March 30, 2006

BEGINNING ANOTHER SEASON & Garden Supplier Advisory

Have to haul this little guy out of storage pretty soon. "Elmer" I call him. After the title character in the very first story I ever wrote, "Elmer, The Ant", in kindergarten. Replete with illustrations courtesy of my mother and myself via crayons. My present-day "Elmer" keeps a sharp "bug" eye overlooking my front garden each year.

How this year's garden will fare is anyone's guess. My seed starting was thwarted by some illness-related setbacks, and then I found myself without my greenhouse this year. I'd ordered a new one late last fall from "Yardiac"with the intention of putting it up this past February. It proved to be disastrous and up until a final resolution granted from on high at the company where it was ordered, I would have been stuck with it to the tune of $300. And if I chose to return it - which was only logical cause the thing was flawed from the git go - I would have had to fork over upwards of $125 for return shipping.

In haste I opted for a portable greenhouse. Actually, a good design in its conception, but a flop in it's practical application. Perhaps if the manufacturer had allowed enough of the polyweave material on either side of the zipper door, then the door could have actually zipped. Bad enough I've got rotator cuff problems, I didn't need to be yanking it out of the socket trying to zip this thing closed. As it was, after only half a dozen attempts, I could see the zipper material pulling on and away from the polyweave. At that rate, I figured three or four times in and out of the thing, zipping it open and exhausting myself from zipping it closed... and the zipper would ultimately be "no more".

So, it's winging it's way back to the warehouse of the supplier. And - as I said - after vocally duking it out with the reps and only granted a "stay" of having to execute money from my wallet to pay to return the thing, because I made a rather lengthy, public post on a rather large online gardening community which rankled the feathers of my fellow/sister gardener, sending ripples back to the company...only then did they cave and give me my due. The product was flawed in my opinion, and the opinion of the sales reps, too, I might add. Not to mention even the manufacturer agreed it needed correcting and was in the process of revising and redesigning it for sale in Fall, 2006. (Which wouldn't have done me a heckuva lot of good now.

Now, between that brouhaha and a day planner that is strictly devoted to doctors appointments and tests for this month and into next, my available-time-dance card is pretty punched with everything but gardening penciled in. I will, however, endeavor to try my best at starting some seeds, replanting perennials I had to move last fall and no doubt having to plunk down more cash than I intended (or can ill afford) on purchasing annuals. Yuk. The thought of buying a flat of 48 plants for $8 or $9 kills me when I could have started that flat and probably another with just one or two packets of seed that would have set me back all of $3 or $4! But....a gardener's gotta do..what a gardener's gotta do. Suck it up...make the most of what's out there already...pray for volunteers by the bushelful and forget about buying those new, fancy earbuds for my iPod.
Oh well, it's not like I listen to music while I'm gardening anyway. At the risk of waxing too philosophical....(which never stopped me before)...I much prefer the music of nature to keep me "humming" along in the garden.


A "prompt" refund to my charge account was promised - back in early April. Late April statement refund. Okay. Gave them another month's "grace" period, which I thought was treating them way more fairly and broadminded than they originally treated me. May statment arrived. Whoopsey Daisy! No refund! Why oh why...but I decided to wait till June! Gee. whiz. Guess what? Nada refundo on el credito. Call YARDIAC and get a sales rep who says (naturally) "Not my department, can't authorize that kind of credit". "Transfer me to the president, Mr. Ambrose. Believe me, he already knows all about the situation" I assured her. After fumphing and apologizing profusely and saying (no kidding): "Boy, oh boy, when we screw up...we screw up!" Again, I asked myself: No kidding! "It'll definitely be on the July statement. I'll even fax your credit card company w/the info so you're bank will have the refund on file. I can give you a transaction number right now." Fine and Dandy. (To quote George Carlin). But the whole scenario was neither fine nor dandy. It was a pain.

July statement arriveed and with much trepadation, I opened the envelope and lo and behold (*Cue the choirs of angels in the background*)...there it was. Full refund. Plus...$10 extra for "all the trouble they caused". Yeah, I know. Ten dollars is ten dollars. But, somehow I think my "trouble" had a little higher value than that. Frankly, though, they could have kept their $10.