One of the things that work my last nerve is the existence of rain, which is something you can observe very often in Amsterdam. On average, 360 days in the year feature rain, hale, snow or all of the above. The remaining 5 days are called summer. The difference between summer and all other seasons is that average temperature in the summer is higher, which is achieved by providing us with two days during which I lay naked, panting, on a wet towel in front of a spinning fan and three days when it’s too cold to leave the house without three sweaters. But it is, indeed, not raining.
“It’s good for the plants,” assures me Husby when it’s raining. This is amusing when you hear it the first 50 times, so for about 51 days. Eventually I started responding “I’ll appreciate that when I become a plant,” which is bad taste, but then so is rain. Nothing personal, I just don’t like being wet in circumstances other than in a bathtub or shower. I do appreciate torrential rain, when it’s extremely hot, warm water is pouring from the sky, people run aimlessly around with plastic bags on their heads and I am taking a walk with waterproof headphones. The problem though is that except those two days in the summer Dutch translation of the word “heatwave” is “anything over 20 degrees” which means that on order to experience a hot rainy day in Amsterdam you just need to take a cold shower in a barely heated, mold-covered apartment. Husby likes that, because he’s a Calvinist and likes to suffer. I don’t, because my favourite temperature ranges between hot and very hot. Not disgustingly hot, though, because I’m very choosy like that.
(According to Expatica, checking local weather is one of the most important things to do before you move abroad. I neglected that and now I’ve been suffering for my stupidity for ten years and counting.)
Which is a very long introduction to the subject of house plants. But that’s good, because the only thing I can say about them is that they exist. One of them is a cactus, which I know for a fact, because some of its needles spent a good week embedded in my hand. The others are, um, plantiful (I’m sorry for that one). It’s impossible to be completely unaware of plants, because some of them are attention seekers (I’m looking at you, cactus). But I do my best.
When I got hospitalised two years ago a visitor brought me a plant. It was a green one with pink flowers, very pretty and contained. I took it home when I was leaving and duly watered, pleased with myself and my ability not to dry a plant to death. (True story, bro – I DID dry a cactus to death. Not the same one we have at home now, obviously. It’s not my fault. I put it behind the curtain and then didn’t open the curtain for half a year. What? It was dark outside anyway.) So AS I WAS SAYING I was watering my plant daily and it started dying.
I got somewhat worried and watered it more. Moved it closer to the window too in case it wasn’t getting enough sun. That didn’t help. So I asked Husby’s opinion and it transpires that there are plants that you are not supposed to water daily. He took it off my hands and within a few months it fully recovered. Mind you, it never had the pink flowers again, it’s the opposite of contained and I am worried that a day will come when we have to move out because it’s taken over. But it is alive and well, and I manage not to notice it even though it lives slap dash in the middle of the kitchen table.
I bear no responsibility for this.
The only problem is that Husby is not allowed to leave the house for longer than three days without taking me along and asking neighbours to water the plants. Because theoretically he could put post-its on each pot explaining how much water to put in it and how often, but since I happened to have developed blind spots in the exact locations of the pots, I wouldn’t see those either.
I’ll finish off with an anecdote that I would find hilarious if not for the fact I am in it. My best friend once asked me to water his plants. Not believing in my gardening abilities (this shows he is a smart person and good observer) he asked a neighbour to water them as well. I duly appeared there twice a week. One of them looked somewhat suspicious to me, or rather the soil did, so I stuck my finger in it and it was still wet. I moved to another plant I haven’t serviced yet. Wet. I couldn’t decide what to do and gave them half a portion just in case this was supposed to be happening. I only found out when I was actually there, feeding the bloody green things and the neighbour came round as well. We had a good laugh.
Then I found out I was watering the plastic plants as well, which made me move abroad, change my name legally and get plastic surgery.