Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ye ole property line dispute.

I should start with the fact that we live on a quiet, dead end street with wonderful neighbors.  The boys across the street and the man a few houses down are a bit nosy, but they mean no harm.  The neighbor next door can be a little over zealous with his motorized things in his garage, but he quickly and apologetically shut those down when he realized that there was one more day of school and I had a child trying to sleep.  The people on the corner can be reclusive, but the husband is a prison guard, so I get it.  The folks catty corner to us across the street are young and quiet, though he has a voice that carries.  We, well, we're the ones who sometimes plays music a touch loud (I try not to, but sometimes it happens), we have a child, but we try to be polite.  We all try to be mindful of each other and watch out for each other.

The neighbor on the other side of us is lovely.  She is on PTA with me and her daughter is a friend of K.  It is her husband that I would be happy to go without.

When K was about 6 months old, we put a fence up in the backyard.  Before we did that, we had surveyors come and plot out exactly where our property line was.  The surveyors were a retired city civil engineer and a current city surveyor-- for the very city that we live in.  They came with city maps and appropriate measuring tools.  They measured from the middle of the cross street, a property down, and all the way down to nearly the end of the street.  They surveyed frontages until they got to our property where they surveyed the entire property.

This was 10 years ago.

The neighbor's husband has asked every year for the last four years where the property line is.  Every year we've told him the same thing.  "Your railroad tie is on the property line."

Again the next year.

Again the following year.

This year, Hubs and I were outside doodling around with something in the front flower beds when M asked again, "Hey, Amy.  I have to ask you a question."

"What's that?"

Standing on the railroad tie, then stepping off to show me a measurement he says, "Where is the property line?"

"For the love of God, M, we tell you every single year.  Your railroad tie is on the property line."

"But where IS the property line.  Showing me the area in front of his feet, "We said that the property line is here, right?"

"No!  The property line is where the railroad tie is."

He had stepped back at this point and was standing on it.

"Where is it?"


He then prattled on about taking the arborvitae down between the properties-- the only shield we have to not see everything going on at their house.  I nodded my head and went on into the house with Hubs.  To ask him not to remove them would only confirm that he would take them down right away.  I get his psychological game.

Hubs stops at the door way with the door open and I looked and said, "We are replacing them, right?"

"With 10 more."

"Good."  I started in.  Hubs was so mad and knowing that M was within earshot, "He's such an ----."

Yup.  Hubs did it.  M took him to the breaking point.

Hubs texted me yesterday.  M is having someone in to measure up this boat pad that he wants to have put in for a boat that doesn't float.  (It was given to him and she is not sea worthy.)  Hubs said that then M takes the guy to the property line to look for the pin (which is under his railroad tie) and then to the next property (it's under the concrete driveway.)  I was boiling.  He's fighting over a space about 2' wide or less.  He has never mowed it or even attempted to mow it.  It isn't his.  His MIL owned the property before and confirmed that it has never nor is their property.  His wife grew up there yet he won't leave it go.  His daughter comes and hassles K about the dumb strip of lawn.

It's not like we had Backyard Bob's survey service.  They were folks that Hubs knew, so they came and surveyed for a homemade lunch and a pound cake to take home.

The fact of the matter is that this individual is someone I've had to deal with more and more in regards to PTA.  He is manipulative.  He is hateful.  He throws a fit if you don't give him his way.

I am not backing down.  Hubs is not backing down.  If he takes the trees down-- fine.  They are his.  If he builds something on my property, I will dig it up and dump it back over.  If the trees go, a fence will go up quickly, right next to the railroad ties and right on the property line.  We aren't working with a ton of space here.  It's not like it is acres and acres.  Our lot is 40' x 120'.  It is small.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Because not everything has to involve a can: Homemade Cherry Cobbler

I was rooting through the refrigerator today.  I was teaching K how to make a chicken pot pie and we needed the ingredients to make it happen.  The cherries I bought her about a week ago had shuffled towards the back of the fridge and I forgot about them.  "But I wanted to eat them, but they weren't washed yet."  I have to introduce her to the Duggar way of life with that.  The child is fully capable of washing her own cherries.  Anyhow, it left me with a bag of cherries that were a little too ripe for dropping in your mouth and eating, but not quite far gone enough for compost.  (Some were, but there were plenty of good ones left.)

What am I going to do with these?  I washed and pitted the cherries.  I wondered if a cobbler would be possible.  I looked it up on Pinterest.  Certainly it seemed possible, but everyone used cans of pie filling with the goo.

Um, I don't even like cherries and that seemed kind of gross.

I had to do an independent internet search for cherry pie filling and since I only had half of the cherries it called for, I just split the recipe.  On Pinterest, I found a recipe for homemade cobbler (not the dump method) and I was all about that.  Here's what I ended up with:

Cherry Cobbler Filling

1/3 cup raw sugar
2 decent T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
2 cups pitted cherries
3/4 cup water
1 T lemon juice
1 - 1 1/2 T vanilla*

Combine all in a saucepan, bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened and remove from heat.

(This is where I tell you that it called for additional red food coloring.  I skipped it.  Looked red enough for me and why would I want to add that?)

* This was my own addition.

Cherry Cobbler 

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 t salt
2 t vanilla extract*
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
Homemade cobbler filling from above

Preheat oven to 350 F.  It said to use an 8 x 11 pan, but I used a little smaller oval French White Corning wear dish.  Coat the bottom of the dish with Pam.  Cream all ingredients together except for cobbler filling.  Spread 2/3 of the batter on the bottom of the baking dish.  Pour cobbler filling on top and dollop the rest of the batter on top.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.  Cool, slice & serve.

* I was taught to always double the vanilla, so this has already been doubled.


ETA:  It was delicious, but I admit that K ate my hunks of cherries for me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2 minutes 'til.

The last two evenings at work has brought in the "2 minutes 'til crowd."  We close at 6 PM.  Yes, I understand that there are people that are running late.  No big deal.  They really need something.  Just fine.  I've been known to sell $3000 worth of goods AFTER close.  Coming in at close isn't a big deal. Most of the time, people are on a mission.  They need such and such, need it wrapped and need out.  I get that.  No big deal.  People work.  They just came in after work, need a gift and so forth.  Realize, however, that if you are just "looking around" with no intention of laying down some green, there is no reason to hold back 10+ people just so you can feel the power.

On Monday, we had a woman who came in and said, "I know that you close in 2 minutes, I'm just running through real quick."  Fine.  We asked if she needed any help to let us know.  Stuff happens.  She looked.  She browsed.  She kept us past 10 minutes behind.  Again, no big deal we could tell that it was just a hang out and keep everyone behind thing.  We lock up, set the alarm and travel through to our main store.  I went upstairs to turn out all of the lights and when I came downstairs, that same woman had come into the main store-- after close-- and was roaming around.

Incidentally, she bought nothing.

Last evening, we had a family roaming through.  They were taking their time looking at everything.  That's fine.  They roam into the main room and I asked them if they needed help finding anything.  "Oh no, we're just roaming around and looking."  I, with the permission of the gentleman who owns the place, politely said, "We'll be closing in a few minutes.  If there is anything you need help with, just let us know.  We'd be happy to help."

"Oh my gosh!  I didn't realize you close then."  They roamed into another room.  They started looking some more.  "We need to go, they are closing soon," is what I heard.  Again, we stayed 10 minutes after.  The kicker to this family is that they asked for a bag because apparently she has an assortment of plastic bags she has as souvenirs, and they-- again-- spent nothing.  She got a plastic bag, though.

I don't care where I shop,  I always look at the hours when it is what I think might be close to close.  If it is within 15 minutes and I know that it isn't a grab, pay and run, I've backed back out.

Be kind to the people behind the counter.  Yes, we are being paid by the hour by there are times that even we have things going on after work.  We have lives, families, dinners to cook, children to tend to . . . Let us all be thoughtful and think of each other.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Divorcing a church.

This September will mark 3 years since we left our previous church.  We loved that church.  We had been there for 8 years, 4 with our now retired pastor and 4 with the replacement pastor.  We loved Pastor D.  He was a wonderful man and spoke to our hearts.  Pastor M was someone who didn't sit real well with us from the very beginning.  We thought it would iron out, but 4 years later and with much church drama, we quietly slipped out the back door.

You see, we were very frustrated by many things.
1.  The pastor would preach through one book/section of the bible at a time, not deviating for things such as holidays or events such as 9/11.  The last Mother's Day sermon we were there for was titled, "Gouged eye, severed hand."  It went on about wives needing to be submissive, addressing unfaithfulness in marriages and how woman, quite frankly, dress far too provocatively.  After the sermon, there was a line of people waiting to speak to him.  I chose to e-mail a letter telling him that those are sensitive subjects and that while anytime would have been a little tricky, to do so on a Mother's Day where moms have brought their children as guests with them, I probably would have chosen a less controversial and chewy subject.
2.  It was his way, period.  Because of this, he just removed people from their ongoing projects without speaking to them.  Those people left. I understand that people need to change things when they come in.  That's fine.  It's not fine to run the congregation over.
3.  There was a lot of talking behind the backs of others, particularly two women who had been cheated on.  They were not the cheaters.  Their husbands were invited to remain in the church while they were going to be asked publicly about the incident/s and asked to leave the church before the congregation. Hmmmm, my bible talks about unfaithfulness differently than his does.
4.  His wife never attended anything and if she did, she acted put out by it.  As a pastor's wife, I know you can't attend everything, but your attendance is required in some circumstances.
5.  They wouldn't leave their children with anyone for anyone to watch-- not even in our nursery that was manned by qualified parishioners.

We had remained removed from the church up until just a few weeks ago.  K wanted to attend VBS there and I was fine with it.  She went to 4 days of the 5.  The day that I dropped her off, the preschool director snubbed me.  When I went to leave, I reached out for her elbow and said, "I hope that you have a good day."  I was sincere.  Truly.  I was on the preschool board with her and we had done a lot of different things together in the church.  Her giving me the silent treatment stung, but I knew that I would get some of that when coming back in.

The end of the week brought the VBS family picnic of sorts.  We came up the back hallway, I waved at the youth pastor and he snubbed me.  I waved two other times at the preschool director and was snubbed again.  There were other folks that I saw and smiled at.  I didn't want to continue with the awkward wave thing.  There were some people who just turned away from me.  Quite Christianly of them for sure.

There is always a "however."
1.  K was treated wonderfully and truly enjoyed her week.  Her class was taught by the retired pastor's wife.
2.  One of the younger parishioners grabbed me up and hugged me.
3.  The woman who I previously directed VBS with grabbed me up and hugged me.  We got to talk for a good while.  I found out that she was co-directing with the preschool director.  "You know, I just haven't been able to catch Karen this week.  Please tell her thank you for me."

There have been times I've run into people from our previous church.  There were times that they were just wonderful.  There were a few people who attended the rummage sale that I was in charge of just 3 weeks ago.  There is a parent who I kept running into at the summer library programs. I've run into a few people at the grocery.

I did run into a couple at the grocery.  The husband was talking to me, the wife came up and started singing the praises of the new pastor.  I told her that I heard that he was just wonderful and how happy I was for them.  When I said that we were attending the Methodist church across the street and came forward for membership a couple of years ago, she literally turned on her heel and walked away.  Wow.

Will K attend VBS there any more?  Absolutely.  I have no problem with that.  She enjoyed herself and learned a lot.  Will I be jumping in line to attend anything there?  Nah.  I'm good.  We have a church home and people who accept us for who we are.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The wonderful sniffiness of line dried laundry.

I haven't been able to line dry as often this year as I usually do.  We are about 3 weeks behind on the growing season, which left us full of pollen for far longer than we usually have it floating about.  (As evidenced by my need to smile at my doctor and nearly jump for joy when he gave me my first ever allergy shot.)  I just can't hang the laundry out in that.

Then you have storms, or the chance of storms.  Now, a little sprinkle every now and then never hurt anyone's laundry.  However, if I have to bring laundry in that is wetter than it was when it went out, it may make me cranky.  The chance of storms has been high lately, so I've had to use the indoor lines in the basement.

Today, the weather smiles and I smiled with it.

It is 84 F or so. The sun is bright.  There is a nice breeze.  Humidity is tolerable.  With those things in mind, I jumped out of bed and started pulling sheets off.  I decided that today would be the day to wash the bedspread, too.  I always wash the blankets in the summer and leave them on the line.  However, I have a short run on my laundry line, so it usually takes a few weeks for me to get all of it done.

It is delightful.  I never sleep as well as I do on freshly laundered and line dried sheets.  They are sniffy and just scratchy enough, but not so much to be like sandpaper.  (We can't use softener due to skin irritations.)

I had enough sunlight time to put some other things on the line.  :sigh:  The season is back and we are happy.  :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Gardening Progress: The carcasses have been dragged to the tree lawn.

First, I decided to tackle the weeds in the driveway.  I spent hours and hours weeding the driveway on Saturday.  This is the worst of it.  I dug and picked.  I got probably 99% of the weeds.  Works for me.  

See?  Nice! 


Death and destruction.  We have come to the conclusion that this butterfly bush was no longer alive.  So sad. 

I tried to trim some away myself.  This is how far I got.  I also have a thorn in my paw.  I forgot to have Hubs dig it out.  :(

The milkweed took over the grill area.  The wild black berries took over, too.

Because we believe in keeping it real, I will show you that it got a bit weedy.  We were kind of letting the two back beds go a bit because I didn't want to jostle anything that may be coming back.  We're about 3 weeks behind in the growing cycle.  We had poke weed coming up.  Hubs made that go away. I left it because I was thinking that it is purposeful.  Nope.  Gone. 

Digging out the carcass was harder work than he thought. 

It took Hubs well over an hour.  His back is killing him.  So is mine, but I think it's from weeding. 

Gone are all of the funky reminders of death. 

The wreckage. 

Another weedy bed. 

Planting the new butterfly bush.  We just couldn't leave that space this year.  We have planted it, watered and mulched it.  I even fed the heck out of it.  Though I normally don't feed, I have to this year.  It was a horrible winter resulting in just awful loss. 

Look at how beautiful it is compared to the gacky death that was there just hours before.

Hubs edged and mulched.  We still had some mulch from last year.  It was good enough for a skim coat.  Fine with me. 

Inspecting his work.

Lookie loo!  So nice! 

And down here, too!  For those interested, we kept with the invasive run of wild blackberries and milkweed.  Butteflies are nectaring at the milkweed and we don't want to pull what could be baby monarch caterpillars.  The milkweed only lasts a few weeks.  We'll let it run its course and we'll pull what is in the grill area.  We'll leave the rest be.  That way, we'll be able to have s'mores at some point this summer. 

The side back bed.  Much better now. 

The tree lawn pile of wreckage.  K helped me haul it. 

The front.  Much nicer than what we used to have going on. 

Bee balm.  Fun stuff!

Perennial geranium.

Butterfly weed. 

Crown vetch, though it was pulled right after this photo.  A bit invasive.  Pretty, though.

White yarrow from Cj's farm.



Yellow day lilies.


Goosenecks, though I just found out today that they are a variety of Loosestrife. 

Baby tomatoes!

The pink yarrow up front. 

White coneflower. 

Cosmos.  Reseeded from last year. 

Purple coneflower. 


Lime green nicotiana that I originally planted in 2007.  I haven't planted it since. 

A new plant.  

My morning glories!  

A day lily volunteer.  Didn't plant it, I promise.

I didn't plant this one, either. 

The top of the rain barrel. 

My guard system for the corn.  The rabbits keep eating it. 

Beans and many lovely flowers! 

This wind is nice.  I wonder what that is over there?

Such a nice breeze to sniff.

Mom, you really have to put that thing away.

A butterfly!  A Great Spangled Fritillary.  It made our hearts happy to see that. 

The reason we didn't remove the extraneous milkweed. 


A Stag Beetle! 

Ewwww.  And a larval Stag Beetle.  

And a dragonfly.  

A lot of gardening was done this weekend.  Here's to hoping we'll get a lot of butterflies as a result!