And rain will make the flowers grow

Spectacular. We’re looking at another stormy weekend. I do have to get outside at one point, though, to plant the shrubs I found it necessary to mail-order from Ohio.

My compulsive online shopping is a story for another time.

Rob likes to fall asleep listening to audio books. Which, of course, means he rarely is conscious for their entirety. After I raved about “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” he found a used copy of the audio book and we listened to part of it on a road trip. Recently, he mentioned that we should drive somewhere again, so we can pick up where we left off (like, a year ago).

I decided that my 25-minute commute would be a good time to do some “reading” that I couldn’t otherwise fit into my schedule, so I bought “The Wedding” on tape a coupla weeks ago at Barnes & Noble. Because I actually have a tape deck in my car.

“The Wedding,” if you don’t know, is written by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, who also wrote “The Notebook.” “The Wedding” is narrated by the son-in-law of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams from that movie. I mean, their characters in the book.

The box of tapes declared that best-selling author Sparks has had his books published in a gazillion languages and that he’s the greatest writer ever. Or something.

I really enjoyed the book for a few days, until I noticed that it was extremely boring. Sure he describes things in vivid detail, but I don’t need to know that much vivid detail about setting the kitchen table. The plot concerns a 30-year marriage that has lost its luster. We flash back a bit to the courtship, which is entirely run of the mill.

The narrator says that his wife always tells the story of how he proposed because it was so hilariously funny everyone always erupted in gales of laughter. But guess what? It wasn’t funny at all, or particularly surprising, clever or unusual.

I listened to the whole book, sticking my finger down my throat at various gag-worthy moments. I suppose I enjoyed the ending, so it was worth hanging in there.

Mostly, the book made me appreciate “The Time Traveler’s Wife” more. Because that’s a really unusual and surprising story. Also about a long relationship and also alternating between past and present.

I started reading “Prince of Tides” at about the same time I started listening to “The Wedding,” and was amused that it also concerned a man in the south (South Carolina this time, rather than North Carolina), with a strained marriage. But “Prince of Tides” is very surprising, clever and unusual. Don’t let the Barbra Streisand/Nick Nolte movie deter you. I cannot even picture those two in these roles.

The primary concern is the bulb

I’d lived in Washington and worked for a small newspaper about three weeks when my editor asked me if I would cover the first daffodil picking.

“You have boots, right?”

Thinking she meant steel-toe construction boots, and not rubber barn/field boots, I said yes.

With such a high turnover among reporters, it’s smart to send the new kid to this kind of annual event, especially when the wide-eyed newcomer literally had never seen a daffodil bud still in its “protective sheath,” because the result is an excessively descriptive story.

Did you know you could see the yellow petals underneath the skin???

The pickers gave me a bud or two, so I could watch them bloom. I put one in a water glass in my bedroom and enjoyed its sunny, scented splendor.

Cut to four years later, and I was delighted to discover that the bulbs I planted in the fall had sprouted and were on the verge of bursting free of said protective sheath. I’ve been eagerly watching them for about a week, waiting for the blossoms.

As of this morning, two in front of the house had made an appearance, and the ones along the side, facing south, must have bloomed over the weekend, during a miserably windy storm that kept me inside reading for the better part of two days.**

Those lovely southern facing blossoms were lying on the ground, having been blown over by the storm. I liberated them and brought them to the office to enjoy. They smell nice.

**Not that it was such a hardship. We have a room designated for this very purpose, with soothing rocky water fountains, scented candles, Zen statuettes and an oil painting of Buddha from Target (I am so not even kidding). Also, I got my first library card in I don’t know how long. It goes on my keys like those grocery store rewards cards, and the library even has a self-checkout system.