Monday, July 14, 2008

Bad Trees Make Good Neighbors

In our last neighborhood, we had really nice neighbors on either side of us and the kids really miss them. We occasionally email or visit them still. We have lived in this house for 16 months and have never really known our neighbors. We get busy and wrapped up in our own lives and forget to be outgoing and friendly. I mentioned in a previous blog that our neighbor here was grouchy and didn't like us much.

Well, during Kimmy's birthday week, the neighbors were having their trees cut down. They had been damaged during an ice storm a few years back. One was a behemoth and we didn't like it much since the seed pods or whatever they were that dropped off of it were sticky. However, it did provide a lot of shade for our yard too. The tree cutting was a bit annoying because they were using our yard and driveway to fell the beast. Logs littered our yard, their trucks blocked our driveway and mailbox, and we were asked not to leave our car in the driveway. Chris was ticked off. After the neighbor lady (Rose) had gotten onto him about his friend's car being parked in front of her house, her tree people were blocking our driveway and her tree was littering our yard. He said something to her about it and the driveway wasn't blocked much after that, but the logs remained. It was somewhat annoying because they took over a week to get done and the logs were still there when we had Kimmy's BBQ and we were unable to mow the lawn.

The girls watched out their bedroom window as the crew climbed up the trunk and cut down branches. The girls cheered and cackled maniacally as branches demolished the woman's flower beds and plants. I was appalled. I asked why they were being so vicious and they said, "She's a mean lady." I said, "You don't know that lady. She might be very nice." Then we talked about how the Bible says that even if someone is mean, you are still to be nice to them. And I mentioned Jesus' prayer from the cross as an example: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." They hung their heads. (Though I must confess that based on the encounters Chris had with her, I wasn't too keen on her myself.)

We have been trying to find some mulch for our side yard. That's the dogs' "pen". There is a gate so we can shut off that side of the yard and keep them corralled. They are so destructive that I don't trust them in the full yard anymore, I want to keep the feces contained so the kids can play without getting in it, and Billy gets scared of how rowdy the dogs are since they are so much bigger than he is. Anyways, we wanted mulch because that area floods every time it rains and the dogs are in water and muck. I had just posted on a message board to see if anyone knew where I could find some mulch when I heard chainsaws outside. I went outside and asked what they do with the tree after they cut it down. They said they take the branches to their property ( I think they said the deer eat the leaves), but they might let me have the trunk. I didn't think they would remember, so I didn't hold my breath. But, after they were done, Rose came by and said if I wanted the mulch, I could have all I wanted.

So, Friday morning, I went out and helped her shovel mulch. I didn't think that there would be enough for my whole side yard from that one tree, but there was. I finished up today with nine cart loads and we had way more than that on Friday. I was so sore Saturday after all that shoveling and raking! Rose and I talked some during the work. She's a German lady, so we had something in common, since we lived in Germany for two years. We both have two large dogs that like to dig and chew. And she knows the lady that owns this house and suggested that I write to her to let her know how horrible the property management company is. She said they live in Okinawa, Japan. Anyways, she seemed a nice enough lady after all.

I bought her a begonia plant to say thank you and also to give her a start on replacing the plants that the tree people ruined. She seemed delighted. Her husband, who is sick with diabetes and cancer, came out and said, "How come you are so nice and your husband is such a stinker?" I laughed because Chris says that in most couples one is nice and the other is mean and he always thinks I am the mean one out of our couple! I said, "He's not so bad. He just works a lot and is tired most times." Rose invited the kids over to feed the fish in a pond they have in the backyard. I told the children, "See? She IS nice."

So, we have changed the proverb: good fences don't make good neighbors...bad trees do.

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