Friday, March 10, 2006


We are officially moving. Across the street. The contract for the lot is signed, and I suppose I am resigned. When we moved to this house, I didn't want to do that either. I liked our old house. It backed up to a wetlands, and we built a fabulous deck that I'd sit on and watch the amazing wildlife. As an added bonus, I happen to love frogs and in the summer at the Rosefield house if we wanted to watch television, it had go up very high in order to be heard over the frogs. Most of the time, the frogs were preferable. Right now I am pretty sure the people living in that neighborhood are hearing the spring peepers. In the very early morning, if one was still enough, a glimpse of a wood duck might be had. I did not want to move.

I do not like to move. First of all, packing is a pain in the ass. I can not think of many things I hate more than packing to move. Secondly, I am a nester. I like to get into a place and stay. I lived in the same building all through college. Not only that, I lived in the same room for the last two years. We were very spoiled in this building with things like afternoon tea and packed lunches in case we couldn't make it back and sit down dinners with waitresses and the Sunday paper delivered to our door, and that helped to keep me there, but mostly I am nester.

Alas, I have plighted my troth to a builder. And so we build. And move. And build. And move. And build-- Sigh. The idea is that we get to a place where we have flipped so many times, we'll end up being able to own the house outright. It works when you are the builder yourself, but not for awhile, and frankly, I think Partner might change her mind about all this moving palaver when/if we have children. It's not going to get easier.

However, one might be inclined to think my moving anxiety would not be as strong only moving across the street. One would be wrong. I think it's worse. To begin with, we were initially going to build the same house with modifications, but we've decided this house is too expensive to heat, so we're changing up plans. I like this house plan. I'm worried I won't like the new house plan, and then I'll be across the street, staring at the house I did love, jealous of people living in my old house. That would be no good.

And our lot now has more trees than the new lot. This used to be a tree nursery, and all along one side of our lot there are flowering crabs. Two rows of them, like a little bower. More maples on this lot too. Partner says we can move some of them over to new lot. We can also take as many of the flowering crabs as we want. But it won't be the same. We won't have the eastern sun come through the back of the house and flood across our bed in the morning. Or into the kitchen. And there are a number of things I like in this house that I don't want to leave. If I make the same exact selections in the new house, isn't that boring?

Here's the only thing that makes me slightly happy we decided to move across the street. When we announced our intention to buy that lot, some of our neighbors told us that the person who lives behind that lot was "odd." Why, we wanted to know? What was so odd about these people? "Well," we were informed, "they're kinda tree huggers." Now this is not something that strikes me as odd in the slightest, and I like the idea of moving next to some tree huggers, because apparently the guy building behind us is not a lover of trees.

One Tuesday, after the appointment with Dr. BusyBusyBusy, I opted to go home and not return to work. The crampones were too too much. So I sat upstairs in the office and attempted to grade some papers. After about an hour, I looked out the door, which gives one a good look out that two story nook window. And all our trees were gone. Okay, not all of them, but many of them. And there was a guy with an excavator plowing down more trees.

I ran down the stairs and hightailed it out there. After flailing my arms around for a few minutes, and basically standing under the excavator shovel, the guy finally turned off his machine and paid attention to me. I told him to stop! cutting! down! trees! And he pulled his smelly cigar out of his fat mouth and said they weren't on my property. Well, okay. I stepped forward, but that one, I pointed, is pretty questionable. It was a big tree. About thirty feet tall. He said he'd watch the property line more carefully and fired his machine up again. But I wasn't done, so I screamed at him more, asking where the builder was. "Oh" he growled at me, "he was here, but I think he's gone now."

Yeah, right, I thought, so I walked around our lots and trekked through the mud and stood outside the house and asked one of the carpenters where the builder was. And he said, "Here he comes now." Let me clarify: We know the builder. He was at our Christmas party. I like him. He's a nice guy and his house is beautiful and certainly will not effect us adversely when it comes time to sell. I railed a bit about the trees, and he told me most of them were dead anyway. "It doesn't look like to me in the summer," I said, "because in the summer it's solid green back here." When we got around the corner of his house, he told me that the excavator pulled more down than he would have liked (which I think is probably a really good BS line.) But I shouldn't worry because he'd be putting in some evergreens. "And anyway," he added, "most of this was just scrub."

I'm devastated. I know for definite that there is a rabbit warren back there. Some of that "scrub" was wild raspberry bushes that the animals ate all summer. In fact we'd often try to rush out and get a few berries before the deer stripped the bushes clean. Once this past summer, we had a group of people from church at our house. We were sitting on the back deck, and there across the back of the yard sauntered a couple of deer. The scrub provided a lot of protection for the deer, fox, rabbits, etc. And in a neighborhood where you can't put up a fence, the scrub was the best possible fence one could have. And it's all gone. It's all bloody gone. And he's cleared so much of his own lot, everything looks so different to me.

I don't understand this. I know that builders get a bad rap for tearing down trees, but my own partner, the builder, is not like this. We try to take as few out as we need to if there are trees on the lot. When we built this house, we opted to move trees in the build envelope rather than tear them all down. It was more expensive than having the exacavator rip them out, but they're trees! This guy behind us-- his house is up-- the trees did not have to come down. They weren't in anyone's way.

So of all the anxieties I have about moving (and the list is longer than I've posted here), living by tree huggers is not one of them. In fact, it may be the most welcome change of all.

(I can't find the camera, but when I do, I'll post a picture of the wild destruction.)


Blogger chris said...

That guy needs a kick in the balls. Of course, I'm feeling a bit cranky today.

Maybe you can think of something you didn't get in this house that you really wanted and have it put in the new house. Sort of to sweeten the deal, you know.

Take care.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Soul Searching said...

Ok, since you have the inside scoop can you tell me why they don't put lights in the bedrooms when they build houses?? It puzzles me.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous LL said...

Tree-killing bastards!
I hate that.
I have seen houses go up right next to beautiful existing trees, painstakingly and remarkably saved. Well worth it.
But, this is Oregon. Things are different here.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Trista said...

Oh the poor trees, the poor wildlife, the poor Katie!

Out in my parent's neighborhood, the guy that had owned all the property and sold the lots around us HATED the natural sage and rabbitbrush forest that filled most of the lots. He's a tractor guy, I don't know what he's called, but he grades roads (made all the roads in the neighborhood) and digs foundation holes and backfills and just generally moves dirt around. And he convinced most of the people buying lots in that area to let him scrape their lot clean of the sage and rabbitbrush -- but not my parents, they loved it, it's why they moved out there, and he never could understand that. So, a couple of years after they finished building (my dad's a builder) they asked this guy to cut in a beautiful, sweeping driveway, and that's it. Well, he decided that (since he liked them so well) he would throw in a lot scraping as well (since obviously the only reason they hadn't asked him to do it was the expense) so my mom heard him out there one morning (a day or so after the driveway was done) and she was in her robe and pj's (he's an early riser) and saw him scraping off a big corner of her natural yard. He had got done with a whole corner by the time she got out there (still in her robe and got him to stop) I'm not sure how she convinced him to stop since it was important not to piss him off since he handled all the road maintenance and snow plowing, but she did and we went off thinking she was a little nuts. And then she cried and cried over the lost plants. My brother, who was a teenager at the time, saw her crying and the mess made of the yard and got buckets and started trying to water what brush was left and threw all mom's wildflower seeds over the carnage (wrong season for them, but he just wanted so badly to "fix it" for his mom) and actually the watering did help. Rabbit brush is pretty springy, and since the guy wasn't able to go back for a second pass the rabbitbrush mostly sprung back up within a day or so. Sage is woodier and more brittle so most of it had come right up, but not all, and sage is a real fighter, the water my brother gave them that day was so visibly beneficial to what plants were left that my parents watered what was left of the sage there for the rest of the summer. The neighbors thought they were crazy watering sagebrush, but it worked. Though that section of the lot looks different than the rest of their untouched landscaping, it made a pretty miraculous recovery.

Sorry to take over your blog, but I thought you'd appreciate that story. Here's hoping the build and the move goes smooth and your new neighbors are great.

Oh, um, the building market is GREAT out here in Salt Lake AND we get sun in the winter if you ever wanted to try and flip something out this way...

4:42 AM  
Blogger Pamplemousse said...

Tree-killing bastard!!!

7:04 AM  
Blogger Moxie said...

Oh, that's a gut-punch.

Rabbit warren. Deer food.

I'm starting to cry.

10:41 PM  

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