.  Last year, my mom didn't wish me a happy birthday for the ENTIRE DAY because she claimed she had to deal with cleaning out the old, broken fridge which "smelled like a dead body.  The whole world does not revolve around YOU," were her exact words.  Ouch.  For the next couple months, I received a missive each day in the form of an email detailing the stress she had to endure with the new fridge being delivered.  Sigh.).  But the last time my dad pulled up in the driveway after having picked me up from the airport really took the cake.

I could see our living room from the driveway and I let out a little scream.  "What is WRONG with you?" yelled my dad as he jumped, nearly reversing into a wheelbarrow.  "OMG, it's like the Little Shop of Horrors," I wailed.  That or my mother had turned our living room into the Rainforest Cafe.  Plants filled every available corner and space.  Raised, hanging, perching ... you name it, she had it.  Just as my eyes started to adjust to the light behind the jungle, she emerged from the darkness with a slightly maniacal smiling face, waving at me from above.  "Ack!" I jumped back again.

I should have seen the warning signs before my trip: on Skype, she mentioned visiting garden shops almost every day.  Monday:  "Hey mom, what are you doing today?" "Going to McClendon's - they have buy one get one free peonies and I thought they would look soooo nice in th ..." but by this time I had glazed over.  Tuesday:  "Mom.  Where are you going?"  "Watson's.  I need to get a new pot for my lilies.  They're not growing properly and I think it has to do with the pot."  Wednesday:  "Mom, are you there?" "I'm leaving now, don't talk to me.  I have to go to Windmill."  "You just went to Windmill yesterday."  "No, that was Watson.  This time I have to go get some peonies.  "You just got peonies."  "Yeah, but these are a different color."  And so on, and so forth.

So when John suggested we visit the garden centre a couple months ago, I looked at him like he was insane.  "How old are you?" I snarled.  "Wait, wait, wait.  Sixty-two?  Seventy?"  "I know, I know," he said, with his head down, feelings hurt.  "But it's so cool!"  So I grudgingly followed him to Clifton Nurseries in Maida Vale where I stomped and grumbled until I promptly ran into (quite literally) Michael McIntyre (who none of you in the US will know, but that's what happens when you live in the UK long enough - you get excited about UK celebs).

It only got better from there.

First, I saw a kitty hiding behind a plant pot (it bit at me when I tried to tickle it behind the ear):

Then we took a break in the cafe, where I had this delicious scone with jam and butter (and a pot of tea, of course):

So yeah, there's no guaranteeing that I won't turn my own house into the Little Shop of Horrors when I become Of Age, but until then, I might not mind hanging out at the local garden centre.  Because I'm sad like that.

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