In the middle of chaos came Shirley. I was washing salad greens for the Pop Up General store and someone knocked on the door. I’m like, “Who that?” from the top of the stairs, and then just another polite knock. So I went downstairs and there she was: the (relatively) new owner of the lot. “Shirley?” I said, and she nodded. Dreading condos, but knowing the real reason why she had come over, I asked how she was doing, and told her to come out into the garden, as I had a gift for her. I dashed upstairs and got a vase and scissors. Her timing really could not have been more perfect. The orange tiger lilies which she asked me to plant for her were in full glorious bloom. I arranged a vase of the flowers for her, and then we talked about the property.
I really needed to mow down all the weeds in the strip next to the sidewalk, Shirley told me. I know, I know, I said, but I don’t have any time. Then she looked confused: “But what about all the time you spent in here, growing stuff?” she laughed. “I mean, I don’t have time for maintenance,” I giggled. You know how there’s this thing that is really bugging you–some chore that you really need to take care of but never get around to it? Cutting grass is like that for me, I avoid it until it’s too late. Then I gave her a copy of Farm City, just so she would know the whole story.
OK, I thought, after she left, now with a fire under my ass to tidy up the place. I better find my machete. But I couldn’t locate it. Then I remembered the Tool Lending Library in Temescal. The history of the library is cool: after the 1991 fire in the Oakland Hills, they wanted to set up a resource center for rebuilding. It didn’t take hold and get fully funded through the library until 2000. Anyway, I ran down there, signed up, rented two hand tools. The next day I could return the hand tools and will have earned the right to rent a power tool. A juicy WeedWacker! These grasses and weeds were huge. The next day, my savior was there, cleaned and ready. It only took me half an hour to wack it back, and then some weeds out in the garden too. What a relief, and thank the ghods for Oakland’s Tool Lending Library! As for condos? Shirley told me not this year.
If you want to find out more about the TLL, click here. They do have weird hours, so check the website before hustling down there.