Trees, Graduations, and Other Random Things

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Our neighbor who owns the complex of apartments and town houses next door to our property has bitched since soon after he built that craziness that he hated our bushes. The guys we bought our house from, for privacy, planted a series of laurel bushes along the fence line. They were big but served their purpose, and as they grew tall, I would trim them so that we could walk under them, they didn’t extend too far into the yard, etc. Basically I preformed maintenance on the bushes to keep them under control.

The first time he commented about them to me, I reminded him that the city gave him the right to cut them back to the property line on his side, if he chose. He could do that without my permission and without the need to enter my property. "Go for it," I told him, "If you hate them entering your yard, cut it back the fence – you won’t offend me."

He never did.

Fast forward a number of years, and he made comments again. I reminded him of his options – and again encouraged him to take them. Fuck, by this point, I was doing that for a number of his shrubbery that seems to like my yard better than his.

Fast forward about five more years to a couple of months ago. He sent an email pleading to meet with us. "We need to talk about the bushes." G met with him, and he offered to give us a small amount of money if we got them removed. Knowing we needed to replace the fence and knowing that would be easiest if the bushes were gone, we spent the almost $2000 to have these very tall bushes removed. (They were probably between 20-25 years old by this time.)

Removing them was the right thing to do as it exposed how dire the fence replacement had become. Apparently the laurel had become an integral part of the structural integrity of the fence. Now that they were gone, the fence was pretty much toast. This is a huge issue because we have a dog who, more than anything, loves to go visit people any way she can. So, having to go supervise her in the backyard as she goes to the bathroom at 3 am is starting to get annoying. Years ago, the property owner had offered to split the cost of the fence between our properties, so I reached out to him.

His response:

"I see you removed most of the trees – it looks great! But you forgot one. When is that being removed?"

The tree he is referring to is a magnolia tree that is located on a different part of the property line. Apparently when he spoke to G about the bushes – he meant everything including that tree. We have never had any desire to remove the tree. It’s gorgeous, and is a haven for the hummingbirds in our neighborhood. Nightly, you can see them roosting in there as they pause between flower visits. Hell, the other day, one was singing away as he sat in the tree. The tree is staying.

Oh and the "it looks great" comment? Our yard looks like shit now – it doesn’t look great. And I especially love the great view of the townhouse the laurel bushes had been hiding. If anything, we are now trying to plan what we are going to plant next because it is rather intrusive to have to look at someone’s 2 story townhouse built about 3 feet from the property line.

At this rate this entitled developer is going, it is going to be bamboo – planted straight into the ground without protective barriers to slow its expansion.

It was quickly decided based on my response to G after the developer responded with that, that it would be best if he take over the communications with the man. I applauded G’s tact in how he worded the message. It was much better than my "We removed the bushes not because of the small amount of money you offered, but because we were being neighborly. Since neighborly is off the table, I’ll take care of the fence and the costs associated with it, fuck you very much."

I know, I know – it is a shock why G took this over from me. *snark*

Sadly, what drove this attempted communication besides the fence was that the oldest graduates in about a week. And we are having a small family gathering where we will be outside. It would be wonderful if those plans could include the ugly ass fence being gone.

Our yard maintenance guys who fucking rock have already given us a quote to take care of the fence but also make the front gates in our yard match the fence. Knowing them, they would do it tomorrow if I gave them the work. To call this crew hard working is to not give them enough credit.

But as it looks now, that is not happening. Oh well. We will figure out what to do.

What is weird watching online all of the other graduation preparations of friends and family who also have seniors, I see the huge ass post-graduation or pre-graduation receptions they have having for their grads. I have always known of the cultural difference between where I live now versus where I was born and raised, but this is one that has sort of surprised me a bit. While some people in her graduating class are doing gatherings, it really is a mixed bag.

One of the biggest reasons, I think it happens as it does out here is centered around graduation times. The school district has 9 high schools – and none of them have the space (inside) to host a proper graduation. (Outside is a bad idea given you don’t trust forecasts of no-rain until after the forth of July.) So, the district rents a space for several days, then each high school gets it for 2 hrs. Her graduation, for example, is Sunday night at 8 pm. Not exactly conducive to people able to attend especially if they are traveling.

So, the family will be in attendance for a party on Saturday – and may be a few other people. Nothing huge – nothing over the top or big. Which is fine with me. Here’s hoping it doesn’t rain.

I love the timing of this happening with my best friend from childhood arriving in town. I can’t help but think of my own high school graduation as she approaches her own. My best friend from childhood – a guy I have known since we were 10 years old in the same 5th grade class. It’s crazy to think that this guy has been in my life for 35 years. Like me, after college graduation, he fled out away from our home town. As luck would have it, his parents moved back to Oregon about 10 years ago which has been awesome in terms of getting to see each other. (I had forgotten that they had moved from Oregon to the town when he was 10.)

Our friendship has truly never changed. We still tease each other about the same things. We still have the same humor. And no matter how much time has passed, we always pick up exactly where we left off as though no time has passed. I’m dragging him with the family to a soccer game tomorrow. We already had planned it, so it seemed fitting to drag him along. Should be a fine night catching up.

What is crazy to consider is the fact that my oldest will be graduating with people she has been going to school with and friends with since they were 5. At 18, she has friends that have been her friends for 13 years. I like that.

What do you think?

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