Nothing Short of Being There Can Convey The Madness of a May Friday at O'Toole's
(Lines 10 Deep at 4 registers. No Room to Restock Greenhouse Veggies due to Crowds in Aisles.)
(Oh, the Humanity!)
If you've followed the earlier adventures we've had here at Mr. Bitterman's Garden, you've heard tell of my four day a week job at O'Toole's Garden Center in Littleton. You've also learned about my surprise at discovering that the job did not consist of whispering to plants and selling them by the thousands to satisfied customers, but a lot of physical labor of actually picking up flats of six gallon pots, filled with soil, tomato plants and water (which is remarkably heavy) and moving them from the bullpen across the street into the newly created (and filled by Leo and myself) Gallon Tomato Department just outside the main greenhouse.
Luckily, I'm learning a lot about plants, planting and the demonic art of Colorado horticulture (or, as it is called here, "Gardening in Granite."), and, I'm getting the chance to work with some great people:
Olympia, my boss, who insists she isn't my boss, although she acts like my boss and I listen like she's my boss;
Estella and Miguel, both of whom work harder than anyone I have ever seen;
Alan and Mario, working in the nursery, but ready to walk into the greenhouse with a snarky comment for anybody and everybody; and,
Chris, the big boss, who knows all, sees all (he's always walking past me the minute I sit down), and, has a stiletto sense of humor that can make you burst into laughter or end up in pieces scattered across the green house floor.
Then, there's Leo, my co-tomato-hauler.
Leo (Ortiz) loves this stuff.
He even comes in on his days off to do more of it. I look upon him fondly then shake my head. I truly admire his dedication.
(The thought does occur to come in on my days off for a few hours to help, but I sit down for a moment and that thought does tend to pass, at which point I join Mr. Bitterman and Furious George in our own plots of heaven and watch them carry everything around.)
Incidentally, Bitterman and Furious have been bored for the past few weeks as our Batshit Crazy Neighbor has been out of town so there has been no one to feud with other than two obnoxious squirrels (Fatty Fat Fatterson and No Tail Ted), plus, a coyote who thinks Furious looks like a large, hairy canapé.
To protect himself, Furious armed himself with the Daisy 200 shot Range Model Repeating Rifle I keep in the garage for no particular reason. He only succeeded in shooting his own foot and a reflecting ball in the BSC Neighbor's yard.
Meanwhile, Back at O'Toole's -- Decorating the Floor
It's a certainty when you get a large group of people together in a small place, densely packed with plants of various scents and pollens, that a kid, aged 9-12, will projectile vomit everything they've eaten in the past two years onto the floor right in a main traffic area.
It's also a certainty that everyone working that day will stare at the mess for a good, solid (and silent) :45 seconds while they hope, deep in their hearts, that someone will actually come by and clean the mess up. Someone, anyone, other than themselves.
I sighed, reached back to my eight years as a middle school and hospital janitor, and went in search of paper towels and a bucket.
While others were silently retching behind the Nasturtiums, I knelt down, wiped it up, put it in the trash and cleaned the floor.
One cashier thanked me and asked, "How did you do that?"
I just said, "Training. Years and years of training."
What I didn't tell her was that after you spent eight years chasing various body parts and pieces of hot dog and human tissue around cafeterias, delivery rooms and surgical suites, basic human puke doesn't bother you so much anymore.
Bitterman Returns to O'Toole's (Can You Find Him In the Ficus?)
Mr. Bitterman insisted on joining me for lunch on Friday at O'Toole's. Mainly, he wanted to bother the crowds by dropping on little old ladies from the hanging Ficus plants that dot the ceiling of the greenhouse.
Also, he was upset that I had taken the last good protein bar (Banana Peanut Crunchy) for lunch, leaving him with only Prune Whip Surprise.
He seriously hates the surprise.
What with increasing crowds have come, naturally, increasing hours, most of them spent restocking, consolidating stock and moving stock into position (or the bullpen) for sale. (Or, for some person to pick up, examine, remove the identifying markers, then replace that veggie in a totally random spot in the greenhouse, leaving me to FIGURE OUT WHERE THE DAMNED THING GOES!) We've been moving tomatoes (natch), chiles, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, herbs, spices and rosemary. I happily moved the gallon jugs of rosemary after my boss Olympia told me I had completely screwed up my first display.
Olympia, I never said, "Rosemary is My Life." What I said was, "Words are my Life."
(Despite the fact I tend to screw up their display as well on a regular basis.)
Now to deal with the betting action at the store that I will pass out from carrying tomatoes for restocking in any temperature over 77 degrees (Odds are running 5-1 In Favor of Oblivion):
Coming Up Later This Week (Maybe Even Tomorrow)
The Garden is In!
BSC Neighbor Is Home!
Bitterman and Furious Plan a Proper Welcome Home Party