Jun. 19th, 2017

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When summer comes, I like to move outside to my summer office. It's the front porch of our lovely house. It faces north, so it's always cool and shady. We've installed some comfortable porch furniture out there, along with a porch rug so I'm not on bare cement. We aren't far from a pond, so I can hear red-wing blackbirds sing and mourning doves call, both birds I remember from my childhood in Wheeler.



Although the porch looks out onto the street, bushes and trees surround it, giving me a fair amount of quiet privacy. I've put up hanging baskets of flowers and other plants around, and also put more plants on the rail for more greenery and privacy. If I don't move, no one even notices I'm out there. :) This is my view:




When it rains, it's even more beautiful.  The porch stays perfectly dry, and I can admire the rain while I write.

When I was a child, we lived in a big farmhouse.  Next to it was a small milk house for storing fresh milk in the days when the place was a working dairy farm.  It was the size of a garden hut and hand a concrete-lined pit in the bottom that you filled with cold water from the nearby well.  Then you put the big metal milk cans down in the water to keep the milk cool.  The house was also shaded by pine and lilac trees to keep it cooler still.

My mother covered the pit over with a wooden platform and converted the milk house into a playhouse for my sister and brother and me.  We played house and created fairy tales and other games of pretend in there.

And I wrote in it.  I had a pile of notebook paper in a blue folder and a lap desk, and I often sat out there to write.  I remember sitting out there in the rain and once even a thunderstorm with my papers and pencil.  I felt adventurous and secretive and cozy all at the same time while I put those words on paper out in the little house among the trees and the rain.  I don't have the old manuscripts anymore, but I have the memories.

Sitting on the front porch to write on my laptop makes me feel like I did when I wrote in the milk house, and I like it very much.


stevenpiziks: (Default)
I'm starting to despise our neighbors.  I mean really loathe, hate, and despise them.

They're inconsiderate, selfish, and downright stupid.

And it all comes down to their lawns.

Every single day--and I mean EVERY SINGLE DAY--my neighbors in my subdivision are outside working on their lawns or their decks or their gutters.  They must have golf-course level lawns.  If a leaf falls, alarms go off. 

Normally I wouldn't give a shit.  You want to waste your life on this?  Go for it.  When you die, you can have "He kept a nice lawn" engraved on your tombstone. 

The trouble is, they're all so fucking noisy about it.  They do nothing by hand.  Ever.  Everyone has a giant lawn mower that can harvest corn to mow their weensy yards with, and they're LOUD.  Then they whip out the leaf blowers, which scream a high-pitched whine for hours and hours and hours.  I once timed a particular offender and discovered she worked her leaf blower for over three hours one afternoon.  As a write this, yet another neighbor is power-washing his driveway, which apparently requires an air compressor louder than a North Pacific chainsaw.  I have a neighbor who drags a machine out to bleach her gutter every so often.  Bleach!  I'm not making this up.

It wouldn't be so bad if these things happened all at once, for an hour or so a week.  But no--they happen every fucking day.  When one neighbor finally finishes, the next revs up his rusty toy.  It's like they wait.  "No, I can't do mine now--Fred over there is already making noise.  I'll wait until he's done to keep it going."

It's the leaf blowers that baffle me the most.  I watched the leaf-blower neighbor chase a pair of leaves across her lawn with her blower.  TWO LEAVES.  It would have been faster and more efficient for her to pick them up.  It would absolutely be faster and more efficient for her to just rake the lawn.  It would take maybe an hour to run a leaf rake over her bit of green, but she uses a leaf blower for three instead. 

Last February, the weather became unseasonably warm--70s all around.  The snow vanished.  My neighbors all rushed outside the get a jump start on their spring cleanup.  Leaf blowers!  Lawn mowers!  Power washers!  Vroom!  Rrrruum!  Fweeee!   All day long.  We had to shut the windows instead of airing out the house with the nice, warm air.  And the next day?  We had a windstorm and blizzard.  Branches came down everywhere.  Snow covered everything.  And when it all melted in March, it looked like nothing had been done.  An utter waste of time and gasoline, and my neighbors ruined a nice respite from the winter's cold with all the noise.

My neighbors are boorish twats, and the awful, rotten machine noise that ruins the tranquility of the neighborhood is the biggest factor in our decision to move away once Maksim has finished school.  We love the house.  We hate the neighbors.

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