August 25, 2004

I Call 'Em as I See 'Em

I saw Rich tonight after work and thanked him again for his help with taking away the tree carcass. He let us know that he had gotten our note and the Blockbuster card and insisted that it was completely unnecessary, but very nice of us. Then (wait for it) he said, "Besides, I like going to the dump. It's the great thing about having a truck." I had a feeling... although, could it be that the only reason that Rich has a truck is so he can go to the dump?

Well, this led to a discussion with Dima about the whole concept of the dump. What's the big deal, really? Apparently the Montgomery County Dump is a huge maze of organized chaos. When you get there they ask you the nature of what you have to dump and then direct you to the appropriate dumping ground. Couches vs. tires. Yard waste vs. metal. He also believes that it all somehow goes back to being a little kid and liking big trucks. He could not explain this in more detail. He then suggested that we go to the dump so I can see for myself. I'm looking forward to it...

On a final note, related to my own childhood experience with the dump, I do remember going to the Prince William County Dump with my dad in his old Jeep. (What a great car!) I can't remember exactly how old I was but I know I was still young enough to be playing with Barbie. The landscape—one of huge mountains of sour trash—was seasoned with first-rate cast-offs that, as far as I could tell, were still good to someone. Weber grills, bikes and other toys. I just couldn't understand what most of this stuff was doing at the dump. I was fascinated and had a vague sense that we'd hit the jackpot. The real crown jewel was a Barbie Camper that someone had just "dumped." I was appalled and elated. It was just what I wanted, and in fact had been asking for, and it was free! I immediately asked my dad if I could have it and he promptly said, "No. It's trash." What a blow and a defining moment. All at once the treasure chest of cast-offs became what it was, a pile of junk. Not even junk, but Trash with a capital 'T'. Even at that age, the whole experience was one of waste. A waste that people would throw away what looked to me like perfectly good stuff and a waste that I couldn't have it. Who knows, maybe the Weber grill only had two legs, maybe the bike wouldn't peddle, and yes, maybe even Barbie’s camper was missing a wheel and smelled of beer and wet garbage but man was I depressed as we drove out the gates of the dump.

August 24, 2004

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words... but Only if You've Got One

We got a brand new digital camera yesterday to better document our adventures as homeowners. Ironically I have no pictures to share yet. That should change in the coming days.

After a week of slacking off to watch the Olympics Dima and I are back on the ball with house chores. Our last major endeavor (well Dima's) was to attack the remaining tree in the side yard between our neighbor and us. The branches and vines from this weed tree had entangled themselves with all the wires coming into our house from the street. With Hurricane Charley coming I was worried that the tree might thrash the wires and leave us without electricity, phone, and heaven forbid, cable. So, I asked Dima to cut the tree back. He did. Man did he ever. The tree now looks like a twiggy Tootsie Pop with a huge bite taken out of it. And until Sunday, because we were slacking and because we don't have either a wood chipper or a huge truck to haul junk to the dump in, the dead hunk of tree was just sitting in the yard. Dima and I went to Home Depot to get yard waste bags (because Montgomery County recycles yard waste) and when we returned, lo and behold, the hunk of tree was gone. Rich strikes again! But this time he did it on his own, and we can only speculate that Svetlana helped him. Well Dima and I were dumbfounded. Well we bought them a Blockbuster certificate and wrote them a nice thank you note, though neither of us are sure that quite covers how much they've helped us out with our refuse removal.

To make another big dent in the process that will eventually become the final demolition of the retaining wall between our property's and Rich's we have Mark coming over on Wednesday to take a chainsaw to the remains of the weed tree. This time we have the yard waste bags on hand so we can deal with the tree carcass immediately. We may even put the cut up trunk aside to save for our first fire in the fireplace. This way it won't seem that we are taking advantage of our neighbor's generosity... although I'm starting to wonder if Rich doesn't just like going to the dump.

August 13, 2004

Congratulations! It's a yard!

Well, I don't know when it happened but my identity as potential purchasing power in the marketplace transformed. No longer am I thinking... Hmmmm, I'd like to go to Loemann's and get myself a new skirt. I'm thinking, "We need to buy our own pair of loppers.""What's a lopper," you say? Loppers are an awesome yard tool that until last weekend I had no appreciation for. Way better than pruners, the blades on loppers come directly together when closed (not like scissors). As a result you can "lop" branches up to 2 inches in diameter. This came in very handy last weekend when Dima and I attacked the overgrown mess between our yard and our neighbors driveway. Gone are the days that I cruised in search of the perfect merino wool sweater. Now I'm scanning the pages of (HoDe as Dima calls it.) looking whistfully at loppers, flat hoses and garden bow rakes.Now, back to this overgrown mess... the retaining wall between our yard and and our neighbors driveway is slowly falling apart. Two plants, of unknown origin, had broken the brick apart and grown to be full sized trees. I say "had" because last weekend Dima and I pulled out a can of whoop-#@! and tore the larger of the two out. Man! Who knew I could get into yard work? This is where my appreciation for the wonder that is a lopper came into being. We made short work of this weed tree, as our neighbor Rich called it. We cut it out of the branches and from around the trunk of its neighbor. We pulled it's vines out of the ground and off of the fence. We kicked butt! Then we loaded up most of it's remains into Rich's pick-up and he drove it all to the dump, which was right neighborly of him.Rich and his wife Svetlana have been very neighborly. He likes the effort we're putting into our house, because, as he says, "The better your house looks the better it is for my property value." So, Rich has been using his truck to haul away our yard waste, the remains of the vestibule that we tore off the front of the house the day of closing, and the nasty water soaked matress and desks that the seller left in our driveway. What a guy! Svetlana has give us tomatoes and cucumbers from her garden. And early this week some fresh catnip for Melba. (Being the anti-cat that she is she's not quite sure what to make of it.)The long and short of it is that we like our neighbors. We'll see how that holds up as we deal with this retaining wall that the weed trees have busted up.

August 7, 2004

there's a first time for everything

With a first house, there automatically comes a first time for everything:

Today was the first time we set off the smoke detector for example. Dima made breakfast burritos this morning and the next thing we knew a piercing beep was screaming through the house.

Today was also the first time I or Dima have ever used a power washer. We borrowed this wonderous contraption from our friends Marina and Robin and went to town on the back retaining wall, which is covered in mildew. What a blast! Literally...

Finally, last night was the first time that Dima hit his head on the low ceiling in the basement. I was out with friends after work and he stayed home to watch his favorite TV shows. Standing too close to the drop in the ceiling where the air conditioning runs through the basement he turned quickly and
WHAM!!! He knocked himself silly literaly falling to the floor. Today he's left with a knot and an extreme desire to get the safety bumper we're planning up ASAP. With Dima at 6'8" and most of his friends not much shorter we'll need something to ensure that no one else nearly knocks themselves out.