A Blogging Vacation and Back to My Roots



Fairchild Tropical Garden
Creative Commons License photo credit: bunnygoth


Rain Forest Jungle Tree with massive exposed support roots near Catarata del Toro
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikebaird


At least if you live in a Scripps Ranch subdivision.

But first, a lot of things happened on May 7, 2011 – newsworthy things, I dare say. I really don’t remember what those things were, though, mostly because so much has happened since. One thing I do recall is  that on that monumental day of yore, I wrote a blog post.

Yep. It’s been over three weeks. I was reminded of this yesterday when a gentleman called me wanting our help with a home purchase in San Diego. “I enjoy your blog,” he said.

“Blog?” I thought. “Oh, yeah. I have one of those.”

Having taken a nearly one-month sabbatical (a record even for Miss Lazy Britches) and now finding myself dangerously close to being mocked on social media sites everywhere for my blogging loser-dom, I have a lot catching up to do.  Rather than milk three weeks’ worth of material for the next 21 days, I’ll opt for the lighting round approach.

1. Getting Back to My Roots

Sure, I finally had that overdue cut-and-color in May, but that’s not what I mean. The roots I am talking about here aren’t really “my” roots, but more roots that are owned in common with an undivided interest.

My home, like the homes of two of our three readers, I suspect, is governed by an active Homeowners’ Association (HOA). And by “active,” I mean they actively bill me every month. They also actively send nasty-grams to people in the neighborhood who erect scale replicas of the zoo's flamingo exhibit on their front lawns, who paint their homes lime green, or who can’t provide documented evidence that they own the requisite golden retriever and mini-van. But that’s not the point.

The HOA also actively maintains the common areas – the parkway strips and open space pockets. And by “actively maintain,” I mean they pay both the water bill and the men who actively park their trucks on the sidewalks every couple of weeks and actively pull weeds when I am trying to somewhat-actively jog.

Earlier this week, we came to learn that the lovely parkway strip abutting my little corner lot is harboring evil invaders intent on destroying western civilization as we know it.

Numerous pine trees and one rogue pepper tree who shall remain nameless (Bob) have apparently decided that they can dispatch their malicious little tentacles wherever they feel like it. And where they feel like it is apparently in my backyard. Our first clue that something was amiss was when we began needing a boost to traverse the expansion joint in our side yard concrete walkway. An afternoon of destructive testing by our landscape crew confirmed that roots will go wherever they want; these roots, it seems, wanted to go to my back door en route to the refrigerator for a cold one.

In our active HOA’s defense, they dispatched an active arborist (he was walking briskly) who, after two trips to the “job site” and because he is a trained professional, determined the following: There are some really big tree roots in my back yard, the one that used to have grass and bushes and stuff.

The good news is that there is a solution, a solution involving a trench and a root barrier, we are told, but only after about 16 HOA meetings have convened, times and dates to be determined. The bad news is that because of the destructive testing I alluded to in paragraph nine, my planter beds now look like I am dabbling in commercial agriculture – only, without the actual agriculture.

There’s more good news; every problem is an opportunity, and this was an opportunity to spend two days and a large chunk of my retirement account at the local garden center. Alas, there is also more bad news. It now looks like Walter Anderson Nursery threw up a large chunk of their random annuals inventory in my back yard after pulling an all-nighter. (Note: Strictly speaking, salvias are perennial in Zone 10). But, I can’t penetrate my dirt (something about roots), so my new backyard consists of exploding color all residing in their native plastic containers with price tags still afixed ($24.95. Everything at the nursery, I learned, is $24.95).

All this stuff will eventually get planted. That's assuming I can locate my active landscapers, the ones who didn't show up this past Saturday like they have every other Saturday for the past 20 years, and who I must, therefore, assume were actively enjoying the three-day weekend with their families instead of mowing my brand new lawn. Either that, or they don't want to be anywhere near my roots or my little side job. Probably the latter.

Real estate message: Trees are evil. If you happen to live in a residential dwelling like I do, do not, for the sake of fluffy kittens and your foundation, surround it with trees known for invasive root systems. Such trees might include pine trees (which are pretty stupid to plant in Zone 10), those big deciduous trees with the prickly balls, and Bob.  Now, I know there are some palm tree haters among you, but there is a reason we all plant them in San Diego. They have compact root balls and shallow root systems. (I read that somewhere; I am not, technically speaking, an active arborist despite my growing knowledge of horticulture and how to properly recoil the garden hose after watering my container collection.)

2. All the Other Stuff I was Going to Write About but Now I've Forgotten

So much for the lightening round concept. Those same snooty blogging purists who insist that you are supposed to post more often than once each senatorial term also insist that posts should be short and snappy, not of the “wall of words” variety. And since I think this safely qualifies as a wall of words, my other twenty days of material will have to wait. But be sure to check back every few weeks, as I will be covering more pressing topics such as our low housing inventory,  our current difficulties with appraisals, the latest from Case-Shiller (San Diego is up zero-point-four percent month over month; take that!), and how my daughter just had her wisdom teeth taken out (all four of them, which cost me only slightly less than a trip to the nursery). 

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