A Skunk’s Kiss

One day all your resistance is absent, and you want to write again.

So you start with what the resistance to writing might be about, and you find a lot of pictures of your house in the chaotic and interesting process of having its weatherworn decks rebuilt. I did not anticipate this level of mess and disruption, and beyond that: the delays wrought by the current supply chain disruptions. Few could have, but still. Here we are: disrupted.

We have the best and most artistic contractor in the world, and what they have been able to accomplish is stunning. California Bay Area building code is stunning in its requirements in a whole other way (can you say hiway woberry, overkill, way overkill, pirate nepotism, CYA and institutionalized bureaucratic job security in one long choking overdrawn breath?)

I prefer not to.

Of course that’s not all. I’m readying some new kits based on semi-popular demand at MMS+S. Above is the institutional mid-century modern-inspired set of file folders and papers meant to fill every beleaguered bureaucrat’s or scientist’s desktop. *Cigarettes not encouraged.*

I’m trying to keep my investment in forever plantings in tune with the remodel, but that’s basically been thrown right out the window. I could not resist this baby fig tree “Celeste” variety for the southwest corner of the top terrace.

Likewise a few of these baby Leucadendron “Jubilee Crown” — a dream come true! — for the first and second tiers. Tag says they grow to six feet… UCSC Arboretum says otherwise, but let the best plant in the most beloved garden grow to what it will. I have kelp, and worm compost tea to help you be your best selves in quirky, foggy Pacifica.

This is a bull kelp washed up on the beach. They are a rich source of nutrients for all kinds of ecosystems, and I take only a small part home for my garden alchemy.

I’ll end where I started, with an image of Scarlett, this one of her distracting my attention, trying to make me laugh, making the Sea House Sea Rise Pavilion her own — and succeeding. In these times, I’m grateful.

7 thoughts on “A Skunk’s Kiss

  1. Sheila Lester says:

    Ah the joys of home projects large and small. That railing is gorgeous though and I can tell it’s going to be wonderful when it all comes together.

    Someone told me home remodels of any sort are similar to labor pains. Forgotten once you have the baby. I’m hoping that’s true. For everyone’s sake!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hah, Sheila, your home remodel observation absolutely skewers the petty reality of dealing with this crap, and is spot on. But since I’m mid-way — I hope — in the process, I can only take a deep breath and laugh (but too soon to bear down). Our heroic contractor is actually driving two hours each way to pick up the aforementioned brackets in Stockton, rather than accept the shipping delays. The new professionalism.

  2. Bennie says:

    Okay, so when I saw the title with skunk in it and your beautiful cat I thought your kitty got sprayed by a skunk. :)

    The stairs and railing are beautiful. I can only imagine your frustration with the home project. As with most things these days delays on shipping and such are taking its toll on many industries. This virus blows.

    I can also relate to your building code issues. A friend of mine worked on an unattached garage for over a year on her property. Our town’s building inspector/agency made her conduct three perk tests (I think to see if the building would disrupt rain/water flow causing issues for neighbors?) and this was a big piece of property that would have no affect on neighbors. She said the next time she does something like this she’ll do it without permits and just pay any fines when she sells 10-20 years in the future.

    Good luck, I hope it gets completed soon and I have no doubt it will look amazing.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Oh Bennie, Scarlett is too savvy and respectful for that kind of outrage — and well aware of her small stature. However, I totally see how one might draw the conclusion that she had gotten sprayed. She was actually just complaining that I was venturing out. The post’s title derives from a personally meaningful encounter I’ll tell next time that really is all sweetness and light.
      Since the main deck remodel is on the front of our house, perched on a hillside, we’re all about doing things the permitted way (ie, no hiding). Also, no other possibility.
      Thank you for your well wishes, we hope to get started again next week.

  3. Shelleybweb says:

    Scarlett, helpful, offering excellent advice (first photo) and agile as always. The best companion.

    The stairs and railing look great, so good to be happy with the quality of your contractor. What fun to be rebuilding the garden and thinking of how beautiful it will be as it grows.

    My garden project is to put in some daffodils this fall as the squirrels and rabbits nipped off all the tulip heads before they could bloom this spring and then spent the summer digging up all the bulbs and eating them. They have let me have Irises, Day Lilies, Tiger Lilies, and Hostas. The squirrels are like bureaucrats, they tell you what you can and cannot do, but in the most persnickety way. I have grown to dislike the furry little monsters.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Shelley, hello! and so nice to see you.
      I’m fascinated by the voracity of your garden dwellers. Well, probably fascinated is not the right word. I’m thinking it’s a regional thing, where one’s winters are so dire the lesser folk have to resort to extreme measures, like eating flower bulbs?
      Sorry your squirrels are so rude. I won’t even share my tales of sharing peanuts with my extended family :)

  4. azteclady says:

    I am so glad all is as well as may be with you during these very much trying times. May the disruption end soon, and peace and calm descend again upon your household.

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