Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roses and rental hell

Summer finally kicked in, and the rose bush in front of the house responded exceedingly well to the long wet cold spell that passed for spring and early summer. With the exception of the pinkish blooms on the right, all these roses are on one bush. Eye candy indeed, and it also pumps out the perfume like a room full of Red Hats. It is good to have this, and other garden delights, to enjoy because right down the road is our one and only rental property that looks like this—and be glad you can't smell it.
Inside and out, a stinking filthy mess. Long story short. We're inept landlords. Too nice. Let them stay too long after failure to pay rent. Gave them 30 days, knowing they had tons of stuff to move that we didn't want to deal with. They didn't budge. Extended a week, after court mediation. They're still roosting. Finally cut over the sheriff's department to order eviction. Another seven or eight days and a pile of $$. Finally, they're outta there! PK's has spent several days dragging and sorting and making piles for give-away, hazardous waste disposal, and the dump. Then comes all the renovation and maybe in a couple of months, it'll be ready for other tenants. Or to sell. If rented again, one thing's for sure: we'll be contracting with a property manager!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My favorite fathers - and a quote from T. Roosevelt

The father of the year in this family is son Quinn, pictured here with his week-old son, Noah, our first grandchild. Ahhh. The impact of seeing our son with his son.....gob-smacked emotional. I teared up when Heather opened the door and there they were. "See," Quinn said. "I told you she'd do that." I'm so predictable, I will say that an unexpected pleasure of having a grandchild is watching your own "child" perform so beautifully as a parent and husband. But he had some good role models.

A young and gorgeous PK with baby Quinn and Pop Pop Korbulic, 1978. Like father, like son.  Isn't that just what babies need? To be surrounded by people who love them? Pop Pop is gone now.

My father Floyd Strube enjoying a laugh with our youngest son, Chris, 1987. My dad is gone, too.
It isn't just how fathers love their children that makes them a force for good in the universe. It's also how they conduct themselves as individuals, the example they set for their sons—and daughters.  A friend, Jose Marroquin, sent the following quote around this week in honor of fathers, and it resonated. It makes me proud of the fathers and sons in my life.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
Teddy Roosevelt, Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More whining about weather

This is the scene beyond the garden this evening around 8 p.m. Cool, dark, foggy, and raining HARD.    
Usually during the long days of June, we're dining happily outside around 8 p.m. with birds swooping and garden plants straining toward the sky. Not this year. This year we've had the wood stove fired up nearly every night, and although many plants (notably asparagus, potatoes and onions) seem none the worse for constant water torture, others languish. Those would be the peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. I'm almost embarrassed to look at them. Sorry! I want to say. But how do you make amends to plants that you've babied from seed and set out with the best intentions only to have them pelted and  pummeled with rain, and sometimes hail, and also subjected to unseasonable cold? Well,  there's really nothing to say because there's nothing to do. I remember, years ago, as a callow youth, scorning elders for their weather chatter. Who cares? I thought. Don't they have anything better to discuss?  Now I understand.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Garden is a month behind

No roses yet, but plenty of buds.
On the left, my favorite rose bush, photo taken May 31. Usually by Memorial Day weekend, this incredible color-changing super fragrant bush is bursting with blooms. This year not. Ditto throughout most of the garden. In 25 or so years of gardening here, this is has been the coolest, wettest, latest spring. Not good conditions if you're trying to coax forth heritage tomatoes and heat-seeking peppers and sun-loving eggplant, all of which are out there in the pounding rain right now wondering, What the hell? That's what I say too. For comparison's sake, in case you want to check back when those lush garden photos start showing up on this blog, here's the sorry little garden now.

Just when you think life can't get more ordinary

I took this photo a couple weeks ago, but scene's the same today. Rain. Lots of rain. Also wind.
Bags drying under the eaves. At least I'm listening to Pearl Jam.