The Much Needed Vacation

Before last week, I honestly don’t remember the last time I took a vacation. I do, however, remember the last time I took time off from work. It was 19 months ago, when my son was born. Even then, I only took 3 days off while my wife recovered from the physical mauling that was our son being born. You see, I’m a small business owner and I am the only employee at my shop. So for me to take a vacation is essentially business suicide. I have to shut down the whole operation for however long I decide to be gone. So I never decide to be gone.

Until this past week. The stress of trying to support my family with a struggling small business coupled with the regular stresses of marriage, being overworked, fatherhood and the unavoidable lack of sleep that comes with such a gruesome combination led me to finally tell myself to, “take a break, for Christ’s sake”. You know, before the tipping point came and I did something regrettable.

So I decided to make it an aggressive vacation and make it a multi-leg trip. The first leg was to head out to my old stomping grounds of Missoula, Montana. I went to college in Missoula and still have many friends that live out there. If you are unfamiliar with Missoula, it is a beautiful town with many great options for outdoor enthusiasts like myself. Fishing, whitewater rafting, camping, skiing. You name it, Missoula has plenty of it. But I was just going there to see my friends.

And I wanted to see as many friends as possible while I was there. Which is good, because while I was there, all my friends in town were having an intervention for one of my best friends. He has fallen off the radar, so to speak, lost his job, lost his house, became homeless and was on the streets asking people where to find heroin and meth. You can see why this was the first leg of my vacation. We were able to lure him into a local attorney’s office by having his parents tell him that they were hiring these attorneys to help him get out of his legal troubles. You should have seen the look on his sunken face when he saw us! It was priceless!!

So there I was, just looking around the room at some of my favorite people on the planet, all in one place. I was in disbelief. I didn’t think we would all get together like this again after college, but here we were. Reading our letters to Russ and telling him how much we cared for him. The love in the room was tangible. After Russ left the intervention, insisting that he does’t need any help, the rest of us went out for a drink. Or 10, I don’t really remember. It was maybe the best cry that I’d ever had, brought on by the repeating memory of his mother on her hands and knees face down on the sidewalk, sobbing after giving up on trying to chase Russ down. Such a good cry. So many good hugs.

Once my Missoula trip had wrapped up, it was time for the second leg of my trip. On to Spokane, Washington. I have family in Spokane, so I figured that I may as well see some family as long as I was seeing some friends. Again, I wanted to see as many family members as possible while I was in town. And again, I was lucky in my timing because my cousin had recently taken his own life and the whole family was in town and in one location. We were all staying at my uncle’s house, the one who’s son had recently passed. There were about 25 of us staying there, in the house or sleeping in campers scattered around his 12 acre property. After the previous couple days in Missoula, I didn’t think I had any tears left in me. But boy was I wrong! So many more good tears and hugs came from my time in Spokane, mostly brought on by the time spent sitting beside the fire on the back porch. Listening to my uncle cry his guts out in his bedroom.

The week was over in a blur, and it was time to rush home to take care of my struggling business. I flew in and got home at around 3am and needed to be into work by 7am. After listening to the many angry messages that were left on my work phone, I went out to check the mail. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, it had been raining so everything was green. On my way back into the office from the mail box, I spotted a chickadee. A chickadee is a small black and white bird that sings a joyful song. As a child, we had a bird house hanging right outside the window of our dining room. Every year, a family of chickadees would come and build a nest in it and I would sit there every morning and watch them and listen to their song. So I see this chickadee and I get enveloped by its song and flight. When suddenly, it makes a jerking motion, mid air, and falls from the sky. The bird landed no more than two feet in front of me on the side walk. It was dead, and it was time for me to get back to work.

 

The story above is a true story about last week and Monday morning. I hope your time recently has been better than mine.

 

 

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Just A Thought

When my wife and I were just starting to date seriously, her father died unexpectedly. We were sleeping when she got the call from her mother. I’ll never forget the sound of pain in her voice when she got the news. I was a little surprised when she asked me to go to the funeral with her. I had only met a couple of her family members, and as an awkward 20 year old, the funeral of a loved one was not the ideal situation for meeting and making friendly relations. But of course I went with her, she was hurting and asking me to be with her.

Her relationship with her father was one that I would call unique. He had gotten into a car accident when my wife was in utero. The car flipped and rolled several times, leaving him mentally handicapped. She never had the type of relationship with her father that so many of us have. Still, I have never heard her complain about it. She loved him. I got to meet him a few times. She would would take me to the group home where he lived and we would watch old John Wayne movies and play pool or air hockey with him (he would always cheat). He had an old, slow golf cart that he would ride around the property, chasing geese when available. His mind seemed trapped in a body that couldn’t communicate or move in the ways he wanted.

During one of our visits, we stayed the night at the group home. He was the only patient there and my wife granted the nurse the night off. After we all went to bed, he woke us up. My wife went to check on him and didn’t return for some time. I went out to find her in the kitchen. She said he had pooped the bed and she had to clean it up. I hugged her and told her that I was sorry. She cried. Not because she felt sorry for herself or her father, but because it upset her that people felt sorry for her. That’s why she didn’t come back to bed. Because she knew that I would feel sorry for her and she didn’t want that. That was her father, and she loved him. And he loved her. You could see it. He would always get so excited to see her that he would grab her hands and start kissing them over and over. He couldn’t speak, so this was how he expressed his affection. After a few visits, he started doing the same with me. That got me choked up.

One night, a few months later, he snuck into the kitchen of the group home and tried to eat some bread. He choked on it and died.

The funeral was unlike any other that I have experienced. People seemed almost relieved. These are good people, they were not relieved at his death. They were relieved at his release. His mind was free of his damaged body. They were playing Creedance Clearwater Revival because that was his favorite band and they were looping a slide show of pictures of him. Only, none of the pictures were of him after the accident. My wife’s aunt, his sister, leaned in and whispered to her, “That’s the John I know”. That made my wife cry. She told me later that the comment hurt her because that was not the man she knew. And she wanted people to acknowledge the man he had become. She saw no shame in who he had become. Her aunt meant no harm by the comment, and my wife knew that, and maybe that made it hurt more.

It was a small service of close friends and family. But one man, who no one recognized, wanted to say a few words. He identified himself as a childhood friend of John’s. He said they used to go fishing and goose hunting in Cutbank, MT, where they grew up. They tasted whiskey together and shared good times. He said they didn’t stay in touch after John joined the Navy and later moved to Washington, where he met and married his wife. And got into the accident. He said he heard about the accident and was even aware that John’s group home was not far outside of Cutbank, where he still lived. But he couldn’t bring himself to visit. He said he felt bad about that and apologized. I’m not sure if he was apologizing to John or his family. His stories were short and his thoughts were concise. He had clearly planned, carefully, what he would say. This man made my wife smile during her own father’s funeral. I think it is because he was telling stories about John’s playfulness. About his curiosity and mischievous nature. All traits that did not change after the accident. But I think it is also because he actually talked about life after the accident. He spoke of his personal struggles in trying to justify not seeing his friend because he was afraid that they wouldn’t recognize or know each other. I might be projecting here, but I think he was specifically talking about everyone’s desire not to talk about the “bad” times and just pretend like they never happened. As if those chapters were behind us and we could all go forward now. But the problem is that we all read those chapters. And some really good things, and people, were born during those episodes. And pretending like they never happened is ignoring all the hand kisses and goose chases.

I’m not really sure what the point is here, or why it is on my mind this morning. But I can tell you that when I think about John, I think about his happiness and his playfulness, not his pain. Granted, I never knew and “lost” the man he was before. But one thing is for certain, he didn’t feel sorry for himself.

 

The Secret

1

If you were to look at a picture of my family and me, you would think that we are a perfectly happy family. And we are happy. But it’s still just an act. I am plenty miserable.

I work with feet. I hate feet. They stink and they are usually connected to an asshole. Plus, as a nature of the work that I do, no one respects me. But it’s not their fault. You see, it is physically impossible to respect someone that works with feet. It’s true. Look it up, I’ll wait. See? What did I tell you. Podiatrists don’t even get any respect and they’re doctors.

But I think the bigger problem is that I don’t respect myself. I mean, really, how could I? I work with feet.

But my life looks great from the outside. I have a beautiful and loving wife. An adorable and healthy baby boy. I even have a fucking Golden Retriever, for Christ’s sake. At first glance, I am the image of a happy man. But dig deeper and you will find nothing but disdain. Dig just a little deeper than that and you’ll find, well, I don’t think you’re ready for that yet.

Most people in my life think I’m just this happy, go lucky schmuck who can find humor in everything. But really I joke about everything because it is too painful not to. Because the reality of the situation is too much for me to handle, so I have to act like it’s all a big joke.

My wife wants to take a picture a day. Of course that means she wants a good picture everyday. Which of course means that she never stops taking pictures in order to get a good one.

And we’re poor. Oh, I haven’t mentioned that yet? Well we are. But I grew up with money and it makes me feel like a real piece of shit to have squandered a life time’s worth of opportunity in less than 30 years. But what’s worse than being poor? Being poor and having to act like you aren’t. Because pride is a bitch that won’t just let me be my true, unsuccessful self.  So everytime someone asks me how work is going, I say, “Great! Business is really good.”, But in my head I’m thinking “I hope that place is burning down as we speak.”

I guess the bottom line is this: I am not a well balanced man. No, I have problems. As I’m sure you do. Because we all do.  But my problem is me. I don’t respect me, I don’t like me and I definitely don’t trust me.

2

I don’t remember a moment when I decided to start doing it. I think it was more organic than that. But I will never forget the first time I did it. It felt so good. God, it felt so natural. Like I was finally being myself, for the first time ever. The cloak was lifted and there I was. I was majestic and misunderstood and powerful. It felt good because it was bad. It felt good because I knew I was playing with fire, I knew that the whole thing could blow up in my face at any time. And I almost wanted it to. But it was a lot more fun to try and get away with it. I was building a house of cards while throwing matches at it. I was alive.

3

Perhaps I should explain something first, I never had any resentment towards the people that I did it to. In fact, many of my victims are my friends and even family members. People I love. But still, there’s this impulse. This urge that starts in my belly and moves down. Until it is a physical and biological manifestation of my refusal to follow the rules. Not because I dislike the rules themselves, but because I dislike the fact that the rules exist in the first place.

Or maybe it’s because misery likes company. I don’t know. That seems a little too cliche. And I guess the reason isn’t what’s important anyways. The only thing that is important is that I do it. And I love it.

4

The first time was at a play date. A play date. Ugh. My wife, son and I were invited over to a friend of a friend’s house. You see, they had also just had a baby and everyone thought it would just be the cutest thing ever if we all hung out with our babies. Now, you can probably already guess that this was not my idea of a good time. But I had to go. These people are good, decent people and our mutual friend (a good and decent person) expected us to go. So I went and I pretended like I was just a pig in shit. “Good! Business is going really well.” They showed us around their beautiful and immaculate home. The highlight of the tour was the nursery they had put together for their baby. It was perfect. There was a gliding chair for rocking the baby, but gliders don’t pinch baby fingers. There was a bin of freshly washed reusable diapers because they don’t want to be responsible to filling the landfills with shit rags. The crib was freshly painted to match the freshly painted walls and there was a family portrait of the three of them and their dog standing in an aspen grove. The picture had been timed perfectly at sunrise in the fall and the aspens looked like a painting. Their faces showed happiness so effortlessly. They looked perfect. They were perfect. There as a lot of love in that house. And these people were being very nice.

But at one point in the evening, when dinner was finished and we were all sitting there, I looked around the table. And everyone had the exact same look on their face. It was this painted on smile. Our smiles were perfect, we were all complimenting the chef and showing our gratitude for the delicious meal when I started to feel something gathering in my belly. It was tangible. It started to drop and I could feel the smile coming off my face. This sense of deviance had taken over. I politely took the napkin from my lap and excused myself from the table. At the time, I didn’t know where I was going or what I would do when I got there. I just knew it was going to be horrible. I knew it was going to be inexcusable and I knew that if I got caught, the house of cards would burn.

5

It might have been the house’s natural flow that led me into the nursery. They had done such an incredible job of making the entire home flow, and the nursery was so relaxing and alluring that I slipped in and swung the door shut behind me.Perhaps I could relieve my belly issues here, I thought, this seems like a nice place for me to re-group. I slid the crib away from the wall and stared at the bare ground that was previously covered by it. Even it was clean. Someone had recently moved the crib and vacuumed under it. You could see the vacuum pattern. It was a perfect pattern. Staring at it, the feeling in my belly rumbled. The pressure continued to drop and I couldn’t hold it anymore. I dropped my pants, squatted over the bare ground with the perfect vacuum pattern and released the pressure. It was amazing. I had never felt anything like it. The smile on my face was growing so fast that it started to hurt. I didn’t wipe. I didn’t need to. It was the perfect shit. It sat in a perfect pile, one turd on top of the other. Golden brown and immaculate. I took a moment to take it all in. I tilted my head, observing my perfection sitting in their nursery and took in a long whiff. It smelled grainy, natural and strong. Calmly and slowly, I moved the crib back into place, covering my gem on the floor. As I left the room, I saw the dog. He was onto me. But I think he was proud of me, he was on my side.

6

I returned to the table and placed the napkin back into my lap. The smile on my face was now genuine and I jumped right back into the conversation, “Game of Thrones was amazing last week!”. We sat around playing Catch Phrase and Scrabble. I did not want to leave. My wife kept making comments about being tired and about the baby’s bed time. I ignored her. I wanted to enjoy this for a while longer. I was sitting well within the scene of the crime. No on was even aware of the crime, no one would have believed it if I had told them. And even if I had, what would they do? How would they react? What would our mutual friend think? What would my wife think? Was I sticking around in order to find out? Did I even care? I couldn’t blame it on the dog, he couldn’t poop under the crib. It was obviously a human. A human with perfect turds.

7

Now, it works like clockwork. I go over to someone’s house for a get together of some sort. We go through our dance of pretending to give a shit about each other. “Great! Business is really good. Do you watch Game of Thrones?”At some point, some one says something, or looks a certain way, or intones something that makes my stomach tighten. I pretend for as long as I can. The smile starts to fade from my face and I excuse myself. Sometimes I’ll leave it between their mattresses, sometimes under their couch or a couch cushion, sometimes I’ll leave it in the top tank of the toilet so that every time the toilet re-fills, it is filled with my poop water. It has become an art. I will figure out which room is their favorite, which room do they spend the most time in. And that is the room I choose. I couple of weeks ago I started carrying a little bottle of glitter and I started sprinkling the glitter on top. I’m not sure why, but I really like doing that now.  Kind of like a calling card. I don’t know.

This had been a work of fiction. If you told someone about it, they wouldn’t believe you anyways. So don’t even try. 

I made an app and you can too.

For the past few weeks, I have been working on something completely new and unknown to me. The purpose of my blog is to record such adventures so that hopefully someone else can learn from my mistakes. Or, if nothing else, so that I can look back at them and not make those same mistakes again.

So this, my latest endeavor, was to develop an app. I have always wanted to develop an app. Like so many others, I have had these brilliant app ideas that later get made by someone else. Every time this happens, it makes me more and more determined to not let that happen again. So I started doing some research as to how someone like me, with zero tech background or knowledge, could make an app.

Of course, the first thing I did was to Google it. Let me begin by saying that I can never find what I am looking for on the internet. And this was no exception. All over the web there are people and courses trying to teach you how to code so that you can make your own app. But I have a job, a son, a wife, a house, a dog, (if you’ve been reading my blog, then you already know) a garden, you get the point. I have no time. No time to learn how to code, something that looks so foreign and overwhelming to me that it was simply too much to even comprehend. So I gave up on the idea of making it myself.

But I did not give up on the app. Next, I searched for a Podcast that describes how to make an app (at my job, I listen to Podcasts or music pretty much all day, so this was an obvious next stone to turn for me). I ended up finding a really great Podcast called Smart Passive Income, by a guy named Pat Flynn. Now, a lot of the stuff Pat talks about in his Podcast is pretty well over my head, but I was able to take a few very valuable pieces of information away from his Podcast (I believe it is Episode 014). And before I go any further, if you are interested in making your own app, I highly recommend that you go listen to that episode. The main bit of information that Pat gave me was that there is a terrific website out there called Elance.com that works like a forum to connect people who want to hire programmers with programmers. In other words, I was able to hire someone else to build my app by posting my job on Elance.com. Some of the other helpful tips from Pat Flynn were that you really need to have a good, physical idea of how you want the app to look. Have a sketch or template that details how you want it to look. It is not the job of the programmer to design it. That is either your job or you can also hire a designer. Another helpful tip from Pat was to keep the first app simple and to keep it fun.

So that’s exactly what I did. My app is a single screen with a button that triggers a sound and a pop-up. The inspiration behind the app came from my time living in South Korea. In some of the nicer restaurants, there would be these buttons called “Etiquette Buttons” in the restroom stalls that looked like door bell buttons. The concept was simple, if you were in the stall and wanted to avoid the embarrassment of having a loud bowel movement while other people were in the restroom with you, you would press the button and it would trigger the sound of a toilet flushing in order to drown out your nasty bodily sounds. So I took that idea and turned it into an app. The pop-up that I mentioned is a poop-joke that pops up after you press the button that triggers the sound of the toilet. Simple and fun.

The first thing I had to do was create a free account on Elance. That was easy. Then I created a new job to be posted with a description of the app I wanted to be made. Again, easy. In the job, you can choose to either pay by the hour or a flat rate for the whole job. I chose a flat rate because it was such a simple job I figured it would only take a few hours to make (an assumption that was very wrong, but I will circle back around to that in a bit). Because this is such a simple app, I said that I wanted to pay the least amount possible for its production, which is $500 or less. As simple as that, I posted the job. Trust me when I say that if I can do that, then you can, too.

I was amazed by the response. Within 24 hours I had 17 proposals from programmers. Their prices ranged from $30 to the full $500. Of the 17 responses, two were from people within the United States. The rest were from people/ firms in India, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, you name it. With each proposal, you can view their profiles, which include their portfolios and reviews from previous Elance work they have done. It was very helpful in deciding who to hire. I must say, the $30 proposal was the most intriguing. It was from a firm in India, and they sent a solid working prototype with their proposal. I was impressed and it gave me confidence that the app would be quick and easy to get done since they had put that together within hours of my job being posted. But in the end, I decided not to go with the lowest bidder. After reading the reviews, the only complaint about the firm in India was the difficulty to communicate with them due to the language barrier. So I decided to go with an American whose proposed rate was $100. I hired him by assigning the job to him and transferring the money into an escrow account so that he knows I am good for the money and he doesn’t get paid until the job is complete and satisfactory. It’s a good system.

Using Pat Flynn’s advice, I had drawn a simple layout of how I wanted the app to look. I wanted a backdrop of tile that looks like the tile in a bathroom, and in the center I wanted a cartoon toilet. Beneath the toilet there should be a button, THE button that triggers the toilet flushing noise. I scanned and e-mailed my drawing to the programmer. He said it would be easy and that all he needed from me was an arsenal of poop jokes and a sound bit of a flushing toilet. That was the fun part. I spent the better part of an afternoon carousing the internet for poop jokes and memes. My face was soar from laughing. I was excited.

The very next day, the programmer sent me a prototype. It was not great. The toilet, even though I had ok’d the image, did not look professional. It looked cheap. And the toilet noise didn’t work. And there was no button. But my spirits were still high because I had only hired his the day before and I figured this was pretty good progress. Well, for the next week and a half, there was no progress. In fact, he ignored me completely for five days. I messaged him everyday. Finally, after a week, I told him I was going to start looking for someone else. Go figure, he got right back to me. But with no progress to show. I was a little miffed, but he had put some work into this thing and I thought he deserved a shot at finishing it. Which he did.

In the mean time, I had decided to make it a free app and to start it out in the Android store only. If it does well, then I will add it to the iOS store as well, but the Android store is cheaper. In order to setup Developer account with Google Play in order to publish apps for Android, you pay a $25 one time fee. The Apple store charges $100 per year and takes 10% of the app’s profits. On top of all that, my wife and I both have Samsung phones and we decided we definitely wanted the app on our phones, so we chose Android.

By making the app free, hopefully that will equate to more downloads and more use. I created an account with Admob, Google’s app advertiser. So I have banner ads running across my app and every time someone sees/ clicks on an ad I get paid a very small amount. If I am understanding it correctly, I will make about $6 for every 1,000 clicks. I had to find my Admob ID in order to have the programmer insert it into the app. That was not easy. I actually had to give the programmer  my login info so he could find it because I could not. I was very uncomfortable with that, but it worked out. I also created a Developer’s account with Google Play so I could publish the app once it was complete.

Two weeks to the day after I hired the programmer, he sent me the finished product. It looked great but there was still no button. I pointed that out and he got me the real final product the next day.

Submitting the app wasn’t exactly a cake walk. The programmer had done his part and now it was up to me to figure out all this technology stuff. The real tricky part, for me, was sizing all the images to the exact size the app store requires. There is probably an easier way to do it. but I was forced to figure it out myself and it took me longer than I thought. All in all, it took me about an hour to get it published. Once it was published, it was available in the app store withing a couple hours.

I published the app on Sunday (07/26/2015). I am so proud of this thing it’s ridiculous. It cost me $125 total and probably somewhere around 5 hours of “work”. In my opinion, it was totally worth it. I learned so much and really enjoyed figuring all this stuff out. I was also glad I stuck with the programmer, he is a young guy with another job and he was working when he could. He was patient with me being a first-timer and walked me through some steps that would be no-brainers for any one with any tech savvy whatsoever. But most importantly, I’m happy with the product.

So the lessons I have learned are as follows: Everything takes longer than you expect. Nothing is as simple as you think. Be careful who you hire (check reviews and portfolios). These are all pretty obvious lessons, and I honestly feel pretty stupid even typing them. But they were lessons hard earned.

By the way, the name of the app is Toot Mute. Check it out in your Android app store.

Easier than Expected? Unheard of!

Once again, it has been far too long since my last entry.  It turns out that gardening isn’t as labor intensive as I had originally thought. I thought it would take up a lot more of my time and efforts. Let me update you as to what has been happening around my garden for the past month. First, I planted everything. 20150601_155101_resized Then, it grew. 20150711_082402 Crazy, right?! What’s more, I have done almost nothing to maintain this garden ( as you may be able to tell by the wild look of the whole thing). Granted, I am in Colorado, which is having one ridiculously wet summer. But considering that I have gone weeks (plural!) without so much as watering this thing, I am impressed with the results so far. The only maintenance I have put into this garden is trimming back the squash, which has grown exponentially larger than anticipated, and I water it every evening if it hasn’t rained. But like I said, it’s been so wet this summer that for the most part I haven’t had to water it at all. So let’s cut to brass tax. I planted two zucchini, two squash, two tomato, two muskmelon, two watermelon, one sweet potato, one strawberry and a whole lot of lettuce. The lettuce I planted directly from seed into the bed, while the others I started indoors and transplanted into the bed. The only plant I have lost is one of the tomato plants (the one that I bought from the store did not survive while the one that I brought up from seed has survived). I did all of the planting/ transplanting on June 1. Today is July 11. Several of the veggies should harvest after 60 days. So that puts me within two weeks of eating some of my veggies! For my watering system, I have been using my empty bottles of booze.  Once cleaned, I just fill them with water and insert them upside-down into the ground near some plants. I re-fill these guys about once every week, but I think in a dryer year they could need to be re-filled once every other day or so. This system has also shown me that I drink too much, since I had enough empty bottles to fill the garden after about a week and a half. Bottom line, I’m excited. I’m proud of my little garden. One cannot come to my house without having me drag them outside to show off my newest project. But the real beauty of this has been its simplicity. I appreciate and love simplicity. Hopefully we will get some harvest here in the next couple weeks. In the mean time, thanks for stopping by.

Getting Ready to Plant

It has been over a month since my last post. But fear not, my loyal and non-existent readers, I am alive and well. I simply have not posted because here in Colorado we have been getting hit with non-stop rain and snow for the past several weeks, so any sort of outdoor work has been impossible and ill-advised.

So for the past month, my plants have been sitting in the window-sill, drinking up water and soaking up sun (even when it is raining/ snowing in Colorado, we still  get a good amount of sun). And I must say, they are looking pretty good. Far better than I had anticipated. But as my English professors used to say, “show me, don’t tell me.” So here you go:

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Top to bottom: Lettuce, Muskmelon, Squash, Watermelon, Zuccini.

Not too bad, right? I don’t know how healthy they actually are but I had just assumed that by this point they would all be dead. So I am exceeding my own, admittedly low, expectations! Since the weather has turned around and looks to be good and sunny and warm for a stretch, I am going to “harden” these little plants. From what I understand, that involves simply putting them outside, in the sun on a nice day, for a few hours each day. I’ll do that for a couple of weeks before actually transplanting them into my raised garden bed.

As I said in a previous post, I am not putting all of my harvest hopes into this little batch of veggies. Over the weekend, I went to the local garden center (O’toole’s here in Denver) and purchased some big, healthy versions of these veggies. One plant of each.

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And my wife came along, so we also appear to have purchased some gnomes and ferries? Anyhow, these guys look good and strong and the weather forecast looks promising. So this weekend I will plant these outside. And just for kicks, since I have some extra seeds, I am going to try to direct seed into the raised bed this weekend as well.

I am pretty excited to actually have something planted in the ground. I hope I am not jumping the gun and planting too early, but since this entire project is extremely experimental and done without any real insight or knowledge of what I am doing, I won’t be broken-hearted if all of the plants don’t pan out. Hopefully by my next post, there will be plants in the ground!

Getting Seeds into Soil

A couple weeks ago, I decided that I would direct seed all of the vegetables outside because I was nervous about transplanting the plants to outdoors. The only other time I have tried to transplant a living plant from a pot to the soil, it died. And that traumatized me. So, unlike all of the other plans I have made in this project, this is one plan I will not change.

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Alright so I changed the plan again. Some of my sources say that to successfully grow most of the fruits/veggies that I intend to grow, it is necessary to start them inside. Since so many of my sources contradict each other, I think I will still try direct seeding as well as starting them indoors. And this way I get to experiment with all theories and compare the results. And hopefully at least one of these theories will work out and my family and I will be able to eat some fruits and veggies grown in our own backyard.

Plus, it feels pretty good to finally have seeds in soil! I have been working on this experiment for weeks and I have finally planted something. So now I just have to sit and wait for the plants to start growing. Patience is not my thing.

So in the meantime I still have my garden bed to tinker with.

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I finished tilling the ground beneath the bed last weekend, so all that needs to be done is add some soil and plant some seeds. Since it is still early April here in Colorado, it is a bit early to plant many of the veggies outside, but supposedly the lettuce is durable and should be able to grow. So this weekend I will add the soil and direct seed some lettuce.

I am a bit frustrated that my lack of knowledge and experience with gardening keeps making me so indecisive that I switch my plans. But hopefully I will be able to learn from all of this and have easier growing seasons in the future. I just hope that this season won’t be a complete waste and that I have some sort of harvest to show for all the work. Either way, it’s a pretty fun project that has been relatively cheap and keeps me busy and gets me outside working in the beautiful weather.