Wednesday, June 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on August 30th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 26 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 26

Where the red fern (doesn't) grow

Krider's wife tries and fails to keep their garden or houseplants alive


My wife has done a great job raising our kids. She birthed them, nurtured them, changed diapers, read to them, made school lunches with the crusts cut off, did thousands of flashcards, and was somehow able to get both of our kids all the way through high school. What did I contribute? I built train sets. Kids love trains. Regardless of my lack of any actual assistance in the upbringing of our kids, there is no question my wife can successfully raise a full-blown human being. Where things get sticky with my wife is her ability to raise other living things, like plants. She doesn’t raise them, she murders them.

Some people have a green thumb. Not my wife; she has a brown thumb. Every living plant she touches turns a sickly shade of gray-brown and then dies. I feel bad for my wife because she wants to decorate the house and our backyard with beautiful shrubberies and flowers, but for whatever reason, anything she plants immediately ceases to live. My wife, whom I love, is so bad at taking care of plants she actually killed a cactus. Yes, a cactus, a plant that can flourish in Death Valley with less than 0.02 inches of rainfall a year, cannot live in my wife’s backyard.

I can’t figure it out. I don’t see my wife overtly mistreating these plants. She doesn’t water them with a deadly mixture of Roundup and gasoline. She tries really hard. She uses expensive potting soils, proper watering techniques, and she provides lots and lots of care and affection. But it doesn’t seem to help. As soon as a plant realizes it is in her house or her backyard, it quickly commits suicide. It is almost like my wife’s flowerpots equal euthanasia for plants.

My wife isn’t a quitter though. She keeps going to the nursery and buying more and more plants to kill. As we walk up and down the aisle with my wife filling up the grocery cart with new flowers and bushes, I look down at the plants thinking, “Sorry guys, I don’t know what you did karma wise, but you have just been sentenced to capital punishment.” I know that within a week all of the plants, which had been so healthy at the nursery, will be dried up and dead in the backyard.

My wife is starting to treat plants as if they are temporary decorations. Some people hang crepe paper streamers and have helium balloons for a birthday party. My wife will buy a bunch of new flowers and plant them before a birthday party because she wants to, “make the yard look nice for our friends.” Those flowers will be dead before those helium balloons lose their lift. My wife has done this sort of thing so many times now she actually plans exactly how many days before a party she needs to plant all new flowers. She learned this the hard way recently when she planted flowers the weekend before a party. They died on Thursday. She now schedules her flower planting Friday night for a Saturday afternoon barbecue (which is cutting it close).

She hasn’t been deterred from her lack of success and is actually trying to grow something in every room of our house. One day I came home and found succulents in the guest bathroom, bamboo in my bathroom, and herbs in the kitchen. A few days later I found dead succulents in the guest bathroom, dead bamboo in my bathroom, and dead herbs in the kitchen.

Unfortunately for my household aesthetics, my wife really enjoys planting new plants, but she isn’t much for throwing away dead plants. We have pots all over the house with plant cadavers in them. I asked my wife why she doesn’t get rid of their sad corpses. She remains optimistic, “I think this one is coming back,” she said as she shook the branch of an obviously dead plant. When I looked closer at the plant I could see she was using toothpicks to hold parts of the branches up so it still looks alive. My wife’s garden is Weekend at Bernie’s for houseplants.

Sadly, in between all of my wife’s dead plants is always a flourish of freshly growing weeds. She can’t stop weeds from growing and she can’t keep plants alive; she is the Antichrist of gardening. For whatever reason, photosynthesis just doesn’t work around my wife. I don’t have the heart to tell my wife that I have had a potted plant on my desk at work for six years, which I forget to water, have never fertilized, and generally ignore. It doesn’t even see the sun. It only gets light from crappy fluorescent bulbs. The thing is so healthy it’s practically a tree on my desk now. Of course, I’m afraid if my wife ever came to visit my office the plant might die just from her walking by it.

The issue of my wife being the grim reaper of plants isn’t something we specifically talk about. However, my wife does like to endlessly discuss what I think is happening with the plants. “Do you think I should water more?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you think this plant needs more sun?”

“I don’t know”

“Do you think it needs less sun?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is this pot too small for this plant?”

“I don’t know.”

“Should this flower be planted next to this flower?”

“I don’t know.”

“Should I fertilize again?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you going to help me figure out what is going on with these plants?”

“Honey, I’m not a botanist, but I guarantee with all of your talking and endless questions, these plants are certainly getting enough carbon dioxide to process.”

“You’re a jerk. I’m just trying to make our place look nice.”

“Baby, if you want the place to look nice, walk around the house with your shirt off.”

Rob bought his wife a new houseplant—it’s made of plastic. You can read more from Rob Krider or contact him at

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

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