Saturday, January 28, 2006
Blue on black, tears on a river
Which is a great lead-in to the stupidity I'm reporting on today: that of the people who lived in this house before me, in regard to the landscaping. The house was built in 1959 and had one owner for about thirty years, which is typical for this neighborhood according to Lillian next door who has been in her house since its construction 45 years ago. When the original owners left, a crack addict and her two little bastards move in, and you're welcome to guess how well the house was kept up. [That's the topic of a different Everyday Stupidities entry, which I'll write some other time after I rewire jerryrigged lighting fixtures, paint a room, or replace doors and the trim strips around them. I now know how I got such a great price on the house.] Crack addict eventually got arrested, addict's mom moved in to take care of the little bastards, addict eventually got out of jail and moved elsewhere then reclaimed her little bastards, and grandma didn't need such a large house anymore so sold it. Grandma, it should be said, did a pretty good job of taking care of the little things and beautification (even if she had a thing for plaster statues and birdhouses). However, she – like the longtime predecessors – didn't touch anything big. Such as trees. You can see a ladder in the background, sort of between two large shrubs. There was a giant oak tree between the two shrubs, which the original residents had planted in the 1960's then paid no attention to, and it was starting to infringe upon the fenceline. Lillian had said something to them about it in the 1970's but they laughed it off. Lillian said something to them in the 1980's and they didn't seem concerned. So by the 1990's it was this monstrocity that could have taken out any part of the house or Lillian's house and garage, and that's when those folks left. The grandma spent every day plucking the suckers that tree was spreading across the front and back yards, and Lillian was finding them approaching the foundation of her house as well. I had to spend an income tax refund a couple years ago to get that tree taken down [and the guy who did it, well, despite him taking it down fine he turned out to be another Stupidity]. I let the back yard die of thirst to choke off the roots and suckers, and now only an occasional one in the front yard, from a bit of root system which still lives independant of the rest of the now-decayed stump, crops up.
Which brings us to this tree, which wasn't quite as old but I recall looking at it when I first saw the house and thought it had a bit of tilt to it, but figured that was natural and possibly caused by a swing which had two decades ago been across a horizontal branch. And one day, the two trees in the farthest corner of the yard which seem to be older than the house will also have to come down because they are so large and of questionable stability that they could do some serious damage to house of the neighbor behind me. (And my real estate agent told me this when he showed me the house.) Hopefully I'll have a really big tax return when it comes down to that day, as well as find an arborist who follows through on promises and contract terms. My brother-in-law and I did this bit of cutting at no charge. Speaking of taxes, I got my last W2 today so will attend to the 1040 very soon... I don't believe in putting it off. I've always believed that holding off until April 15 (or February 15 for that matter) when you have all the materials required to file gathered and ready to be unnecessary. People are intimidated by math, sure, but for many people there's nothing more they need to joust with than a 1040A or even a 1040EZ, plus if things are a bit more complicated that's why tax preparation firms exist. For the last three years I've been using H&R Block's online filer, and prior to that I filled out the paper forms my damn self... and always had refund money in my bank account by March 1.