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NYC->LA Transplant Tip: The Right Watering Can

We never had plants at my parents’ apartment in New York City. In fact, my mom is offended by the presumption of guests who bring fragranced flowers as a gift. I’ve been in Los Angeles for three years, and since we moved to Highland Park in October, I’ve acquired a porch-full of potted succulents through estate sales, Craigslist, and local grocery stores. I’ve learned to water them when they start to look ill. I even talk to them. But, I don’t have it in me to regularly clean the watering can.

Last week I noticed that a mess of leaves and yard debris had accumulated inside the can. I turned it upside down and shook, but nothing came out. I reached my hand in to grab the stuff but recoiled at the feel of something sticky like cotton-candy.

It was time to give the can a good wash. In the kitchen, I ran a lot of precious LA tap-water through it, but the bits of dried leaves and petals stayed suspended in the middle, vibrating slightly. Then, out of the tip of the spout, a big brown spider sidled out, glaring at me with its presence (do spiders have eyes?) for several seconds before hustling back inside.

In a panic, I filled the can with dish washing liquid, ran another minute’s worth of tap water through, shook it violently, and reached in with a paper towel, but everything was still stuck in a sticky, silky, messy web – even the spider. And, I didn’t have the room or the co-ordination to maneuver the paper towel effectively while being grossed out. So, I put the can in the backyard, ceding the territory to the spider, and decided to buy a new watering can.

Actually, I was determined to buy a used watering can to avoid contributing to the proliferation of cheap stuff in the world. I was tempted by many elegant and whimsical designs on eBay, but they were all potential spider houses and I couldn’t pull the trigger. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by this whole ordeal. One of the first songs I learned as a child was “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” but I never understood its real-world implications. Also, the song is not accurate. Water does not wash a spider out.

Then, while shopping for toilet paper at Target, I found the perfect watering can. Its wide open top probably uses less plastic (pat on the back) than most, and its rare anti-spider function will make it a family heirloom. I’d have to neglect it for months before a spider would dare take up residence inside. This less than six dollar can is so exclusive it’s not even listed on Target’s website but you can find it elsewhere by searching for “Arrow Stackable Watering Can.” By the way, this stackable can was made in the U.S.A. of Polypropylene (Plastic #5).

Spider House and Waterinc Can

P.S. The new watering can is very difficult to pour without water gushing out everywhere. Still worth it.

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