Dear Greenhouse Babies

Dear Greenhouse Babies,

I am sorry you are so leggy and skinny that your shorter, stumpier counterparts make fun of you behind my back. I am sorry you have had to reach for the sky so much you’ve made yourself an extra 3 inches long and now your bottom leaves are yellowing and falling off. I’m sorry that yesterday’s headline ran “Seattle Colder Than Siberia” and that it wasn’t an exaggeration. It really was colder yesterday in Seattle than it was on that day in Siberia. I have been wearing my winter jacket for two days in a row. Two days, Babies. Two days. And I should have been wearing it the whole week, except you know how stubborn mama is. She made that stupid vow to not wear socks after Memorial Day, and there are days she comes home and has to soak her feet in a bucket of scalding hot water just to feel them again… (I hope you inherit that stubbornness. You’re going to need it when I set you outside and the Jerry the Crow comes by to “talk”.)

I’m sorry too the greenhouse smells a little like pee on hot days and that the door doesn’t close all the way. When I bought the greenhouse I didn’t think I would have to put my flip flops back in the closet and shop for fur lined boots on my lunch break in the middle of June, Babies. I thought I would be grilling things on the barbeque in the evenings and watching the glorious sunsets from my deck. I was thinking that even if the door didn’t close all the way, there would be enough heat trapped in there from the day that it wouldn’t matter. But, we don’t have any heat to keep you warm with. So, you’re not getting adequate light and heat and you’ve got the hideously deformed stalks to prove it. I put your brothers and sisters out a few weeks ago in my eagerness for warmer weather and they got pummeled by the rain and then eaten by Jerry and Co.

And about the water… You may have noticed a greenish hue to it… a distinct smell. Yes, Babies, that’s algae. You see, we’ve been collecting storm water in 50 gallon barrels all winter to water you with. We thought we’d be through half that water by now, it being June and all, the rain having stopped, and the growing season being in full force… but it’s been raining. And raining. And raining. And we haven’t needed to use the water as it’s been falling in copious, unending, stick-my-head-in-the-oven-and-get-it-all-over-with amounts for months on end now. So, the water’s been sitting in the barrels, unused. And every six weeks or so, the sun comes out for about five minutes and alerts every tiny slimy thing that’s been lying dormant in that water to get up and shake its moneymaker, and the next thing you know, the water barrel has a carpet of green algae growing on the bottom of it. And that’s what I’ve been watering you with. So, the teenagers amongst you (I’m talking to you, sunflowers) are showing me your rebellious stage. Instead of getting creeped out by the stuff, you’ve actually taken a liking to it and coated your topsoil with it. Needless to say, I am completely repulsed, I can’t understand why you would do such a thing to the person that gave you life. I am bracing myself for they day you start listening to heavy metal and smoking.

We’ll get through this, Babies. We will. I know the dormant peach tree leaning all scraggly-like outside your windows is not exactly the most inspiring thing to look at every day. And don’t be jealous of the beans in the garden. They have problems of their own. One day you will be ready for the outdoors. More than likely it will be in mid-October, when we finally get some heat, when mama has packed a bag of Cheetos, a dozen novels, and a bathing suit and tried her best to make her tires screech on soggy pine needles as she hightails it out of the driveway.