step 2: apply sunscreen to face, arms, neck. attempt to reach middle of back; find all contortion efforts unsuccessful. settle on covering only reachable parts.
step 3: admire neighbor gardens.
step 4: pick up $2 spade; get working. turn dirt lovingly. pull out little stones, occasional weeds.
step 5: get legs real dirty.
step 6: get back to tilling. wipe brow. feel sunburned.
step 7: kick off shoes.
step 8: meet your neighbor, Warren. feel slightly naked in your skimpy tank top and shorts, since he's clad in a sweatshirt and jeans. feel like a hippie when he glances at your bare feet, which are buried in dirt.
step 9: become embarrassed when your cell phone goes off, because the ringer is all the way up and it's your mother; her ringtone is the theme song from The Price is Right.
step 9A: internally apologize to Warren.
step 10: realize you've been working on your garden for nearly an hour and you're less than a third of the way done. abandon loving, careful tilling of soil in favor of strenuous hoeing; begin using feet to mix up dry dirt clods.
step 11: wonder if that sunscreen is working.
step 12: admire your work so far.
step 13: try to ignore back pain.
step 14: finish turning bed with an exhausted flourish. flop down on the grass. call your mother.
step 15: realize you have no idea how to organize your garden. take a stroll past the neighbors' gardens for inspiration.
step 16: become exasperated with how long you've been working; finally plant your first plant.
step 16A: plant subsequent plants. suspect they look inadequate. wonder silently if you should have thought more about spring plants versus summer plants.
step 17: try not to compare your greens
to your neighbors' greens.
step 18: realize you've hit the level beyond ravenously hungry and may have moved on to hypoglycemic; plant the other plants in a hurry.
step 19: eat a burger, fries, and a milkshake. feel sore. examine sunburn. wince at sunburn. take luxurious shower. feel hungry again. eat toast, fall asleep on the couch with the cat.
in other news, Cookie nearly made me eat the dirt today. the barn owner let two of the mares out to graze in the front pasture, and they ran up to the back arena gate, startling the crap out of both of us. for probably two straight minutes Cookie pranced, jigged, and spun; she wouldn't stand still and had pretty much forgotten about me altogether. it was like riding a tightly coiled spring. I couldn't dismount without fearing she'd bolt and take me with her. I'm pretty sure I had a look of holy terror on my face as I tried to calm her down, keep her from exploding, figure out what to do, and stay on.
I had to negotiate with her for about ten minutes. TEN. MINUTES. and then, slowly but surely, I got her brain back. we rode for over an hour. I did not dismount -- voluntarily or involuntarily. by the end of the ride she was ignoring the mares. I consider the whole episode a major success.