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!







It’s Never Too Late — And We’re NEVER Too Old!

I’ve  been a writer for most of my eighty-some years. If I had a portfolio, it would include samples of radio and television commercials, TV scripts, grants, public television stories, published fiction and feature articles.

Being a “hired” writer never bothered me. I got paid for playing with words and having them seen and heard by a lot of people. When I left public television to join my already retired husband, the words kept coming and I wrote a book. When the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease locked its sights on him, and our children and I could only watch as it took him away bit by bit, keeping a journal helped relieve the frustration, the anxiety, and the stress of trying to be all that he needed.

When he died, words locked themselves in my head and I couldn’t find a key to unlock them. It was as if all the words I wanted to write left when he left.

I might have accepted it, rationalizing that getting older must mean that the creative part of my brain was done, but the need to play with words remained.

It helped to make lists – to do lists, Christmas giving lists, menus, grocery lists. Working the daily puzzles in the newspaper helped, too, and, while playing word games with my daughter didn’t quite erase the block, it was so satisfying, especially when I won.

It was when my last sibling died that I knew my days as a writer weren’t over. I had started a family history years before, making notes, asking my eight brothers and sisters about their memories of growing up in a first generation Italian family, visiting Ponza, birthplace of our parents, even exploring

The first draft of “Following The Past” is complete. Revision is taking time. At eighty-three, I feel much as I used to, polishing words right up to air time, back in the days of Everything Live TV. It’s the rush every writer gets, that of finding the right words. That never goes away, no matter how many years we’ve lived.

 I used to think getting older meant giving up things, but I don’t think that now. I know a ninety year old yoga teacher who is more limber than I was in my teens. I know a seventy-five year old who still does landscaping and has his own business and I have a friend who travels the world at eighty-one and only last year stopped working  full time.

So, yes, if we’ve a mind to keep doing what we love, we ought to try, no matter how old we are.

I’ll let you know when my book is ready to read.