Dogs, Cats and Other Phenomena

Sunday, October 16, 2005

House Remodel, Trees Gone, USC WINS!!!

Busy Saturday here at the ole' homestead! The crew showed up around 7:15, per usual. I spent much of the morning with Nikki, my nutty dog. At first she was fine as she was chewing on her bone. Suddenly, however, she went into super-hyped-up mode so I took her on a walk, hoping it would help calm her down. It didn't. I was expecting Jon, the architect and Alex, the A/C guy, to come over, so I was just about to crate her when the doorbell rang. Try answering the door with a fully charging 50 lb. (or so) dog on the end of the leash! Then a minute or two later, Jon came over! I knew that would happen. Alex showed up about an hour later than he said he would, so I ended juggling both of them - and the dog - at the same time! :-)

Alex was here because after he put in the new A/C, the old Honeywell air filter never crackled when dust hit it, like it used to. I should have called him back immediately but I kept forgetting. Turns out it was a loose wire. Plus, when Alex first looked at the existing system, he said the filter needed to be cleaned and that he'd do it. After he put in the A/C, he said no, it was fine. I knew it couldn't be fine but it was at the end of a long day. So now I ended up paying him for a service call when in reality it was stuff that should have been done when he changed out my air and heat. I would still recommend him to people but just wish he hadn't ripped me off here. I could have argued with him, but didn't. Jon was outside waiting for me ... hindsight says I should have negotiated that better, but oh well. He cleaned out the filter as, for me, it would be difficult to get the darn thing out.

My friend Marc was going to come over but he was rather late, so I would have felt better if he could have seen him take the filter out. I'll never remember how to do it. So, if I want, I can pay another $400 and update the air cleaning system. I like hearing the crackling noise though, coz I know it's working. That's how I knew it WASN'T working this time. No crackling when the dust hit it. But the darn thing s/b cleaned every 2 to 3 months, and I'll never do it. If I update it, it will be much easier to clean, but no crackling noise.

Jon came over and we went over the front yard and driveway landscaping. I had to crate Nikki; she was just too nutty. Jon was great with her and calmed her down pretty fast. He also laughed at her because she was so excitable and just plain goofy!

Anyway, we're thinking of putting in Podocarpus as screening hedges on both sides of my house. It's a necessity so I can hide both neighbors ... er, junk! I read up on the plant and it is supposed to be an excellent choice. Just not sure yet if that's what I want.

Then, I had Jon look at the back yard. The tough part of re-landscaping the back yard is the 2nd patio and overhang put on in the '60's. I have no roof-line there so have to put some kind of overhang. But then, how is it going to look?? What would the patio be like there? What kind of shape?

Marc showed up while Jon was still here. After Jon left, Marc turned off the water at the toilet; he needed a wrench to do it. I've called the plumber but haven't heard back. Took Nikki out of her crate so she could visit with Marc. Again, nutty dog. She had grown so much since he had last seen her. She was racing through the den and living room so he got to see her run. Then Javier, the gardener, showed up to tear out the rest of the existing ice plant. Marc took this opportunity to leave.

I gave Javier a copy of the plans so he could give me an estimate on sprinklers and landscaping. Now I just have to get other bids.

I also asked Javier how much it would cost to tear out the fruit trees on the perimeter of the front yard; he said $80. So since he was here, I gave him the go-ahead. I felt bad ... my dad had put them in. I had never liked them there, thought they were odd, plus my parents had just let them grow wild. When I moved in, the darn trees looked like shaggy hippies, reaching down to the ground. But Marc had shaped the orange tree beautifully. Last spring, the orange blossoms were just wonderful. I'd enter my front door and I could smell them. It was great. The tree was full of fruit, ripening.

I then had made the huge mistake of asking my regular gardener, Bestgreen, (whom my dad had hired) to prune them again. Marc had started on the lemon tree but never finished, so that needed pruning, but I also told him that the orange tree needed very little work. When the guy he sent showed up to prune them, Marc and I went out to lunch. We came back to RUINED citrus trees. Especially the orange tree. Horrible. Cut back to nothing! I cried. I complained to the owner who said that was how you're supposed to prune them. That is such crap! You never do that. You ruin the tree that way. That's the way to get very little fruit. The poor tree grew back its leaves, but the shape was terrible. So now there was no point in trying to save the citrus trees. But I guess because my dad had planted them, it was very sad to rip them out.

What's also a bit frustrating is if I think of the amount of money I have spent in the last 2 years, having shrubs and trees pruned, and then slowly having them all ripped out. I have no plants left, so have to start over from scratch.

My niece had called me in the meantime, asking me to tape the USC/Notre Dame game for her. See, we're all big USC FANS!! My dad graduated from there and so did my sis. Cathy and I grew up on USC football. I turned on the game at the end of the 3rd quarter; they were tied. A few minutes later, Notre Dame scored a field goal early in the 4th quarter. I ran out to get a bite to eat and came back just in time to see Javier taking an axe to my orange tree. Did I tear up! The orange tree was being chopped down and the football game was playing inside. Oh dear.

Did any of you see that 4th quarter? I was trying to be quiet because I finally had Nikki asleep in her crate. But forget about it! I was screaming at the end, scaring Max, my cat, and Nikki. First the Fighting Irish think the game is over and that they won, so they start to swarm the field. Then, no, the ball had gone out of bounds, so it stopped the clock. 7 seconds is put back on and we scored a touchdown! In 7 seconds! GO TROJANS!

Read the full story here:

Here's an excerpt: After USC coach Pete Carroll sprinted down the field to plead his case, officials put 7 seconds back on the clock and the ball inside the 1.

With another chance, Leinart pushed and spun his way into the end zone with 3 seconds left to cap a thrilling but chaotic finish as USC escaped with its 28th straight victory, a back-and-forth 34-31 win Saturday over No. 9 Notre Dame.

"You gotta believe you're going to win the way that happened," Carroll said.


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