Parking, Procrastination, and Plastic Tomatoes

By Annette Meyer

The cool autumn wind blows stronger as the darkness increases. Clouds soaring across the mountaintop rising tall behind the house bring abundant evidence of the imminent arrival of the promised raindrops.  Night creatures call out loudly, their constant rhythmic song regularly gets drowned out as a loud automobile passes along the street at the end of the alley. The rude mechanical interruption echoes then fades away and the nocturnal creatures continue unfazed.

The ground grows chilly beneath my bare feet as the energetic pooch spends her outside time digging down deep in the empty raised beds instead of paying attention to doing her evening business, oblivious to the fact that I don’t want to stand out here watching her play all night.

The early October extended forecast left us with a few more days till the tomato and pepper plants must be transplanted into the house terrarium; it’s this year’s effort on my part to prolong the summer’s fresh homegrown flavors as we attempt to delay and hopefully avoid an attack of the winter doldrums in the menu, which will be brought on by biting into what I label as plastic tasting tomatoes! Being from the Southern realms, where the growing season is long, I LIKE my tomatoes fresh and yummy!

The changing of seasons is such a temperamental time. After several consecutive days of up and down degrees, ranging from ‘I’m comfortable wearing shirt sleeves’ all the way to ‘no I don’t want to toss on that extra fuzzy coat for my walk but I think that I will’, tonight has finally arrived. Anticipation of this much despised moment: the first actual 33 degrees forecast that promises no more delays, no further reprieve for the outside plants. I either move them inside now or this is sudden death.

Well, we live in the city along one of the main streets where the annual Halloween parade moves past. The skinny streets of this coal-mining town built on a hillside has limited parking in this section of town. When the city restricts all parking on both sides of this main thoroughfare it creates a crisis in the off-street parking. There simply is no such thing as getting back into your “normal” parking space right beside your gate unless you haven’t moved the vehicle from that spot since yesterday. No one cares that you actually live there. It’s a LOT like parking in a snow emergency; the “I got here first, too bad for you” approach.

As we rushed away from home in the morning, we noticed the temporary restricted parking signs hanging along the street but as that has happened regularly for days while city maintenance workers have been digging up, replacing, and repairing the various infrastructure in this area while we were away from home, the significance and timing of these specific signs didn’t register as we blissfully planned for a busy day at the shop.

Belatedly remembering this was parade night, and realizing that it was already too late to get near enough to the house to park and walk home, we didn’t even try; just stayed at the shop till the parking ban was due to end. Sure enough, when we got home the side street regulars were parked in “their normal spots” and all was normal again.

What this glitch in the timing means, is that after all my talking about it and preplanning, preparing the tank inside, I was not physically there to actually dig up and transplant the tomatoes that I so wanted to save. Grrrrrr And Brrrrr!

I didn’t have the shovel at hand to do any digging in the dark, no grandkids to find it for me if it existed, and it was too late to go buy one! But I am stubborn and I did make an attempt to limit damage by covering these two plants with a thick cardboard box and a large trash can.

When I uncovered them this morning before we left, the green plants were still standing upright but weren’t looking very happy. I am hoping that the kind sun will warm them today and they will be able to recover. Later this afternoon I will know for sure if I actually squeaked by, by the skin of my teeth, or if I let them die a cold heartless death …SIGH! Procrastination, too many irons in the fire, not delegating tasks early on and finally, not factoring in other people’s transportation logistics may have derailed my best laid plans once again!

This living with regrets for situations that didn’t have to happen is the pits. It inevitably happens when I always commit myself to meeting the needs of others first and put my own personal needs last too many times. Bad habit that I have. When will I learn? My penance will be eating plastic tasting tomatoes all winter!

Is it any wonder that I have desired to live inside a biosphere and nurture living things in a greenhouse to avoid all these other factors?

Whether or not my sad looking tomato plants survive this (and, of course, whatever other perils they will most certainly face while living indoors under my sometimes lax oversight) I’m ever so glad that my Creator, the Master Gardener himself never loses focus or gets sidetracked while caring for us. Nurturing each of us throughout the life cycle. His loving hand, gently caring for and pruning me at all times, that’s what I yearn to receive from Him.

I look forward to someday strolling through the Garden of Eden with Him, communing in the midst of all His perfection. Meanwhile I shall pray for insight and ask for supernatural direction on successful indoor gardening tips.

Hoping that everyone will have something  great happen to you in the week ahead of us!


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