Saturday, January 28, 2006

Blue on black, tears on a river

Peggy: If you want to know why I didn't come to your Pampered Chef party, pictured here is the reason. [Click to see at 1024x768.] How I Spent My Saturday This tree in my back yard, at the side of my garage, has been leaning more and more over the last five years, and it finally exceeded the 30°-from-perpendicular point (see the stump?) so it needed to be taken down in a controlled manner. The direction the tree was leaning would have eventually put it down on the roof near middle of that window pane, so evasive measures had to be taken to make it go further to the right. And by careful planning, sheer luck, and me pulling with all my absence-of-might on a rope tied to the middle of the tree as it started to give way, it came down without damaging the building. While it looks here like it did fall into the shrubbery, actually it mostly missed the plant life – there are branches on the hedge but the trunk and the two thick branches that are supporting its weight landed in front of the hedge (which needs to be taken back a foot or two anyway, and the ground below that area is moss that has choked out the grass, so whatever damage exists once the detrius has been cleared is in a way beneficial).

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.) Proud of her daddy and her pussyHopefully 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.

Well, Golllllllly!
are those the ghosts of the earlier residents in the lower picture? man, it doesn't look like your problems are going to end. :-P
As usual, I don't know who the people in the picture are, but they lived in this hovel in Yakima WA for a few years. (I found the pix in one bedroom after they evacuated suddenly. The house is a rental on my sis-in-law's property so I didn't break any laws to get it.) They look better than the people who last lived in my house sounded... but as said, there will be a discussion of those folks whenever I next do home improvements. I think the original homeowners are still alive and laughing at me when they drive by to look over the house at trees...
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