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into each life some rain must fall . . . and fall . . . and fall some more

Time was when rain didn’t bother me. Being a gardener, most often I welcomed it.

Until 2013 when a torrential downpour pounded the new pavers just installed around the front of our home and found a seam into our downstairs family room. It left sopping carpet, damp walls, and a musty smell.

Talk about an unwanted surprise! Especially since the reason for paying thousands of dollars for a more decorative wall, pavers to cover a small courtyard garden and making a pathway around the house was to prevent water from invading our renovated basement.

I thought that was clear when we talked with the landscaper who contracted the work. And I did call after it happened, and when no one called back, left a long message on their internet site. That did bring the owner and her lawyer son to our home. They sort of agreed to “do something” but there would still be a cost to us for any materials needed, such as drains which should have been put in initially.

Thing is, no one followed through. And after repeated calls to the place of business and getting no response, I contacted a combination of contractors and businesses known to “fix” water problems. I contacted five in all. Each said the pavers were tilted toward the house which meant water would flow to the walls instead of away from them, and work its way into our downstairs. All said the problem could be  fixed and the cost ranged from $15,000 to $40,000-plus. The cost didn’t include taking up the pavers or replacing the family room carpet which was ruined, or the drywall, which would have to be pulled off the walls to see the extent of the damage.

Here we are five years later, the heavy black plastic my son covered the pavers and wall with to keep water outside, is still in place. It does its job but doesn’t fix the problem. So this may be the year we spend the money necessary to redo.

We’ve been advised to sue (not going to happen), to ignoring the issue (pretty much happening) to fixing the problem and being done with it.

So why am I blogging about it now? And why do I not just tell you who the landscaper is?

I’m blogging about it to get it out of my mind. And though I’d love to drag the local landscaper who didn’t follow through and come fix the problem through hot coals, I won’t. I will say the business has been around for a long time and it is NOT Lavalette Nursery.

Another reason for blogging about this is because I hope you benefit from it, do your research anytime you hire a job done, ask for references, check them, and ask for a contract specifying what you want done, and getting it in writing that there will be follow up if there are problems.

I did none of these things. Beyond having a materials list and cost for the work, there was nothing in writing to make sure the job allowed follow up if not satisfactory. So you might rightfully say, “Then this is really YOUR fault” and you’d be right. I was dumb and trusting. Don’t YOU be.

Yes, I do believe the business owner who figured she’d kept her part of the bargain and didn’t owe us anything more was, and is, wrong. If she had just followed through after we talked, we could have made it right. And yes, I do understand that if I had hounded her more and written about it back then, something might have been done. But should it have taken that?

And that’s where we’ll leave it. Just remember, the days of a handshake to seal a bargain are way over. Get everything in writing and seal it in blood.

All Done!

 

 

 

 

 

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WHY GARDEN. . .?

I ask only because  after deadheading flowers, lifting pots, pulling weeds, and resetting garden path stones, my bones hurt, my muscles ache, ants have crept inside my pant leg and there’s a patch of poison ivy on my arm driving me crazy.

I ask because it’s hard to garden when the weather goes  from hot to rainy to ninety degrees with humidity above eighty and more rain predicted (as though we haven’t had enough).

Yeah —  why DO we garden?

Because.

Because not gardening isn’t an option. Because something pulls us to the dirt and to creating beauty.

Some call gardening “art.” I call it necessary to the human condition, food for the soul, salve for anxiety, ice cream with no calories.

It’s been a crazy summer, though. The plants don’t know quite what to do about the weather. The sedum thrives but I’ve noticed some rotting deep inside where the sun (when it shines) doesn’t reach. Same for the cone flowers and the calibrochia.

The black-eyed Susan plants do well, though, and would probably grow in cement. I can’t complain about the lantana, either.

The new hydrangea trees my good friend Joe and I planted in the spring adapted quickly and have produced magnificent blooms, and the impatiens could not be more beautiful.

Having said that, the tomatoes are rotting before they ripen.

The eggplant is just now showing  signs of edible produce and forget picking a crop of bell peppers.

But the basil is beautiful and the small patch of thyme the birds planted for me looks ready to use.

So . . . why DO we garden?

Pleasure. Sheer, absolute, I don’t care if the bugs bite, I know I can’t kill all the Poison Ivy,  the ratio of rain/ sun sucks, I hurt all over, Pleasure.

I feel that as I sit on the porch swing every morning it doesn’t rain.

Sipping my coffee, I watch butterflies flit, hummingbirds zoom, and bees burrow deep into morning glories and daylilies.

As early sun highlights the crepe myrtle, and the golden finches come to feed, I feel happy and grateful that I am a gardener, and I think that Robert Browning had it exactly right when he wrote the words, “God’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world.”