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May 3, 2010

What.  a.  weekend.

For one thing, it was HOT – sunny and mid-80’s all weekend, which is awesomely great and unexpected at this time of year.  I will take it!

Friday was a wonderful day – the Peep had his annual pediatrician checkup, so I took the day off to spend with him.  After his appointment and a leisurely walk home, we took a ride over to the Stone Zoo.  Our membership doesn’t expire until the end of June, so we’ll probably go to Franklin Park once more, too, before it’s all said and done.

We lasted about an hour at the zoo, and then headed home to just basically hang around until it was time to pick up Larry at work.  A leisurely dinner and a quiet night ensued.

On Saturday we were up and out early – we hit the garden center in hopes of solving a problem challenge we’re having in the backyard.

This is the view from our backyard to our left-side neighbor’s.

Our driveway is on the other side of the white gate, running along the side of our house.  If you look closely at the upper right corner of the photo, you’ll see a table and chairs on the porch.  Actually, you can see it much more clearly below.

That’s not a big deal to me, really; I grew up in a neighborhood much like this one, where you’re living cheek by jowl to your neighbors.  The problem is not the proximity of the  neighbors by any means.  It’s the neighbor himself.

He’s a bit … off, mentally.  Pleasant enough, really.  But seems to lack social awareness and/or short-term memory.

So he’ll sit up there, and every time he sees one of us – even if we don’t see him, even if we’re engaged in an activity that requires concentration (like moving furniture out of a truck), even if we were only out of his line of vision for a moment – he’ll shout a greeting over.  And over.  And over, until we either respond or go inside.    Regardless of whether we’ve got a yard full of people, or whether I’m out there by myself with a book.

As you can imagine, if we’re out in the yard for any length of time, it gets a little, um, wearisome.   Not to mention creepy.  I feel bad, because he’s clearly less than normal.  At the same time, I’d like to feel comfortable in my own back yard.

So we’ve been looking for something that will offer a bit of privacy, short of putting up a stockade fence.  Our yard is very small, you see, and a hard barrier will only make it seem that much smaller.

The other challenge is that the strip of earth on that side of the driveway is quite small.

Like, less than four inches at its smallest point.

So a tree or a privet hedge was mostly out of the question.

We went to the garden center in hopes of asking an expert for advice, when – voila! – we stumbled across a solution all by ourselves.


It grows very tall very quickly, spreads rapidly (and, in some species, linearly), and can survive in a variety of soil and weather conditions.

Behold, the $40 solution:

I know, they don’t look like much now, but I’ll keep you posted.  The label said they’ll get to about 23 feet tall; the top of our gatepost is 12 feet.  Anything in between there will be fine with me…

Later  Saturday afternoon we received word of a water main break.  So we’ve been subsisting on bottled and/or boiled water since then.  They say it’ll likely last another day or two, and while it certainly could be worse, it’s less than ideal.

Larry and I spent most of Sunday going through part of the basement, sorting through what must be kept, what must be tossed, and what must be reviewed.  We filled up two large trash barrels with tossings, with another two barrels’ worth of tossings to go out next week.  And there’s still another third of the basement to go through.  But that’s a project for another day.

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