Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke


Rain under the roof…

Waiting around for a handyman to show up: Ruben. Learned about him from a woman who works in the trades and has an encyclopedic address book. She thinks he would be the man to re-lay the fiberglass sheets that form the light-filtering “roof” over the back porch shade structure.

Given the amazing mess Gerardo’s underlings made when they tore it off for the painter (chunks of plastic and bolts in the pool!), I think I’d rather not have them try to put it back on. Not only do they give nary a damn how much junk they throw around (a bolt picked up by Harvey the Hayward Pool Cleaner would mean a hefty repair bill, if not $350 to replace him…), but his enthusiasm for the job is predictably underwhelming.

The new guy is supposed to show up between 9 and 10 this morning. It’s almost 9:30, so it looks like our boy runs on mañana time. Which is OK. We do, after all, live in Mañanaland.

Today is the first since last spring that a person could sit outside in comfort at 9:30 in the morning. We’re having a cold snap: weather’s in the 80s this morning.

That’s lovely in one way – yay! the backyard is usable again! – and the pits in another: dang! say good-bye to swimming. Oh well. Trade-offs.

The yard needs some serious maintenance.

Luz damaged the lime tree when he hacked out a large branch, misunderstanding what I was saying when I asked him to clear enough for me to walk back and forth. Then Gerardo’s boys probably administered the coup de grâce when they cut back the growth over the roof (!!) and trimmed enough away for the painter to get at the eaves.

Citrus does not like pruning. It’s actually not a tree: it’s a shrub. That’s why people paint the trunks white when they cut the things up to look like trees: otherwise the trunks will sunburn. Well, that branch Luz chopped out was on the tree’s west side, so he stripped away the natural shade and cooling for three major branches…just as the summer was coming in! I tried to protect the tree by wrapping shade cloth around the exposed branches, but it hasn’t worked. The tree was visibly stressed by the time Gerardo cut the stuff away from the roof…and as soon as he did that, it dropped all its fruit. It looks pretty sick…my guess is it won’t live another year.

That lime tree is an important part of the westside landscaping: it provides about a third of the shade that makes the side deck liveable, and it shades about half the west wall of the house. So if it dies, it’s going to have an effect…and it ain’t gonna be good.

I’m thinking I could replace it with a desert willow, which doesn’t require a lot of water and which grows into a truly beautiful shade tree.

But it takes a long time for one of those things to get big enough to provide shade. Plus taking the lime tree out will be a vast hassle: there’s a major irrigation pipe under there, which of course will break when we try to pull out the tree and its roots. {sigh}

So that will be an expensive headache. A future one, I hope…

One ringie-dingie…two ringie-dingies…hello?

Yes, it’s Ruben: “I’m at the Home Depot picking up some things for a customer’s job I’m working on, and I’m running late…”

Oh, that’s good! Yes. So much better than the standard “my truck broke down on the freeway.” Credible, and lots less drama.

It’ll be interesting to see if this guy can do the job. When Richard built the thing – lo, some 14 years ago! – he had his crew up there. But Richard, before he started his landscaping company, was a journeyman carpenter. He knew how to build this sort of stuff. It remains to be seen whether just any handyman can do it. I’ll have to ask him if he’s ever used it.

Let’s hope he doesn’t charge too much. It’s actually a fairly small job: just nail down a set of strips and then bolt the fiberglass sheets to those. It shouldn’t take longer than about half a day, not counting the schlep to and from Home Depot…and, if he can be talked into it, a schlep to the city dump to get rid of the old stuff.

I’ve entertained the possibility of not recovering the shade structure with corrugated plastic sheets. It does look mighty WT.

From outside the yard, that is. From inside the yard, the top of the roofing isn’t really visible, so it looks just fine. If you’re down the road a quarter-block or standing on the sidewalk across the street, what you see looks pretty Appalachian.

But…so what? The ’hood isn’t an HOA, thank God. What do I care how it looks to passers-by?

Without a covering, pollen (wads of it, just now) and dust float in and cover everything. And even a light rain is going to make an unholy mess out there. A monsoon? Don’t even wanna think about it!

I use that space. Every day. Hauling the chairs’ seat cushions in and out of the garage so they don’t get dirty and won’t get soaked if it rains is for the birds. So is having to clean up the debris every time I want to sit out there with a cup of coffee.

So the decision is made: Back to my Texas WT roots.

And more immediately: back to work…

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Author: funny

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