A Pot for Pete

My father just returned swaggering from the City, where he picked up a few Asian ingredients I have been lacking, including a huge jug of mushroom soy sauce. I swear to God, there are only two things I miss about the City: the availability of Asian ingredients, and Indian food at three in the morning. If someone opened a 24 hour Indian restaurant here, I would totally be going, every night. Onion naan and baingan bartha, how I miss thee.

Joe also brought back a pot for Pete.

Pete is a snakeplant. His pot has been a running joke for quite a while now, since every time I look at him, I am reminded that he is in desperate need of a new pot. Pete also happens to be my first official houseplant, which means that my relationship with him has lasted longer than my relationships with most people. When I first got Pete, he was in a pot small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, and he quickly outgrew it. For awhile, he lived in a stylish terra-cotta pot, and then my father got him a bigger Asian-style pot with giggling geisha on the front. It sounds garish, but it’s actually quite lovely. And yes, my father is my pot supplier. Ah. Hah.

At any rate, Pete had been inhabiting the geisha pot for about two years, and thriving. I seem to kill all other plants, but Pete apparently enjoys being left in the dark, unwatered, for weeks at a time, because he just kept getting bigger and bigger. Around December, I started mentioning that Pete really needed a new pot, since new shoots were pressed up against the sides of the geisha pot and I thought he might actually cause it to break with the force of his mighty roots. Also, he was looking a little disgruntled and cramped.

As is typical with me, I failed to do anything about it for several months, until my father mentioned that he was going South and I asked, offhandedly, if he wouldn’t mind picking up a pot for Pete.

“What kind of pot?”

“Er, well, a big pot. I mean, he’s in a twelve inch now and he’s exploding. So…a big pot.”

“Ok,” my father said with a sigh. “I’ll see what I can find.”

He arrived triumphant today with a stylish white pot with a nifty Chinese poem brush painted onto it. (I swear to God, I’m not some kind of Asian fetishist, it’s just that Chinatown has cheap pots, and, yes, I do like me a little Asian accent now and then.) This pot also happens to be…gigantic. Loki can fit inside. But he didn’t fit inside for long, as I shifted Pete to his new digs so that he could stretch his roots, so to speak. He looks much happier already.

Once the geisha pot was vacated, I decided to play musical pots and bump everyone up a notch. Despite my black thumb, two other houseplants have survived through the years. The first is Dave the aloe vera, who is actually in surprisingly good shape, considering that the cats try to eat him all the time. Dave has not been stoked with the new house, because I’ve had trouble finding a good place for him. I hope he enjoys his new location and the geisha pot; he certainly looks rather dashing, now. If only Shadow would stop mutilating him.

There’s also Fred the palm tree thing. I mean, he has these branching frondy leaves that make him look like a small palm tree, although of course he isn’t one. Fred really liked San Francisco, and he’s been sulking up here. When I repotted him, I discovered that his roots were sodden, so I am theorizing that San Francisco was more dry, allowing him to completely dry out, and that he’s basically been drowning up here. I hope that the change of environs makes him happier, because Fred is a pretty awesome looking plant when he is feeling well.

Why are all my plants male? I don’t know. Why do I anthropomorphize my plants, might be a better question. Now that I have a freshly empty former Fred pot, maybe I’ll welcome a female plant into my life. Lily the orchid, perhaps. My Chinese mother is always trying to give me orchids, but I’m terrified of killing them. And what I don’t kill, the cats eat, so being a plant is a dicey proposition in this house. Even Pete has a few battle scars, although he’s weathered them well. Why can’t they eat the mice in the walls instead?