When Hot Tubs Go Free

This marbled man pond has blown its last bubble.

This marbled man pond has blown its last bubble… or has it?.

There is something about a free hot tub, you know that each one has its story. The one above’s had something to do with a fight with her ex, and it’s been out under that tree for over three years now.

The party is over...

This party is over…

I don’t know how to feel about this free blue jacuzzi that the “seller” claims was never used. On the one hand, I’m sad it couldn’t live up to the potential of its service life. On the other, it makes me feel slightly better about that crud in the bottom:

And it's free!

And it’s free free free!

There is something poetic about these symbols of bygone fun that makes one want to take each free hot tub home and nurse it back to happy, hot, hydro health. So how about it, Hank? C’mon now. It’s free!

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This Rot is All Wrong

May not get a lot done on the old place, but we sure can create compost fixings. Actual compost is another story.  Too many greens not enough browns turns into a slimy mess.  It’s a real sad state of affairs when you can’t even get your rot right.

What am I supposed to do, go steal some brown leaves from the park? Abscond with the neighbors pine-needles? I don’t have that kind of time and energy, people.  I’m already avoiding a whole lot of “tasks’ the best I can.  I can’t be prowling around searching for browns every week high and low here in East Oakland.

So I’m back to the worm pile concept. I’m a little wiser this time. I’m not going to let it turn into a pill bug hatching nursery, like my last compost heap turned worm pile.  This time I’m gonna follow someone else’s idea for a nice little worm housie off to the side. Those pillies are going to have long walk over a lot of chunky bark if they want to move in on my worms this time.  I understand worms love coffee grounds, so these little guys are going to be in heaven!

Here’s a nice plan I found for a comfortable one-bedroom worm townhouse.

The worms are going to love it!

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This is Not the Summer Pool Party I Ordered



So far, the ones with the most time to enjoy my new above ground swimming pool are all raccoons. Dang!

But when I get a moment, I’m following the suggestions at: How to keep the raccoons away from the pool party? http://mefi.us/a/147962  

Does Amazon.com carry coyote urine?

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Question: When is “Free” Not Free?


Answer: When it’s two palm trees you have to come dig up yourself.  Why would anyone ever pay retail?

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Please Don’t Use the F word: Fixer-Upper

Whatever you do, don’t use the F word around my house — as in “fixer-upper”.  This is NOT a fixer upper!  This is a move-in as-is-er and resolve a few problems.  Please, don’t say “fix.” At least, not around Hank.

Hank is so sure I have made the greatest mistake of our lives he called in Rex, G’s friend and contractor, to get his opinion of the house I’d just bought. In the garage, after Rex has seen everything, he looked Hank straight in the eye and said:

“I think this place is okay. It needs some work, but it’s nowhere near the worst place I’ve ever seen.”

“‘The worst place he had ever seen?”‘

Gee, Hank, just what have you been telling people about our “new” place?”

“I tell people we’re moving to the Twomps,” he snickered.

“You know, I don’t think a lot of people use that name for the neighborhood.” I was the one who told him that name.  I read it online.

He says: “I know,” with a devilish look. “I tell them it’s where the twenties meet the twenties, and they laugh.”

Hey, at least the place is good for a joke. Laughter is always preferred over tears, hysteria, rage, ranting blame, not to mention utter and complete overwhelm.

Dare I call it… progress?

So whatever you do, no “F” words around you know who!  The word “fix” does not exist inside these walls. We restore, change-out, update, refurbish, etc, or we might if we weren’t Bad Homeowner and we actually did any of those things, but what we definitely do NOT do around here is FIX anything, so please delete this word from your vocabulary while you are here.  Thank you, kindly for your consideration of these matters. THE OWNER.


Categories: "Renovation", Hank | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Doomed First Day Looking at Properties


Back when bad homeowner was just becoming bad homebuyer, I dragged old Hank out for a first day of drive-by property viewing. The first place was a super cheap condo on a street with my mother’s name, the one in the picture above. We looked and looked at the condo exterior before we saw what those black shapes behind it are. Gravestones. This place is built butt-up against a nice little hillside graveyard.

After that, we didn’t look anymore at that place. Graveyard outside your front door, maybe other people can overlook it. Such proximity to those sober mortality-reminders was an easy deal breaker for us. We went off to go drive-by a few other nice places in the nearby hills, all utterly ruined by 580 freeway noise.

Now, I know we all have to die and drive 75 mph, but those weren’t on the list of compromises I planned to make in my home-buying. But it was okay, honey, it wasn’t a waste of time to learn what you like and what you absolutely cannot tolerate.

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My “Leaf Collection System”

I can’t tell you what ruins a good morning faster than a Sunday advertisement for something called a Blower/Vac with Leaf Collection System. That’s right, a Leaf Collection System, I kid you not.
Like I said, nothing takes the wind out of the morning sales faster than the idea that life has become so chore-intensive the autumn actually requires a whole new manner of device — no — System.
Fortunately here at Meadow Dubs, we aren’t too heavy on deciduous trees, and for those we do have we also have what you might call a “system.” The “system” is to let the leaves mulch where they land. Wa la.

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National Night Out in the Twomps

It’s an ill wind that doesn’t do somebody some good. Ever since a guy was murdered in his Winnebago on our block a year ago, our neighborhood has thrown the best National Night Out Block Party. Last night, nothing could stop us from shutting down traffic and grilling some meat in the street. Me and Hank are vegetarian, so we took the opportunity to roast the hell out of some corn on the cob.

I’m so pleased my neighborhood can handle its liquor. Take for example this large bottle of vodka that could be soda. Now that is smart! Oakland’s finest didn’t even notice when they came around to talk about crime prevention. It was all good. The guy who brought the vodka is applying to be an Oakland cop himself! At times like that, I start to think maybe I could be a cop! I have been a very good cop on stage, very convincing.

You see where I’m at? I’ve never wanted to be a cop in my life. I’d be a crappy cop. This is what applying for a mortgage can lead to.

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Dude, Your Tree Just Winked at Me


For the homeowner who has everything, except a creepy-faced tree… yet.

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Gardening is Gross


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a nature-phobe; I’m a natural gardener. I go with the flow. I flow with it. I thought I’d have a compost heap, ended up with a worm pile. That’s fine.  I can handle worms, so long as I don’t have to, you know, actually handle them.  Or so I thought.

I like to bring home books about gardening, but they can be so gross.  Like the one with huge sections just on bugs – every kind of bug that could be eating your plants and infesting your garden. And there are pictures of every gross bug, page after page of bugs and slugs and flies and larvea.

Then after the bugs they are on to the diseases, the molds and rusts, and the blights.  And I’m thinking, just what kind of a stinking rotten bug-infested endeavor have I gotten myself into here?

Despite the lack of planning, I’ve only run into a few hitches with my compost-heap-turned-worm-pile. For one, it’s hard not to disturb the little fellows when adding food to the pile.  Sorry, guys! And also, there are a few, what would you say?, unconventional?, items in the worm pile that I was told were good for a compost heap.  Things like dryer lint and hair from the hairbrush.  Stuff like that.

Well, last week, I was feeding the worm pile, adding some old greens, etc. when the garden fork pulled something out of the soil and vermiculture – (that’s a fancy word for worms and their poop). It was a big dirty snarl of my own red hair from the hairbrush — filled with a large family of worms. Either they were eating my hair or having babies in it, possibly both.

I don’t know if I have ever been more grossed out in my life.  I wondered what had I ever done to deserve the searing image of literally seeing part of myself eaten by worms.

I’m telling you, this gardening thing is seriously sick.

Categories: Gardening, Sustainable, Yardwork | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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