I know I was in trouble when Brunhilda told me that WE should get the garden ready for planting. When I heard those words, my sphincter tightened up tighter than Joan Rivers face. Because I knew that WE meant me.
She let it sink in and let me stew about it for a while – knowing that I knew it would be as reliable as sunup that she would soon say to me: “today’s the day.” (And I knew that it would be on a blessed weekend.)
Every weekend that passed I grew more nervous than a weight – watchers group leader with chocolate on his breath. I couldn’t stand the strain anymore – so I took a potato fork and turned over every shovel full of Brunhilda’s garden. I groused about it a little bit but not too much when she shot me a look that would put a wart on a gravestone. I told her that people like her were the reason that people like me had to take medication and that when I finally snapped that she would be first to go.
When I had every forkful turned over, I got on my hands and knees and picked every weed out of the garden. I worked for hours! I was out in the garden by eleven and didn’t turn my last forkful until about four-thirty.
It was the hottest day of the year up to that point. I went out whiter than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and came in redder than Cochise. It was so hot that birds were falling out of the sky with their wings ablaze.
When the job was done, I came in partially limping and crippled. I looked like the star of a hostage video. I was as haggard and red-eyed as a Shanghai Rat, and I smelled worse than a skunk getting a permanent. I could have qualified as the Advil poster child.
My Mantra was: “Hard work must have killed SOMEBODY!”
I told the Brunhilda (I think it was through tears) that I wasn’t going to work anymore on a Sunday. I think she looked at me all dirty and stinky and felt sorry for me. She said in retrospect that, it was probably a mistake that I worked that hard in the sun all afternoon. In hindsight that was like Mary Todd Lincoln saying: “all in all, I wished we had stayed home and rented a movie.”