What an interesting week!
I drove past the site in the weekend when taking a load from Kam's place and saw that the fence had been filled in. At first I thought the owners were super on to it and had got it done then I realised by the age of the fence that it was obviously the neighbours putting back up the missing piece. It turns out that the hedge Willy accidentally cut through had been the bane of their existence and were thrilled to see it gone. Who could have guessed?!
They took a bunch more hedge out too but when I met the K of JNK later, she was super relaxed about it all and was really pleased with what had been done so far.
Yesterday I did the front of the building. I realise a lot of the images are barely recognisable. In this one, get your bearings by the windows.
Again, sorry for the crap images...
I knew the new tenants were going on a looksee on Wednesday and I wanted it be a less Tarzan or Jane and more Zen experience making their way up to their new front door so today I focused on the walkway. It was by far the toughest day so far. I'd asked my cousin if she knew any flax weavers who would like some flax because I knew I would have to trim it all today. The first question she asked was Is it the tall straight sort or the short floppy one? Until that second, I had never noticed the difference but when I looked around with new eyes, I could see there were about 5 of each. I told her when I'd be there and no-one came so I tentatively started 'sculpting' the flaxes and dug out two to replant in a bare space over the other side of the carpark. And more treasure. Two more substantial rocks!
You know how I said we just see the beauty in things and bring them out? This is what I mean. Those two rocks were completely covered by flax and all those cute little clumps of grasses? All there too. The bonus was a bunch of bark pushed up against the fence that I was able to rake down to cover the whole garden once I'd finished.
Tonight, after feeding father and in the pouring rain, I went back with my step-fathers lawn mower and whipped over the back grass area. With that close look at the back area, I realised I'm not even half way through yet! However, the only reason I wished I didn't see it all is that now I'm impatient to get back there and uncover and rearrange all those treasures too!
Talk about full immersion!
You know you're in the right business when you can't get enough of video's in your line of work.
And when the soundtrack is Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle talking about the mind? I listen to what I call Motivids everyday while on the job so how was I not doing this 20 years ago?
The words on one of my favourite pieces of art in my collection say But then again...I've always had a thing for Cowboys. Remember when I told you my brother and I were happily calling ourselves Cowboys?
I think I might have a New Thing for Garden Cowboys. These boys are speaking my language and Ohhhhh The Powertools!!!
I know I'm pedantic in my work, and I may be pitiful watching lawn mowing videos on a Friday night but I've never felt so powerful in my conviction that even though I really don't know what I'm doing, I'm doing exactly what I'm meant to be doing right now...
One of the most rewarding experiences I had was when I lived with a dear friend whose surroundings were chaos. Mountains of everything, everywhere. When I asked if he wanted to move into my house, he warned me he was messy. Of course I already knew this and said I wouldn't judge his messiness if he didn't judge my tidiness. So I made a suggestion that might work. I kept the bathroom and kitchen clean then I gave him the dining room as his space and kept the lounge as mine. He thought that might work and moved in.
It didn't take long for me to realise that he knew where every single thing was in his piles. I would need a copy of a bill and he would magically go to the exact place in the pile and pull it out. This taught me the sensitivity and respect to other people’s sense of order that I've mentioned elsewhere.
When his stuff started arriving and staying in my lounge, I let him in on one of my tricks. The Dump Spot. I asked him to allocate a space in the dining room where I could put whatever needed to be relocated back to him and he chose a corner of the table.
I never had any reason to go into the dining room because I ate in the lounge on my knee and he enjoyed joining me occasionally in the peace and warmth of the lounge so this set up worked perfectly and we never once had an issue in the almost two years we lived together.
Yesterday I got order in the garden in front of the left hand carparks. It's hard to tell but I pulled out and rearranged all the plants and kept a few aside for planting elsewhere. I was so happy to find a bulbous rock - except I didn't know how round it was until I tried lifting it off the dirt - turns out it was an iceberg rock and I had to dig deep - you can see the dirt line of how deep it went.
I felt it deserved it's own mantel against the fence.
When I came back after taking Father his dinner, I felt like a change of scenery and gratification so I started on the opposite carpark. By the time it got dark, I'd pulled down a truckload of hedge so I left it there because I'd arranged to have Willy work with me today so being a wiry, strong kind of guy, I knew he'd have it loaded in seconds.
In the first two images, you can see how the hedge behind had grown over the ferns and down onto the tarseal. That was the first layer to go. Then I was thrilled to find that the agi's all along the front were only on a one inch mat of dirt so after Willy loaded the truck this morning, I got him to cut squares around them and put them to the side to plant along the front of the building where it was bare. Score!
I'd also uncovered a small ponga fence that was in mostly good shape so with removing the agi's and going back to the ponga's we managed to reclaim about a metre of carpark space in the end.
(I'm just noticing the difference in image quality. The top two were taken with my old Nokia N8 - 41 megapixel camera, and the bottom with my new Samsung Galaxy A8 - 13 megapixel camera)
Earlier in the day, we found an old broken trellis fence woven into the myriad of branches from the hedge to the left of the tree in the last image. In order to get it out, Willy had to cut most of the branches away so tonight when I went back, I had to pull all the branches away because they would have started withering anyway. Fortunately I'd kept a bunch of new shoots of another hedge so I planted them in the gap. Turns out there were already a whole lot of shoots of the same hedge starting anyway so it felt like a confirmation of the right choice ;-)
What was that bit about a realistic quote?!
I've done almost 7 hours at JNK's already in two days and only cleared a tiny section of the property. But luckily, when I was mulling over the quote, I didn't settle on the amount based on the hours so much as what I would be happy being paid to do the job. I'm really really enjoying it and love that I can come and go based on the intensity of the sun and my energy levels. I've found that working in the morning then after I've taken Father his meal to the hospital when it's both cooler and quieter with the less traffic works best.
Just as I was finishing off the last bit of the corner in the last shot, I found a bunch of huge rocks behind the Agapantha's so I can't wait to get back to those tomorrow. The next section of garden is very bitsy with lots of wonderful plants but they've got too big and grown in odd places that hopefully I might be able to redistribute, along with the rocks ;-)
Have I told you how much I love my job?!
I may have a new phone but I'm still not taking very good shots - so apologies that they're not like all those other flash Instagram whizzy images that you're used to seeing...
I'm starting to get really busy already but when Alex invited me out again on Sunday, I couldn't wait! For a place out the back of nowhere, there sure are a lot of people in the neighbourhood and there were visitors all day. My kinds of visitors. It was so much fun and I almost felt guilty logging my 2 hours with Timebank because I felt like I just ate and talked and laughed the whole time.
As I was driving out their driveway, I saw that I had a missed call from Kim. She'd rung me about doing a major (paid) clean up of a commercial property she was a co-owner of. I'd been over to it, taken a ton of images and videos and thanks to all the work I'd done at Kam's place, I was able to give what I felt like was a realistic quote.
I pulled over, turned the truck off and rang her back.
She said they wanted to go ahead with the quote and could I start tomorrow?
I was ecstatic and it was the perfect end to a glorious day...
I've been in business before. A few times. So I knew not to expect it to rock everyone elses world like it rocks mine. I know I need to advertise but have an aversion to the print media sector so will need to get creative, which probably means beating feet. I've also got quite a few websites so I knew that because I hadn't got around to doing the SEO section or publishing it on Social Media, I wasn't going to get a ton of traffic, business inquiries or comments anytime soon. I knew that for every 10 people I gave my card or told the easy domain name to, one might be curious enough to investigate further. I'm aware that I'm a chick in a mans world and one friend has already admitted he didn't think I could do a job he'd been approached about (I told him of course I wouldn't but I had someone who could). Most of all, I know I won't get a sore back from money bulging under my mattress this week. Or next.
Knowing all this means that I'm never disappointed. My expectations are at ground level and that's where I'm most at home. It's nice to go up a few floors to check out the scenery but as both Timothy Leary and Sir Ed knew, when you go up, you gotta come down.
Some may see this as defeatist or self-perpetuating but, after being one of those people myself for so many years, I've discovered the pleasures of being a realist.
The best thing about being a realist is that everyday you're pleasantly surprised.
Last night a new friend, Gabi, actually looked at my card, went to his keyboard and typed in the domain name. And he scrolled and clicked and read the words. How do I know this? Because, to my grateful delight, he sent me feedback! Only my two children had made that trek and wrote to tell me about it.
What I found most useful about Gabi's feedback is that it made me review my past month, life. I asked myself what it was that I actually did. Sure I clean, but what and how and why?
It turns out I don't clean at all. I get order.
What do I order?
With the small jobs I gather all the tools or people I'll need so that I can do it in one hit, circumstances permitting.
On the big jobs I look for patterns, groups, structure, potential then create a process. I'll group things together, break things up into achievable hunks, tidy as I go until the potential I saw, that the owner hadn't seen for a while, or didn't even know existed is exposed. I then set up a process to maintain the new order. And those big jobs (prior to what you see in the blog) have been small businesses accounts or an entire companys operating structure. A room where painful memories have been locked up for 20 years and consumed by weevils. A house of exceptional art treasures where the owner had no concept of design. Workshops. Studios. Cupboards. Cars. Clothes. Passwords. Even animals.
And here's my secret. My filters don't see mess - they only see potential. So in a Yin Yang like process, rather than wading through the piles of disorder, I see myself and our team as drawing out the underlying order.
In other words, we only focus on seeing and exposing The Good.
I had another exciting day at Kam's today. I'd done a load to the dump earlier in the week so this time it was, for want of a better word, the Courtyard at the bottom of the drive, in front of the garage. I had company for a change too! Dad and daughter were around all day and sounded like they were having wayyyy too much fun ;-)
You can see the far corner where I still have to wrangle but the hardest got knocked down and dragged away today.
I bought a company phone with a dual sim, last week, so hopefully I'll be able to take better images for you - I might even try standing in the same spot for the Afters.
Yesterday I was back at Margaret's wedge of paradise and what a day. It was bright and warm and full of the potential of summer.
Margaret has a fence of around 15 metres of shade cloth and wanted another layer put over the old one. Of course I tried to take a picture but have you ever tried to photograph shade cloth?
I then carefully got up on the roof (thanks for the safety tips Charley) and cleaned out all the gutters. Not rocket science but if you've had cluttered gutters, you'll know how good it feels to know they're free flowing again. I resisted my OCD urge to hose down the goo that was left on the first gutter and knew the first rain would take care of that ;-)
I've joined Taranaki's Timebank. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, I work an hour for someone, which gives me an hour in my bank. I then get to 'spend' that hour with someone else. Massage was what I was thinking!
Today I worked 2.5 hours for Alex and Aileen in their garden.
It was another one where there were hidden treasures but this time it was other plants that had been taken over by the weeds. I tried to isolate them then tidy them up. It looks a little bare now but there are bulbs to plant once spaces have been cleared.
It was such a pleasure to work amongst a happy friendly family of 5, dog and cat. Alex also made us a divine late salad lunch with all but one ingredient out of their greenhouse. Because they live a way out of town, he also generously gave me some money for diesel for the truck.
On the way back into town, I stopped in at mine and my fathers favourite place to eat, Okurukuru, and got a take out of our lusted after garlic prawns with the money. Father couldn't believe his eyes when I opened the container. I swear he's the best fed patient in that hospital and he admitted I got some serious Daughter Points for that effort.
I love my job!!