Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This is the "after" shot.  If only I had a "before" shot so that my upset would be understandable.  Simply stated, the "before" shot would have shown nothing but plant life.  The vehicles and the street would not have been at all visible in the "before" photo.

This is a view from my property, from the driveway looking towards the street, away from the park.  I know that I am a mismatch for my neighbors.  This is a very uptight, clean-shaven neighborhood.  Each bush is trimmed to utter perfection, along with each blade of grass.  (Mercifully, my property hosts no grass, although it did when I moved in.)

My neighbors all happen to be retired.  Plant control is apparently an appealing undertaking for them.  One day shortly after I moved in, I was surprised, upon glancing out the window, to see an elderly  man traipsing through my greenery spraying an unidentified liquid out of a tank.

I ran outside, asking him rather excitedly what he was doing.  After recovering from being startled, he stammered that he was spraying the poison ivy.  Now, I'm as allergic to poison ivy as the next guy, but I spat,"Well, I don't use toxins on my property, indoors or out!"

The neighbors are still telling that story, with as much sense of awed disbelief as the day it happened nine years ago.  At least the squirrels and chipmunks here seem to think highly of me.  I've had handymen comment that they've never before seen such friendly wildlife.  (Herbicides do not create friendly wildlife!)

Getting back to the photo: it shows the results of many hours of labor by my retired neighbors.  The woman next door, who obviously has the proverbial abundance of time on her hands, became obsessed with the notion that plants underneath the lower branches of the blue spruce (which is somewhat visible on the right in the photo) were going to bring about the untimely demise of the tree. 

Mind you, the woman is neither a horticulturist nor an arborist, yet she felt somehow qualified to make that determination.  Not only that, but she managed to convince a host of neighbors of her theory.  She had asked me if I would mind if she pruned the plants behind my house, which were visible from her house (not from mine).  Of course I didn't mind.  But I should have recalled the saying "Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile!"

I was distracted.  I was preparing to bid on a foreclosed house in the neighborhood I DO belong in (which happens to be outrageously expensive, thus the sheriff's sale was my best option.)  I didn't notice the gradual eroding of my plantscape brought about by the efforts of my neighbors.

And by the time I did notice, they had made such a huge dent that finishing was the only option.  In fact, in an act of complete and utter selling out, I actually helped them.  Last Friday, the day I was supposed to be buying my way into the long-coveted downtown neighborhood, I was home when the neighbors were hacking away my plantlife.  (They weren't properly removing the plants by digging out their roots!)  I went outside to investigate, and what could I do?  I couldn't ask them to stop, because it had become a half-finished excavation site.  I had no choice but to help hack, cut and bag.

The Child tore himself away from his computer long enough to come outside and witness the eye-popping event.  He pulled me aside and whispered, "Mother!  Why are you HELPING these people destroy our landscaping?"

I had no answer.  But I did mange to tell them that I wasn't too thrilled about the fact that my house is now visible from the street (whereas before, it was obscured by plantlife).  One of the men, the one who exerts the least effort to hide his disapproval of me, shot back, "That house was a prime target for break-ins!!!"

My response was, "The truth of the matter is that this house has never been broken into since the day it was built in 1962.  The criminals around here must be incredibly inept!"

He kept hacking in silence.


Saturday, July 17, 2010


In case anyone is wondering, things did not go my way.  "My" house was withdrawn from the sheriff's auction.  I'm doing the best I can to recover, but it's not easy.

Thank you for all of the support and positive thoughts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Think of me on Friday

Whirlingbetty is back!  I have not been blogging lately because I have been spending every waking moment (except when I'm at work) organizing, purging, and cleaning my house.  That may not sound like a big deal, but it is for me.  I've been a lifelong slob, a fact which was only barely masked by recent (over the past few years) efforts to sweep the mess under the rug.

I've always had a sort of vague dream of getting my act together regarding my physical environment, but I never really believed it would happen.  In this dream, I knew what possessions I owned and where they were located.  There was no excess- I only owned what I needed.  My paperwork was so clearly organized that anyone could come into my house and know everything there is to know about me and my affairs.

Suddenly, without warning, I began.the process.  This was 2 months ago, so I'm not exactly sure, but I think the first thing I accomplished was to organize a kitchen drawer (after tossing out most of its contents).  From there I moved to a cupboard, and then another.  I started to obsess over purging, either by giving things away or tossing junk into the trash or recycling bin.

I was on a roll. Then, seemingly as a reward for my efforts, the Victorian house downtown which I wanted to buy at a foreclosure auction in March suddenly became available again after having been withdrawn from the March sale.  The new sale date is this Friday, July 16. 

When I learned about my renewed chance to buy the Victorian house, my efforts to get my current house in order took on new meaning.  Now I thought of it as preparing to move, to show my house for sale, and for clearing the way for new things in my life.
Here's an example of one room's before and after shots:

Most remarkable, though, is the basement, which used to be my dumping ground for anything I didn't know what to do with but couldn't be bothered to figure out.  Every last inch of it is now organized and cleaned:

Every day over the past 2 months I sorted, examined, purged, cleaned.  I didn't know if I'd ever finish, but this Friday, July 16 was my goal.  It appears that I'm going to reach my goal, since I'm now putting the finishing touches on my organizing.  The house looks so different with all of the junk gone.  One last batch of give-ways will be picked up by a charity on Thursday.

Each Friday I have attended the sheriff's sales in which houses in foreclosure are auctioned off.  I had to learn how to bid by observing how it's done!  It's very daunting.  But I think I understand how things work and the degree of effort and risk involved in foreclosure purchases.

Yesterday I went to take one last look at  the house I'll be bidding on (if I don't faint during the auction).  Here's the ultra cool front:

 And this is the view through the back gate looking into the backyard, which I find equally charming:

My longtime readers know how many years I've been trying to find a way to live in this downtown pedestrian neighborhood.  This time, I've done everything humanly possible to make it happen as far as setting up the right conditions.  I'm all ready for moving, for starting a new life, for selling my current house, and I'm prepared to bid on my dream house!   Wish me luck on Friday (July 16) at around 9:15am EST!!