Saturday, May 14, 2011

Update on Garden / Advice?

Some people have been asking for more information on our story;

We live in townhomes- shared walls and a shared back area divided by a 7' wooden fence around every unit's own backyard. There are no gates/access EXCEPT through the home/unit. To access a backyard one must come in either through the house or jump the 7' fence.

We are home most of the time. I am my husband's caregiver and he is in palliative care for a Glioblastoma Multiforme IV brain tumor/cancer. Currently there are two construction sites within 500' of our home so it is quite noisy during waking hours. It is hard to tell one noise from the site with a truck in our unit's parking lot.

We have "Arizona doors" to the back (large and glass) so I could easily see on Thurs morning that our backyard was in it's normal condition. I often check out the back to see how sunny/cloudy it is for the day. That was around 8-9am. I did not look again until the afternoon, around 4pm.

The "cleaning company" was hired to 'clean out/up the abandoned unit #4' -- that is at the exact opposite end of the complex from us. To access our backyard by jumping a fence requires passing by two doors marked with our (and the correct) unit number. They did not enter our home- I had all locks engaged.

Everything that was left in our backyard were things that required 3+ people to move and could not be moved over a fence. I imagine they "left" those for when they could access the house. Everything else was taken, all things that could be carried by one person or thrown over the fence. There was no dirt left in our yard from any of the potted plants, nor a sign of any of the plants from the raised garden. All that was left were 4 yellow cherry tomatoes looking withered and sad (fruit not plants). Wash could smell the weed killer (he has worked landscaping as a teen) and the company admitted to using it to our landlady who passed/confirmed the information to us.

We did hear back from her and she said that they "cannot locate" any of our items. Our property management has offered to buy/replace all that was taken and also to hire some men to replant for us.
It's really not quite the same thing. My husband is now dying and unlike 3 years ago cannot replant it all with me. I have to go and look for mature plants and not seedlings, as I had put YEARS into their growth. I doubt my bell pepper that my grandma helped me to keep alive in her last year of life (2006) will be as easily "replaced". Or any of my ornamental items in the backyard that were from family.

I still have not been outside at all myself. I'm hoping to try later today. I just do not feel safe at all leaving. Wash has been just as badly hurt by this, but he is keeping a bit more quiet about it.
I am also even more jumpy now and just feel in general fairly non-functional for an Aspie. I keep trying to climb into my closet or find myself rocking.
Of course no matter how I feel things still have to be done and taken care of. The world keeps going no matter what pain any of us are in.

We have filed a preliminary list with the management company/landlady and they just requested us to mail in copies of photos of our garden (thank goodness I've been so proud of it, I have lots) before and after. They also want an estimate on replacement costs and then they will replace what plants they can and compensate us for the other things.
I don't see a point in getting into a lawsuit with her/the company. Aside from the lack of $60 for a filing fee it was not her mistake- it was the guys who decided not to read their order/check the address before they decided to take (our) shit. An apology would be real nice.

If this were just me 4 years ago, I'd just replant and move on, maybe a bit more OCD for the wear. However, things have changed. This garden, this backyard was the last thing my husband built when he was healthy, it was my last gift from him before the cancer ate at his brain. It was the perfect small oasis for us to enjoy, a reason for him to want to stay here and not be moved into a hospice home. It was the place where I would pull loads and loads of veggies and herbs to cook with and eat. It was the place where we would bag gallons of extra herbs and veggies and sell them at the Farmer's Market across the street. Or give away to family and friends who love to cook with fresh veg and herbs.
It was the place where I grew my 6 pound watermelon- Bill Murrayelon last year. The strawberries on top of our Valentine's Day pancakes came from the back. The smell of jasmine and gardenia soothed me so much. Wash's grill was out there with July 4th memories.
There is not a good chance we will have the TIME to replace and make new memories. That's the difference.

I've managed to lose more time with him- really the only thing I have. That is what hurts.
And the stark emptiness where our green and colourful oasis used to be.


  1. Did you find out what *type* of weed killer they used? If you can wrestle that information out of them, it sounds like that makes the difference between needing to "replace" the soil (to grow anything any time soon) or just needing to wait a week or two.

    If they trashed the soil to the point where nothing will live in it this growing season, they ought to be making an effort to correct that, too.

  2. Ghuzayyil;
    We don't know what type, but I can have them check on Monday. They removed many cubic yards of soil, so most of it will have to be replaced anyhow.