The Stepford Husband doesn’t garden. He has no green thumb, and even balks at the things that I ask him to do step-by-step to help me in the garden. Over the years I have sent him outside to collect herbs for me as I frantically cook in the kitchen and instead of the bay leaves, parsley and mint that he has been charged with, he has returned variously with lavender stalks, grass and, once, a stick. I used to marvel at his ability to get it so wrong when we lived at our last place because flat leafed parsley had aggresively colonised the yard and it was tricky to find any grass. And yet he did. The parsley was all but biting him in the arse, and he still brought a bouquet of clover for me to add to the soup. He gets this from his mother, I believe, who plucked an heirloom tomato plant from the garden while we chatted, during one of her famous visits, and threw it over her shoulder saying something about ‘nasty weeds’. The truth is I don’t know what she actually said because I was trying to swallow my homicidal tendencies. Killing your Mother-In-Law is such a cliche.
On the weekend Stepford husband brought my truck up to the new restaurant where I work, to clear the ancient compost heaps out the back that the previous owner had set up. He thought I was being over the top helpful to my new boss, and didn’t understand AT ALL the value at nicking someone else’s old compost heap. To him it was a pile of old dirt with leaves and bugs and worms and the odd spoon in it. To me, it was free nutrients full of bugs and worms, and the odd unexpected treasure of a spoon.
‘What are these round things?’ he wanted to know.
‘Walnuts from that big old walnut tree,’ I said excitedly.
‘What do you want me to do with all this?’ he said kicking walnuts around.
‘Take it all home and put it on the garden!’ I said batting my eyelashes.
‘What will we do if the walnuts start growing?’ he said – I think he was trying to find a loophole OUT of this mess.
‘Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Then we’ll have walnut trees from the region!’ I said going into a mini-dream sequence. I think I may as well have said ‘I like turtles’ for all the sense that seemed to make to him. When I got home 3 hours later he had mulched our entire front garden bed with the compost. Our plants peeked through a blanket of thick black leaf mulched compost. He turned to me with his forehead all scrunched up.
‘I know. It looks terrible! You’ll have to spread it out where you want it,’ he said.
‘This is perfect. It looks perfect!’
I think he thought I was just being nice because of all his hard work, and he looked at me…and he looked at the garden. And he gave me that look that says he thinks I’m crazy. And that’s when I realised that he doesn’t get it – and probably never will.
Well, the man has to have a flaw somewhere.