Monday, September 22, 2008

The garden is dead. Long live the garden.

(Farewell, my beloved vegetables)
This is my porch, the space where the garden used to live. It's shocking, the emptiness. This purge is what my husband and I just spent the last week or so doing. As if we needed yet another reason to not live in a condo.
You see, these big decks, nice as they are, have tended to leak into the floors below. And yes, they leaked long before my garden advantures. They leak for many assumed reasons; no one had been able to nail down exactly why. My vote is for the usual slapdash bullpuckey that tragically passes for sound construction these days. (The two-story building under our floor was built in the 1920's, but the top, third floor, was added in the late 1990's, when they turned this neat old warehouse into condos. Guess which portion of the building is the heart of all our troubles?) The suspected culprit in many cases are bad third-floor deck installs. So residents on the job-list were ordered to remove all items from their porches by September 22. This huge job will include ripping up roofing membranes and sub-flooring, replacing drainage systems, reinstalling porch dividers, and installing new concrete pavers. Those concrete slabs will be so much hotter than the wood deck we had out there; I envision burned plant roots galore next growing season. Happy Fall Equinox, indeed. Yay, condo living.
And naturally, this is a job that we condo owners have to pay for. The building owners are socializing the loss and privatizing the profit, not unlike the way them neocons conduct guv'mint business in DC. To my way of thinking, this condo job is a miniature bailout. But I digress.
Moving all the plants and garden equipage was hard enough. It got impossibly worse mid-day yesterday, when we discovered that we also had to remove the wooden deck itself. On a Sunday. The day before the job was due to start. That sinking feeling? We had it.
As all letters from condo associations tend to be, the wording was, well, vague. I read and re-read the job announcement letter- three pages of legalese only seemed to specify moving items not nailed down. Thank goodness another tenant, also a board member, has a deck similar to ours. And thank goodness her contractor-brother was in the building to remove her deck, and he was willing to remove our deck, too. So, a thousand smackeroos and a dirty, back-breaking, heart-wrenching, patience-testing week later, our portion of the job is done. Sigh. Double sigh.
Did I mention this job is going on for weeks, maybe months? That's weeks, maybe months, of clanging and crashing and sawing and ripping, separated only by a glass wall, and of not being able to open the windows in the nicest time of year. And I work from home. Crappity crap crap. And those building contractors that were supposed to begin work on this huge, freaking, ongoing problemo first thing this morning? They still haven't shown up.
Though all is not sucky in suckland. I did put up 14 quart jars of green tomatoes this weekend, all from the garden. I made seven hot-spicy jars with peppers and garlic, and seven sweet green-tomato chutney jars with cinnamon and curry and onions. The green tomato chutney tastes like super-tart apple pie filling. It's delicious, people; delicious! Though, honestly-- it's a small consolation for all the body- and heart-aches. My 2008 garden season started a good month late due to the super-cold, long spring we had this year. I've just lost another 6 or 8 weeks because of this fine condo-board-ordered mess. Which I sincerely hope, once and for all, fixes the leakage problem they have never been able to solve.
It's times like these when I truly long for a yard or a little acre of my own.


Carolyn said...

Wow... that does look weird without all your plants.

Anonymous said...

I hope the work goes fast. I am amazed you had to remove the deck too. That seems above and beyond what you should have been responsible for.

Glad to see you posting again. I had missed your updates and had wondered where you were. I find your posts interesting and informative. Even if it is less often, I do hope you will keep sharing your gardening with the world.

Mist said...

Wow. That really has to be the crappiest thing ever. Condolences on the garden, and I hope that work moves quickly. Oh, and that this winter ends much quicker than the last.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Man that looks horrid ... (Can ya get up on the roof?? Hee Hee)

What a revoltin' situation ...

I can't think of a single suggestion ... guess you need to write a real angst filled poem .. Maybe the Crafty Green Poet can help.

Kateri said...

That is hard having to rip out the garden before the growing season is over.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

It seems so..bare..and..empty.

Wow they have put you through a lot of stress - and what a big surprise that YOU have to pay for it. Twice actually with the cost and all the noise/life disruptions it could cause. Let's hope that it will be a quick and easy process.

That is really cool you got to put all those goodies up though, maybe that helps at least a little.

PJ said...

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw that picture. I must have looked like my dog, cocking his head one way and the other when he hears a sound he can't decipher. You get to put the garden back up, right?

I have a favor to ask you, Miss Ilex. I was in Boston/Cambridge over the past week and I took a photograph of someone who looks suspiciously like Ric Ocasek of "The Cars" fame. Can you check it out and tell me what you think? Everyone else seems to be at a loss:
Pensacola Daily Photo

d. moll, said...

Oh dear, looks like a ghost town. We had construction right next to us for so long. The guy who bought the house is a contractor, it was non-stop, even weekends. So, my deepest sympathies....and nose rubs to the rabbits.

Leslie said...

Well, at least they'll be constructing in fall/winter and not in spring/summer.

It would REALLY suck if you had to tear out seedlings and all hopes of a harvest.

Not that this doesn't suck.

Yellow said...

Oh flip, that's truely awful news. Have you windowsills that you can utilise in the mean time? Good news at last, I hope, for all those who live in the 'lower' flats though. Hugs, cuddles, shoulder rubs and linked arms on long walks sent your general direction from me.

Raoul Duke said...

I'm guessing your condo agreements say you can't sue.

The condo they supplied isn't exactly what you paid for!

mamawhatthe said...

Hi there, I'm new to your blog- but had a thought about growing on the cement next year... Perhaps you could just raise your pots off the cement a bit with 2x4's or something else that wouldn't hold quite as much heat as the concrete, or say, paving stones. This would allow the air to circulate, and perhaps prevent the burnt roots you are worried about. It might also reduce the frequency with which you would need to water. Just a thought... I'm so sorry you had to rip everything out. :(