At the beach one day I watched a tiny crab push this seed pod along. I was fascinated by the determination of such a small creature. It did not seem to have any understanding of the size of the job. The crab just did it.
So I’ve started my new year with the same determination. A lot has happened in the past few weeks. I’m determined to see everything as a positive. I do believe things happen for a reason. People come and go out of one’s life for a reason. I no longer question this.
I’ll start with my garden. I’ve had the same old gardener for some 16-18 years. I’ve forgotten how long and cannot remember how I met him either. He does a good job when he has to clean up the garden so I’ve left the gardening to him over the years. On the surface everything looks neat and tidy but when home one night, I found the reticulation system did not seem to be working, so I got some quotes. The highest was $3.5K to fix two stations! I didn’t give the job to this company. The other man who gave me a reasonable quote lives around the corner from my home so he is not impressed by the view that seems to jack up the price of any home maintenance. He not only fixed the two stations but discovered just about every sprinkler and pipe had been damaged.
A also discovered my boundary wall was dangerously unstable, so I had to get a quote for that, too, from someone else. I asked my gardener to cut down some conifers at the front of the wall so it was clear when building started later this month. I went inside to get work done and when I returned half an hour later, to my utter dismay, he had also removed a perfectly healthy shrub that was inside the wall and provided me with some privacy. I was speechless.
Later that night when looking at some old pictures I noticed the garden has reduced by at least 50%. The shrubs and plants that used to be there, no longer exist. The jasmine used to rain perfume. I have not had flowers on it for a year. The crepe myrtle has bloomed twice in six years. The climbing roses are gone. My new handyman found the foliage along the whole back fence has not been watered and I have been losing massive amounts of water elsewhere from leaking pipes. With trepidation I looked at my water usage. I have used 94% more water than my neighbours. The thought of this wastage, makes me feel sick to my stomach.
My old gardener had a habit of coming on my property without invitation and then sending me a bill. On the surface, like I said, everything looks perfect. When I queried his last bill, which I have never ever done before, his response was very telling. “I’m not ripping you off”, the text said. It was the denial I needed to hear. As Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”. I’ve had to let him go.
I have put A in charge of the outside maintenance as he has his own property maintenance company. He’s a lovely man who is professional and thorough. Like a terrier he sought out the leaks in the garden on his hands and knees in hot weather for hours, and his bill was not crippling either. Every invoice was meticulous. He documented every repair. He is also a carpenter by trade so I can use him for some indoor work as well. Such a godsend as my old builder fell down some stairs and has been on crutches for months. I can now get the last of the renovations completed.
Today having returned from my trip to the South West, I was still feeling a bit subdued and tried hard not to think about how much the elderly gardener has cost me in various ways. Working away from home as I do and having to project manage renovations and ongoing maintenance is a daunting task on my own.
I walked around the garden slowly and felt a sense of comfort. To my delight, I found the crepe myrtle waving a pink frond in the breeze. My garden is recovering! And, it’s only been a week since the repairs. With the right supports in place, I can do this!
I now have a running spreadsheet documenting all my bills. Having to pay by direct debit, one can lose sight of expenditure. Keeping track of money also brings joy much like the joy when stroking one’s clothing and deciding whether it brings joy or not and then discarding (KonMari method). I feel more in control of everything.
And, that’s how I’m starting the new year. Celebrate those who come into your life. Bid farewell to those who need to start new journeys elsewhere, so you can start yours where ever you are.
May your year be blessed with epiphanies. May discomfort be the catalyst for peace. May the truth hurt, where it should, because that’s where change will occur.
Until next time
a dawn bird
In response to One Day Prompt – Conflate – January 9 2020