Grafted (3 Chicks with Sticks)

We double tooled and took a short trek to Chapel Street.

The explanation and demonstration made sense. Using the tools on-hand made sense.

I like sense. I like adaptation, too.

Teams spread down the sidewalks searching for X marks and O marks, and root-bagged trees that weren’t rejectedly rolled into the street.

There we were; three chicks with sticks staring at an off-center X over a shallow-welled median with a spade and a square, a spade and a rake, a spade and a pick-ax, a tree and a plan.

Fresh from a mini tutorial, feeling feisty, we set about it.

We measured and consulted, measured some more, got a rhythm going.

After a while, there two piles of dirt, a pile of skimmed grass, and a hole.

The hole wasn’t exactly round. We fixed that.

The hole was a little too deep. We fixed that.

The ball was a little too heavy for advised two rollers, so we used three to get it going and in.

We eyeball straightened our charge (assumed a tulip tree by the botanical tag “tulipifera”) from three directions.

Lacking a knife to break the binds, we waited, short-shoveling handfuls of soft soil in and around to perfect stance while assuring our homeowner we were enjoying ourselves, and it wasn’t as hard as it seemed.

Root bag ripped, unrecyclables corralled, wires de-bent, we ran into a problem. Everything was fine, until exposure. Then, suddenly, it might be all wrong, or it might still be right.

Lopsided, rooted more heavily on one side than the other, not knowing which three-fingers-below measure was true.

There were two knuckles; one previously hidden in burlap garb, angled slight degrees from the one we had been focused on.

Stem straight, angled roots uneven in a way that wouldn’t promote stability. Rocking the sapling in favor of rooting, the stem was oddly askew.

That’s when we learned something new. The tree and the root were established together post graft. Combining the best of both, strong roots, tall tree, for immediate success and future longevity.

Consultants called. Though our true root was a slight inch higher than preferred, no retraction was required. Adaptation meant lightly packed stability soil up a little higher, and cautiously tamping air-pocket caverns where water could possibly pool and encourage rot.

We raised our berm a little higher, for better protection, and watered away from the roots. When we were finished, it passed muster, earning a blue sleeve of advertorial protection.

And that was it; about three hours later, including stand-up breakfast pastries and coffee, finding the right Zone assignment, name tags, gift bags, tool toting, street scouring, instruction, demonstration and the command to go to it. We’d done what we’d set out to do, added our imprint as one group of three in a group of One Brick Volunteers planting one tree among 120 goaled.

My best guess is that it took nearly 200 people from many different community groups, instructors teaching, volunteers planting, and forestry-minded reviewing to reach that goal.

While that might seem impressive, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 500,000 trees lost during a three decade Dutch Elm blight from 1950-1980.

Since 1989, The Greening of Detroit has orchestrated placement and replacement of 85,000 trees. Mathematically, that’s still a significant environmental shortage.

There are still at least dozen upcoming The Greening of Detroit events, and there’s room for you, too.

It all adds up. Make a difference in Detroit.

Quote for the Week:

It doesn’t have to be one or the other  04 14 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links: 

The Greening of Detroit: http://www.greeningofdetroit.com/get-involved/volunteer/

Urban Forests: https://www.americanforests.org/conservation-programs/urban-forests/

Top 22 benefits of trees: https://www.treepeople.org/resources/tree-benefits

On Twitter:

#OneBrickDetroit    @GreeningDetroit    #SocialForestry

Arms Too Short

Stuff. Everywhere. What doesn’t fit, what does, where? Logic and logistics.

I’ve discovered that I am very good at hiding: tucking away in cabinets, behind closet doors, in drawers, file cabinets. Perfunctory parts everyone owns and no one needs to see, those are well-placed for me.

I’ve discovered I’m not very good at upfront, first impression, walk-in.

Not because I’m secretive, but because I want to put so much out there, you’ll know me by these obvious things. I can be overwhelming that way. Throwing all my colorful cards up in the air thinking you’ll get the idea as each floats past in glitter-globe slow-motion. I don’t doubt I’d be more impressive with less; I just don’t know how to do less.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon. A very patient secret weapon who understands I’ve had issues with stuff, and letting go. Who easily skims perfect pieces; they just rise to the top when she shuffles.

I’ve been hauling well over 30 years, with the intention of one day; some day.

Last Saturday was supposed to be the day, but I was overwhelmed with kitchen. A few days of standing center, rotating drawers and cabinets did nothing but make me dizzy. It was where I needed to start. Patience’s imported logic took over, and then it was over. Over and easily done, not so much by me, which I’m sure simplified the process.

Walls. When you don’t own them, you don’t use them. Temporarity makes that make sense. Security deposits and patchwork are too much of a hassle. Patience helped me use a wall the last time, succinctly covering up as much of the cornflower blue and pink flowered shiny wallpaper as possible with color chicken camouflage. I’d seen her work before. I knew what to expect, and I was incredibly expectant, as well as well-rested so I wouldn’t have to crawl to the couch and rest this time.

I’ve been taking my new walls very seriously. I want the vision. I want specific. I want to project well-planned permanence. Pride my collections to start conversations as if I’ve been rooted my whole life. Which meant I would best move aside, step back as assistant to the master, and watch the magic occur.

There is beauty in balance and we can’t easily find that ourselves. It’s impossible to see what our presented lives will look like until we are across the room. Up close and personal isn’t synonymous with open-mined segmentation. So, moved and assessed. Considered and configured. Experiment with ease.

Not everything fit, and probably some of it shouldn’t have,anyway. It was beautiful to watch such intense care taken with my life; and to whole-heartedly love the final presentation.

The overages are still resting, open-boxed on the living room floor. Not great works of art, just magical moments in time. Like the pen and ink inconic – melding star and fish and faith, so representative of exactly where we stood in our lives, different but overlapped. We loved it so much we bought it for the café-wall asking price of $10.00, which was way more than the 2 cents we barely had to rub together. The others hold time equally, as well. Place-cards I never pass without thinking, “There’s a place for these here, somewhere.”

I found that place today, in my over-sized nubby sweater, with my too short sweatpants and my frog-faced non-slip, grippy socks on the way to the basement. A little-used space, needed for necessities, and scattered memories that will make me smile. It actually wasn’t my idea. Nannee Vincze’s basement stairwalls held similar things, utilitarian and timeline. Stepstool, newspaper clippings, hammers, campaign poster. I thought it was odd, but the passage was just that: a daily passage through good times and significant times on the way to the laundry or deep freeze. Daily.

 Quote for the Week:

There is beauty in balance, though not 03 31 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Color balance: http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/combine-colors-like-a-design-expert

Design balance: http://hatchdesign.ca/principles-of-interior-design-part-1-balance/

Life Hack balance: My apologies to Patience. I knew about this; I forgot.

lifehack

The Positive No

The double unfortunate fortune I’ve been spending straddling two living space obligations has ended.

The good fortune of knowing when to say, “No,” means I will be spending close to $1,100 less for the month of April. I managed to convey a common sense solution to the extra month commission (aka rent) stipulation in the rental lease. I point out that I gave them the courtesy of a head-start on re-renting the property as soon as possible. I reiterate to be sure I understand my situation.

“So, what you are saying is that it will cost me more to let you rent to another party for the month of April, than it would for me to simply finish out my lease to the end of April.” I’ll give props for the honest response which was, “Yeah. You’re being screwed.” I offered to rescind my notice, and suddenly there was a “let-me-see-what-I-do” hanging in the air. The wheels finally clicked, and the common-sense train started to roll. Losing an interested renter for April forward could possibly mean loss of many forward rental payments.

There was also a bit of unreasonableness when I was asked to hand over the keys to the future tenant so they could get in and paint while I am still paying rent, while I am still paying utilities, while the lease is still in my name, while I am still holding the required renter’s insurance policy, and before I got my security deposit back. That didn’t happen, either, thanks to the fortunate existence of the word “No” and my remarkable willingness to use it. At last! There’s that long looked for upside of the flooring fiasco – it provided plenty of practice, in that regard.

I’m all for playing nice, but am never willing to be a push-over. I suppose a sweeter, younger person or less aggressive-minded, single old lady might have accepted the situation. I’m not comfortable categorizing this as unscrupulous. The lease says what it says. But, somewhere between maybe trying to take advantage and not recognizing what was being asked was ridiculous, I lost respect.

I will be getting my full security deposit back. No argument was required for that.

Quote for the Week:

There is no common sense in blind acceptance 03 24 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Rental Insurance, Why?: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/alpha-consumer/2009/09/02/why-renters-insurance-is-worth-its-low-cost

Read this, Maybe: Sarah Strohmeyer’s The Penny Pincher’s Club, a novel filled with personal finance tips.

Unpacking in One Weekend, Not: http://www.moving.com/moving-boxes/unpacking-tips.asp

 

Hack-Do

Minimalism is still working its way into my life.

A few chickens didn’t make the move with me. A few more are teetering on making some thrift store shopper happy.
It’s only partially about space. There’s something that feels accomplished in letting go. I like my things. I also know that they were hiding behind the rain patterned door glass in the hutch for the past two years. They made me happy when I was looking for something useful. When the cabinet closed again, we went on living separate lives.

At some point, everything needs to be evalu-packed. Withholding was based on two criteria:
First, do I plan on using this in the next week or two?
Second, could I live without it for a week or two?

Necessary retrievement was based on worth factors. Was it worth it to unseal, paw through, and re-seal every box until I found what I needed? Was it worth it to appropriately bundle sweater, socks over socks, boots, hat, scarf, gloves, do a two-way, twenty yard dash through -22 degrees and potentially painful sneet?

As a first-time home-owner, I was firmly unimpressed by the numerous, slightly-to-majorly ridiculous hacks in place.
As a recent mover, I may have come to understand. Make-do is a mantra. Hack is a solution.

My first hack innocently occurred when I realized that the tuna salad fixings I had lugged over to the condo to save the hassle of extra winter traverse weren’t going to do me any good without a can-opener. Good thing I was a Girl Scout. One million (exaggeration) bottle opener punches sort of did the trick. I was able to mostly drain the water off. Another half-a-million (exaggeration) and the can was open enough to begin the pry. Using a knife to pull tiny chunks of what was supposed to be lunch that might take until dinner to complete tuna was risky to my knuckles and insulting to my stamina. I would win that battle. I have the pictures to prove it.

About five years ago my inherited tool collection was whittled. I couldn’t imagine ever needing 10 clamps, so I kept one, and never used it. This move, I could have used 10 clamps, and of course, couldn’t find that one I kept for no other reason than “maybe.” Lifting counter tops were the problem. Previously unknown because the counter was weighted with weighty chicken canisters, I was able to use the unpacked jars and some slate table tiles to hot the top to the base while the glue dried. The peeling sides, though, called for that one, I repeat, elusive clamp (which also remains unfound, as of yet.)

I’m not sure where the #imakemyselflaugh idea popped up from, but suddenly there I was gazing down at my own hack-handywork, feeling the brag. I just needed a little prop for leverage. I forked it. Thoroughly self-impressed, I have demonstrative pictures.
I lost the lid to my Gatorade – a leftover requirement from the bad soup fiasco. It’s possible I could have refiled through the garbage, but would risking nails, and splintery pieces of wood, shards of glass, sticky un-packing-ed tape, and pan-fulls of fine dust debris. But I had plastic wrap, and I had recently seen a rubber-band. Not the most impressive hack, but notable for the fact that it was another hack.

I asked the movers to remove a six-spot outlet cover from the wall, so that the bed could press against it. I rethought that after they left. Open outlet socket, bed sheets, covers… electrical hazard. I moved a board between the two, angled to not touch, just hover. I found a new cover, 45 cents and a lovely shade a bright-white to match the interior trim, but forgot the assembled bed is almost unmovable. It’s a struggle for two, and I was just one, with a screwdriver that could not and would not be angled in to secure those tiny screws. Even the computer tools were unfit. A toothpick was too wide. I needed something thin and metal and bend able – a cake tester would do it. I have the daring hack documented.

I tossed the ingredients for an overly simple, dietary restricted, impossible pie into the one mixing bowl reserved. For some reason, aka #imakemyselflaugh, I packed away the pie plate, but kept the Bundt pan handy. Yes, I used it. Yes, it cooked fine. In fact, it was beautifully guest servable. I preserved the image for my future cookbook.

The defining get-around-it came from the need for cleanliness without mess. I came up with a way to hack the plumber’s hack. You know, the one where a 58” shower was set into a 60” space. You know, the insult of the ugly wall bump-out that was supposed to, you know, “fix” it. You know, the completely un-functional eyesore, that couldn’t hold a curtain rod, wasn’t fore-ing a stud, and wasn’t plumb, anyway. Short-term more expensive, glass doors resolved. I made sure I ordered the 58” size. I made sure I ordered the fine rain glass. When the home improvement store shipped the ensemble, it came with a note that due to the size of the shower, installation would require… a hack. Luckily, and rather blessedly, too, I had been steered to a contractor who knew what-the he was doing.

Tonight, I’m cushioned on the couch, laptop propped on a pillow, enjoying the orangy-blueish sunset strata through an unobstructed window that gets more noticeably breezy at night. Recycled curtains were hung to cut down the draft, because the super-glued blinds support broke loose. Came down when I pulled the rise cord. Yep. Hacked.

PS: sneet is not a typo- it’s that awful Michigan semi solid snow that it bordering on sleet, because, it too is freezing it’s…. limbs off.
PSS: what-the is not a typo – I’m still actively trying not to curse, but, yeah, sometimes the kitten’s delicate ears do get a bit warm.

Quote for the Week:

Make-do is a mantra March 17 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

M.I.T says “hack”: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/a-short-history-of-hack

I am not alone: http://1000lifehacks.com/

Impossible: Hack as you will – http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/product-recipes/bisquick-recipes/bisquick-impossibly-easy-pie-recipes

Under the Category of…

Condo Chronicles, February 21, 2015: The Dust War

Saturday morning assessment: the bathroom work needs clean-up work. Drywall and sanding and flooring and painting in a 7 x 7 space left a fine film of dusts and almost minuscule plops of mediums… everywhere.

 

Under the Category of “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.”

Me (to nobody in particular, well, actually to no one, at all):

“Do I really need to wipe down all the walls?”

Walls (mine do talk): “Yes.”

Me (halfway to pretty sure I don’t): “I’ll take a swipe.”

Me (still skeptical): “I can hardly see a difference.”

Sponge (scientifically): “I can confirm that.”

Me (noting the blue is more lightly beige): “Eh, I’ll rinse and swipe once more to be sure.”

Bucket (with a list of its own): “I can confirm that.”

 

Under the Category of “Ear Worm – Get It Out.”

Me: (in an endless loop as I one-way wipe away dust, sidetrackedly stuck by unexpected ancient paint blotches) “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.” “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.” “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.” “For the Love of George– I’m doing it right! Get out of my head.”

Me (rational alter-ego): “Music would help.”

Me (scrambling for the phone and charge): “Slacker, Slacker! I’m no Slacker – but I’m glad I’ve got Slacker.”

Me (rational alter-ego): “You just ear wormed yourself again, didn’t you?”

 

Under the Category of “One Down, Two Down, Why Bother Counting?”

Me: Four hours later, winning the war against bathroom grit and numerous swipes of tell-tale sloppy decorators’ toilet tank paint. Obviously without any realistic notion of how long total de-dusting takes, and annoyingly burdened with weighty acknowledgement gleaned from having moved the ceramic-ton toilet and the unassembled shower door assembly, out and back into the shower.

Me: Two hours later, winning the war against kitchen grit and appliance atrocities. Reliving lessons previously not learned; recognizable (late) as errors. The Magic Eraser affair continues – removing grease and rust build-up, re-whitening (as much as possible due to previous neglect) appliance seal strips, door knobs (eventually slated for retire and replace-ments.)

 

Under the Category of “Oh, Yeah.”

Me: (years ago) Scoffed at the mother who allowed her toddler to play with the mysterious cleaning product and then complained when, after rubbing it all over his face repeatedly for an extended period of time the child developed chemical burns. It’s a cleaning product, lady, and why weren’t you supervising your kid?

Me (years later): Scrubbing a rental floor to a less dull shine, dissolving my fingernail tips and stripping the pads a bit, crashing into membership as an unfortunate inauspicious of the same “Duh” group.

 

Under the Category of “I’ve done this before.”

Me (lazy): “Oh, this should just take a couple wipes.”

Dishwasher Seal: “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

Me (in discovery mode): “There’s some more, and there’s some more and…”

Me (doing the whole thing, without a single intelligent consideration despite the incompletely eradicated worm-bastard): “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.”

Refrigerator (orange-ish-ly snarky): “Hey, what about taking another go at mine.”

Me (playing fair, addressing the other sealants in the room):  “If You’re Gonna Do It, Do It Right.”

Me (frantic for an antidote): “Argh! The phone’s not registering my really tender fingertip taps!”

Me (sheepishly sore): “Foolishness. You’ve done this before.”

 

Under the Category of “Break-Time!”

Me (finely, remembered): Finally remember to lift the yogurt lid away from my face, thus avoiding facial, eye-glass and wardrobe splatter.

Me (again): “Break Time!”

Me (not so long after) “Break Time!”

Me (the heck with this noise): “Nap Time!”

 

Under the Category of “Finished.”

Me (uncomfortably and somewhat numbly bumbling along my Android keys):

“An hour and a half in the kitchen. Two and a half hours in the living room/dining room/hallway. One hour in the bedroom. Forty-five minutes in the office, and one broken window shade: finished. I will likely do nothing else this weekend.”

 

Under the Category of “That’s Not Likely.”

Me (realistically, for a change): “That’s not likely…”

 

Quote for the Week:

I've done this same thing before  02 24 2015

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Chemically: http://home.howstuffworks.com/magic-eraser.htm

Wormifying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W0d9xMhZbo

De-Dustify: http://www.howtocleanstuff.net/removing-interior-construction-dust/

 

Extra Extra: The Dust War Pictorials

20150221_080137 Dust line wall Slide2 Slide3 Slide4