Sunday, April 25, 2021

Successes and Failures


It was this kind of a day yesterday -- blue, clear, cool and sunny. As it turns out I didn't work on cleaning out our files at all. Instead I was in the garden almost all day, weeding, mowing and repotting plants. I repotted our living room dracaena, and a lily I bought last year that seems to be on the verge of blooming again. (Woo hoo!)

I had another interesting exchange with neighbor Mrs. Kravitz, who was in her garden talking to her garden designer. (Yes, she has a garden designer.) She called me over to the fence and suggested that we trim one of our bushes because it blocks her view of our Japanese maple.

Now, maybe I am overreacting, but doesn't that seem completely insane to you? Would you ever approach your neighbor and ask them to trim a shrub -- entirely on their property -- so that you can see more of THEIR landscaping?

I told her no. I said we were growing that bush partly as a barrier for privacy. She petulantly returned to the matter of the garden fence and began asking when it would be replaced. I came inside and told Dave, if it were up to me, I'd install a fence ten feet high topped with razor wire.

I hope I'm not being unreasonable in reacting so strongly to her suggestions, but to my way of thinking, the woman has no boundaries.


Here's Olga at the side of the house. I really took this picture to show the ladder recently abandoned by the roofers. They didn't respond to the Russians' letter asking them to come back and get it, so I guess it's here to stay. I told Mrs. Russia that as far as I'm concerned it's theirs and they can do whatever they want with it, including leave it at the side of the house -- it's not bothering me, and it's aluminum so I don't think it will deteriorate outdoors. (We don't really have any indoor storage for something that big.) If I were her, I'd sell it.

They also left behind a roll of roofing lead (at lower right), which, despite being relatively small, weighs a ton -- because, lead.

The electricians never came back for their drill, either. Weird.


Here's how I spent the afternoon -- reading on a blanket while Olga snoozed nearby...


...before she moved to the flower bed next to the patio. Fortunately she's not lying on anything important.


Finally, these are our amaryllis. They're a mixed bag this year. We have a few flowers that look like they'll be successful, but several of the blossoms and two entire flower stalks have failed. It's that "red blotch" fungus. Despite their bleach-water bath and a fungicide treatment, they're still afflicted. So, sadly, I think this will be their last year. It's just too much trouble to try to fight this battle, and they take up a lot of valuable houseplant real estate. When they're done blooming, they're going into the garden waste.

See? We really do have garden failures -- I just don't write about them as much as the successes. Also dead this year is the curcuma that I bought last summer. It died back to the ground last fall and completely failed to re-sprout, and the root seems rotten. So it goes.

63 comments:

  1. Thanks for the laugh: Mrs Kravitz who, according to you, knows no boundaries yet wants the fence repaired. Try and weave that into the next conversation with her. Not that you'll stand a chance; subtleties like that are usually lost on those whose lives revolve around them and everyone else is just an extra on their stage.

    Mrs Kravitz presumably doesn't work in sales or marketing. She could have sold you (not that you necessarily would have taken the bait) her idea to cut your what's it down so much better. Her request reminds me of someone in my wider family. That person is a source of endless amusement to me because anything anyone does that doesn't meet her approval she takes as a personal affront. Even weather which isn't exactly consciously out to get anyone will be blamed for an inconvenience to this person.

    Should you, Dave and Olga ever be in a need of a neighbour neither Russian nor Mrs Kravitz do let me know. Your lives will be immeasurably improved. Or at least different.

    Sunday greetings,
    U

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    1. It is ironic that she's so fixated on the fence, given that she clearly believes she owns our yard!

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  2. Mrs. Kravitz's reason for asking you to trim that bush is laughably absurd. That woman certainly has nerve (and apparently not much common sense). I'd be building a brick wall. You are definitely not being unreasonable... and probably much more polite about it than I would be at this point with her. Thanks for reassuring me that you have plants that die, too -- as I pick up another hibiscus bud from the floor. It's so surprising what contractors leave behind with no concern. Now what can YOU do with roofing lead?

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    1. I hear that roofing lead is valuable. Maybe we could sell it!

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  3. Mrs Kravitz - I've just googled her. Brilliant! And I used to watch that programme too. That bit was lost on me.
    Those tradesmen are charging too much money.

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    1. Ha! Glad you got the Kravitz reference. I always loved that show.

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    2. But can you wiggle your nose?

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  4. Does your cruelty towards dear Mrs Kravitz know no bounds? This sweet, gentle woman is known in some quarters as "the Mother Teresa of West Hampstead" such is her compassion and munificence. Did you have her permission to lie upon that fancy blanket reading your book? The sight might have proved offensive to her eyes.

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    1. OK, the "Mother Theresa of West Hampstead" made me laugh out loud. There are even people who were critical of Mother Theresa. Christopher Hitchens famously called her a "withered Albanian gnome."

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  5. A bit of a backhanded compliment on your garden!
    If the builders have left that much...tools are not cheap and lead is expensive...that would be one set of builders that I wouldn't let near our home!!

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    1. I know! What are they up to?! The Russians hired them, and I wonder if they were casing the joint. They must have been disappointed.

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  6. Mrs. Kravitz seems to feel quite entitled to direct your gardening design. Maybe you should suggest she plant a Japanese maple of her own. I am 100% behind the ten foot fence with razor wire. What gall! And what kind of workmen leave their tools behind? I've heard of a few that pick up a few extra from the homeowner, but never voluntarily leave theirs. (I love seeing Olga basking in the sun.)

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    1. It's all very mysterious -- the vanishing workmen, the intrusive neighbor. Life is so strange sometimes.

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  7. You want privacy and Mrs Kravitz wants to see your nice garden. If it wasn't for you wanting privacy, it may be a reasonable request.
    Your home looks so nice and not what I imagined if that is what Olga is lying in front of in the first photo.

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    1. I certainly don't mind that she's looking at our garden, but to ask us to maintain it to her standards is ridiculous! We live on the first floor of the building in the top picture. The Russians have the second and third floors.

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    2. (I should say we live on the "ground floor" -- that's how the English would say it.)

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  8. Mrs. Kravits sounds like our neighbor, who is always questioning our backyard and what's growing and what's been removed, and why. But she has never suggested we trim hedges so she has better sightlines into our yard!

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    1. I just think it's bad form to quiz people about their property, you know? Privacy and all that.

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  9. I am not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on tv, but I am pretty sure Mrs. Kravitz is a narcissist. This condition is a whole new category of crazy that is impervious to reason. They feel entitled and have zero empathy. It is impossible to set boundaries with these ...uh...creatures. It is like trying to break up a fight between a skunk and a porcupine.
    You can seek revenge, ethically, with the smiling no response. When they present their demands, just smile and say no and then no other words whatsoever. Don't say hello.
    I have spent some time in therapy after dealing with a few in my life and now consider myself to be well informed. Not all narcissists are grandiose. Covert narcissism is the most difficult to deal with. The smiling no is the only alternative to no contact. Good luck.
    I don't comment much but I enjoy your blog everyday.

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    1. Narcissist Disorder is the only disorder where everyone except the patient seeks treatment.
      They are the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.

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    2. You could very well be correct, though in Mrs. K's case it seems less a pathology and more just entitlement. I think she's used to a rather privileged life and having people answer to her.

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  10. What a gorgeous, sunny day! Looks perfect for a day out doors.
    Yes, your neighbor is quite the busy-body.

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    1. We are having an amazing streak of weather, though I wish it were about ten degrees warmer.

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  11. Those kind of people like Mrs. Kravitz need to be told to mind her own business in a very harsh way. You're like my sister and she will let people get away with saying or doing most anything to her. I am the opposite because I will tell you in a very harsh manner where to get off. I know you are trying to be a friendly neighbor but these days it doesn't pay off very well by doing so. Especially with someone like that. When I notice Mr. Kravitz is outside I rush and get in my car and take off. (lol) I hear no evil, speak no evil, and see no evil. (lol) If you can remember I told you about the begging neighbors I had before. They wouldn't pay their water bill and needed water. I told them I will give you water once but that's it. Then there were knocks on my door with them still begging. I politely told them to stop knocking on my dam door. Sure they were mad but the begging was over. (lol)

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    1. I try not to be harsh but just very clear and firm. I did tell her no, flat-out, when she asked us to trim the plant.

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  12. Ah- but remember me telling the story of the man who lived in a house across the road from our property in Apalachicola who hired a crew to cut down the oaks on OUR PROPERTY so that he could have a better view of the bay?
    This is not to say that Mrs. Kravitz isn't insane. She obviously is. But it could be worse. I suppose that's always true.
    It's unbelievable to me that workers would just leave behind their tools. WTF?
    Your garden is beautiful. What a gorgeous day! We are having a very similar one here today after yesterday's craziness and rain in the night. Not a cloud, cool and lovely.

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    1. OK, your story beats mine! I can't believe that guy cut down YOUR TREES! I'm surprised the tree crew would do the work without seeing proof that he was entitled to order their destruction -- a property deed or something.

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    2. Well...Apalachicola. And the guy had been sued for doing the same thing before on someone else's property!

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  13. Wow, Mrs. Kravitz is, I don't have a word for it. Is she really old? Have a brain injury? If not then the commenter who mentioned narcissist could be right. It's your yard, she has no business asking you to trim a shrub so she can see your yard better.

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    1. I think she's merely used to people answering to her. She has a stunning sense of entitlement.

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  14. I feel like writing Mrs Kravitz a letter to tell her how absolutely crazy she is and how many people know of her insane behavior. We're all watching her through your eyes. She needs to chill or we're going to start writing her letter. We know what she's doing... we know. LOL!

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    1. Ha! Yeah, let's not start a mail campaign. I'd rather not go there!

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  15. Here is Central Florida people plant amaryllis outside. When I first moved down here and saw them blooming (about this time of the year) I was delighted. The next year I ordered some bulbs to plant. Sadly, they attracted lubber grasshoppers and were eaten to the ground. And we still are battling the lubbers every spring.

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  16. Some neighbors can be completely unreasonable. I can see if you had a large tree overhanging her place that she would have reason to complain.

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    1. She's already trimmed all our trees and shrubs to the fence line. She is obsessed.

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  17. Well, at least she isn't putting a 40' container right along the property line and painting "no trespassing and no stealing (underlined and exclamation points)" in 3' letters on your side of the container. or calling the sheriff on you. but yeah, that's pretty nervy.

    my amaryllis are all done. they didn't all bloom this year because of the arctic freeze. I spent the day yesterday working in the yard too. mostly weeding ⅔ of the long day lily bed.

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    1. Yeah, that's true -- that container is a crazy situation. I'm surprised property codes allow for that, although in a relatively rural place in Texas I guess there probably aren't many rules.

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    2. nope. I guess if we were inside the town limits she wouldn't have been able to put it on the property, or maybe she could have. in Texas you can do just about anything it seems unless there is an HOA. Probably why so many neighborhoods have them.

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  18. Now you are just making me feel guilty since I should be out weeding more!
    Mrs. Kravitz - what will she do next?!

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  19. That curcuma is a beautiful plant. I'd be very sorry to lose it. Your neighbor? I must say she sounds AWFUL. I would not be sorry to lose her.

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    1. I was bummed about the curcuma, but it was just an impulse buy. C'est la vie.

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  20. Plants have their time and life cycle too. I've given up on a few struggling rhodies and had them pulled. How weird that they left valuable stuff there! (especially the nice ladder) I can't believe your neighbor, but then my parents have one like your Mrs. Kravitz. In their case, it's a guy.

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    1. Yeah, sometimes plants just get old and infirm -- just like people! I think every neighborhood has a Mrs. (or Mr.) Kravitz.

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  21. I have to agree about Mrs Kravitz. If she wants a better view of your plants, she might be a nicer neighbor and then come for a visit. I want to applaud you for adopting the tree. I'm sure it will be okay now with your support and help. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. Oh, Lord, I don't know that I want her visiting me.

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  22. Just weighing in to wonder if the differences between you and your neighbor might be cultural, not a matter of personality disorders?
    Americans are individualists---"my yard is mine".

    I know an old woman from a former Soviet republic who talks about how much she misses the sense of community she had there (doesn't miss the Soviet oppression though).
    "You always knew what your neighbor had for dinner," she said. "Here, it is so lonely."

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    1. It is entirely possible that there's some cultural difference. I definitely have a very American sense of private property and property rights.

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  23. You have some strange people over there. A strident neighbor and workmen who leave their tools behind and never come back for them. Odd.

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    1. Maybe they had a chat with Mrs Kravitz....

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    2. The workmen situation is really weird. And so strange that it would happen with two different work crews at virtually the same time.

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  24. You are definitely not overreacting, that was a really unreasonable request.

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    1. I'm glad you think so too! Sometimes I think I'm just being oversensitive.

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    2. Not in the least. Mrs Kravitz sounds like a true piece of work......

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  25. We have a neighbor like that. We did take out a tree that dumped leave on her roof, and I miss that tree. There we other requests which I am ignoring, as well as her.

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    1. We took out a tree at Mrs. Kravitz's request several years ago. It was a holly and she didn't like the fact that it dropped berries on her daughter's trampoline. Now the trampoline is gone too.

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  26. I gave Mrs. K's garden designer and maid a call and we all agree she's out of line. I have one or two neighbors who are a little odd, such as the older woman up the street who always seems to be high, but we pretty much leave each other alone.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. At least a high neighbor will probably be in a state of blissful oblivion!

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  27. Mrs. Kravitz is TOO much! I guess I would have a mixed reaction - oh yay she likes the Japanese maple! Oh no she wants to see straight into our yard!

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    1. Yes, as Gwynneth said, it's a backhanded compliment!

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  28. LOL Mrs. Kravitz. At least she appreciates your Japanese maple, but really, it does take some nerve asking you to trim YOUR bush for her enjoyment. That ladded could come in handy one of these days.

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