To the people who ruined our back yard, sometime in the ’80s:
Look, I understand. It was a different time. Gas was cheap, no one talked about climate change, and you liked to hit the open road in your RV. And, after all, it was your house. You could do what you wanted. For the record, I support your right to screw up what became my property 20 years later. Even though it was a really, really stupid thing to do. (Stipulated: It was a really, really stupid thing to buy, as well. The last kick the newspaper business gave me was relocating my husband to Detroit in the middle of the damn winter, at a time when we absolutely needed two sets of parental boots on the ground to make our life together work. We were, as they say, over a barrel, and inventory was a little tight.)
On paper at least, it must have made sense to pick up the garage and rotate it 90 degrees, then pave pretty much everything that was left. You needed RV parking, not grass. Grass was for golf courses, RVs were for pavement, and so you did what you thought you needed to do.
Even though it wrecked the yard. You putzes:
Little by little, within the constrains of our meager budget, we’re trying to undo the damage. That strip along the back fence used to be gravel, but we paid a fortune last year to have it dug out and filled with decent topsoil. It’s now our kitchen herb garden and (shh) a raspberry patch. But until we a) save a contractor’s child from drowning*; or b) write a best-selling novel, the garage will have to stay there. But I have a plan B. It involves a strong thunderstorm, a trip away, and this tree:
It’s the one in the middle, the one covered with ivy. It’s an ash, and like many of the ashes around here, it’s dead. Because it’s back behind the owner’s garage, he doesn’t pay much attention to it. They painted that garage last year, and when the owner came back to trim some limbs so the painters could get to it, I asked if he was starting the removal process. He looked startled; why would he want to remove it? “Well, it’s dead,” I pointed out. He honestly didn’t seem to have even considered such a thing.
Here’s what I’m hoping: That some day when we’re both gone, that tree will come crashing down on our garage, hard enough to make it a total loss. Then we’ll have a little seed money to tear it down and rebuild from scratch. Ideally we’d do so at the end of the driveway, where it belongs, but I’d settle for expanding it to encompass that concrete pad on the far side of the structure, where you can see my car’s butt:
Alan recently got a new car, so that’s the “old car” spot. Yes, because even though that may look like a two-car garage, alas it is not. It’s a 1.8-car garage, or at the moment, one-car/one-boat. Not the boat you see, although that one lives in there, too, so I guess it’s one-car/two-boats. Whatever.
* This sorta worked for our neighbors. They gave a landscaping contractor a big down payment on fixing their back yard a few years ago, and he absconded with the dough and used it to feed his drug habit. One day last spring he turned up on their doorstep, 12-stepping it through the “making amends” part. He ended up transforming their back yard into a place of glory, giving them far more than their money’s worth. It’s sort of like a modern version of winning the lottery.
Anyway, that concludes today’s spell of grumpiness. I see you folks have taken to speculating on the Pennsylvania primary. OK, I’m in: Clinton by…7 points. And Pennsylvania comes off looking as bad as Michigan. Or like a horizontal version of Indiana.
I can’t believe I ever liked Richard Cohen. I mean: Can’t. Believe.
Back to my big monster writing project, which is mostly research, which is turning up fascinating factoids, including this: Della Reese’s original first name was “Delloreese.” Imagine that.