Monday, May 28, 2007

Not a Dumping Ground

A lot has been happening at the Jewel of Hollywood. So far we've tented the place to fumigate and restored the foundation. We took down all the interior walls, brought the insulation up to code, put in copper plumbing, upgraded the electrical, put in new heating and cooling, put the walls back up and painted them, and refinished all the floors. But for all that effort (read: $$$) the outside doesn't look any better. In fact, since we extracted the yucca tree monstrosity and cut back the Chinese elms, the place actually looks worse than when we bought it.

How bad does it look? Well, take Thursday. Ashley and I had plans to meet at the house, and Ash, not surprisingly, beat me to our rendez vous. When I called to say I was running late, she said, "Get here soon. There are two strange men taking pictures in your yard." Sure enough, I arrived to find a photographer and his model -- a term I use loosely -- making themselves at home, composing their shots against the backdrop of our lush estate.

I approached with caution. "Um, can I help you?"

With a dismissive wave of his hand, the photographer said, "We're just shooting here." His alleged model said, "Dude, I think this is her house." This I confirmed by both nodding, and by standing my ground. Like, I'm not just some passerby who was intrigued to encounter a real life photo shoot and came in to get a closer look. I'm here because I make WAY too big a mortgage payment not to be.

Now, where the model seemed to be aware that what they were doing might constitute trespassing, the photographer's attitude can best be described as "Well, exCUUUUSE ME!" He said, "Oh. We assumed the place was abandoned." After snapping off a few more shots, reluctantly, the pair withdrew to the edge of the yard. As the photographer lifted a leg over the remnants of fence he said, "Mind if we leave the way we came?"

While exiting he added, "It's a good thing you bought this place. It was a dump before," and his every word dripped with sarcasm -- especially the last.

He then turned his camera on me. "Mind if we get a couple shots of you as well?" And, in fact, I did mind. Clearly, it's not that I am oblivious to the Jewel's aesthetic shortcomings. But at the same time, I'm not sure I want my house to be the poster child for downtrodden Hollywood, either. And I sure as hell don't want to be the poster girl for stern-faced landowners who quash artistic endeavors by callously evicting them from thought-to-be-abandoned property.

Long story short, they depart. Cut to Sunday morning, just a few days later. Through the saggy canvas sheaths adorning our front windows (Yeah -- we'll get curtains eventually, but first we need to replace the windows.) I notice a plastic bag. I hate it when people throw trash in our yard -- which they do, let's face it, because the Jewel has been a neighborhood dumping ground for so long, and old habits die hard. So I pick up this plastic bag and am rather infuriated to find that it's filled with dog shit. And just as I come to the realization that I am holding a stinky bag of something foul, I look up to find another such bag only feet away. And raising my gaze, I see another. And another. And another. Bag after bag of dog shit, rimming our property.

The bags are too numerous and appeared to suddenly for this to be an accumulation of careless cast-offs. And as I walk the edge of the yard, plucking up these flimsy stink bombs, I can only wonder who in the neighborhood we pissed off. What did we do to invite this smelly attack?

And does it have anything to do with the belligerent photographer?


Blogger Michelle said...

Found your blog randomly, and have really enjoyed the renovation story! Cannot believe the bags of poo, though. Wow. Maybe it was someone who was overly attached to the yucca tree?

May 31, 2007 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger jim said...

damn, i was wondering where i left those.

June 2, 2007 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger D said...

At least the bags were not aflame!

June 28, 2007 at 5:02 PM  

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