26 February 2021

Don't Leave the House

The title will lead you to believe that this is a Covid-related post but nope.

After almost two weeks of waiting and calling and providing documentation to the loser other driver's insurance, we finally received a determination today.  I say this with no hyperbole: You will not believe it.

They said "We will claim 50% liability....BECAUSE YOU KNEW THE RISK WHEN YOU LEFT THE HOUSE."

I'll let that sink in....

They're saying that because we chose to leave our house in the snow, we assumed the risk of a SNOWPLOW running a stop sign and BLOCKING the ROAD.

We won't be covered by them because we LEFT OUR HOUSE.  Neat.

To say that Kevin lost his mind on the adjuster is probably an understatement.  I wasn't lucky enough to hear it; I was lucky enough to de-escalate him via phone afterward.

So the insurance with the cute little reptile as a spokesperson is not a good or ethical company, I'm just saying. They were more worried about protecting their driver, who hit and ran AND was in the wrong in every way, than paying the cost of repairs of the accident HE CAUSED.

Not to be thwarted, because now I'm annoyed and have to win, I phoned our insurance.  

Is it bad when the adjuster is left speechless?  

Upon explaining what happened and the other insurance company's final determination, our adjuster was silent for the beat of five.  Then a quiet "What?" before trying to recover his professionalism only to say "As an adjuster, I have Never heard of that, ever."

To which I replied "Apparently, it's a thing. Tell your coworkers."  And he laughed.  Then apologized for laughing.  I told him it was okay because we have traveled into ABSURDITY.

To apply the reptilian insurance company's logic, we should never leave the house because something bad might happen.  What are their homeowner's policies like?  If we're not safe outside of our house, certainly we're not safe inside either, by their logic.

Fortunately for us, this put our insurance into problem-solving, Oh No They Didn't, mode.  They will cover our repairs then "negotiate" with the other company to recover their cost and our deductible.  They walked me through next steps and we will have an estimate for repairs to provide to the body shop for final cost determination in 48 hours.

Seriously, though.  Because we had the audacity to LEAVE OUR OWN HOUSE, we get to pay for someone else's mistake and error in judgment.  AFTER we did all the work of contacting the Sheriff and providing the insurance companies photos, accident and POLICE reports stating FAULT.   All they did was speak to the loser other driver and take his word for it.  You know: the guy who HIT AND RAN.  

Oh, the police and accident report is not valid because AND I QUOTE: "The officer wasn't there at the time of the accident."  

I KNOW.  So frustrating. I mean, c'mon.

Now we wait.  It could be that our insurance company fails us in some way because they are in the insurance business. I have to believe that they won't reach the subterranean level of ignoring police and collision reports and victim blaming us leaving the house.

But you never know.  I wouldn't believe that a hit and run accident would be deemed our fault because we left our house.

25 February 2021

You Get A Truck!

 Kevin has been phoning me like every hour, it feels like, since the accident.  We have been beyond diligent getting all the documentation to both insurance companies and phoning regularly to make sure they know we are waiting.  He touches base each time he talks to the insurance, the body shop, and now the in-house counsel at his work. 

He phoned just now and I was a little WUT because it would be the third call today.  (it's 9:45 am)

And now I'm crying.  Happy crying.

Kevin has been reluctantly driving his "big truck" to work.  It is a really nice truck with low mileage and he doesn't mind driving it, just not to work.  His commute is at least 35 miles one way.  He parks in a muddy, gravelly parking lot.  There is no way to keep the truck as nice as it is if he drives it to work every day.

The solution has been that he takes my truck when I don't have work or errands.  This leaves me a little "stuck" because driving the big truck is not my favorite.  But this is completely first world problems.

Because of the insurance and the idiot other driver are taking their sweet time with our claim, we have been unable to get a rental car for Kevin.  Our insurance won't pay for it but will pursue the other insurance company to reimburse the costs if we pay out of pocket.  The other insurance company is standing firmly in the "We'll See" camp.

As the manager at his work, Kevin has a company truck.  He uses it to bid jobs, rescue drivers, go to vendors, etc. But he doesn't drive it home.  Well, that's the obvious solution, you might have just thought.  You're right.  This is where I mention he was being a little prideful and didn't want to ask.  Also, we keep waiting for the insurance to say Go Ahead and this problem will be solved.

Today provided an opportunity though.  He was meeting with the owner of the company (the only person above him in rank, if you will.  I don't say this to brag but to point out not only my frustration with Kevin being prideful but to underline the impact of what has happened.)

He finally broached the subject with him.  He hadn't heard that Kevin's truck was wrecked and expressed sympathy, saying "You have had that truck a long time."  Kevin replied "Your dad hired me on a Friday and I bought it on Saturday."  The owner, without a beat, says "You've had that since 1996!?!"  Dude knew the year of hire for Kevin off the top of his head.  AND understood Kevin's attachment to that truck.

Kevin began to explain what was happening and how we've managed the past two weeks.  "You should take your truck."  his boss answered him without thought. Then, Kevin reports, he paused. "Kevin, you should TAKE your truck.  You should HAVE a truck.  Take your truck home from now on."

Now Kevin is stunned quiet - this never happens - and tells him "It's just temporary until this gets worked out.  I'll pay for fuel and maintenance while I have it.  I don't want it to be a thing."  

The owner stops him mid-sentence.  "No, take your truck home.  It's yours.  Don't think about it again.  You should have a truck.  We'll pay the fuel and maintenance. Don't worry about it. You take it home and don't worry about it."

So, yeah.  That's huge.  It's such a big acknowledgement for Kevin.  It's a big raise/benefit. It solves a problem.  It's a sign from the universe that sometimes life doesn't suck.

23 February 2021


Welcome to What Did Surely Take Apart Now?  

It would be the living room.  Yes, again.  Well, almost twice now since the first time.

After the new furniture adventure, I realized/decided that having just an accent wall in the living room looked strange.  It just made the room look somehow unfinished.

Finally, last week I painted the wall that was bothering me.  We were watching television and I paused it, to Kevin's dismay. "I figured it out!" I exclaim. Kevin is skeptical about what is next.  "I have to paint that wall because the same issue we had when I painted the accent wall STILL EXISTS.  Initially I didn't paint around the visible walls by china cupboard and it looked unfinished.  Then we moved the china cupboard from one corner to the next,  and the problem repeated itself."  He was not as excited about my discovery as I was.  *shrug*

Now, it looks so much better.  The OCD can calm down.  Yeah, like that's a thing.

Next Up:

The entryway is a little alcove thing, with a pony wall.  If I had my druthers, that pony wall would be removed but there's an outlet in it and I'm scared of electricity.  Oh, and Kevin says "No."  I left the entryway the cream color last week but I've found that it looks unfinished too.   The corner looks dingy now; even though that paint is about two years old.  It's difficult to see in the above photo but you get the general idea.

 No worries though, it won't take me long to paint, I thought last week. I swear this mindset will be my downfall.  Also, no, the bedroom is still unfinished.  Shush. I have a new idea.


This is where we realize the failed trim experiment that Kevin's dad installed needs to come down. What had happened was I had asked for accent trim instead of plain trim around the doors.  Kevin's dad did it while I was immobile in a cast and I wasn't paying close attention.  He made the mistake of not removing the original trim but tacking the accent trim around it, and then not making it match the baseboard trim.  No amount of paint is going to fix that.

I was so frustrated and disappointed but couldn't say "Oh, look, you made a mistake."  So I ignored it for ...gosh...almost nine years. (yikes) AND this is not the only doorway he did.  The pantry and the kitchen/mud room door also has this weird configuration of trim that somehow made sense in his head.  I should have fixed it when we had the floors done but having all my belongings outside in the Fall in the PNW had me distracted.

Because of who I am as a person, I did not take a before photo of the door with the wonky, double-trim.  But this is what it looked like this morning:

Believe it or not, this looks better than the wrong trim

So yesterday the wrong trim was finally taken down.  Mostly he only stapled it so it popped right off.  But it three random places, he glued it.  I'm guessing it didn't lay flat and he glued it.  Well, when it was pulled off, it took the texture off of the wall.  Because of course it did.

Off we go to the hardware store to buy stuff to fix it.  While neither of us are able to leave a project visibly unfinished, surprisingly, Kevin said "I want no part of it.  Just don't mess up the house."  I am not sure what happened but I'll take it.  I think the accident has him at TILT for accepting any new issues.  Now is my chance.  I'm learning how to use spray-on texture!

I believe that I've mentioned we've bought two wheelbarrows and three rakes and at least one shovel over the years.  They keep traveling next door and Never Return.  Kevin has threatened a padlock on our new garden shed and I think it might come true.  Because: guess where our ladders are?  NEXT DOOR.  Wait, there's more: Guess whose ladder was broken!?!  OURS.  Sigh.

Kevin might have lost his mind a little bit on his dad (50% of the problem, his brother the other 50%) about the ladder and our new wheelbarrow which was ALSO next door AND in the rain.  Next thing we knew, the f-i-l left for town.  He returned later with TWO ladders: one for us and one for next door.  Meanwhile, Kevin had repaired our ladder.  It can stay outside as the community ladder and ours can stay in the cozy garden shed.

Which brings me to: I have a new ladder!! Not only the one mentioned above but a whole different ladder.  I don't generally need an 8-foot ladder in the house and I had complained about Why Are All of Our Ladders Biology Experiments? (they have been stored/left outside in the beautiful PNW)  I now have my Very Own Ladder that will never leave this house.  I am officially grown.

It's taller than it appears.

Anyway.  That's a lot about ladders.  And the family.  

I am in an insomnia cycle so I worked for three hours this morning, well before any of my coworkers were even awake I am certain. Then I did some chores so the A.D.D. will keep it to a minimum and broke out the painting and repair supplies.  

My downfall, other than a short attention span, is that I don't have the patience for prep work. I've gotten much better but I resent it the entire time I'm doing it. It can, at best, be described as "haphazard".  Today though the instructions on the spray-on texture was Very Specific about being careful.  But it also said "Cleans easily with warm water" so *shrug*.  (this is not foreshadowing, for once)

So I begrudgingly prepped the floor, taped the door frame and edges.  I also brought out my new ladder and wrapped the tray in plastic so it is kept brand-new. Yes, I have issues.  

Once I got the hang of it, the texture spray is kind of fun.  I will (hopefully) never need to use it again but I can add it to my resume.  The worse part was waiting for it to dry.  It's not that it took a long time, it's that I wanted to be done. To be fair, I did have to spray one area twice so that slowed the process down even more.

 Next was painting, which has become a mixture of boring and soothing. I tried frogtape this time and discovered that the edging issue I have is Not the Tape, But Me.  Also, I can't get with tape that is precious about being stored in wasteful plastic packaging.  At least I tried.

 I'm writing this as I wait for the paint to dry.  Then I can touch-up what I've missed.  I had hoped to have painted the door trim and the door by now but can't because of the texture taking longer than assumed.  

Also, it started the conversation whether to paint the door the cream color or another color.  This earned Kevin a raised eyebrow.  

Yes, it does bother me that the door isn't centered

21 February 2021

Don't Borrow Trouble

 You know what I enjoy about the digital age?  Yet, I'm not 100% patient with?  The fact that most of the time everything is done online.  You don't have to talk to anyone anymore.  Well, unless something has really gone wrong.

This whole accident thing is a good example.  Everything has been completed online.  Claims for both insurance companies are online.  Request for police and accident reports, done online.  Search for possible replacement vehicles: ONLINE.

After talking with Deputy CoolGuy that day, we have only had to talk in real to one other person.  The adjuster for the loser's other driver's insurance.

I think Kevin would rather have someone to talk to. But I find comfort in the fact that I've done what I can and can wait.  If I think of something else in the middle of the night, I can send it off and not worry about waking someone.

Where I am not patient is when something goes wrong.  I can't track the claim online because the loser's other driver's policy is a commercial policy.  Then we do have to phone someone.  Sigh.

Right now we're at the wait and see point of this adventure.  Wait for the loser other driver to actually contact his insurance.  (he had not as of Wednesday)  Wait for the reports to be emailed to us.  Wait for the adjuster to either come to the house to see the truck or allow us to take it to the body shop.  Wait to see if it will be totalled or not. 

While I was writing this over the past 24-hours, guess who phoned?  The loser other driver.  At first he was calm, serious, professional.  He asked me if we could just get estimates and he would pay us out of pocket and not involve the insurance company at all.

After actually counting to three in my head, I calmly said No.  It was not my first response but it was the more grown-up response.  I informed him that if he had done the responsible and proper thing at the accident scene, then we could talk. But because he did not AND didn't call the deputy back AND still hadn't called his insurance, we were not interested.

This is where he got a little snarky again, his default setting I suspect.  "It's not a big deal" he says because that went over SO WELL when he said it at the accident.  I told him it was a big deal and a bigger deal now because he refuses to provide any insurance information. 

His response? "I gave you my Business Card." I get Scooby snacks for not cursing, not raising my voice, or losing my cool. Oh, I so wanted to.

He made a sound like he was going to argue then just muttered "Okay" and hung up on me.

The "It's not a big deal" just makes me want to punch him.  He has NO IDEA what is going on in our lives.  He doesn't know if that's our only vehicle, he doesn't know if one of us is sick, he doesn't know if we're broke.  He knows nothing to base the "It's not a big deal."

My suspicion is that he is on the verge of losing his insurance.  My suspicion is this is how he manuevers through life.

Meanwhile, we are lucky.  We have another vehicle to drive.  If I'm being honest, Kevin can drive his work truck but he's being prideful for some reason.  We both came out of it with no injuries.  Lucy is fine and not scared to go in a vehicle. We have insurance that will cover this if the loser other driver's insurance goes poorly. I work at home so I don't need to go somewhere every day.  #thankscovid

We spent time this weekend making sure that the truck was spiffy underneath the tarp that is currently protecting it. Kevin kept saying he felt like he was rearranging chairs on the Titanic. I kept less patiently each time replying "Stop borrowing trouble."

Sigh. So we wait. I'm not usually such a patient person. 

But I've enacted the One Crazy Person at a Time policy. No, it's not a special insurance endorsement; it's a coping technique when life is challenging.  If one is spun out, the other bucks up so we don't devolve into chaos. Theoretically. 

13 February 2021


It snowed last night and it's absolutely beautiful outside.  It's Saturday so we slept in then went to get coffee with Lucy.

We weren't a mile from the house when a snowplow went through a stop sign and stopped in the middle of the road, front of us.  As much as Kevin tried, we hit the truck and stopped.  WE ARE FINE.  

The passenger front corner of the truck took the brunt of the damage, folding the bumper underneath the truck.  If Kevin hadn't thought so quickly, it would have been a t-tone accident.  The plow truck took a hit to the front fender mostly.  We were "lucky" that it hit just between the plow and the truck.

The worse part for me was Lucy.  I had to just hold her tight to my chest with one arm and brace myself with the other.   She is unhurt but was definitely shaken.  She was more upset that we were upset, I think.  Needless to say she is getting All The Cookies today.

Again, we're fine.  I'm certain we'll be sore tomorrow but we're fine.  More frustrated and disappointed.

Because this is where it gets interesting:

The guy didn't want to give us insurance information or I.D.  He finally gave up his business card when I insisted and threatened to call 911.  He stated he was the owner of the company and it would be fine.  In my busy brain, I'm thinking "Heaven help you if not. I will flame you, your company, and dog on the interwebs."  He said that he only had insurance information on the email. I stood right at his door and said "Fine, give it to me right now. I'm standing RIGHT HERE."  He fiddled with his phone, texting, then said he couldn't.  

Meanwhile, I also took photos of EVERYTHING.  (remember that in a minute)  I even have a photo of him in the truck, the name on the door of the truck, the damage, everything.

Kevin was a little spun out because accident, me and the dog in said accident, and his beloved truck was wrecked.  This truck has 500,000 miles on it and he has had it almost his whole adult life.  It's His Truck.  It has seen some stuff.  Also, it's snowing and we're wrecked in the middle of the road with a flat tire.

He had to solve how to get home with said flat tire.  He was going to try to just get it home on the rim and I offered to walk along side to spot him.  I offered to call our young, non-family member, neighbor to come help but he declined because reasons. (see: spun out) Finally, he changed the tire on the side of the road.

Six cars went by. Two stopped.  TWO.  C'mon humanity, get your sh*t together.

While Kevin is problem-solving the tire issue, the plow driver took his truck back up onto the hill and parked.  No offer of further help, nothing.  About fifteen minutes later, another company truck drove by, then stopped.  He looked a little annoyed? I'm not sure why.  Kevin opened his door, without permission, and asked for tools "Because your guy disappeared."  Kevin took a hammer off the floor, said "I will leave it over there for you to pick up", slammed the door, then walked away. THAT DRIVER then goes up the hill, leaving us alone.

A few minutes later, the truck returns down the hill and both guys are in it.  They get their hammer and leave.  Yep.   Super awesome guys, for real though.  I'm already writing the yelp review of their company, trust that.  "Will run a stop sign, cause an accident, not provide information, AND bail on you in an accident. Negative stars. Do not recommend."

About twenty minutes later we finally made it home.  I sat down at the computer with the phone and filed ALL THE CLAIMS.  As you can imagine, I didn't get far with the other driver's insurance because he didn't give me his information.  I am not to be thwarted.  And anyone who knows me in real just laughed and nodded.

This is where shock wears off and I do the obvious next step: call 911.


He called me a knucklehead.  Made me LAUGH.  Because he was right: I was a knucklehead for backing down on getting the guys info.  And, frankly, for not getting Kevin to focus and get it from him.  To be fair, Kevin thought I had a photo of his I.D.  I don't know how.

Next the deputy asked what information I did have.  "A business card".  He sighs: "I could make a business card. That means nothing."  Again, I'm laughing because he's RIGHT.  "Did you look him up on the internet?" he asked.  I laughed again "You don't know me, sir.  Yes, I did."  I explained what I found and he sighed.  The website has no physical address or PO Box.  Now I'm feeling the fringe of panic.  He assured me it was fine and that it happens and he's certain I would never let this happen again.  Yeah, buddy.

Not to be daunted, the deputy said that he would run the guy's information and get back to me. Oh, and did I at least get a license plate?



Um, no.  I have photos of EVERYTHING but the license.  OMG.  What the hell, me?

So after a little bit of education/teasing, he asked for the condition of the truck and exact location of the accident.  I explained that he parked it away from us and left.  This did not sit well with the deputy. Yet there was a little bit of sadistic glee in his voice when he said he would go look for the truck and then do all the police stuff.

Again, he reassures me that while I screwed up, it was going to be fine.

Then I phone Kevin, who is somewhere on the property and explain that we made a mistake in not holding our ground to get the information AND not phoning 911.  Now he's spun out AGAIN.  We decide that we would go look for the truck because certainly we were closer than the deputy.

We weren't.  The deputy was already there.  Hooray!  He and Kevin hit if off almost immediately and he laughed when I introduced myself as Surely the Knucklehead.

"Go take a photo of the license plate.  The front one" he instructs.  This wasn't easy because of the, you know, plow but I got it done.  Then he looks up the information, finds the guy, and works on his computer for a minute.  Then we hear a phone ring....he is phoning the dude as we stand there.  OMG.

I am a little in love with this deputy now.  "Hello this is Deputy CoolGuy of the County Sheriff's Department.  It's my understanding that you left an accident without providing insurance or identification to the other party.  That is considered a hit and run and a crime.  I would strongly suggest that you call me back as soon as possible."

Now I am not the one in trouble and I am flop-sweating.  But I'm also trying not to audibly laugh and be overheard on the voicemail, like the sibling who didn't get in trouble.  He disconnected and asked a few more clarifying questions.  This is where I take out my phone and call up the photos.  "Look, I have everything!" as I hand him my phone.  "Except the license plate" he quips.  omg. I love smartasses.

After all of that, where we were parked was Sketch Level 100 so Kevin offered to have the deputy follow us to our road and safely park.  He gladly took us up on the offer.  Of course the neighbors are outside playing in the snow as the Sheriff follows us into the driveway.  Of course.  It gave us a good story to tell and got a good photo out of it.

I've filed claims with our insurance company and now his. It was a little fun to tattle and explain how their client left an accident scene without doing the proper things.  It was also nice that the insurance company's FIRST question was "Is everyone okay?"

Now we're stuck at the insurance company's mercy and at the snow's mercy too.  It's not supposed to stop until Monday-ish then be really cold so we're in it for a while. Also, we are waiting for the guy to respond to the officer, who will then let us know the next - if any - step on that front. 

For the rest of the day, Lucy and I played in the snow and laid on the floor in front of the fire. We agreed that it is a rest and cookies day for the remainder of the day.

Despite all of that, look how beautiful it is:

12 February 2021

Shots In All The Arms...Eventually

 Quoting the ever-so-lovely Swistle again: I want all the shots in all the arms.

Here's my journey through this befuddling vaccine process. I think it would be easier to find The Ring than to accomplish these vaccinations.  

Out of four eligible adults that I'm trying to schedule vaccines, ONE has had ONE of TWO vaccines.  I have been trying for a MONTH to schedule appointments.

No, that's not frustrating at all and ignore that banging noise of Surely's head against the monitor.

In Washington State, Kevin and I qualify for the vaccine because of the multigenerational household.  His parents, of course, qualify because of their age and medical fragility.

Because of lack of vaccines, I was only able to get Kevin's mom her first shot.  There was only one appointment available IN ALL THE LAND and I had to play Sophie's Choice as to which parent received the vaccine.

And I think I chose wrong.  I think I should have scheduled his dad because he goes out into the public recklessly  more than his mom.  BUT his mom is more medically fragile...And why is this a THING?

It's a moo point because there is never going be vaccines available here. *flailing of head and hands*  I search twice a day through THREE COUNTIES and have been unable to schedule any appointments.  Meanwhile, television and news make it sound like "Oh, just walk into the drug store and you're good to go."  So much NO.

I am on the waiting list at my clinic AND I have a physical scheduled in two weeks.  I am a tiny bit concerned because the vaccines have warnings about people who easily have allergic reactions.  (Hai, hey, hello)  As it looks like the physical will occur before the shot, I'm putting that on the We'll Worry About It When We Get There shelf.

I can't put Kevin on a waiting list because His CLINIC isn't a vaccine site. Reason number eleventy that I wish he'd change clinics.

My father-in-law is on two waiting lists: both at his clinic and the Health Department.  (Kevin isn't eligible for this list due to his work schedule)

Because of my job, I get weekly vaccination updates through the state that goes to medical providers, etc.  They also make it sound like So Easy Peasy to get the vaccine.  GAH.  When I first realized that the regular update was providing Covid imms information, I was excited.  And then almost immediately disappointed.  Because if there were some secret process to doing this: I would be telling ALL Y'ALL how to do it.  Alas, not so much.

I've heard of people traveling down to Seattle to the mass vaccine sites to get immunized, which is great.  But it's not possible in our situation.  The parents simply can't travel like that anymore.  I've heard that if you just show up at the end of a scheduled vaccination site, they will give out unused vaccinations instead of wasting them.  Again though, the parents can't just hang out in hopes to get these damned immunizations.  (also, this could totally be urban legend so don't trust that idea)

Which brings me to this crazy system that is in place. Scheduling is 100% online. What happens to other folks who don't have a Surely in their lives to schedule these?  For an elderly person, this process is Capital "I" impossible.  I can barely get my m-i-l to not mess up an amazon order, let alone wander through this process successfully.

Like almost always, I have no point or solution.  However, hopefully this will make you feel a tiny bit better if you are also going through this process.  

Oh, if you live in Washington State, here is the link:


09 February 2021

The Land of Misfit Plants

We have reached the Why Do We Even Live HERE portion of the winter season.  It's been raining, raining, raining.  When I started writing this the sky was battling it out amongst itself: one minute sun, one minute snow.  Now it's the next day and it's a balmy 31 degrees at mid-day.

Evidence to the contrary, it's been unseasonably warm this winter and no snow to speak of, really.  This disappoints me greatly; even though I don't get snow days as long as I work from home.  But I want to take photos.  The little park where I take Lucy would be gorgeous in the snow.  

Sunday was finally a nice day, although a little chilly.  I had been itching to work in the garden but the cold, rain, waning motivation, work, and other projects kept my attention away. But looking at the forecast, it seemed this was my only opportunity.  I bundled up and went out the garden.  

Even though I *knew* that I knew the answer, I asked the google about trimming hydrangeas.  As I remembered, the google said "Um, like, NOW."

I had a HUGE hydrangea bush in the corner of the garden by the drive but it took over everything.  One day my father-in-law, after months of threatening, dug it up and planted it at the top of the hill.  Now it's growing and happy on the clay hill part of the garden.  It is an area that is undefined other than "eff it, I'm throwing these plants up there."  There are two boxwoods that I had to move from a corner garden because someone who is 32 lbs and furry likes to dig in that garden.  There are two awkwardly, not really planted but more set on the ground, alyssum that wouldn't take in pots because reasons.  There is a red plant that I saw in the grocery store parking lot that I thought was pretty.  Yeah, it's SUPER THORNY.  So it is up on the Hill of Misfit Plants.

Last summer is when it occurred to me that the hydrangeas grow exponentially, whether or not you want them to.  So I've added little clusters around the hill over time.  The plan is to just let the hydrangea take over that hill because I can't get anything else to grow up there.  Maybe they will cascade down and I can keep them trimmed like our homestead monster rhododendron.  

But I discovered that the branches already had some new growth and buds.  Sigh.  I hate trimming/killing living things. Hate it.  That's why the butterfly bush is out of control.  I turned off the anthropomorphic part of my brain and started clipping away.  I tossed all the clippings on the ground, further down the hill, in hopes that some of them will take in a few months.  

To assuage my guilt about trimming living things, I took those stalks and stuck them in the ground in a line like soldiers, midway between the bushes and the clippings.  Now we wait.  Worse case only a few take root.  Well, no, worse case is that they all take root.

Last summer I trimmed back aforementioned butterfly bush and tossed most of the trimmings over the embankment to the lower part of the property.  Out of curiosity, I took a few branches and plunked them into the ground up by the rock cascade that I built.  To my surprise, one of them took.  The others are borderline and I won't know until spring if they're going to live.  

So then I looked around and made another happy discovery. I had also planted two large branches of the evergreen shrub that we have.  This one bothers Kevin because it - brace yourself - reaches over the brick wall. THE HORROR.  I planted it in a weird area by the fence, telephone pole, and an old cedar stump.  It took as well.  This will maybe make trimming a little easier for me; knowing I can plant the clippings elsewhere.

Finally, we have a monkey puzzle tree.  When it was planted, it wasn't quite a foot tall.  Now it's almost fifteen feet.  And branching (ha! pun!) out.  This presents a challenge because monkey puzzle trees are -as I quote Kevin: fuckers.  They are SHARP.  S.H.A.R.P.  Scratch you, puncture your skin, sharp.  But they are so cool.  

That being said, I had on leather gloves so I was able to touch the damn tree. I trimmed off three branches that threaten us as we walk by it and plunked them into the garden and the Hill of Misfit Plants.  Because I'm impulsive, I did not think this through.  I huffed out laughing when this caught my eye out of the window.  And yes, I am a twelve-year-old boy.

But because of the possible snow and definite colder temperatures, I haven't raked away any leaves and deadloss.  I want to leave it as a little extra insulation for now.  This is making me a little squinty but I have to leave it.  Also, even though weeds are growing, it's way too wet to pull them.  And yes: weeds in the winter months. That's how unseasonable our winter has been.

There are daffodils and irises coming up. What I think are tulips (?) are coming up.  The miniature roses are making a comeback already, and the rhododendrons are budding.  I am stuck between wanting snow and not wanting snow now. 

Finally, another happy thing.  I had been stacking rocks on this big boulder that is randomly placed on the hill, outside of the garden.  It looks like our non-family neighbors have added to it.