Thursday, July 13, 2006

Constantly Gardening

That would be me, the designated gardener in my TIC (tenancy in common). It's an informal role that I have assumed since 1998. One Saturday morning, one of the then residents/current landlords was in the garden (which faces my study/den window) pulling down the lattice work and yanking weeds. "Oh, would you like to help me with this?" she asked. Over the course of 30 minutes we worked together. I don't think she ever stepped foot in the place again, but I would go on to radically transform an overgrown jungle to what I now have dreams of emerging into an almost Edenesque vision from Palo Alto from the pages of Sunset magazine. Dare I admit to being a part of the dreaded gentrification of the Mission? At least no one can see it from the street.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've probably lost four to eight pounds, made my hands and arms lead folks to believe I was in a cat fight, and yanked weeds, pulled ivy, cut Papua New Guinea Impatiens to the ground and paid for cutting down one Hollywood Juniper. Today, my new contractor Francisco completed a replacement of our fence. In mid-America or even California suburbia, this would be a no-brainer. But in cluster-fuck co-habilitating San Francisco it's a bit more complex. Nervously I managed to emerge from my Myers-Briggs INTJ to a ENTJ and reached out all four owners in the building and to all three neighbors, coordinated bids and even billed them for their share of the expense.

Though the project cost almost the same as my first spawling bungalow in Oklahoma did in 1988 (maybe a couple of thousand more), I managed to broker it down to a third of the original bid.

I don't think of myself as that great of a salesman (even though I am supposedly a professional fundraiser and have raised a few milliion over the past couple of years), but this was a great chance to push myself outside of my comfort zone. For a couple of days, three yards were joined as one, ivy that had been my bête noire for years was pulled, cut and whacked.

For two days, my poor cats Bunter and Whimsey had to be sequestered in the laundry room. So the cats and I felt a great sense of release and relief yesterday afternoon when I wrote the final check to Francisco and shook his hand complementing him on his work.

Then this morning, just when I was feeling a sense of accomplishment with the completion of this project, I got a call from the upstairs renter who plans to buy into our building. She got her inspection report, and it recommend $30,000 in "minor repairs." Ah, well, at least my share is only 28%. Maybe I'll have to budget that Japense maple later in the year.

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