The landlady appeared today with 2 grandchildren and 2 Mexicans she hires to do her odd jobs. One speaks no English, the other does pretty well. Mrs. Li speaks Chineseglish, so it makes for an interesting effort. Their communication is very physical with A LOT of gesturing and repeated orders at high volume followed by "O.K.?" at least a million times.
The nasty Ju-jubee trees were finally feeling a machete and chainsaw trim. After knocking on my window 4 separate times (face pressed against the glass peering in calling "Scene-deee!" demanding my attention to one thing after another), her final announcement was that we must cut down all the young trees growing in the yard.
Each of them had spontaneously sprung up over the past 2 years, along with about 8 nice flowering shrubs that - after a snail-paced start, were finally big and blossoming. I told her they were going to be beautiful shade trees...she objected loudly with her hands fluttering in front of my face: "No good! No good! They grow big and ruin wall! Wall fall down!" Facing north, I'm looking at a two-tone, bare, ancient block wall that already has so many gutted and precariously leaning sections it could pass for a temple ruin on Mars hill. Mrs. Li was highly motivated by my unusual exhibition of non-compliance.
"All trees gone! All that by wall!" "But in front of the the little trees are flowering shrubs. Why wouldn't you want those? Besides, all the citrus is dying..." my voice rising above the chainsaw on the dead grapefruit tree stump, "don't you want some shade trees back here?" She agreed we could keep the one by the storage shed, but the ax must fall on everything else.
After they left, I inspected the crime scene along the West wall. Hacked to bits and dragged away was every last inch of each of my carefully protected young trees, a beautiful purple flowering vine and - 2 of my biggest flowered shrubs. They were about 10 feet or more AWAY from any block wall. I had dug little berms around them to water them extra and had mowed the lawn around them quite obviously nurturing their welcome existence. Now in the center of my planting bed is only the exposed trunk. For all she knew I could have planted those shrubs! She didn't even ask.
I felt far more defeated than a grown woman should.
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