Sunday, November 29, 2009

Further Ponderings

Thanks all for your comments regarding my last post.

I agree that if we leave the neighbors win. Sweetie says so what? I say, we bought this place; we've put work into it; and we were led here by circumstances that were nothing short of a miracle. So it seems to me we're supposed to be here. Maybe not full time. Maybe someday we'll escape to Florida in the winter - like thousands of others do.

But I wonder... with the world going to Hell should we consider living even part time in a populated area where crime is common? Personally, I can think of lots of negatives.

It's the health issues that motivate Sweetie. I also think that with many losses between the two of us, it's a natural to try and recapture some of the past.

But life changes no matter where you are. You age; you get ill; you lose friends and family; the neighborhood changes; the weather changes; the economy changes; your dreams and goals change.

Without change you may as well lock yourself in a cell and die. Everything evolves. And who knows, maybe the neighbor's circumstances will change. Hell, maybe he'll drop dead! Maybe he'll listen to the township supervisor and move his crap. I don't know.

Maybe I'll drop dead. So why not savor the day as best I can? Somehow, I have to remind myself of that. After all the adversity and disappointment and discouragement, you'd think I'd get that through my head.

When adversity strikes I can't stop thinking about it. And then, before long, I've been robbed of my joy and everything seems bleak.

I want to LIVE here, not exist here.

Yesterday I raked red pine needles and picked up more garbage near our north line. It felt good to be outside doing something. Though the thermometer said 40 it felt perfect.

Today, we met my youngest son at a small town for breakfast with his children, his ex and her boyfriend. It felt good to just do something besides sit here and be pissed.

And finally, NOTHING regarding Sweetie's desire to move will happen anytime soon. For starters, we can't just pick up and go. For once, having little money is an advantage! We have a house payment. We have a two bills yet to pay off. We have my Dad to consider. We have a medical appointments.

We were in the same boat when we dreamed of selling in Lower Michigan and moving here. It took over two years and happened unexpectedly when we thought we couldn't afford it.

Until serendipity or the lottery or a rich uncle comes along, we're here. And that's fine by me.

Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, this is just a test.

So thanks again for your comments and have a great day, Treesong

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We're Still Standing

It's been eight days of pure Hell since my last post. But, being the mean, determined, resourceful people we are, we're still standing.

I won't drag out every detail of the past week. Suffice to say, if it could happen, it seemed to.

A few highlights:

The township supervisor emailed and said he'd "look into" the blight problem. He said he'd call or stop by and talk to us. He did the former but not the latter. The neighbor who doesn't occupy his ramshackle house (I've posted pictures of it before) is installing a fence as we speak. Hurray! He has six sections of fence sitting on his land, doing nothing constructive, so this is a good thing.

Meanwhile, the neighbor who's knocked the fence line down and who's outbuilding is half on our land has spread his junk further. We received a copy of our survey and it notes the building's "encroachment." We talked to an attorney and got what we felt was mixed messages.

Sweetie got disgusted with the whole situation and said after the guy returns to Texas we'll install the fence - leaving 10 feet open on either end of his building so he can remove his junk next spring. I'm a bit disgusted with his decision but he's adamant.

Then the round of illness, injuries and broken relationships began.

Sweetie was at the hospital for a CT scan of his abdomen. Not good news. He has not yet consented to surgery.

Two days later I woke up unable to walk. I have some movement now but not without a walker.

The next day my oldest son and his girlfriend split up. He holed up in his house for three days and wouldn't answer the door or his phone. Thanksgiving dinner was moved to our house but my Dad was the only guest.

When he returned home my Dad slipped and fell on his steps. He's getting weaker by the day and refusing to move out of his home. He has to negotiate nine steps to his front door. My ass of a brother is in Jordan playing commando and said he hopes Dad "waits to die" when he has leave in March!

And then the bombshell.

Sweetie was sitting in his recliner as usual, looking deep in thought. I should have never asked what he was thinking.

He'd like to move back to Florida.

Today he put his Case tractor up for sale. Says we'll sell everything we can and get a cheap little house in Citrus County. He then got on the phone to track down old friends and discovered most had died. He's been bummed ever since.

Every time I mention something like, "That wood heat sure feels good," he responds with something like, "We won't have all the work of wood heat in Florida."

Sometimes life just seems to suck all over. All we can do is carry on and hope it gets better.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today's Musings

I've always known there's more than one way to attack a problem and so I've come up with the following approach regarding our blessed neighbor who keeps knocking down the fence line. Short of shooting the jerk.

This township does have a blight order though it is seldom enforced. So, why not take on two issues and solve multiple problems? I'm retired with plenty of time on my hands so I've decided to begin attending township meetings and making contact with all township officers/employees. If the ordinance isn't going to be enforced than it should be repealed. If it's not going to be repealed, it should be enforced. That's my perspective and I'm going to make noise about it until someone in the township takes action.

And if need be, I will ask that WE be sighted for violating the blight ordinance! If, and it's probably a big if, we were sighted, we would be compelled to act - which means we would have every legal right to clean up the mess on our land. And because I have been so good at documenting junk on this land, I can show via my online photos that we have been cleaning up the land since we bought it beginning on the east boundary (what we call the front) and working toward the back, or west boundary.

Sweetie says whatever floats my boat. I think he would prefer that I be the noisemaker. Whatever. I am sick to death of people who think they can do as they have always done with other people's land. Period.

We have Sweetie's doctor appointment at 2 p.m. followed by a free consultation with a lawyer. In the meantime, firearm deer hunting season cannot end soon enough. There are now three deer hanging on the neighbor's buck pole and I'd bet at least two of them were shot at night between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. A call to the DNR did no good as I was told they were understaffed and busy in the south end of the county. They took my information but a friend who works in their office said not to expect any further contact.

If this were full fledged End of the World and people were starving, I could understand shooting game while ignoring the laws. But this is a group of drunks who have done a great job of littering the roadsides, driven while intoxicated and shot after dark.

Well, that's my vent for the day.

Still no snowfall here and it's approaching 50 degrees! Okay by me as it saves on firewood and snowplowing. Later, Treesong

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sharia Law

Received this via an email from a friend in Arizona. Certainly food for thought.

In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child and consummate the marriage by 9. The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave)and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.

Even though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce. To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses. Often, after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry. The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the family honor. A husbands may beat his wives 'at will' and he does not have to give a reason for doing so.

The husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion. The Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

In the West World ( America ) Muslim men are starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife cannot obtain a divorce and he can maintain complete control of her. It's amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending American Universities are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Sharia law.

Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose Sharia law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.

Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza before emigrating to America in 1978 When she was eight years old, her father died while leading covert attacks on Israel He was a high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family in Gaza. When he died, he was considered a "shahid," a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.

But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her Muslim culture and upbringing. She converted to Christianity after hearing a Christian preacher on television. In her latest book, Darwish warns that radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. Additionally, within 20 years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the President!

I told my friend there are plenty of people who think we already have a Muslim president to which she replied: "Maybe, with government the way it is today, who knows what really is about anything."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pine Trees and Morons

Thank God I spent some time planting Spruce and Red Pine today. With a shovel in my hand and my temper ready to spiral out of control, I needed some distraction.

The dumb ass behind us has once again removed the fence I re-installed two days ago. He - or some of his guests - have been shooting during late evening and before dawn and I've had enough of it.

Sweetie, on the other hand, just sits here and ruminates. He'd prefer to let things be until they're gone, then go out and replace our west - their east - fence line.

He's also been concerned about being well enough to clean the driveway this winter due to his health. he went out and spent every last cent we had in reserve for a 1984 Chevrolet Blazer with a plow. The money was to be used for fencing and posts. While I understand him wanting to plow in an enclosed space - free of the bitter wind and cold - I feel our goal of fencing has slipped away.

Sometimes Sweetie makes decisions without consulting me and this one has me mad. When he first talks about a "situation" like the neighbor, he portrays himself as stern, decisive and sure of his decision. From then on he wavers and says one thing to one person; another thing to someone else; and often something else again to the person involved in the "situation." And usually, I'm clueless as to what he's said until I repeat what he's told me to someone else. Then, he informs me of his new perspective! Talk about feeling betrayed and/or embarrassed!

And a little while ago we had yet another instance of this. Another neighbor stopped us on the road and asked if we were putting a fence up to "block out" the neighbor. Sweetie stood there and said: "Oh, we'll probably just put some big boulders along the line and call it good. The fence posts could be used to expand the garden."


And the neighbor promptly looks at me and says, "I thought you said...."

The World Needs More Scroungers!

Desperation, necessity, homelessness and joblessness have created more scroungers in the world than a year ago. It's a tough way to learn that reusing and recycling is a prudent, economical and healthy choice. But if living in the land of plenty hasn't taught a person to conserve, living without should.

I been into scrounging so long that I choose this approach even when I could buy new. When I find an alternative or make use of leftovers I retain or increase my income and less goes in the landfill.

People who blow money on cheap goods, trinkets and gadgets that have been imported long distances have not contributed to their day to day survival. They have enslaved themselves. The adage, "Waste not, want not," means as much as possible everything is reused/re purposed - and you end up not wanting more!

I was thinking of this yesterday when we visited my oldest son's - the big spender. Once again, his recent choices gave me a glimmer of hope. He has started saving money! Better yet, he has started recycling a few things.

When his leather living room furniture was torn he thought of me! NO, I didn't come home with three leather living room pieces. He HIRED me to mend the furniture. The way I look at it, he at least kept his money in the family and his furniture in his house. What a change!

He also took us out for dinner, which I said wasn't necessary. He said he wanted to treat for us because we so seldom do such a thing. Sweetie gave me one of his looks when I suggested we cook at my son's, so I relented.

As usual, on our route to and from my son's we were on the look out for cast offs. Our first find was a pile of fresh cut 6-inch diameter, 10-foot cedar logs. Can you believe he just cleared them out of his property because the wanted other cedars to get larger? The key here was we asked "What do you have planned for those cedar logs?" Not, "How much do you want for those cedar logs?"

My son is having more Birdseye maple trim installed at his house so we picked up four boxes of scrap. His neighbor was throwing out pieces of old trim from his home so those were loaded in the truck too. Today I'll be pulling nails and cutting trim into stove wood pieces.

We have an old hot tub sitting on our land with some mechanical parts missing. Yesterday I tore the wood enclosure off and cut that up for kindling. I'm not interested in a fish pond or extra large birdbath so the tub will be hauled to the landfill. Hate the thought of that but some things will ultimately wind up there.

We've also dug up red pines and spruce that were crowded along the shoulder of the road. Thus far we have 21 "new" trees in our front yard. As long as the weather stays mild we'll keep transplanting them to various bare spots on our land. Of the 16 trees I transplanted a couple months ago during a cold spell, one has died. Sure beats going to a nursery and buying trees!

Well, time to get moving around here. Hope you all had a good weekend. Treesong

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Survey Says...

The survey is complete and verifies what we suspected. The neighbor to the west of us has encroached about 35 feet onto our land. The picture shows the tip of a survey stake and the brown sided building behind the pine tree which is on the lot line. Everyting to the right of it is on our land including a picnic table, stacks of lumber, tires, garbage, several boats and broken windows.

The survey was completed Thursday and we immediately began installing metal fence posts along the two north/south lines on either side of his 100x200 foot lot. About half way through his west boundary Sweetie began to sweat and feel weak. We took a break and he complained of a sore throat. By 4 p.m. he was in bed. He slept until 6 a.m. and woke up with the symptoms he's had the last two times he's had pneumonia. So off to the doctors we went. Three hours later we returned with two new medications and a refill.

That afternoon I went out to finish installing fence posts. As I approached the first north/south line (neighbor's easterly boundary) I saw the fence post were down and thrown into the brush. I'd come prepared with sledgehammer, twine, tape measure, orange flagging tape, etc. so I began re-installing the posts. A few minutes later here comes the neighbor - who we thought had gone to Texas for the winter.

"What are you doing? Keeping me in or out?" I said the survey had been completed and we'd begun installing the fence posts. I asked about his stuff on our land and he said he'd remove it "when he got around to it." He claimed he had run into the fence posts when he pulled in his drive the previous evening.

Hmmmm...kind of hard to run into eight fence posts with one pickup - unless you intended to take them all out.

During our conversation he said he knew he'd always parked on our land and had his wood supply dumped on our land. But, he felt sure his NORTH line was not correct and WE need to have the survey re-done.

He's here for our two week firearm deer season. I asked where he planned to hunt and he said, "On your land behind me, like I always have. Besides, you don't have it posted." We had planned to post once we knew for certain where the lines were. So this year we'll let his tradition continue and hope we're not shot by an angry drunk.

I continued to install fence posts - adding four additional ones to the line he had removed - and flagged the twine between the posts. As I was leaving his wood was delivered. Very loudly, he told the driver: "I have no where to put the wood because the neighbor's blocked my spot."

His spot?

I ignored the remark because I won't be baited by someone who has no respect for other people's land. The guy drinks every day and by 6p.m. if he's not incapable of standing and talking coherently, he's close to it. The next day he recalls nothing of what he's said.

Last night this neighborhood sounded like a Fourth of July celebration. Firecrackers, gunshots, yelling, tires squealing and door slamming when on until 4 a.m. With the leaves off the trees we and the neighbors can see one another and voices seem to carry further. There's been lots of activity behind us and to our south and plenty of inspections of the new fence line.

As Sweetie said, once again, the good old boys are not happy with us. If we'd had the survey done sooner the fence would have been up awhile so people could get used to the idea. I realize it was a shock for the neighbor to come barreling into this camp and discover we had made changes - mainly that he (and all his guests) could no longer park - or litter - on our land.

In this state you cannot discharge a firearm within 500 feet (I think) of an occupied residence but everyone in this neighborhood ignores it. NO ONE in the neighborhood is 500 feet from another dwelling. In fact, today, someone on the second road past us stepped out their door and shot a deer across the road from him - in the yard of a summer home. The road is a two track about 18 feet wide and most lots here (except our land) are 100x100 feet and most people own two lots.

So...we occupied ourselves by cleaning in the pole barn and planting 18 more red pine in the front yard. The Z-pac and Prednisone seem to have done the trick for Sweetie and the the temps have been 49-52 with no wind.

To some people we seem unreasonable. To us we're simply respecting our boundaries; caring for and nurturing our land and keeping it free of litter and junk.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Life Goes On

First, thanks to all of you who have commented via my blog or private emails regarding Mita's passing. Though I still grieve, life goes on, as it must until it's my time to leave.

Our other cat, Kitty Kitty, has responded by taking Mita's place on my ottoman. Though she doesn't sit on my lap or wake me in the morning, she senses Mita's loss. I was going to say she senses my need for comfort but more likely we both need comforting.

In other news, the forecast this week is temps in the 50's and sunshine. We welcome more time to take care of outdoor chores. Yesterday I did our monthly shopping while Sweetie and my Dad picked up two more face cord of firewood. They were just beginning to unload it when I returned home and both were tired out. My Dad will be 81 Sunday but does anything to stay active. I'll bet he slept in late today.

Stopped by the surveyor's office yesterday to turn in the contract and payment. Work begins Monday. That ought to be interesting, to say the least, as most property owners on our south line have items well over the line. We asked the surveyor to mark the four lots that are part of this acreage and make a separate survey for that parcel. The total size of this parcel is 182x200 and will be put up for sale. With the shape of the real estate market we don't expect potential buyers to knock down our door. If it sold for the asking price half our mortgage would be paid. With 200' of road frontage and close access to the lake it would be an ideal parcel for someone who wants to build or park a fifth wheeler. Anyway, time will tell.

We have half the bathroom floor replaced down to the joists. ONE joist was 1/2 inch lower than the others so it had to be shimmed with another 2x8. Once we moved the washer/dryer back into the bathroom and turned it on we had a leak!!! What next? A valve had failed but thankfully water now drips onto cement board that's laid over treated plywood subfloor. So today we have a valve to replace and with any luck, water lines that will be moved and "done right" as Sweetie says. As usual, there's no shut off valve on this line either.

Either we can get frustrated over the poor planning and workmanship around here or realize there's no reason to get bored - because there's always something to fix!

Well, time to get busy, Treesong

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Greif

I didn't say anything here about my cat Mita leaving home Monday night and not returning. She wenr outside with our dogMonday night but didn't return. We found her two roads away from here Wednesday afternoon. In the last couple weeks she started loosing weight so we surmised she had gone off to die. When we found her she was sitting next to a pontoon boat hissing at a dog. It rained heavily while she was gone but she looked fine and I was relieved.

By Thursday she stopped eating and drank very little and began to stumble and loose the use of her hind legs. I tried to hold her in my lap which she used to crave but she would retreat to a corner. On Saturday she changed her tune and wanted to be near me constantly so I abandoned just about everything to be with her.

And I've cried and cried and cried. We buried her last night.

I've realized these last days that Mita has been the one constant, unconditional, loving, devoted, humorous companion in my life for 13 years. My world has gone to Hell and back a few times but she was always there.

We had little routines that measured our day. Most mornings I opened my eyes to see here staring at me. If she wasn't there I had slept in late and she was waiting at the end of the hall for me. As soon as she spotted me she started meowing AND WOULD NOT STOP until I had poured my cup of coffee, retrieved my yogurt, and sat in my wing chair with my legs on my ottoman and an oblong pillow across my lap. She was on the ottoman trying to position herself before I sat my coffee on the wicker table next to my chair. Most mornings she licked the yogurt from the lid, then stretched out across the pillow. She'd stay there until I got up - which always seemed to be too soon for her.

If I spent too much time at the computer she'd jump on the keyboard, turn to face me and give me a distinct meow. She usually followed me to the mailbox and ran to greet me when I opened the door after being gone. At dinner time she sat by my chair begging for pieces of meat.

When my friend Nancy died and I cried a lot, she came up to me one day and wiped the tears, first with her right paw, then her left. That made me smile.

If I stopped petting her before she'd had enough attention, she'd give me a tap with her right paw. If I neglected to clean the litter box since she or Kitty Kitty had last used it, she'd sit in front of it and meow loudly.

About 10 p.m. each night she'd go to our bed and curl up at the foot of my side. If I stayed up past 2 p.m. she'd come looking for me. When I crawled in bed she nuzzled my neck, I'd say good night and she'd take her place at my feet.

When my ex and I split I didn't take Mita with me - being as I was living in my car then. My Dad said Mita wandered the house looking for me and laid on my side of the bed until my ex got in it. I got a good chuckle over that story! Months later, when I picked her up, she jumped into my arms and hung on for dear life. Mita had been declawed years ago but somehow she clung to me and shrieked when I tried to put her down. Those days were another tear jerker.

I've felt lost these last days knowing she was dying. And last night, I dreaded going to bed. Today, I feel at loose ends. We planned to stay home and work on the bathroom but I could barely stand to be here. After breakfast I looked at Sweetie and said, "I cannot stay here right now."

Thank God, he's a sensitive and wise man. We drove to my Dad's and took down his flagpole, mailed a package and got gas. But still I ache. I'm avoiding my wing chair but keep walking to the kitchen slider to look out across the yard at her grave.

And now I have to go because I cannot see to type.