Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hick yards and gaping holes. This is a long one.

Remember how I did all those ridiculous things to my front yard?

Like plant 800 wildflower bulbs and landscape the sidewalk patch/pee hole with $.99 worth of random ass seeds?

Not to say anything about the 200+ xeric grass plugs...

Well, you remember. I'm sure you do.

And I'm sure at least some of you were thinking, um, Finny - aren't you afraid that it's going to look retarded even after it's done looking like the surface of the moon or some hick's front yard? And to that I say yes. Yes I'm always afraid of having a shitty looking yard or a yard that looks like it's totally out of place or was created by people with limited mental capacities.

Thanks for asking!

Thankfully, the yard is starting to show some promise even though it's only January, our contractor has been wandering all over it even though he *tries really hard* not to and the signs of life are coming up totally at random which sort of lends to the retardedness of it all.

I, however, am choosing to see these little sprouts as a good sign that all that shit I painstakingly planted while being made merciless fun of by my neighbors just might actually blossom into something aesthetically appealing.

Or at least it *might* not look like hicks live here in, say, four months. Meaning that I'm giving this yard until June to perk up and make at attempt at filling in with wildflower blossoms and livelier tufts of grass and, hey, a few poppies and iris would be good, too.

Secretly, though, I'm hoping that the off-hand comment one of my neighbors made, when faced with the confirmation that 800 flower bulbs were indeed planted in our small front yard, will somehow come true.

That comment being, "Shit! 800 bulbs? I bet it ends up in Sunset Magazine!"

Hey, a bitch can hope.

Meanwhile, our contractor is funny. Let me tell you more.

See, we're having our porch rebuilt because half of it was showing signs that it might go out for a pack of cigarettes and not come back. Like - it was starting to, on one side, sink into the soft it-used-to-be-all-orchards-around-here soil.


So, we brought in a contractor to do away with the existing concrete pad and rebuild our porch columns since that is a job that Bubba and I need to stay reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaally far away from.

We did have to make up a new mantra to get us started though: Just because the rental yard has jackhammers and concrete mixers available, does not mean we should rent them and then abuse our house and selves with them.

It was tough to resist getting in the truck and going to the rental yard *just to look* at the jackhammers. That much is true.

Anyway, the very skilled contractor did away with the porch concrete and, in its place, we had about a week where there was a nice gaping hole in front of our house.

The hole changed as the week progressed - one day it had a pile of dirt in it, one day it had crushed rock in it, one day some rebar, the next day a lot of rebar and some apoxied holes in the foundation - all kinds of progress. But the point is that for a solid week or so, there was a big hole in front of our house and, consequently, directly in front of our front door.

Now, in normal neighborhoods, this might not pose a problem, but in our neighborhood, where our neighbors are traipsing in and out of our house at all hours of the day and night (thankfully they still knock) and we accept daily deliveries thanks to our online shopping habits and we are constantly swarmed by solicitors, not having a front porch from which one can access a front door becomes a pretty obvious problem.

Our brainier neighbors just came around back and knocked on our back door. This is fine. Excellent, perhaps, and what we were expecting.

Our less determined neighbors have stopped coming by until such time as we can offer them a more hospitable entrance. We now hold our conversations in the middle of the street so that the local traffic can get in on the action.

Our Dutch door sharing neighbor uses the Dutch door.

Our shitty neighbors yell from their front porch.

All of these things are acceptable and were, mostly, expected reactions to the sudden existence of a hole in front of our house after they all got past the fact that there was a hole where our porch used to be and HEY, that's a nice scaffolding and what's it going to look like and so on.

You know, neighborly kind of things.

What I did NOT expect was the absolute brainlessness of delivery people and solicitors.

Let me share an example.

I did NOT expect that a FedEx delivery person, when faced with a giant hole instead of a front porch, would try to approach the porch from a side angle, thinking - I guess - that approaching the house head-on was somehow altering their viewpoint and that, by some strange mystery of physics, if they went to the side of the gaping hole, the porch would somehow reappear and TEE DAH they'd be able to leave their package in the only place they thought a package could go.

No, I did not expect this, but that is indeed what happened. As recounted to us through hysterical laughter by our amused contractor.

The best part was that, when our contractor suggested that they might drop the package in the backyard and Delivery Man agreed, he then returned to the front of the house with full intentions of hanging his FedEx tag on our front door knob (with Delivery Area marked "back door") by way of wading through wet concrete to do so.

Thankfully our contractor is not only a rational being, but also patient and possessing the necessary physical strength to restrain a FedEx delivery man hell bent on hanging a door tag where it did not belong. We came home to find all packages and associated door tags stacked by the back door and no sneaker marks in our concrete.

And that our contractor had tied yellow Caution tape around our front porch.


And, since I've decided we've got time for another, "And, this idiot..." story, I will tell you that I found myself really wishing I owned a shotgun/lived in a state where I could own a shotgun/wouldn't have a shotgun pried from my tiny girl fingers and used on myself if I dared to point it at someone, thanks to the stupidest solicitor on the planet.

See, you might have heard that we had a big hole in front of our house where our porch used to be. You've heard, right? Thought so.

Well, you can imagine that this situation offers up a unique challenge to solicitors because their whole goal in life is to get to your front door and then bother you endlessly about random bullshit you couldn't give a crap less about while you make up a hundred excuses for why talking to you is a waste of time.

My favorite is, "Oh, I'm sorry. My husband makes all the financial decisions in this house. I'm not allowed to handle money."

I laugh to myself every time, but only after the door is closed. I mean, really, if you've got one Jew in the house, who do you think is handling the money? Right. But they don't know that.


During our week of A Hole Where the Front Porch Should be, I found myself at the back of the house doing some random thing when I heard the dog start to lose her mind in the someone's coming to the door way that she does when, say, a neighbor approaches the front door.

But I thought to myself, no one can get to the front door, so they'll either go away or come around back, and I'll just go about my business here, hunting down some fabric for this hat, or whatever.

But then the dog didn't stop barking. And she's not an overly enthusiastic bark-for-no-fucking-good-reason kind of dog. So I was intrigued. I left my fabric bins and wandered out into the living room to find a solicitor limboing under the Caution tape and contemplating a precarious climb up the dirt and crushed rock heap to our front door with a Special Offer! door tag or some such nonsense.

I'll admit it to you here, I sorta lost it on him.

I mean, I'd had enough of people doing incomprehensibly stupid bullshit under such comprehensible circumstances. I couldn't, and still can't, understand how one would see Caution tape wrapped around a big hole and think, "Hey, that's fun! These homeowners have set up a little O-course for me. I shall enjoy it greatly before bothering them about a security system they've repeatedly informed me they do not want! Excellent!"

At first I just opened the door and told him to stop. Like, "Hey! Don't go under that tape! Just stop."

And when he kept coming, despite my raised voice and vigilant finger-wagging, I removed my censor.

"What the fuck are you doing? Don't walk in there!"

And when he stood there and tried to do the, "Hey, this will only take a few minutes." thing, I screamed at him to get off my property or I'd let the dog out. Thankfully, the dog was still barking because I had my hand on the doorknob as though I was going to open it and give her the opportunity to investigate the squirrels racing up the street tree.

But again, he didn't know that, so he finally retreated. While giving the dog the hairy eyeball. Whatever - it got him out of our porch hole.

Of course, I had to share this little interaction with our contractor who, after finishing pouring the new concrete yesterday, left us a little gift.

Well, if he's not the funniest contractor ever.

And, because I'd made all kinds of squealy noises about "Oh, Bubba, we should write our initials in the concrete wouldn't that be SO CUTE!" when we were talking about pouring the new pad, and even though Bubba looked at me like I'd just told him I was going to go vegan on him or something, Funny Contractor left us this gift as well, tastefully etched into an out-of-the-way corner of the porch:

To say that I screetched with delight would be wildly underestimating my reaction. Bubba just rolled his eyes in that way that tells me he loves me, but at this moment, he's trying really hard to remember why.

Alright, that's all I've got. You're free.


  1. I did that with our initials when they poured the new sidewalk in front of our house. Who can resist showing your love in fresh concrete?

  2. You crack me always. I am a little disturbed though, that you think your contractor is so brilliant. Anyone knows it should be B {heart} F. I won't tell if you don't!

  3. I love it!!!!!!
    and agree about the soliciting and such - we had one climb up our stepless porch - through the mud to try to sell me 5 years of... whatever it was, I could not believe she came on the porch.
    admirable patience and yes, I agree your contractor is brilliant!~

  4. I don't know where or how you found your contractor, but he is awesome.

  5. BEST.CONTRACTOR.EVER. Seriously, are there awards given? Because I feel like I should just nominate him.

    And your experience makes me think I should do any kind of porch remodeling on Halloween because that's the wrost tiem of year as far as nuts on my porch. Mostly religious freaks telling me I'm supporting the devil by handing out candy. Really? I am helping the recession by helping local dentists. :)

  6. Your gardening efforts are going to be glorious and you will be vindicated by said amazing display of beautiful flowers. Your neighbors will start dreaming of planting 800+ bulbs of their own.

    I love the stories of the varying ways folks are approaching your house during this renovation stage. Ever so funny!

    Now, as for your contractor. I'm wishing: (1) I was single 'cause I'd marry him in a heartbeat (assuming he's single) and (2) I'm considering how to talk the husband I already have into moving to your subdivision so I can hire this amazing contractor. He's a treasure and you must immediately sit down and ponder other things to do at your house just so you can keep him hanging around.

  7. Got so busy reading the notes about posting I forgot to post!

    It is hard work to put together a beautiful casual yard, I think yours will be beautiful.

    I am home all day almost every day and in a year don't have the traffic you do. I can not get to my split level front door in my wheelchair-even the most insistant door to door salesman stutters faced with the chair. Has to be good for something!

  8. I dunno what happened but somehow in the joyousness (yes, again with the sarcasm) of the holidays, I quit reading your blog. I know. WTF is wrong with me?!?!?!

    Anyway, holy shit, you're still funny and you bring me joy in your silly/crazy/bitchy/funnyass way. Thanks for being all that.

  9. could this be my most favorite post ever? Maybe. Good god girlfriend how do you take a story and make it so great and hilarious and so great?

    My favorite get-rid-of-solicitor line for the telephone?

    I am sorry, I am not interested. I don't have a phone.

    It's the best. I don't get to ever use it now that we are land line free.

    love you and your blogging. a lot.

  10. I LOVE that the contractor did that for you! And the 0-course line made me giggle. I'm on the phone with Sunset, btw...

  11. It never fails to amaze me how retarded allegedly non-retarded people are.

    Funniest line:
    "if you've got one Jew in the house, who do you think is handling the money?"

  12. Hi, new reader here, who just snorted coffee all over her keyboard at the image of a solicitor-type leopard crawling through your obstacle cour...I mean...yard with the sole purpose of planting big solicitor-style shoe prints on your nice new concrete!

  13. Hi dear
    amazing collection of flower you have????????


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.