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Goodbye, cruel month

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And just like that, April is over. Hard to believe. Well, I accomplished much, though you wouldn’t know it from the blog. For starters, I left a job that was very hard to leave — which is something like an accomplishment. More than 17 years of public service, 12 years with the same organization, and 9-1/2 years in the same position, the time finally came to stop being The Man and to return to sticking it to The Man. My days are now filled with blog commenting and angry letters to the editor about the gummint. Okay, not really. Instead, I’m using my time wisely, getting closer to my Sawzall. Spent two days this week (a day longer than should have been necessary) replacing a seriously rotten garage door. Of course, that only led to making the other door (the people door) look ratty in comparison. Okay, it looked ratty without the comparison — a wooden door that we rescued from a junkyard years ago, which I built the frame for, and which hasn’t closed right in years. So, that had to go, too. Daughter came down this morning and said “There’s a hole in the garage wall.” Not entirely accurate — in fact, most of the wall is just gone. It’ll be replaced soon, I promise; in the meantime, the neighboring cats won’t have to sneak into the garage anymore, they can just stroll right in through the lack of front wall.

There has also been bike-riding, old-photo-scanning, shopping, free-timing, book-reading, and a general relaxing that I could get very very used to.

Global warming: my fault

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When we first moved here, one of the things we loved about our little postage stamp was that it was a postage stamp covered with trees. Our fraction of an acre was LOUSY with the tall wood and the small wood. Two giant firs in the back, a little stand of small maples and black locust (which plays out the “oh god they’re coming back out of the ground!” part of every zombie movie, every week), a big old perfect red maple and two more silvers in the back. Front yard had some other little maple tree stuck right in the middle of the yard. And then there was the granddaddy (perhaps the great granddaddy) of them all, an enormous old red maple that probably predated the house. It was about five feet across at the base, deeply tangled in the power/phone/cable wires, and was somewhere north of 50 feet tall. All of those maples were the gift that keeps on giving — buds, seeds, sticks and leaves all year round, but not delivered in a convenient sandwich bag. In fact, each fall we’d have to stuff all that wonderful nature into at least 80 giant leaf bags. It was a major chore.

They weren’t young, either, at least most of them weren’t. The first to go was the front yard maple, which served no purpose whatsoever and ruined any running around space the yard offered for toddlers. The little maples and the locust in the back we cut down about three hundred times, then gave up on for a while. Then last year we took down the firs, which were dangerously nevergreen and clearly didn’t have their hearts in the tree thing anymore. Suddenly, there was light in the backyard. Grass grew. It was amazing.

The ice storm a couple of months back took down a scary big branch from the granddaddy out front, and it was clear it had to come down. An army of tree guys descended on us Tuesday morning (with a CRANE) and took that sucker down in a ridiculously short amount of time (considering what I was paying for this early morning entertainment). And while we were at it, would we take a deal to get rid of those other two maples along the back? Well, why the hell not.

So our wonderful, wooded, grass-free shade lot is now pretty much like any other suburban yard (or at least any other yard that is spotted with raspberry canes throughout). Sure, I’ve screwed up our carbon balance and may have to explain that to a dying earth someday, but at least I no longer need to fear a giant maple branch killing one of the neighbors’ kids. So, I’ll just breathe a little slower for the rest of my life, and it should all even out.