orchids & sunlight

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the brown eyed girl’s kitchen orchids and sunlight.







landscape tripping day 4

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yes, of course, the days haven’t matched.  what else is new?  though the story has been told from the beginning to the end.  this is the end my gentle friends, the end.  cue the doors.  cue martin.  cue lightning.  action.

jimmy actually showed up early for the final go round.  he wanted out of the madness as much as i did.  plus he was sportin’ a tood.  a big one.  i had expected nothing less after the past days deals gone south into the bad juju mystic. 

we should be done by 2:30pm today.  jimmy’s words.

problem being with jimmy he’s a space cadet and scattered at best.  ok.  on a good day, that is. 

i really didn’t care what his problem was.  sure he’s a larger size dude than me but righteousness always wins out.  right?  um, a huh(?).

i was ready to work.  as usual he was all over the map.  hard to get him concentrate on one job at a time.  sure there was one job.  but there’s lots of small ones inside the big one.  sane folks understand this.  it’s a work in progress.  a little job here in order to do the next bigger job.  focus.  right?

not jimmy.  too much tood.  and angst. 

i need money for the dump fees.

yeah, ok.  um, just remember if i didn’t have a triple a card you would still probably be in jail.


yeah, you forgot.  i told you the cop wanted to send you and the truck to jail.  i was one of the reasons you never got that ticket to ride.  well, me and the triple a card.  plus i’ve let you store your stuff in my shed every night.  in fact, i picked all the shit up by myself the first night.  the sad cop day night.

look.  don’t give me any shit.  i’m giving you a $2,400 for what you got.  i’m losing money.

ah, yes, jimmy.  bidness man extraordinaire.  that was a silent thought.  in reality i ignored him.  work to be done.  plus if he had given me that number to start with he would have lost out to no handshake guy.  an even, perhaps, more freaky thought.  silence reigned. 

well, jimmy is scattered here and there.  bouncing about.  hard to nail him down.  this and that must be done.  his mexican helper and i let him riff for a bit. 

finally i’d had enough.  fuck this.  time to work.  damn it.  i needed to dump the flip flops and put some damn shoes on.  shit.  socks.  too.  shit time to work.  goddamn it.

i let jimmy scatter about and went inside to change into a sorta working shoe deal.  plus me nice sun hat.  a sporty number made of palm fronds or some damn thing.  close enough to straw for a straw boss.

hey, jimmy.  kill the weeds like you been yammering about and let’s dump some damn rock on the ground.  ok?  rock ‘n’ roll.

well, jimmy sorta found the note and got into the deal.  a bit slow at first but he did soar eventually.  i knew he would.  just the right amount of baby sitting and tood right back at him. 

things were going well.  rock going down very nicely.  more work than i’ve done in well over two years.  fuck it.  the old ass hole here can still kick out the jams when push comes to shove.  and i’d been fucking pushed. 

jimmy rose to the occasion.  doing a fine job and forgetting he was pissed and under bid the damn job.  i didn’t care.  i wanted them out of my hair and the job over.  no more.  please, no more.

i caught the mexican kid in the shed.  handed him $40.

here.  por tu.  no dice nada, a jimmy.

gracis, amigo.  no, no, dice nada.

the kid is a good worker and jimmy is lucky he puts up with jimmy’s insanity or what the fuck ever it is.  at some point yesterday i told jimmy he was lucky the kid didn’t go elsewhere to some big company and run his own crew and just stand there and point.  he’s that good.  jimmy sorta got it.  but not really.

anyways, with my help and goading jimmy finished yesterday.  just after 1pm.  well before his appointed hour.  i was worn out but it was worth it.  the deal had gone down. 

jimmy actually came around to my being his new best friend again.  fine.  he invited me to some catholic church deal tonight.  lots of babes our age he said.  thursday?  no, i can’t make it.  maybe some other time.

jimmy kept it up.  ok.  a luau in august. 


august 16th a saturday.

chino hills.  ann’s house.

um, i’m thinking, yeah, well. 

he says, i’ll drive.  lots of ladies will be there. 

jimmy doesn’t drink.  in case you ain’t noticed, i do.

i’m thinkin’, hmm.  this is good for at least one blog.  at least one blog for sure.  i’m a writer.  rock ‘n’ roll.

ok. jimmy, sure.  why not? 

jimmy was most happy.

i was most happy the way the rock garden turned out.  simple shit but clean.  my motto of sorts.

jimmy got paid.  i paid for the dump fees and gave him a double jackson and told him it was for his and helpers lunch tomorrow.  jimmy was happy and the helper winked at me.

yeah, the place looks nice.  there’s still minor shit out behind the place that needs to be done but it can wait.  i’ll call jimmy about it when the weather cools down some in october or november.

my life is back to normal or what resembles normal.  sure there’s august 16th coming up.  but i’m ready for it.  why not?  i’m after all a writer.

before i end this epsitle, i had been telling jimmy all along that the local cops were out for him.  he wasn’t amused and tsk tsked me.  well, there was some sorta something going down in the park yesterday.  local cops speeding about and the sheriff chopper over head while we were shoveling rock around my place.

when i was making an early dinner last night a local cop pulled up and stopped by my mailbox.  sat there for a minute.  y turned and split.  

i thought, jimmy.  chopper over head.  telling local cops what was going on in the park.  told em about the guys and the old pick up truck shoveling rocks about.  yeah.  local cops dealt with the heaviness of whatever and when it was done took a drive to my place in hopes jimmy was there in order to fuck with him.  yeah, jimmy, just like been telling you.

i called him last night.  it took a bit but he finally caught what i was telling him.  watch your six, jimmy.  ulo cops are looking for you.  just like i been saying.  be careful, jimmy.

last thing jimmy said to me was, i’ll call you about the luau.

yeah, jimmy, fine. 


landscape tripping day 3

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here we are on day three of the landscaping of adventures.  day two turned out somewhat better than day one did.  though with the earthquake here in so calif maybe 13 or so miles down the road things were a bit shaky.  pun intended.

i am totally convinced that if i were not here during this adventure things probably would have gone south long ago.  yes, even more so than the first day.  well, ok.  make that the second day for those of you that haven’t been following along in any sort of way until today.  if that’s you stop now and start from the beginning.  please. 

yeah, if i hadn’t been there during the cop deal jimmy would probably still be in the can.  and he would have probably fallen down several times en route to said can.  if you get my drift.  if i hadn’t been around yesterday stuff he said he was gonna do would not have been done.  i had to remind him numerous times to spray industrial strength weed killer on the north side area before he finished the rocks. 

jimmy doesn’t show up until after 8:30am.  i’ve tried to get him here earlier.  no dice.  he has his own schedule for whatever reasons and it won’t be dicked with.  he’s supposed to finish up the job today.  i don’t see how he can but wonders never cease comes to mind. 

i had to play straw boss yesterday.  i even picked up a shovel and stuff helping out.  i want the damn job over and done with today.  i suppose today i’ll have to do it again.  more sun for those face carbuncles from my long ago youth and surfing days.  to late for sunscreen.  though i guess i ought to wear a straw hat if i’m gonna be a straw boss.  a working straw boss.  shit.

if jimmy wasn’t a space cadet i wouldn’t have to be reminding him ever few minutes that something needs to be done.  yesterday he was going to clean up everything nicely after the he was done for the day.

jimmy, what for?  you still have that pile of shit.

what pile of shit?

that large pile over there by the front steps.

oh, yeah.

he told me yesterday he has to finish the job here today.  he has another bigger job starting tomorrow.  i have visions of him leaving that pile of crap by the front steps with the words, i’ll be back to clean it up later.  a month from now the fucking pile will still be there and i’m leaving messages on his voice mail three times a day yelling at him to come and take the fucking shit away.  

i know i pissed him off yesterday.  i don’t care.  i may piss him off again today.  i don’t care.  he hasn’t been paid yet and he won’t be until i’m fucking happy.

don’t get me wrong what he’s done so far looks very nice.  well, connsidering what was here before just about anything would look nice.  no, he has done a good job all things considered.  he just needs to much baby sitting for my tastes.  i didn’t sign on to baby sit anyone. 

i wonder if i can get a vegas line on whether or not he finishes today and how long that pile of crap sits by the front steps?


landscape tripping day 2

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this isn’t exactly day 2 of the deal but a continuation of day one.  or what happened after yesterday’s initial inauguration of the landscape follies.  yeah, follies.  stick with it kids.  however, on the other hand this might also be considered day 2 since it’s been almost 24 hours since the last blog. 

everything was going very well yesterday morning.  the guy showed up and worked his ass off cleaning out the old root problem on the north side of the place.  why the guy that built this new one didn’t bother to get rid of the roots when this was built is anybodies guess.  mine being he was being cheap.  unwilling to spend a few hundred more bucks to really actually clean the spot up.

anyways, landscape guy, from this point on will known only as, ‘jimmy’, not his real name.  but easier than typing landscape guy every third word from here on out. 

jimmy tells me things are going pretty good and he will go score some of the rocks a bit later in the morning.  i tell him i’ll go along for the ride and pay for them rather than him having to front the cash.  part of my end of the deal is paying for the materials.  he says fine i’ll let you know when i’m ready.

somewhere around noon there’s a knock at the back door and jimmy says let’s go.  fine.  now, jimmy has an old beat up 1977, i think, ford pick-up.  it’s seen some better days and this day wasn’t going to be one of the those better ones.  but i skip ahead. 

we are going south into chino to a top soil, rock, sand, mulch etc place that’s been around since i was a kid.  a nice family owned place.  jimmy is going to load up the back of the pick-up with a ton and a half of 3/4 gravel. it is after all a ton and a half pick-up.

jimmy has been in the area for a number of years.  not a homie vato like me but he’s been around.  and it turns out he knows a number of the same people i do.  so the drive to chino is spent talking about those folks.  a pleasant drive in the sun.

when we get to the place jimmy says let’s go look at their sample area and you can decide what you want out front.  i had decided on the palm springs rocks for out front because he told me there was some mica in the rocks and it looked pretty good.  but he wanted me to see the stuff and make a choice.  the palm spring stuff was fine.  either that or california gold but that was fifty bucks a scoop more.  jimmy, i’ll stick with the palm springs deal. 

we also looked at some stepping stones or pavers.  i figured i’d need some in a few places around the place.  so i decided on some charcoal colored ones that almost resembled some sort of real rock.  jimmy says he will need 20 of them to do the job.  fine. 

so we go in and do the deal.  all the rock and pavers came to about $300.  we picked up the gravel and jimmy is going back today to pick up the other stuff. 

so we head back north into ulo.  the truck is riding a bit better with all the weight but it’s sorta motor boating.  old guys like me will know what i mean by that.  jimmy didn’t.  i explained and he smiled and said i have air shocks on this and we’ll be fine.

well, things were fine up until we were almost back here.  no more than a short mile from here.  we crossed euclid ave at a stop light and as we were almost all the way across the truck sorta bottomed out a bit and something scraped.  about 50 yards further down the road the left rear tire blows.  loudly.

of course, jimmy doesn’t have a spare.  but even if he did with all the gravel in the back there’s no way it could be jacked up.  jimmy says he’ll just unload the gravel in the street and drive on the flat to this place where he buys used tires and get a new one and come back and pick the gravel up.  i’m like no spare?  used tires?  i know of the place.  i’d passed by it many times and always wondered, who would buy used tires?  now i know. 

however, we are on a busy street and i say well maybe we ought to dump it in the alley it might be better.  jimmy says we can ask the folks if they would mind.  sweet.  yeah, uh huh.  we hit the first house and no one is home.  we try another and get some old lady.  really old lady.  she says it’s ok but she then proceeded to call the cops.  but we don’t know this. 

ah, yes.  johnny law on the way and jimmy is dumping the gravel out in the ally.  well, this younger lady comes out and tells us her mom woke her up to lay the deal down but before she did that she called the cops.  ooofa.  younger lady is ok with the deal but just wanted us to know the cops were gonna show up.  she also gave us some bottled water. 

well, a cop shows up about the time jimmy was almost finished unloading the gravel.  the cop is not happy. 

what’s going on here?

i had a blow out and i’m unloading the gravel so i can drive to a tire shop and get a new one.  then i’ll come back and pick up the gravel.

i mean that seems reasonable to me.  right?  what the fuck else are jimmy and i gonna do?

the cop says, no you can’t do that. 

ah, why?  it’s ok with the lady in the house.

this isn’t private property.  it’s city property and you can’t just dump the gravel here.  someone might run into it and the city would be liable.  plus you can’t drive on a flat.

now jimmy isn’t happy at this point.  but jimmy has other issues about to hit the fan.  jimmy wants to know what is he supposed to do.  the cop says get the gravel back on the pick-up and call somebody to fix the flat or he, the cop, was gonna have jimmy’s truck towed and impounded.

i’m like fuck.  i’m having visions of my landscape project slip sliding away.  i try to talk to the cop but he’s having none of anything.  he understands my plight but the law is the law.  plus he’s not happy with jimmy’s now copped attitude.

i can understand jimmy getting pissed but it isn’t helping.  plus now the cop wants jimmy’s id and registration.  the other shoe is about to drop.  of course, jimmy has id and registration for the truck.  but it’s not with him.  it’s in his other car.  which happens to be at his home miles away.

this is turning to shit in a big way.  jimmy knows his drivers license number and gives it to the cop who runs it.  jimmy is pissed.  i’m telling him to just chill out.  jimmy wants to fuck with the cop.  i’m like are you really that fucking stupid?  you are gonna go to jail.  my landscape job will be half done and my gravel will be in the impound yard and jimmy will be in the can.  jesus fucking chrysler. 

i tell the cop i have triple a and the cop calls then or has dispatch call.  when tow truck shows up and the driver has bad news.  they can’t tow jimmy’s truck with the gravel in the back.  well, they can but it’s gonna cost a bundle and they won’t be responsible if anything goes south.

the cop gives jimmy the ultimatum.  ok.  figure out what you want to do and take care of it or i’m taking the truck in.  jimmy is even more pissed.  i try talking to the cop.  he says to me, are you friends with this guy?  i say not really he’s just doing my landscape job.  cop says well, i’m really close to just saying screw it and taking his truck in and maybe him if he doesn’t chill out.  if i just take the truck it’s gonna be at least $1,500 in fines.

i talk to jimmy again and tell him to fucking chill or he’s a goner.  now the third shoe is about to drop.  another cop shows up.  back up.  jimmy goes they are gonna search the truck.  why?  seems that back in the late 90’s jimmy had a .22 pistol in pieces that one of his old workers had left in the his truck in the glove box.  jimmy had been pulled over for a registration beef and the cops found the pistol.  in pieces but i suspect jimmy was being an ass hole so the cops turned it into a cop deal and jimmy ended up with it being dropped to a misdemeanor charge.  no wonder the cop wanted to know if i was jimmy’s buddy.

yeah, this is long in the tooth but what can i say?  the lady of the house tells jimmy he can unload the gravel in her drive way.  with that i can call triple a again and jimmy can get towed to his tire shop then come back and get the gravel.  yeah, jimmy, will have shoveled the ton and half back and forth several times. 

he’s really pissed now.  the cop tells me he’s really close to running jimmy in if he doesn’t stop being an ass hole.  i talk to jimmy and then talk to the triple a guy and i get him to drop me fairly close to here and i walk the rest of the way and get jimmy’s guy and a wheel barrel and some more shovels and and bring the shit back to jimmy so things will go a bit smoother. 

getting the wheel barrel in the trunk was a fun deal.  jimmy’s guy has more shovels than the two of them need.  i tell jimmy’s guy i ain’t shoveling any fucking gravel.  he laughs.  a good kid and we chat in spanish.     

well, things finally turned out ok.  jimmy got to the tire place thanks to my triple a card.  my gravel is now safely on his truck and will be back here in a few hours and the job goes on.  hopefully.  me?  when i got back here yesterday i had to pick up all of jimmy’s tools and shit and stick them in my shed.   i also got a nice sunburn from all the standing around and dealing, no make that, baby sitting jimmy yesterday.

a new day dawns and the further adventures of the landscape tripping deal begins.  sweet.  um, i won’t be riding anywhere with jimmy again.  count on it.


landscape tripping day 1

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today is the day the landscaper guy and his hired guns show up and begin the transformation of my seedy tobacco road look around here.  it’s about time.  i was chatting with one of the lovely sisters from next door this morning.  yeah, dfr, finally, again.  but that’s a drift.  i told her that starting today she and the rest of their household wouldn’t have to look at my barren property interspersed with encroaching weeds and sundry squalor. 

she said that was fine and she didn’t really mind the weeds and stuff.  just being polite to the old addled neighbor i suppose.  she inquired just what i was putting in.  just rocks?  i’d mentioned that to her right after i moved in and probably the last chat we’d had other than waving and saying the requisite hi!, most normal folks endure and put up with.  i told her yeah, just rocks.  nothing living.  if i wanted to leave for a bit i could and not have to worry about coming home to dead plant material.  she said she would water.  all i had to do was come over and ask. 

i was thinking i probably should go over and ask something else but dad lives with the girls and i don’t know if he’s armed or not.  though the ladies are well over the age of consent.  but that’s for another time.
yes, dfr, that lovely bottle of vino you gave me sits aging in my cellar just waiting for the day those two or one of them ventures into my web.  my, my, my, said the spider to the fly…i hope she likes the way i hold my microphone.  sittin’ thinkin’… thanks to the glimmer twins for one of those songs that lives forever in the mind of a 60 year 16 year old.

weird tangents on this auspicious day.  i must be giddy with the approaching landscape.  the squalor was even getting to me.  fits of, god.  bleeding weeds.  then a frenzy of pulling the damn things out by their roots.  much too much work for an old ass hole in this so calif summer heat.  but no more of that.  time has come today…yeah.  (the brothers chambers or vice verse for those who haven’t a clue) god, i’m damn near apoplectic, as well, just like some sort of idiot.

thing is i just hope the guy shows up.  i’m pretty sure he will as i spoke to him last night.  he said he was going to be here around 8 or after.  yeah, a late start but he’s the guy doing the work.  of course, he was the lowest bid.  sometimes that’s not a good thing.  however, in this case i think i’ll be ok. 

he’s actually the only one that gave me a written bid.  with photos of some old work and references.  a couple of guys called and gave me their way over priced deal over the phone.  i’m also still waiting for a couple of other ones to come in.  what the hell are they waiting for?  doesn’t matter the deal is going down.

it’s supposed to take this guy 3 or 4 days to finish the work.  fine.  i had one of the guys tell me one day to do the job.  i was flabbergasted.

i said, say what?

just one day to do the work.

oh.  so you have an army of guys working for you?

no.  well, maybe two days.

interesting.  most everyone else is in the 3 to 4 day range considering the old root problem on the north side. 

no.  maybe a day and a half or two.

he was actually one of the guys who phoned it in.  he came in second.  but he was weird.  part of any business undertaking is glad handing when you meet and when you leave.  even if it’s just a limp dead stinky fish handshake.  it’s protocol or some damn thing or another.  not with that guy.  no handshake at all.  coming or going.  odd. 

thankfully the guy i hired was just driving by and noticed the outside condition of my place.  he had been in the park trying to scare up some work.  he was glad he stopped.  so am i.  at least so far.

my guy finally showed up with his helper.  just one guy.  he says he should be out of here in 3 days.  we shall see.  i wish him luck.  at least the morning has been pretty nice.  more like the gloom of june weather we get the first part of june rather than the end of july.

i’ll let you know how things go.

music provided this morning, ella fitzgerald, ‘the best of the song books’.


baby, i can still dig you a hole

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yes, the saga continues.  it was dig a hole for a plant again time today.  it was either today or g/f would have been up at 6am outside fucking digging and doing shit and waking up the neighbors.  of course, they do shit and wake us up at all hours but then i wasn’t raised to be like, um, elvis.  big time drifting. 

one of the original holes i had dug needed to be dug out larger so another try at hydrangea growing could be attempted by my g/f.  the original crop lasted about a month before they were off to met their plant god and the local landfill vishnu.

it was another of those ‘you don’t have to do anything’ deals.  i’ll do it.  i’m like, no, it’s ok, i’ll help or do it.  your knee is bothering you and if you do it, it will take days.  no, no, i can do it.  yeah, whatever. 

so it’s off to wally’s mart for some ‘good soil’ and other shit.  i’m like the prisoner of zenda on these trips.  stuck in some tiger cage while g/f wanders around looking at everything we vaguely might need.  oh, by the way, early shoppers, wally’s mart has their christmas stuff out already.  what the fuck is up with that? 

so we finally make it to the garden area and she wants a 3 cubic ft bag of this soil stuff.  i’m like, ok, it might be too much.  she’s like, that’s ok IF it is i can use it.  the damn bag weighs a good 50 pounds.  plus, it’s nice and awkward and i almost dump the shopping cart while putting the bag on it.  g/f is perplexed that they don’t have hydrangeas.  i tell her that in a month or so they are gonna go dormant.  maybe this isn’t the time of year to plant them.  there’s mumblings about going to the only large nursery left in these parts to score a big hydrangea and it’s over in san gabriel. 

we get back and i start the hole.  for new readers i can dig a hole.  no crappy cone shaped pieces of shit but a nice clean proper hole with straight sides.  i don’t fuck around.  holes are not something to be trifled with, no sir.  of course for this go round there are more tree roots because this hole must be bigger and there’s a tree a foot away from the damn hole.  i’m digging and she’s taking the spoils and dumping them willy nilly around some other bushes.  the hole is not big enough is the word from her.  so i make it bigger.  i finally talk her into accepting the size of the hole that i’ve excavated. 

the hole is so damn big the 3 cu ft bag of soil is not enough to fill the fucker up.  nope.  so now we have to bring some of the ‘crappy’ soil back to mix with the ‘non crappy’ soil just so the hole will be filled in or up, as the case may be.  yeah, well, of course, let’s do shit twice.  plus the added bonus of no rocks.  period.  allowed in the hole.  sweet mother of buddha, grant me peace.  i’m working like a madman and g/f says she’s tired and wanders off after she says put the bricks  for the border like this. 

i start on that and find i need the limb loppers to cut a root.  i turn around and all the tools are gone save for the pick i’ve been using.  she’s picked everything up and has gone inside for a nice iced drink of cranberry juice.  i get the loppers and tell her we aren’t done yet and come back outside.  i know the brick border thingy will need to pass inspection.  if it isn’t right i want to fix it now rather than say, 7pm this evening when she wanders outside and sees that it isn’t what she wants. 

everything passed inspection.  thankfully.  even though i’m very good at it i’m really tired of digging holes.  it’s just not fun anymore.  sadly, even the old zen like hole digging trance didn’t kick in today.  guess i’m getting old or something.