I’m leaving today on a business trip, coming back late Wednesday night. Yesterday was spent partly in doing laundry and reluctantly deciding that I can’t just bring my little overnight bag because, this being a business trip (even though it’s just training), I have nice shoes and clothes to bring that would be better off in an actual suitcase. I also told Eric I would be calling to tell him to–and how to–take care of my plants.

This morning, I naturally checked on the plants before I left. I noticed as I approached the window that the greenhouse/growing rack looked a little askew, but I didn’t see anything specifically wrong with it. I pulled it gently away from the window and it was fine. I rotated the trays, watered the ones that seemed dry, noticed the Meyer lemon is dripping something sticky, and pushed the greenhouse back in place.

It fell apart, posts scattering, pots smashing, everything plunging to the ground.

I was wearing my nice work clothes, so I just stood there a moment, surveying the damage, thanking my stars that I don’t have to be at work exactly on time.

I put the greenhouse back together first, shoving those posts and connectors together as hard as I could. One tray of seedlings was upside down atop a shelf, and I turned them over together. The other tray had fallen right-side-up but was in similar disarray. I righted the pots, scooping dirt back into them as I could. The flags had fallen out of quite a few of the non-sprouted ones, but with as much redundancy as I have I think I’ll be able to identify them when they come up.

Next I needed a pot for my beloved Christmas cactus, as its pot (which I loved) was broken in half. I have a pot without drainage that I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with. I put the cactus in there; it was too short, but it’s a cactus; it should be okay for a couple of days. I started to sprinkle some water on it, then realized that was stupid, and replaced it on the shelf.

The scallions were wrecked. The oregano and its pot (which I also love) were miraculously fine, although missing some dirt. There was plenty on the floor, so I scooped some in and replaced the pot on a shelf. Then I went for the broom and dustpan and wet paper towels. There was so much pot debris, and rocks and styrofoam peanuts for drainage, that I couldn’t dump the dirt into the compost bin, and I didn’t have time or patience to sit there and pick it all out, so I’m afraid it went into the trash.

I wiped and dried the floor, then put the greenhouse carefully back in place. I completely forgot to water the wandering jew or the peace lily, but there’s a reason I mostly have tough, resilient houseplants, and this is it.

I did go out to the herb garden and saw that all my little plants are still there and looking good, so that’s something, and the crocuses–tightly budded at that hour, but still valiantly purple and white–in my yard were my last sight as I drove away. When I come back, everything will be growing and healthy and all the better for the spill. Right?