And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales

I had a nasty little head cold that seems to be wrapping itself up finally.  This time I went with Qin Chiao and Zicam.  I got the sore throat on Tuesday, naturally the DAY AFTER I gave blood so I had to call the blood bank and tell them that particular pint might not have been my best work.  Then I  spiraled downward Wednesday and Thursday.  Spent Friday down there and started working my way out on Saturday.  I’m not 100% but I’m almost out of the web.  Friday was the funeral for our friend.  I don’t believe there is much worse that watching a 22 year old kid get up in a chapel and say she’s going to miss her Daddy.  I wish I had put something together.  As it turned out, no one spoke for the title plant. Of course the title plant sat together in the back.  And went through a lot of Kleenex.  Between the cold and service I’m sure I was covered in snot and tears.  Friday was a rough day.  I left Old Republic in 1998.  They brought in a new plant manager who was such an idiot that I just couldn’t abide by that guy.  He was that special kind of corporate brownnoser that I so respect.  I spent the next 10 years having a great career until I ran into the Amateur Manager.  But we all pick back up like it was yesterday.  I had lunch with a couple of the guys afterward.  We just don’t miss a beat.

In other news, Bubba has blown his coat again.  He looks like an alien species.

He had a run of antibiotics for the abscess on his manhood.  I don’t know if that was a contributing factor.  I can’t remember how much I said about that, but he had something on his boyness.  The interns poked and prodded and squeezed and ultimately got a needle and aspirated it.  I stood over him repeating “I’m sorry little man”.  Little Bubba took it like a champ.  They gave me a run of antibiotics and it’s finally gone.

And in spite of lots of advice in the contrary, I planted peet pots and put tomatoes, jalapeños, habañeros and some of Rudy’s peppers in there.  Rudy’s seeds were 2 years old, but I got lucky and they sprouted anyway.  Everything came up except two of Rudy’s, so I’ve got four of them, 7 tomatoes, 2 jalapeños, and a habañero.

I’ve built a 4X4 raised bed for the peppers so that the soil will stay warmer.  They’ll go into the ground in the next couple of days depending on rain.  Somebody left a half of a squirrel on the back 40.  I discovered him yesterday.  I’m hoping the bird circling the yard really was a vulture and took care of the rest.  If not, I guess I have to bury half a squirrel later on today.  I don’t know who introduced him to his maker.  Rita got back there twice last week, but wouldn’t even pretend to venture back there yesterday when the gate was wide open.  I can’t’ imagine she wouldn’t have brought her prey back to me, but who knows with that dog.  She’s kind of sociopathic at times.  An owl or a bird of prey could have introduced him to his maker too.  That’s actually the way I’d like things to work around here.

We’ll be real world bachelor jackass millionaires

Hoo boy it’s been busy around here.  Here’s some bon mots and cheap shots.  First, stolen from TriMarni

[youtube 7NoWAd58-ps]

Way back in probably November or December of 2007 when I did my first transport I went down to Los Gatos and met a very famous Doberman breeder who had two trainwrecks in her truck.  She’d gone to Merced to get one and I think she might have gone all the way to Santa Maria to get the other one.  Of course Rita was the Santa Maria dog. The other dog was a big red named Honz.  He was a sweet, dopey dog.  Everybody thought I’d want Honz, but he didn’t have that devilment that I like, Rita did.  I knew that sweet boy would get a good home and he did.  Sadly, he bloated Saturday night.  The damage was so bad that he was PTS on the table.  Godspeed Honz, I know you were a good dog.

I’ve gotten some questions about the cycling.  My answer is it’s been rainy and crappy here.  And I don’t have to ride in crappy weather if I don’t want to.  I’ve been out several times a week, that’s for sure, I just haven’t started working up to the long epic rides yet.  Some of my riding pals are making noises about the Tour de Napa.  That’s in August and makes sense.  Quite honestly closings have been so slow that I haven’t been able to pay the entries.  The jury is currently out on the LiveStrong, although if I can swing it, I’ll get that one going.

I’ve also taken a break from powerlifting.  Not because I’m ready to retire from it or anything but because thirteen years of doing the same thing has taken its toll on my body.  As a matter of fact, if you see the March 2010 Powerlifting USA magazine, I’m on page 85.  But for now, I’m doing crossfit right now primarily because it’s something different every day and there is a sort of accountability there.  I am having to do the scaled workouts, and today’s for example will nearly kill me, but I’m keeping at them because I know the more I do something the better I get at it.  Crossfit has a lot of Olympic moves and a lot of broken down versions of Olympic moves.  They don’t bench press very often which is why every now and then I’ll go to max just to keep the muscle memory going, but they do lots of Deadlifts, Power Cleans, Clean and Jerks, Snatch Power Clean and Jerk etc.  I had never done a Snatch Balance before and those were on the menu last Tuesday.  It is essentially a movement that teaches the body balance if you fail on a heavier weight.  I did pretty good with them, but for a new movement, I really liked doing them.  Check’em out.

[youtube WlabYlMkJyw]

The interesting thing with crossfit is that I’ve been working harder in the gym and being able to work harder on the yard before my back starts giving me troubles.  While I don’t have any of it under control, I do have most of the weeds knocked down in the front yard, some of the tree trunk dug up, about half of the weeds knocked down in the back yard and most importantly of all some fava beans starting to grow in the garden.  I’m about two weeks away from having enough of my own lettuce to stop buying it in the store.  Looking forward to that day again.  The regular compost pile is progressing as it should, the dog crap experiment is not going so well.  These guys crap a lot.  A LOT.  Might have to move to Plan B on that one.  Sometimes I wish these guys would crap on command like Beauregard did.  Now that was a good dog.

But now it’s full of evil clowns

I’ve been ridiculously busy.  If I hadn’t woken up at 3am today and decided to get up, you wouldn’t be hearing from me now.  Sometimes something comes through that’s too good to resist.  I give you, last night’s Jon Stewart Show

I’ve decided to start composting here on the Farm.  Because I don’t have enough to do.  And because it’s the right thing to do considering I rarely even go out on the back 40.  How rare?  Apparently a tree snapped in half and fell on the neighbor’s shed.  He’s probably waiting for me to do something about it, but I didn’t even know it happened.  The good news is that I get to play with the chain saw on Sunday.  Because Sunday is blocked out for me.  And my chain saw.  Anyway, I’ve been researching the way to do it and what I can and can’t compost.  And I’m building a dog crap septic tank.  Or dog crap composter.  Or whatever it is.  There’s a lot of dog crap here.  Might as well put it to good use.  If it weren’t dark out I’d get a picture of the chard that’s doing really well and the lettuce that’s coming along nicely.  I’m not sure that the fava beans are going to do what they need to.  It’s been a constant fight with aphids and ants with them. 

[youtube XBCfyDpgz6I]

Actually, I’m composting because the jack ass garbage company picked up my cans.  We disagree on when the bill was paid and whether or not they should have picked them up…20 days after the bill was paid they picked them up for non-payment.  Blink.  Blink.  And then refused to bring them back without me paying a $60 trip charge.  That’s $60 that they will never see.  Ever.   I’ll just pre-cycle as much as I can and then compost the rest.  It’s not like the bums don’t like the bottles and cans.  OK, there aren’t any cans, just wine bottles.  And I’ve been putting half the wine bottles in the neighbor’s for years anyway.  That way I don’t look like the block alcoholic so who are we kidding here anyway?

I’m spending too much time figuring out how to take this place completely off the grid.  If they really start selling those Bloom Boxes for $3000, PG&E can kiss my ass.  I’ll buy two and convert the heat to electrical.  If I can start diverting water in the creek behind the house, I can get all Ted Kacynski on everyone.  And add a page to Pink Bunny Ears for my manifesto.  I always remember the Guru saying that the legal measure for the insanity plea was whether or not you had a manifesto.  Do you have a manifesto?  Great, you can now plead insanity.  It’s like a freebee.   I’m still making my own bread.  Sonofabun wants me to get chickens but they would have to stay outside and there’s too much risk for me getting up and finding out that something got into the chicken coop and killed all my chickens and I don’t think I could deal with that.  And I certainly couldn’t butcher one even if I had to.  So chickens are out, as much as I’d like to piss off my NIMBY neighbor with a rooster.  Now the wild turkeys here, that’s a different story.

Wash me clean, in amazing grace

I know I shouldn’t be complaining about the rain.  Driving has been banned in Baltimore due to the snow.  They’ve had 72 inches of snow this year.  The Federal Government has been closed for four days.  I don’t know that is a bad thing.  They really need to quit screwing around with politics and solve some problems.  Like health care.  The bill sucks but the Republican solution of doing nothing sucks more.  But that’s not today’s subject.  It’s the weather.

As a Californian, I’m ok that it’s another State getting their ass kicked by the weather for a change.  After two terrible fire seasons and this years torrential rains, sorry guys, we needed a break.  Hopefully everyone has enough heating oil and remembered to go buy bread.  And milk.  And Post Toasties.  And liquor. Malibu will be falling off the hill in another month or two so if y’all could take it for a couple of more weeks, we’ll be good out here.  Thanks.

muddypaws

Here at the Farm the word of the day has been MUD.  Lots off it.  Every night I put on my boots and go outside and hose off both dogs.  Rita being the drama queen that she is shivers and chatters her teeth.  Bubba stands there stoicly and trust me, the garden hose on his nether regions should make him shiver and his teeth should chatter, but they don’t.  That’s how I know Rita is playing to the crowd.  If they would sleep in their own beds or even their crates that would be one thing, but I wake up every morning with the two of them pressed up against me.  I don’t need the silt from their romp in the back yard in my bed too.  When it’s sloppy I have to wash their entire bellies and both legs.  Now it’s just hard mud and right now I only have to wash off their paws.  But because I’m solution oriented I want a better mousetrap.

Right now I’m thinking the solution is to add a “mud room” on behind the family room.  There are full doors on the family room which I would leave in place.  Then the room would have maybe a dog bath, maybe even a people bath and perhaps a little bit of home gym stuff that I wouldn’t want in the house.  I was surprised at house much information was out there about mud rooms.

dog shower

Now I would imagine the people who come and visit me would prefer I just remodeled the main bath and added the shower there, which I should do.  But that room gets used about 10 times a year and I wash dog paws every single night.  And I could add a dog door to the mud room but not to the main house.  And there wouldn’t be silt all over the family room all the time.  Because I’ve figured out that even if I landscape, Rita is going to run and be covered with mud.  Bubba is going to do his OCD fence running thing and he’s going to be covered in mud.

dogbath

Something like that.  I just need to figure out how to hook it into the house plumbing.  I really think I’m on to something here.  And then I’ll put a shower in the main bath.  I will.  Really.

But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky

I’ve been heading out to the vegetable garden every evening around 4pm and pulling weeds.  The reason is two-pronged.  One, I get the weeds out of the garden and the real plants can get some sun and start to grow and two, Bubba will run non-stop while I’m outside.  Mr. OCD needs to burn off some of that energy so it works.  If he had opposable thumbs I would teach him how to vacuum.  Instead he runs a path in the yard.

1-31-bubba

He does the same thing in the morning when I go out to pick up dog crap.  He pretty much cries with glee that I’m going out into the yard with him.  Then he runs laps while I pick up his crap.  To be a dog and to find ectasy is such simple things.  Anywho, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing bees when I was out there.  My property is pretty wooded so birds, trees, bees, it all made sense.  In this one area I noticed they divebombed me a little.  But it was always at sunrise and who really cares that much around sunrise?

About a month ago, amazingly before the 14 days and 10 inches of rain began I went out and trimmed one of the trees that was touching the roof of the house.  New roof, tree scraping off asphalt=bad.  My contractor was supposed to have built me a new gate back when I was in Laughlin, but he’s kind of a trainwreck so he finished it a couple of weeks ago.  The DAY the rain started.  During that period of time I couldn’t get from the front yard to the back without going through the house.  So the tree trimmings sat in a big stack.

1-31 sticks

(Yes that’s Bubba running in the background)  Yesterday it was dry enough to get the green bin from the front and start clipping up the branches.  I did the first stack no problem and then headed over to the major stack.  The previous owner’s brother built bird houses all over the property.  Birds may have used them at one time but I’ve never seen a bird in them in the last two years.  As a matter of fact, I was planning on pulling them all down to keep the rodents out of them.  As I approached the stack, Rita was under the tree watching something.  Then I looked up and noticed the bird house.  Something was inside it.  Not what I expected.

1-31-beenest2

I think they are some sort of real bees, as opposed to wasps which means there are rules as to what I can do to get them out of there.  I assume once it gets hot honey will run out of the box and all over the ground and attract ants and I’ll have the freaking Circle of Life going on in my back yard.  I  just hope they aren’t Africanized.

Do me a favor and pass me the Jaeger

I’ve been busy, so let’s do a before and after.

Before:

house-before

House taped up waiting for paint:

house-taped-up

House done.

house-done

Yeah, I painted the front door red.

house-done2

Bubba relaxing after a long day of watching me work.

10-26-bubba-repose

Yes, I have very similar pictures of a black and tan boy, who I still miss terribly.

Charlie thinks its cool to keep a large mouth bass in his new swimmin’ pool

My goodness what a day.  Didn’t do much work, but got a lot done around the house.  The dual panes on the front of the house?  Done.  New garage door?  Done.  Both items qualify for the energy tax break/credit whatever that is.  The guys did a great job on the windows.  They discovered on the first window that the Farm doesn’t necessary zig where it should or zag where it should.  And it lists to the right.  I’ve learned this the hard way and then neglected to tell them what I already knew.  Plumb is an interesting concept here.  Every guy who has been under this house has had to answer the question “Do you see a reason down there for this thing to list to the North?”  No one has.  So I just muddle along.  I’ve got to give a shout out to Scott at Pella Windows in Walnut Creek.  These windows are very nice and Scott priced them so well that it took every one else a long time to find a product that they could price similarly.  I figured the other guys weren’t going to give me that price without a better estimate sitting right in front of them so I went with the man who did it right from the get go.  My contractor raved about the quality of the windows.  That’s a good thing.  Best part?  No more cranks.  Or maybe that I can’t hear a thing in the front yard any more.  Or maybe that they just sllliiiideee open and closed.  Or that the front of the house won’t bake any more and I don’t have to worry about UV fading.  It’s a happy home improvement time for the Wine Dog.  When they came out to measure out the garage door the estimator told me that I had to clear back to 10 feet so they could get the old door off.  That involved moving that huge stack of wood from the deck my idiot friend talked me into buying and the Mustang.  Here’s how good Contra Costa Door was,  the estimator called down to the shop and asked for their big strong young guy to do the job so he could help push the car.  I’ve been moving this Mustang around since it broke in 1986.  It has a new engine in it now, but with everything else that’s been going on around here, the project has been stalled for about three years.  But with a floor jack I can move this thing around pretty well.  When the guy showed up the Mustang was out of the garage and in the front yard. He looks at me and says “It says here I’m supposed to help push a car”.  I said “Honey, I’m not going to waste that favor on a downhill, I rolled it out.  We’ll have fun pushing it back up the driveway.”  The windows guys joined in and it was a 30 second project.  The best part of all this was that the entire garage got swept out yesterday.  After a year of it not getting swept out, that was a good thing.  I’m really busy the next two days but I’m looking forward the getting the garage all cleaned up and put up and actually parking my BMW inside for the first time in two years.

I’m feedin’ the dog, sackin’ the trash

If you had a star in your car window, like a rock knick and went from 111 to 42 degrees, there’s a good chance your window would crack. Sometimes even the air conditioning will do that.  So if you take the earth’s crust and go from 111 to 42 in two days, chances are there will be a little bit of a rupture.  That’s my theory on why we’ve had a bunch of earthquakes in the last three days.  And to all those jackasses out there who don’t understand tsunami and went out to the beach, here’s a little light reading on what happens when a tsunami hits the California coast.  Crescent City got it again in 2006, not as bad.  These things are really a serious threat to the California coast and the Hawaiian Islands as well.  I really don’t understand the idea of going down to the beach.  Is that so you have farther to run if it does hit?  Or maybe just the natural thinning of the herd.  I found this looking for something else and it’s pretty interesting.

[youtube Iw3Dj6uGT04]

But I digress, I was just talking about how cold it’s been the last two nights after a weekend in the triple digits.  I don’t really think a tsunami is going to wash up on the shores of Mt. Diablo.

I had a conference call last night with some clients who work for Cisco.  They are six investors and I really like them.  I think they’re all engineers, they ask questions as if they were, but I digress.  They did the conference call on Cisco’s WebEx platform.  Super cool.  I log in and then it calls me.  The page that shows everyone logged in has three buttons on it.  You can share documents, your desktop and something else that I forgot what it was.  So I was looking at property and pulling up old reports on the property and they could essentially look over my shoulder and see my desktop.  Very cool.  They couldn’t see the glass of wine in front of the screen.

For everyone who’s asking, Bubba is back to normal, or as normal as that dog gets.  Either today or tomorrow I’m going to take him down to be re-weighed and pray that he’s got some weight back on.  He was down to 69.3 when we went down to Encina last week.  He’s getting fed three times most days.  I really think this guy can figure out his issue. 

I had Rita in dog school on Monday night.  She does a couple of things that get her special attention.  One is if she isn’t sure what she’s supposed to be doing she just runs through her repetoire in hopes of hitting on the thing I want.  It’s almost as if she’s saying “How about this?  No?  OK how about this?”  Towards the end of class we were doing just a couple of more things and she started pulling to leave.  I just thought she sensed that class was about over.  She tends to be a page ahead of everyone else.  She wouldn’t sit correctly so I handed her leash to the instructor who couldn’t get her to sit either.  She gave me back the lead and Rita splayed those hips and peed a lake right there.  The dog was trying to tell my dumb ass she needed to go out.  I gave the lead to the instructor while I cleaned up and the instructor says “Watch this.  Rita sit.”  And sit she did, perfectly.  She couldn’t sit before, she had to go.

rita-nose

Those of you who have been here know that there has been a stack of wood in the garage for a year now.  This wood is the makings of an 8X8 deck that one of my idiot friends thought I should buy for the yard last year.  Granted I needed a deck.  I didn’t need another project right then, I needed to get my real estate business up and running.  Yesterday the garage door guy came and measured.  He called back to the shop and they had what they needed for my door in stock.  When did I want it?  How about tomorrow (today).  Not a problem.  Then he tells me that I have to clear the garage back 10 feet which means moving the wood stack.  Strangely it was already on my list of things to get done in the next week or so, but right then was kind of intense.  I’m halfway through it and have to have it done by 11 this morning. And the Mustang needs to come out too which wouldn’t be too bad if there wasn’t a pile of rocks in my driveway right now.  The windows are going in today too so the entire front of the house will be different at 5pm tonight.  Then I’m going to run a sander over the front one more time, hose it off one more time and hopefully put a coat of primer on it tomorrow morning.  Then Sunday, the front of the house gets painted.  Wonder how many people will drive past it not recognizing it?  The neighbors across and to the left, nice people, are having their driveway redone.  Now I know why they’re all cracked.  No rebar.  I think I’m going to replace mine with pavers, but that’s currently requiring more thought process than I’m willing to put forth right now.  For now I’m going to see if I can figure out the Lego puzzle of a deck.  I have no idea what it’s supposed to look like finished, paint the place and finish digging up the roots for the Japanese maple in the front yard.

Don’t give vanity a second chance

It’s been a wild few days here at the Farm. For those of you not in the know, Saturday marked the end of my 50th year. And the beginning of my 51st year. For those of you who haven’t gotten here, 51 kind of sucks. When you turn 50 it’s all sorts of fun and silliness and it’s a milestone and shit. 51 is just old. You’re on the second half even if you only live to 60. It’s kind of weird. Monday morning when I got on the EFX trainer I had to plug in 51. I just kind of looked at it as if the machine was the bastard that was making me old.

I have a client who is 27 years old. He’s a little tripped out by the fact that he’s at a point in his life where he can buy a house, at 27. I attempted to buy my first home at 33. I wish I had. I was scared of spending $300k on a condo. Actually not just any condo, one of these. I am a moron for not doing that. Three are currently on the market $899k to $1,195,000. I am a moron. So as I’m counseling him I tell him the story of the Clocktower Lofts and mention that I’m now 51 and still have a hard time believing they let me own my own home and entrust me with animals and such. It’s just a state of mind. What I don’t notice is his jaw has hit the floor. He’s no longer listening. Finally he blurts out “You’re 51 years old? I would have never in a million years guessed that!”. I may have fallen in love with a client. But really it drove home my point. It’s a state of mind. In my case, a state of denial. It’s not like a wear clothes that are too tight or age inappropriate or dye my hair or take botox injections. It’s just that the 22 year old idiot that I once was, never really went away. That’s probably ok. I think it’s okay to want to retire to a beach community so that you can surf every day, because you didn’t have time to surf during your working career.

Sunday I went to see the LPGA at Blackhawk. (thanks again for the tix) It was the first day in a long time where I wasn’t running here or there or thinking about what I should be doing rather than what I am doing. I try to always stay in the moment but sometimes the voices in my head are just too loud. But Sunday I watched most of the players come through. I started at the 18th and started walking backwards, which is how I usually do it. When I get to the leaders I follow them back to the end. Blackhawk Country Club is one of those stupid ass courses that can’t be walked. They actually had shuttle carts for the players on some of the holes. I got to the 15th hole and found a gentle PBE reader volunteering as a Marshall. I hung out there while a few groups came through and then walked back to the 14th. They had bleachers at the 14th so I sat there for a while. I ended up staying there until Gustafson and Ochoa came through. Ochoa’s lead had gone into the shitter by then. Gustafson was playing like a machine. Yang was in the group before them and I think she had three eagles and two birdies on the front nine. It was still a horserace at that point. Ochoa shanked one terribly early in the day and the out went even worse. She buried her iron in the sod. It didn’t improve for her from there. Too bad, I was rooting for her, I really like her game, but it was not to be. I’ve been remiss in my game this year. Mostly because I’ve been busy selling houses. I’m going to work this week on getting back out at least twice a week to smack a bucket of balls. I used to get that done easily every week before Alliance crumbled. Since I spent most of those years driving around, I’d just run by a driving range or rather stop as I drove past one. Now I drive past them I don’t have time for a quick break. Must adjust that now.

I know you’ve all been wondering “What’s the Wine Dog been drinking?” How about a little something from the BevMo nickel sale? Oh yeah. The Valentin “V” 2006 Syrah.

valentinThey’re currently selling the 2007 so apparently I got them last year. You never know in the Wine Dog Cellar. It was probably $8.99 per bottle with the second bottle for a nickel. It’s an Argentinean wine. Robert Pepi consults. And it’s really a great value wine. Extremely great value on the nickel sale. There is an uncommon lushness in this wine. It paired up nicely with the pork chop I threw on the grill. Dark cherries, plums and pepper are well balanced in this wine. There’s a smokiness to it that lets it pair perfectly with grilled meats. I just salt & peppered the chop but I could have made a glaze with it and this wine would have stood up nicely to it. When it’s all said and done, if you’re having 10 people over and Q-ing it up, at $4.50 a bottle you cannot lose with this one. It will kick Two Buck Chuck’s ass all day long and well into the night. Your friends will think you spent a lot more on the wine and it’ll be our little secret.

And the garden. I finally got the garden going again. Auntie was here in what? May? June? And left a gift card to Navlets. I hadn’t had time to even think about it until last week. I churned through the soil and went down to pick up some seeds and such. I asked the clerk about the citrus trees and she said “Come back on Thursday, they’re going on sale”. Okay, I can do that. She wasn’t kidding, when I came back they were 40% off. Holy Cowboys! So now I have several rows of little lettuces popping their heads up, lots of Swiss chard, brussel sprouts and fava beans. AND a grapefruit tree, an orange tree and a lemon tree waiting for me to dig three holes. Life is good here on the Farm.

Last week the double panes for the front of the house showed up and supposedly my buddy the contractor will be here tomorrow to install them and fix the gate that’s giving me agida. And in a mere two hours, a man from Contra Costa Door Company will be here to do the measurements for replacing the garage door. They came in $700 UNDER Home Depot on the very same quality product. Actually, a higher quality opener. Then, the Wine Dog is going to get out a can of paint and put some paint on this thing. Although I might let the neighbors kids paint it first.

A constant wave of tension on top of broken trust

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned the front yard here recently.  It got out of control this year.  Basically, I’ve found that if you work for yourself, at least in my case, you work harder and longer hours.  Generally on Monday and Tuesday, I work 14 hour days.  On Wednesday I can get it down to about 12 hours, Thursday about 10 and Friday around 7-8, then there’s usually four hours each day of the weekend.  Sometimes I’ll skip one day completely, but it’s rare.  And occasionally I’ll just run away and drink wine or watch falcons or both.  I rehired my housekeeper about 4 months ago so that part of life around here has moved along as it should.  There is and has been no landscaping here.  And the house needs to be painted.  The exterior has needed painted since I bought the thing in June of 2007.  It’s bare wood that should be either sealed or painted.  I’m sure the old woman that I bought this place from never did either.  So not only does the front look like ass, there are weeds about waist high in the front.  After a long day of throwing people out of their homes, I would come home to my place that looked a lot like a few other agent’s listings.  (not ours, I make sure the lawns are watered and taken care of)  As a matter of fact, my neighbor has been installing a half fence between the front yards.  This really chaps my hide.  But she’s one of those pious NIMBY church ladies that I really don’t have much respect for.  Last election I watched the pastor stop by and drop off “Yes on 8” yard signs.  OK, right now I have no respect at all for her.

In June when I initially decided to I could redo the front yard I called the Contra Costa Water District and said “Hey, I’ve never had landscaping here and I live alone.  Can I get a special dispensation (from the rationing) in order to get this place up to par?”  No.  Really?  Because my neighbor has a beautiful expanse of green lawn and washes all three of his vehicles every weekend and I’d just like to get my place up to the minimum standards of the neighborhood.  Nope.  How come he gets to wash three cars and water his lawn every day and I can’t do anything?  Now keep in mind, this is the same Contra Costa Water District who supplies water to Brentwood Water and Antioch Water, but those guys have ORDINANCES REQUIRING people to keep the lawns green.  WTF.  So I get pissy and let it go all summer.  And then the neighbor started putting in that half fence.  And that really pissed me off.  So I waited another two weeks and then realized there was only one way to properly send her to the moon.  Hire a truck load of day workers.  Because I know she TRIES not to sound racist, but I know she is.  So Sunday morning I went down and got me a truckload of dayworkers.  They hollered at each other in a language I don’t understand, played really loud Mexican music and generally were pretty obnoxious.  And the front yard is stripped.  Two loads have gone to the dump but the dump here is charging me nearly $50 per load.  I ran out of budget last weekend, so I’ll take the rest down this weekend.  Last night she came over and knocked on the door.  It was already dark.  Her husband has been out of town for nearly two weeks now.  Because he’s gone their green can is empty and did I want to load some of the stuff into their green can.  Not tonight, it’s dark and I’m still working.