Return of the black thumb

I haven’t owned a plant in years.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: green living things tend to perish under my care.

So it was with some hesitation that I walked in to the local garden shop last week.  I didn’t even attempt to browse.  Pointless.  It would have been like Lady GaGa browsing in Ann Taylor – totally foreign merchandise.  So I flagged down a plump saleswoman in a green smock and made my entreaty.

“Hi.  I need an indoor plant that’s impossible to kill.  I need two of them, actually.”

Why?  Because of this little beast:

Emmy has suddenly decided that our speakers are a great place to sharpen her claws.  And no doubt, she needs to maintain her weaponry at its finest.  For important tasks like, you know, lounging on the bed all day.  And occasionally stalking a catnip-filled banana.

In situations like this, I find it’s best to simply remove the temptation.  The speakers needed to be barricaded.  Preferably with something mildly attractive.  And hence, I found myself in an aisle of potted shrubs listening to this green-smocked woman rattle off Latin names of plants that she thought might survive my attempts on their life.

“Um.”  I interrupted her discourse on the care of Floris Perishus (or something like that).  “I really don’t know anything about plants.  I need the easiest-to-care-for plant in this entire store, please.”

“Well, how about a snake plant?”  A snake plant?  It sounded sinister – but maybe that was a good thing.  The pit viper of the houseplant world.  Surely it would be tough enough to battle my black thumb.

And that’s how I ended up with two of these badasses in my living room.

They’ll persevere through anything thrown their way, or so I’ve been promised.  Good thing, because I’m sure at some point I’ll forget to water them for three weeks, in spite of the fact that I walk past them about seventy times a day.

So far, so good.

And if there are any mice in the apartment?  I’m sure the snake plants will snatch those up, too.  (The cats will be too busy lounging on the bed to deal with such things.)

Today’s EAT: My kitchen feels neglected.  Today was a day of eating out.  Tsk, tsk.

It was a delicious day though.  Lunch was a cellophane noodle salad from Spize:

Packed with herbs and dried Thai chillies – spicy and delicious!  Also, cold noodles on salad are really underrated.  Filing that away for next time I make a BAS.

Dinner was barbeque-licious:

A half-rack of Carolina ribs from The Pit makes me a happy girl indeed.  Meals like this remind me why I could never be a vegetarian.  Tofu and beans are fun to play with in the kitchen, but sucking sauce off a BBQ bone once in a while is pure bliss.

Today’s DRINK: Cold, cheap, light beer.

Why is that always what sounds so appealing after a hard workout?  Normal people crave Gatorade.  I crave beer.

I sucked down this TJ’s brew after my track session tonight.  Maybe it’s the bubbles?  Or the carbs?  I don’t know.  It hit the spot, though.

Today’s RUN: Back to the Tuesday speed routine!  The Taperworm and I headed out to the track tonight.  I met up with a few new running friends and pounded out  6 X 800M with 400M recovery:

800 – 3:23 – 6:46 pace
800 – 3:26  – 6:52 pace
800 – 3:25 – 6:50 pace
800 – 3:19 – 6:38 pace
800 – 3:28 – 6:56 pace
800 – 3:25 – 6:50 pace

(Times are the best of my recollection.  Garmin is still MIA, and to add insult to injury, my watch died yesterday.  So I’m going off what my my running partner called out as we crossed the line.)

After the 800s (which kind of hurt – but not as bad as they could have) I tacked on 3 X 200, just to work on form and get some turnover going.  The rest of the group went on to do 8 or 10 of the 800s, but I decided to stop at 6.  All of my track workouts this summer were 5K or shorter, and I didn’t see any reason to start adding track miles, especially not 2.5 weeks before race day.

Anyway.  It was great to meet some new running peeps, and with warm-up, cool-down, recovery and all of that I logged 9 yesterday.  Solid day.

Today’s QUESTION: Do you have a houseplants?  Or – gasp – a garden?  Any tips on the care of my new charges?


23 responses to “Return of the black thumb

  1. I’m better at growing stuff I can eat b/c I can see the payoff.

    We can’t keep any plants within cat-level because she eats them.

  2. First of all, not gonna lie – little jealous of your new running friends 🙂 You best be reppin’ the cptc gear in Chicago!

    In other news, Trader Jose? Brilliant! I also crave cold beers after long or hard runs. Even if it’s before noon. So glad you have a TJ’s near you. Last night I literally sprinted down 6th Ave to make it there before closing. I saved a $1 on cereal and then took a $15 cab ride home. Whoops.

    • For sure! Orange is the best shirt color for a big race, after all. Also, it cracks me up when I get cheers from random people when rocking the CPTC outside NYC.

  3. NO! And no. I can’t have house plants (or even roses from the BF!) because my cats eat them and then barf. Gross. And when it comes to a garden…I kill everything. Bummer.

  4. i actually worked at a garden center/nursery for the past 5 years. and i wish i could offer advice but i still have a black thumb! my mom wants me to start a container garden on my balcony but i was like HECK NO. so i feel you.

  5. @Marie and @Lisa – I am lucky, I haven’t seen either of mine trying to nibble on the snake plants yet! I’ve tried to give them that cat-grass stuff a couple of times and they ignore that too. I guess they are not plant lovers. 🙂

  6. OMG I have an awful black thumb too!! I might have to ask about these “snake plants” because I would like some greenery in my home but it always ends up dead.

    P.S. That “Trader Jose” beer cracks me up!

  7. Well, you know me and my orchids. I just bought a new one yesterday and another new one today…jesus. I water all of mine each Sunday morning. Sunday is Orchid Day in my house. I’ve sort of made it a nice post-breakfast or brunch ritual, which makes it fun and not a chore.

    • How do you keep the cats out of them?!

      • I have my orchids in a whole separate room in my apartment (yay for big spaces in Brooklyn!), and there’s a baby gate up so that Walter can’t get in there. Otherwise he’d eat them. My cat Zoe could care less about plants so it wasn’t a problem till me & my bf moved in together.

  8. Every plant I have ever owned has died, except my spider plant. My son bought me a small planted flower. I almost killed, he resuscitated. So it’s now his planted flower to take care of. If I touch it, it will die.

    I’ve got the black thumb too.

  9. I had a small cactus in college who flourished under my diligent neglect, but I left him at the house when I moved the next year. When I returned randomly for a party over a year later, I saw that he was still going strong and learned that his only care had included occasional waterings with beer.

    I am so envious of how quickly you found running buds! I need some of those. Enjoy Tapertown. 🙂

    • Consider me impressed. I have actually managed to kill a cactus before.

      The hubs (then the BF) had a small Bonzai tree in college. We fed it beer. It died a slow death.

      Come to NC – I’ll run with you! 🙂

  10. Nice running! And great that you’ve met some good running buddies 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried to have a plant (!), but I’m always envious of the people with nice windowsill arrangements and whatnot. I love that picture of Emmy the cat, BTW – she looks like she can lounge with the best of ’em!

  11. Hey – I like the snake plants! I also find it funny that today I blogged about my sad neglect of my rosebush. I let it sit in its pot waiting to be transplanted for about 2 months, so I don’t really have any tips.
    Nice job on the speed work!

  12. I HAVE A SNAKE PLANT. I’ve had it for 3+ years now and it is, literally, impossible to kill. I keep it by the window and it FALLS OVER all the time onto the floor whenever its windy – it has literally taken so much abuse – and it’s alive and kicking. Basically, you were advised very well by the plant lady. Use it in good health 🙂

    Other things: have you seen the informercial with that cat scratching claw sharpening thing? You should seriously look into it – it looks small and easy!

    • Of course you would know about infomercial products. 🙂 I haven’t seen that one, but I think I’m going to get caps to put on her nails. She’s clawing on our brand-new couch too. Bad kitty!

      I can’t believe you have a snake plant too! Can’t wait to see it in Nov!

  13. Oh for the record I have 3 plants, 1 of which is struggling from my neglect, but the other two are doing fine. I water them once a week or once every other week, depending on when I remember :-P. But you will see them on the weekend of NOVEMBER 7, and you can judge for yourself!!

  14. YAY new running friends. BOO never ending summer south of the Mason-Dixon. And, like, quadruple boo to the only TJ’s with a liquor license being far away from me. I’ve taken to making occasional trips during which I stock up and look like a lush/17-year-old throwing a raging house party.

    Growing up, we would always put the inevitable holiday poinsettia bought for a fundraiser in my room to keep it from killing the cats. The result? It was killed by Sarah. I don’t know if I have a black thumb, but I just straight up don’t like working with plants. In teacher-school we learned that there is a kind of learning that means you are particularly good at working with nature. So I am the opposite of that.

  15. Dude – how did you manage to get a white polar bear approved to live in your apartment? Animal friendly building?

  16. Pingback: Friday foursome | eat, drink, run

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