Monday, September 18, 2006

And never the twain shall meet

Here I am, sitting having a beer in the middle of a beautiful early fall afternoon, listening to the sounds of cicadas, bees, the soft breeze rustling in the maple tree—and two housepainters arguing about the Bills game in stentorian tones. Yes, the neighbors are having some work done. Recent mornings have been heralded by their ladders crashing to the ground as they position them around the house and their portable radios tuned—at 8:30 a.m.—to one of the more obnoxious classic rock stations.

This is all part of urban life and does not really bother me. But the one thing you have to remember about contractors is that they are the sworn enemies of any and all vegetation. It’s part of their union rules or something. When we had our brick stoop rebuilt, I found all the old bricks in a huge pile on top of what had been a promising bed of sweet woodruff, Jacob’s ladder, and martagon lilies. “You didn’t have anything there dear, did you?” the foreman asked rhetorically, smiling in his usual kind-of-cute-if-you-like-that-short-Mediterranean-type way.

You see, they are really incapable of noticing the more subtle plantings. (I’m not saying that if you stuck a basket of bright pink petunias in their face they wouldn’t see it.) So when construction is in the planning stages, it’s always a good idea to also plan how you’ll replant a few of the nearby beds that you were getting sick of anyway.

And it helps if there are a couple of hotties in the group.


firefly said...

Last year we had our deck rebuilt for the purpose of adding a sunroom. The contractors dug up some of the plants because the deck would have covered them. All but one survived.

However, I had a couple of dahlia bulbs planted in the ground that were about to bloom, off to the side, where (I thought) they'd be untouched. Just to be safe, I put metal stakes and hardware cloth around them as a "fence."

Second day into the job, CRASH! goes a section of railing off that side of the deck. Right on top of the dahlias.

The railing broke the stakes, but the dahlias managed to survive.

As for the painters, I'm convinced they're taught which radio stations annoy neighors most when they apprentice.

I've always wanted to ask them, "Have you ever heard of headphones? They're really cheap -- cheaper than all the batteries that big ugly boom box is draining."

EAL said...

Have you sen the bright orange contrator's boomboxes? They look like toolboxes--well, maybe they partially are--but they are radios. Kind of cool in a gruesome sort of way.

lisa said...

Hard to find a contractor who cares...usually a pre-emptive strike is necessary. When I had a fence put up, I took the time to dig and pot-up anything I cared about. I only lost a couple plants, and I avoided the stress of watching them destroy my garden!