My Favors

garden_1“Would you do me a favor?”

Uh-oh.  This is trouble.

My wife asks things of me all the time but she rarely casts them as favors.  Usually she presents them as a question that is not really a question.

“Would you fix my leaky toilet?”

Next comes a question that doesn’t even sound like a question.


Finally comes the question that there is no question about.

“Or will you forget about it, like you did the other twenty times I asked you?”

There is only one possible answer to all these questions, one that will leave open the option to either do what she asks or forget about it.


These things I can handle because they are just the typical tug of war that pulls at the fabric of every relationship.

But favors are different.

Asking a favor is taking a bold leap into forbidden territory. It is usually asking for something we know we shouldn’t, but we ask anyway in hope that not only will we get what we want but by the steady erosion of asking, we will no longer have to ask.

The only honest and practical answer to such a question is NO!

Instead I ask, “What?”

She hesitates.

This is the worst thing she can do.

She doesn’t hesitate because she is reluctant to tell me what she wants. She doesn’t hesitate because she is uncertain how to word what she wants. She hesitates so I can prepare myself for the worst.

“What?” I ask again.

This is my signal that I am done preparing myself for the worst.

“Would you help me weed my flower garden?”


This is my signal that I did not sufficiently prepare myself for the worst.

“It’s no big deal,” she says.

“It is a big deal,” I say. “it is your gardens, it is your job.”

“But it is a mess,” she says. “With all the cold and heat and rain, I let it go too long.”

I agree.


I can tell by the way she hesitates that this time her hesitation is genuine.

“There might be snakes in there.”

She is terrified of snakes, terrified to the point of phobia. So much so that whenever she sees a snake, even on television, she flees. Yet she loves to garden.

“I can’t help you weed your garden because I can’t tell a flower from a weed.”

“That’s just plain silly,” she says. “The flowers are the pretty ones. So will you help me, pleeease!”

“Sure,” I say.

A pleeease shuts down all my options and seals off any opportunity to conveniently forget that I promised to help.

A few minutes later…..

Is that a flower?”

No, that’s itch weed.”

Now you tell me.”


Careful, that’s thistle.”


I warned you…”

Hey, watch it, those are my Irises.”

Here is the hoe, you weed for a while.”

Oh my…”


I think I just hoed something I shouldn’t have.”

Would you do me a favor?”

What now?”

The next time I try to plant a flower garden this big, stop me.”

Gladly, but do you really want me to do that?”

It is a question that is not really a question.”

Author: Almost Iowa

30 thoughts on “My Favors”

  1. I hate to go against you but a fear of slithering things are keeping m from gardening alone anymore. I hate to go against the wife but I think most of our weeds are pretty. At our house they grow better than the grass or flowers so they usually get to stay.
    Thanks for reading about my mom’s memory device, Hershey Nuggets, on I plan to write about weeds versus flowers. You might need that one for backup.

  2. My recent gardening has cost me too dearly. I ended up in hospital with a broken femur. Need to catch up with your stories to brighten up my days.

  3. My Sam has so much to do that I can’t even ask him…and so I must do what I can in my garden. I’ve been potting up the flowers instead of digging up the weeds and the colors are cheering me up when I see the spreading weeds.

  4. Kinda reminds me of when I bought my house, way back when. The prior owners had torn out the old bushes and replanted the prior fall, so when I bought it in the winter the ground was mostly bare. Come spring, what’s a weed and what’s a flower?

    At least I didn’t have a significant other at the time to “instruct” me when I made my choices.

  5. At our house, toilets get fixed by my husband and cleaned by me although I’m always on the look for someone, anyone who will take a turn at it. Weeds are pulled by me and wood chips are put down by both of us to reduce those pesky weeds. With regard to size of garden beds, as I mature the beds get smaller and the lawn gets bigger because the mower has a seat on it. I hate snakes and would run away from them, but they don’t keep me from the outside, but I can certainly understand.

  6. As a former professional gardener, I suggest a couple of options. Hens do a great job of weeding. If the weeds are too big for them, get a couple of young pigs. Problem solved.
    True story – a small mob of laying hens and their rooster were free-ranging the owners small rural property. Then they began a commotion. No foxes in sight, no intruders visible, so owner walked over to investigate. All he found was the very tattered remains of a snake, who’d had to temerity to be in their territory. Apparently, hens are a tricky creature for a snake to bite….. 🙂

  7. A gardener with a snake phobia is like a surgeon who faints at the sight of blood. I would be prepared to do a lot of favors, Greg, as long as this garden exists. Unless you can convince her to do some desensitization therapy?

  8. Favors

    Just sayin…..

    Mosquitos, snakes, slugs, spiders, bees, beetles, poison ivy, thorns.. …….beware of the garden jungle Greg! You’re in grave danger if you mistake a flower for a weed! Lol.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

  9. Trouble is, I have those gardening conversations with myself. And I’ve never seen a snake, but I’m terrified of wasps. Unfortunately for me, the garden’s big enough I can always run away and hoe some more while the wasps chase me. Sometimes I hoe an iris and blame a wasp.

  10. There is always that inherent risk of flowers being pulled when one asks for help with the weeding. But my personal observation is that the pulling of flowers may be intentional so as to never be asked again for that particular favor.

  11. Yes, there is danger there. The Putterer went out with the weed whacker and whacked my penstemons. Grr. “There was grass there!” “I was going to get around to pulling it, I just hadn’t gotten there yet. Leave the flowers alone!”

    1. She surrounded her gardens with big field stones to fend off my lawn tractor, so usually the stones are a barrier that I refuse to cross, but “pleeeease” gets me every time.

  12. So have you not gotten, or are you just not telling us about the 4th question: “why do you keep forgetting to do this?”

    I take care of some of the “lawn” (green stuff) mowing, but I am careful to ask about the pretty weeds.

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