Back to Top

How (Not) to Build a Greenhouse

Building a house is tough work, especially when you're too cheap frugally minded, like us. Sure, we could pay the construction crew a little extra to build a greenhouse. Sexy Nerd, however, insisted there's nothing to it. A few windows and some wood and we'd be set.

It was never disclosed that building a greenhouse would require my help. My devious husband never mentioned the 84 bags of concrete (80 pounds per bag!) we would need to drag steeply uphill along the unpaved, cactus-covered, scortchingly hot, snake-infested ground. A semi truck pulled up to our empty lot with a forklift and more than two pallets of concrete. Whose idea was it anyway to build the greenhouse so far back?

(Mine? Bah!)

Oh, and lucky, lucky us. Lowes mistakenly delivered an extra 80 pound bag of concrete and said we could keep it for free. Even the bargain hunter in me (which is like 97% of who I am) wanted to cry.

So mighty? Don't be fooled.

Grumbling aside, I tried to be as helpful as possible, which was...not very helpful. I can't lift 80 pounds. That's more than 2/3 of my body weight. Plus, I'm puny! There was a time, back in my days as a Pizza Hut manager, when I was tough and strong and mighty, able to unload an entire semi truck of mozzarella cases on my own and capable of throwing a box of Pepsi syrup onto the highest shelf. That was a million years ago. My job for the last 12 years has been to sit on a cushy, padded chair behind the desk of a pediatric dental office. That requires zero muscles, which was pretty much proven the first time I attempted to push a wheelbarrow uphill with one bag of concrete (which Sexy Nerd loaded for me, obviously).

I insisted he load three bags of concrete into the wheelbarrow. "Let's see how you do with just one," he said.

"Two," I demanded. "I can at least push two bags." At the time, I really believed I could.

Sexy Nerd was unwavering. "Let's see how you do with just one."

 With 6,800 pounds of concrete, you were expecting a gigantic, excessive greenhouse instead of this itty bitty one, weren't you? I can't help thinking that my engineer husband may have miscalculated.

One bag was nothing. I made it a few slow steps, determined to show Sexy Nerd how wrong he was. I was just like a real construction worker, at least until I hit the portion where the ground began to slope uphill. It wasn't long before the wheelbarrow began pushing me back down. Panicked, I leapt out of the way, lest I be crushed by 80 pounds of runaway concrete.

Eventually, the wheelbarrow hit a cactus or a tree or Sexy Nerd's precious rock wall (I don't recall exactly, as the experience was quite traumatic. It's all a blur.) and flipped over and ripped open the bag of concrete. Like I've told you-know-who a hundred times, it was the free bag. It didn't count.

Next weekend, I help pour the concrete. The weekend after...marriage counseling? Wish me luck!