Monday, 14 July 2008

Too Many Whys And Not Enough Zzzzs

At work, as a gardener, they call me the land girl. You know, the wartime women workers thing. This is because I look eager, wear boots, trot about smartish and smile a lot. Apparently. Well everyone else has a name and I don't mind - it could be worse! Actually, being called girl is in itself rather charming, I am 44 after all.

And I have two jobs now, one on a farm and the other as a landscaper. I have recently bought my own van! A nice green one to carry a mower and tools. Plus a maximum of two children at any one time. Arguments in the cab strictly forbidden, whilst mother masters six gears and no rear view mirror. And sweats. And swears. A bit.

Buying it has been an experience. Real vans are sold and owned by real men, I've discovered, women are often offered little chi-chi things that are either hugely expensive or just downright embarrassing. I told the man at Ford that I needed space for a large mower and up to 20 bags of green waste. He walked me half a mile round the back of his showroom to show me a hideous little handbag of a van, lined with lurid carpet. A kind of passion wagon for gnomes. He said do you want to test drive it? I said not if you paid me, where do you expect me to put the mower in here then? It's actually bigger than this van... In the end, I bought one from - a woman. Simple really.

I press on cheerfully. I'm happy! Yet there are so many questions to answer when you're new, fresh and confident:

Are you strong enough?
Can you give me a full breakdown of the pesticides used on these potatoes?
Do you think you can make enough money to pay for the van alone?
Exactly how much money have you made?
What are the best plants for a bog? (Errm?)
Are you spending enough time with the kids?
Can I just press that button once Mum, and see what happens?
What a wicked scythe! Could I wave it around a bit in the garage, by myself? (NO)
Will you talk me through a year of caring for this raspberry cane?

And so on. All good fun.

I am tired by evening though. The other night I dropped the boys off at judo and fell fast asleep in the car outside the hall, engine off but still wearing my seatbelt. I woke up later with a start to find the kids tapping on the window and not one but two policemen staring right at me, all chilly and enquiring. Another question? I took the seatbelt off and waved. What now for Chrissakes? Just because I'm grubby and unconscious doesn't mean I'm a lawbreaker or a bad parent now does it. I'm just multi-tasking. Oh or something like that!


Maggie May said...

it sounds real hard work but so rewarding! Good for you getting a larger van, but how in Heaven's name do you lift the lawnmower into the van without injuring yourself?

Mean Mom said...

I could manage without the rear view mirror. I don't use mine much, but 6 gears? :0) I used to get into trouble with my son, whenever I borrowed his car, because I never used fifth gear. My car is very old and only has 4 gears. That's enough for me!

Your gardening job sounds like hard work, but fun!

Sandi McBride said...

I can't tell you how glad I am to see you back and the fact that I've laughed myself silly over such lines as (not if you paid me) and called Mac in so I could read it to him, proves my point. Please hon, don't stay away again so long...once a week would be fine, okay? Pick the day and set to with a will, because you are just so much fun to fact I'm sure there is an award coming your way on say, Saturday...yep, that's a definite!

merry weather said...

Hi Maggie - A hinged ramp through the side door! The inside is lined with plywood and the ramp is attached to that.

Actually I don't know what to do with all of them MM! In the past I've avoided 5th as it was rather close to reverse...! Alas admissions like that reinforce the stereotyping... then again, I'd be amazed if a woman designed the gear shift system, wouldn't you? And maybe something extra special happens in 6th - I'll keep you posted :)

Thanks for your very kind comments Sandi!! You've made my day. I'll do my best... Glad to know it made you smile. Hello to Mac and hugs to you too :)

laurie said...

oh, merry, i love this. i love what you're doing (my brother used to do similar work in seattle, years ago) and i love that you are so self-sufficient and you know what you want in a van.

good for you.

Anonymous said...

Good on you for showing that van sales man that you're no pushover. It's not an easy job buying a car if you're a woman is it!!

CJ xx

merry weather said...

Cheers Laurie :)
That gives me a great vote of confidence! I'm relieved to hear you're fine. You made me chuckle! Guess you've to have a follow-up appointment? Good luck. (I was fine - post baby probs, nothing to worry about).

It's a conspiracy Crystal. Talking straight is too difficult a concept for some sales people. If gardening doesn't work out I may move into second-hand vehicle sales. Maybe...!

I Beatrice said...

So glad it's a green van and not a white! As White Van Woman you'd be a bit scary I think - especially with a mower and sundry other lethal-looking implements in the back.

How well you have done though! I'm enormously impressed - and so glad for you.

Loved the Belloc poem btw....

I Beatrice said...

PS: The image of you as Landgirl evoked for me another. I saw you suddenly as a latterday Vita Sackville West, complete with high boots and the kind of expression that said you would finally carry the gardening world before you.

One day perhaps, it will be the ruined Kentish castle and the re-created Sissinghurst....?

(Shall we go there one day?)

lady thinker said...

I'm surprised the PC's didin't breathalyse you.
Lovely post - choosing your van made me LOL. I remember choosing a 2nd hand car and taking my spouse along to give it the once over before I paid for it. The salesman kept asking how it was to be paid for and my husband kept deferring to me telling him it was my selection, my purchase, my car. When we came to form filling he looked at MyMan and asked what name should the registration doc be made out to .. I nearly leapt across the desk to handbag him.. I wish I had now!

lady thinker said...

6 gears - I'm not surprised you not got to 6th gear yet - can anyone get above 3rd gear around your area? ;-)

merry weather said...

Bea! You're back! I keep checking - and hoping you've started a new piece. Will you? `Have you?

Yes, I would love to visit Sissinghurst with you. Sounds great fun. I'll email you soon..

Me in a white van, round here? Mate? Now that would be something! :)

merry weather said...

Lady T - the thought of you climbing over a desk to handbag one of the salesmen I've been seeing... Brings me Joy!!

You're right about the speed of the traffic, mind you I've had to slow down myself now as the van's so big. The kids always said I drove too fast anyhow. I have been in 6th, I was hoping for wings - but none sprouted :(

You think they thought i was drunk? A-ha, hadn't thought of that. It's obvious now!

Dusty Spider said...

I've had problems with male car dealers in the past too. I needed to buy a car to carry computers and had real problems convincing the salesman that I was the person who would be using it, not the lacky choosing it for a boss man!! Give me strength!! And garage mechanics! Don't even start me on that one!!! Flick xx

Sandi McBride said...

I have an award for you at my place and I'm not even going to mention how long since you last posted anything...your award is at the post just before the Brenda Photo Challenge post

merry weather said...

Hi Flick - Glad you're back and the wedding went well!

Thanks Sandi! Coming now. I'm fresh in from hoeing salad crops all day, nothing to report ma'am :) Just hot and happy...

Sandi McBride said...

Just checking in hon, hope all is well!

Livvy U. said...

I have been away for far too long - find I have been missing loads of your great 'new' posts. So glad,can I just say, that you didn't pack it in.
Love your re-vamped look, by the way. I'm going to take inspiration from you and think about doing the same, though God knows when I will ever get round to it. Anyway,great to drop by.

merry weather said...

Hi Sandi - fine thanks, a little stiff, bit tired and slightly richer. Still smiling :-)

Livvy, you're back! Shall come and see you...

Livvy U. said...

Merry - just a quick note - I've been doing some springcleaning on my blog and have finally added you to my Blogroll. Long overdue! Hope that's ok by you.

Iota said...

No! Really? You're serious about the policemen?

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