Thursday Things

1. I’m losing patience with my tomatoes.

tomatoplant

This monstrosity of a plant (do all tomato plants grow this big??) seems to have no problem growing wider and taller by the day, nor does it seem to have any problem producing blossoms, nor does it seem to have any problems turning those blossoms into tomatoes (I was up to 18 at my last count, but my last count was on Sunday, so I imagine I have more now). What it does seem to have problems with, however, is turning those tomatoes red.

greentomatoes

Admittedly, I’m probably not giving my plant a fair chance. The container clearly said 50 days to maturity when I bought it, and it will be 50 days since I planted on Sunday, so I guess hoping to be feasting on homegrown tomatoes right now is a bit premature. But what’s driving me up a wall is that my first tomatoes seemed to have stop growing in size–which, I assumed, meant they were ready to start ripening–but have not made even the slightest indication that they want to turn red, and I don’t know what to do to convince them that they should. Am I not feeding them enough? Is the weather wrong? Do I need to be pruning the plant? Has my luck simply run out?

I think my frustration is ultimately rooted in the classic expectation vs. reality dissonance. From the moment I put that plant in the ground, it started growing prolifically. It shot up like a weed, gave me blossoms in 17 days, and turned those first blossoms into tomatoes eight days later. I have now been waiting 22 days since the first tomatoes appeared for the tiniest bit of evidence that they will eventually turn red with nothing to show for it, which, compared to my previous 17 and then eight-day waiting periods, feels like a lifetime.

Google tells me it takes 20-30 days from blossoming for tomatoes to reach their full size (check), and then another 20-30 days after reaching full size for them to ripen. I haven’t noticed any additional size growth from my first tomatoes since July 20, which realistically means I probably can’t hope for ripening until Aug. 9 at the very earliest.

I also discovered a small aphid infestation last week, which was not a huge surprise (the leaf where I found them was full of holes), but also not something I wanted to see. I sprayed the plant with water, which seemed to solve the problem for the moment, though if some ladybugs want to show up and assist me in my aphid-destroying quest, I wouldn’t complain.

aphids

2. I moved last Tuesday, as my training recap on Monday implied, and all things considered, I thought it went pretty well.

movingboxes

Some miscommunication with my movers (they called to tell me they’d arrive at 7:40; I only heard the “40” and thought that meant “minutes from when I’m making this phone call, which is 8:10.”) led to a serious emotional breakdown when they arrived 30 minutes earlier than I was anticipating while I ran around my old apartment screaming obscenities and sobbing that, “I’m not ready!!!” over and over and over again while I threw a few remaining unpacked items into garbage bags, vacuumed my rug, and generally flailed around chaotically. I did calm down (only marginally) eventually, at which point the movers were invited in to start hauling away my things. It took them less than two hours to complete everything, and then I got to the real work of unpacking.

I don’t know what it was about unpacking during this move compared to other moves, but I felt like the whole process went WAY smoother than I’m used to. I had more space to spread out, which probably helped me not feel as overwhelmed as usual. I’m sure getting rid of so much stuff before I moved so that most of my remaining belongings were things I actually wanted helped as well. I still have some decorating odds and ends to take care of, but for the most part, the move is done. I finally started to feel normal again this past Tuesday, and while I’m sure the adjustment period isn’t completely over yet, I’m glad that I feel like I’m settling in.

3. And because I apparently think “go big or go home” should be applied to major life changes, I got a new job on Monday! I’m still with the same company and in the same (basically non-existent) department, but I’m now in a new role. Saying I got promoted feels like a bit of an overstatement, though I do have more ~power~ now, so maybe that’s the right term. The position is an entirely new one to the company–one that my old boss suggested we needed when he left, and one that I enthusiastically recommended to my new boss after my previous boss left. We have a system that I and several other people routinely need to use, but there was no one overseeing that system, which made it difficult to get things done because there was no point person. I found myself both constantly wondering who to ask to increase my permissions in the system (which became necessary after my first coworker left at the beginning of May) and constantly wondering who would take the lead on system-wide initiatives. Having enjoyed working in the system, I indicated interest to my new boss and, after nearly two months, finally officially became the system lead on Monday.

This is definitely a turn in my career path that I never anticipated, but I’m really excited for it. My previous role at the company, frankly, was completely unnecessary, and left me spending most of my time at work twiddling my thumbs until I could leave. I felt like my mind was rotting away, and I was counting down the days until my 401k became fully vested and I could get out. I’ve been functioning in this new role for a good two months or so at this point, even though my title didn’t change until Monday, and it’s been a night and day difference. I finally feel like it matters that I come to work, I’m finally appropriately challenged, and even though what I’m doing has nothing to do with my English degree whatsoever, I finally feel like I’ve found the ideal way to spending my working hours. Obviously I can’t predict what will happen over the next year and a half, but for the first time in a very long time, I can see myself staying with my company for many, many years. I knew I wasn’t happy in my old role, but it’s been remarkable to see just how big of a difference a change in leadership and responsibility has made in my overall work satisfaction. Hooray!

When are my tomatoes going to start turning red???
Who’s going to Lollapalooza this year? Obviously unrelated to my blog post, but since it’s the weekend, I figured I’d ask anyway. This is the first time in five years I won’t be there, and I’m kind of bummed…except I’m not bummed that I didn’t spend a ton of money to see bands I don’t want to see, so I guess it all evens out.

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6 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. Congrats on your new job!! So exciting!!

    Our tomato plant is kind of a dud this year too. We had the same problem with the tomatoes not really growing past the little green bulb stage, and then when they finally started to turn read (but didn’t get bigger)…they fell off!!! Arg!! There are a couple more bulbs growing so hopefully we will have more luck. I think the big mistake I made with all our plants is that I got overeager and planted way too early in the season. I mean, early May didn’t SEEM early, but little did I know the month would be so cool! Honestly this is a learning experience for us as we are very new to gardening, so I’m not taking a lot of it to heart, and I’m learning a lot for next year when we plan to be much more serious about our garden. This summer we are basically just learning what exactly we inherited from the previous owners and focusing simply on managing that – next summer, when we have a better lay of the land (so to speak), we will put more work into it and make it more “ours”.

    • Oh no!! That is SUCH a bummer about your red tomatoes falling off the plant! Man, I’d be so upset! I didn’t plant my tomatoes until mid-June, and I’ve wondered all along if that was later than I should’ve planted them. The struggles of first-year gardening, I suppose!

  2. Do tomatoes need a lot of sun to turn red? I admittedly don’t know anything about them and the one time I tried to grow them I think I got like two tomatoes.

    Also, that’s great about your role at work! A friend of mine from college who also has an English degree is doing something similar so apparently it’s what you do now with English degrees 🙂 And library science degrees.

    • I have no idea. I thought they did, but then when I was reading an article online about how to get tomatoes to turn red, it said to make sure to not prune leaves too close to the tomatoes, because those help prevent sunburn, so now I’m not so sure. The article also said the optimal temperature range for ripening is 68-77, so maybe the weather just hasn’t been right? Although I’m sure it’s been those temperatures at night, but maybe that’s not when ripening happens? If my tomatoes could turn another (or any) shade of red every time I asked a question about the tomato-ripening process, I’d have tomato sauce coming out of my ears at this point hahaha.

      Thanks! That’s funny that you know someone else with an English degree in a similar field – maybe we just all like to be in charge of something! Hahaha.

  3. Patience! My tomatoes are still green too. My squash plant, however, is a huge disappointment so far. It’s growing SO BIG and getting blossoms. Only two of those blossoms started to turn into actual squash … and both of them fell off the vine!!!! *Sobbing emoji*

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