Friday, October 31, 2008

"We Love You Miss Hannigan"

Have you ever had a neighbor that just drives you batty? Here at work we've got one. I'm going to call her Miss Hannigan. She doesn't look a thing like Carol Burnett, but in actions alone, they could be twin sisters. Before I say anything else I would like to point out that we were here first. Our nursery was here years before she built her house, and there should be a grandfather clause somewhere that allows us to plug our ears and ignore her.

Back in the beginning she complained about little things:

"Umm...there is a tiny bit of water from your sprinklers that is getting on the roof of my goat's pen. Could you adjust the water?" - We adjusted the water.

"I saw a drop of water this morning on my kid's playhouse. Remember I asked you to adjust the water?" - We adjust the water again.

"I think my goat has a cold from the sprinkler water." - We turn the sprinkler head completely off.

"The music your crew plays is too loud." - I talk to the hombres and tell them to please keep the music down.

"...It's just that the music is giving me a headache." - Guys, turn down the music!

"You know, if you had to listen to that music all the time it would make you a bit touchy too." - Guys, the neighbor is loca I realize that, but turn your dang music down!!!

"Are you ever going to do anything about the music?" - That's it. I'm sorry. I realize it's your culture, and you would rather DIE than not listen to this ranchero stuff you call music, but new rule: No music allowed, unless you have earphones. End of discussion.

***In Miss Hannigan's defense, she did bring over a treat basket filled with all sorts of Latin goodies...her way of making nice. It was too late. The biggest treat basket in the WORLD wouldn't make up for the fact that the guys now have to spend ALL DAY in silence.

"Can you build a new fence? I don't like that you can see into my yard." - A request we ignore initially.

"Seriously, I want a new fence. And I want it to be white vinyl." - We laugh a little, because does she not know that Dad is 150% opposed to anything vinyl? And we ignore her request.

She sends a letter respectfully requesting a new fence. "I don't like my kids to sleep in the playhouse at night because of the fence issue." - Why? Are they afraid of trees? That's all they see from their side of the fence. Rows and rows of trees. No customers ever wander down that far, we don't even wander down that far. "Trees are the answer." Just ask anyone...except Miss Hannigan.

"Okay, if you don't want a vinyl fence maybe we can do a wood fence."

One day I was out in the nursery and I saw a goat...HER goat, eating some of our plants. I sent it on it's way and didn't say anything about it. A few days later I saw the goat again. I threw something at it and it disappeared to his side of the fence. The third time I saw the goat I called Miss Hannigan.

"Miss Hannigan, I'm calling because I'm concerned about your goat. I worry for it's safety. I'm afraid that if it keeps coming over to our side of the fence, my guys might kill it and eat it for lunch." - Yes I really said that. And it gave me great pleasure. I think I may have pushed her over the edge though.

We eventually replaced the fence. She bought the materials and my guys installed it. She had a vine growing through and around the old fence and there was no way the guys could get rid of the fence without taking out the vine as well.


My response: "Miss Hannigan I don't know if you remember this, but we are a nursery. I happen to have access to more vines. If it's that important to you, I think I know where you can get another one."

"Oh..." she said in a small voice. I never heard anything else about the vine.

Her latest complaint is the most petty one yet. In a two week time period we heard this from Miss Hannigan:

"The fan on greenhouse 3 is too loud and it's disturbing my sleep." - That was a message left on the answering machine.

"I really wish you would do something about that fan." - That was a conversation she had face to face with my brother."

"I've respectfully asked you to do something about the fan. If you had to listen to it at night maybe you would be more inclined to fix it." - This in a hand written letter taped to our office door.

***Now, here's the thing. It's not THAT loud!!! Cars driving by her house at night are louder than the fan. Kids squealing are louder than the fan. Her husband probably snores louder than the fan.

We adjusted the fan, tweaked some things, and made it so that it barely hums. If you stand in front of her fence you can barely hear a thing. The guys' music is louder than the fan. (I no longer tell them to turn it down. In fact, maybe I'll encourage them to turn it up!)

Miss Hannigan is still not pleased. She went to the city office building to complain. We got an email from Mr. Lindon City himself telling us that they had a woman who was "visibly upset and distraught...the noise is obviously a problem for her" or something like that. Umm...hello? Maybe she should move to Brooklyn, give her a little perspective on noise levels.

We have enough problems with Mr. Lindon City as it is (I swear he's out to get us), we do not need Miss Hannigan feeding the fire.

A few days ago I listened to a message from Miss Hannigan: "Maybe you could plant some trees all along my fence line. That way the trees will block out the noise." THERE IS NO NOISE!!!

Mr. Lindon City paid us a visit. He went and stood in front of Miss Hannigan's fence and said, "You're kidding right? THIS is what she's complaining about?"

Mr. Lindon City's boss called us yesterday. "We are getting complaints..." Sure you are. Have you talked to Mr. Lindon City? Well, no. Why don't you talk to him before you get in our face again.'s what I'm wondering. Would it be too obvious if I bought a pack of ear plugs and left them on her porch? I'd even create a cute treat basket to go with them!

Monday, October 27, 2008


"Noelle, when will you learn you aren't that young anymore?"

"Noelle, you have got to stop acting like a teeny bopper."

"Noelle, I swear I'm going to wrap you in bubble wrap and keep you inside at all times."

These are the comments I've heard the last few days. I would like to say they aren't warranted, but alas, they probably are.

One day at work the following things happened:

My pants got caught on a wire, causing me to trip and fall. I twisted my ankle, and the wire cut up my leg. Five minutes later I stepped in a sink hole of sorts, twisted the same ankle again, and fell on my knee. Later, I was loading some plants onto a trailer and didn't see that a side light was broken. The screw that holds the light in place was exposed and when I walked past it, it gouged my leg. I came in to the office to recover and bent to pick something up. When I stood back up I smacked my head on the counter and with that, I called it a day.

Saturday my sister and I hiked another mountain. The weather was beautiful and we managed the 8 mile hike with no serious mishaps. I was feeling pretty confident that my unlucky streak was over. I am NOT normally a klutz and I was looking forward to being normal again.

After we finished our hike I went to my brother's house to talk to my cute 2 year old nephew. (My brother lives across the street from my parents.) Josh wanted to show me something and so he led me past the house, around a big tree, and over into the neighbor's field. There is a cinder block wall that separates my brother's house from the neighbor's field. The wall is built like a staircase for a few feet, before it levels out and becomes just a solid wall. Josh climbed the 'stairs' with my help and was standing on top of the wall looking at the roof of an old shed. "Noelle, come see up here! Come see this!" I was never very good at resisting cute 2-year-olds and so I climbed up onto the second of the four 'stairs'. As I went to put my foot on the 4th block, the block I was standing on fell off, taking me with it. (Guess it wasn't cemented like it should have been.)

I fell backwards off the wall and landed on the ground. It wasn't a soft landing. The back of one leg smacked against one of the cinder blocks as I was falling, and then my back and head were the next to make contact with the ground. As luck would have it, I landed right on top of an old bed frame that had been left there for who knows how long. I could feel myself starting to pass out, and I could hear Josh crying. My fall scared him to death and he was still on top of the wall, holding on to the roof of the shed. I willed myself to not pass out and then stood up and got Josh off the wall.

"Noelle fall and get a red ouchy?" were the first words Josh said. He took my hand and started to pull me. "Let's find Mommy. Let's find Mommy." Thankfully my mommy was outside and so as we rounded the big tree I stopped and called for my mom.

By this point I had gone into shock a little bit and because I had smacked my head so hard my ears were ringing and everything was fuzzy. My mom and sister helped me into the house and we assessed the damage.


One very BIG goose egg on the back of my head, possible concussion.
Big bruise and cut where the cinder block wall made contact with the back of my leg.
Bigger bruise (12" or so) where my back made contact with the bed frame.
Even bigger goose egg and bigger bruise on thigh of other leg, with some scratches and cuts.
Bruises and cuts on the backs of both arms.
BIGGEST bruises and cuts on my poor ... ummm ... searching for a word here ... I'll just say I can't sit comfortably. Direct contact with the end of a bed frame will do that.
Stiff, stiff, stiff neck. Did I mention my neck was stiff? Maybe it's whiplash...don't really know.
General aches and pains EVERYWHERE.

Now, with all of that said, I'm very lucky. It could have been worse. If I had fallen even 8 inches the other way I would have landed on top of some rebar stakes sticking up. Just think of how traumatized Josh would have been then!

Ice packs are my new best friends.

I promise to not climb any more cinder block walls! Ever!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Bicycle Built for Two

There is a lady who comes into work once or twice a year. She has been coming into work for as long as I can remember. She is somewhat crippled from what I'm guessing was a stroke many years ago. She walks dragging one leg behind her, one side of her face is deformed and although she can speak, she is really hard to understand, and as far as I can tell she has very limited use of one arm. Whenever she comes into the nursery, she is with one of her children. They are her lifeline. Every few years, when another child turns 16, chauffeur duties change. Never once in all of the years that I've helped this family, have I ever heard one of the kids say an unkind, or an impatient thing towards their mother. I've been amazed at the apparent unending love they have for their mother.

I should know her name, but I don't. I have always thought she is an incredibly beautiful woman. I saw her a few months ago, at lunch with some friends. They were helping to feed her. I was touched by their love as well. I only remember seeing her husband once or twice. The first time I saw him I was impressed by him. He is a tall and very handsome man. I remember wondering what it must be like for have a wife with so many obvious disabilities. I remember hoping that he loved her...the undying kind of love that overcomes any disability.

A few weeks ago I was walking along a trail in Provo Canyon. When the weather is nice the trail is crowded with bike riders and runners, and those of us who pretend to be runners. I noticed a bike rider coming my way. He was going slower than most, and I realized that it was because he was pulling something - and someone - behind him. As he got closer I recognized him. It was the husband of my customer. And behind him, in a custom built wagon of sorts, was his wife. She was bundled in a blanket, and she was as happy as I've ever seen her. Her smile was beautiful and the whole scene made me just a little teary-eyed.

In that moment I knew that he did love her...the undying kind of love that overcomes any disability.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You Have an Hour and a Half...

Have you ever, in your entire life, gone into a restaurant and been told by the hostess, "You have an hour and a half to be done. If you're going to take longer than that we won't be able to seat you"? Seriously, that happened to me this past weekend.

I went to dinner with a friend Friday night. We went early to avoid the crowd - or so we thought. At 6:30 pm I put my name on the waiting list and was told "the wait is about an hour." In most restaurants they tell you the longest possible time, and then seat you before the time is up thus assuring happy customers. With that assumption I figured an hour wasn't that bad of a wait.

While patiently waiting out the hour I met a nice couple who had called to make a reservation for 6:00ish. At 6:30 they were still waiting. At 6:45 they were still waiting. At 7:10 I think they finally got seated. They had a concert to be to at 8:00 pm. I'll bet they didn't get to savor much of their meal.

The conversation I had at 7:30pm with the hostess went something like this:

Me: "Can you tell me how much longer the wait is please?"

Her: "It looks like it will be another half an hour."

Me: "When I came in an hour ago you told me it would be an hour."

Her: "I know, it's just that we're really busy" (said in a somewhat whiny voice)

Me: "I can see you're really busy, and I'm not mad...yet. But I want to make sure that you don't forget that I'm sitting there in the corner, and have been FOR AN HOUR."

Her: "Oh don't're name really is on the list."

Me: "I would hope that my name is near the very top of that list."

Random guy standing at the counter: Looks at me and gives me this look that says something like 'I feel your pain. If you yell, I'll yell.'

I went to sit back down and about 10 minutes later they called my name. My friend and I stood up to be led to our table. But before we took 5 steps the hostess stopped us and said, "You have an hour and a half to be done. If you're going to take longer than that we won't be able to seat you. We have a reservation for ..." I can't remember the exact time but what I wanted to say was "Since when do you take your reservations seriously?"

What I did say was this: "Well, if you're capable of speeding up your service, we'll be done in an hour and a half." The hostess said something else about our time limit, and I said again, "We can only be as fast as your service is." You know how restaurants are. They bring you your drinks and then you wait 20 years before they take your order. You order and then you're dead from starvation by the time they bring you the meal. (I'm not dramatic at all.)

Neither my friend nor I paid much attention to the time but when the waiter asked us if we would like dessert I said, "I'm not we have time?" Do you want to know his response??? "Oh...I'm not sure. Let me check on that for you." A few minutes later someone else came to the table and said, "You have time still for dessert. What would you like?" We did order the dessert and then about half way through it we started getting the evil eye.

They were setting tables all around us for a big group, and we were clearly in their way. However, our waiter had disappeared and we didn't have our bill. The evil eyes intensified and still no check. How can we keep our end of the deal if they don't keep theirs? I figured at that point they owed us our meal for free. It's the least they could have done. We finally got the check, paid the bill, and rolled our eyes as we walked out the door.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What Is It About Pizza?

We had pizza for lunch yesterday. We haven't had pizza for months. The guys in my office prefer the modernized pizza: BBQ chicken pizza for example. I prefer the $5.00 pepperoni pizza from Little Ceasars. Because I picked it up I got to choose.

When I pulled into the parking lot of Little Ceasars I noticed the car that pulled up next to me. An older lady got out, while an even older lady (she may have been in her mid 90's) stayed in the car. I imagined the older of the two saying to perhaps her daughter, "Dear, let's eat pizza today. It sounds good to me."

I thought of my grandma who is 92. She lives in a town too small for any kind of pizza place and yet if you happen to be visiting her during a meal time, there's an 85% chance you'll get pizza - the frozen kind.

During the last year of my grandpa's life he lived on three things: potato chips - all kinds - root beer, and you guessed it, pizza. Well meaning neighbors brought him meals and suggested that I try harder to give him a well-balanced diet. "He's 93," I thought, "let him eat what he wants. He's earned it." He wanted pizza, I bought him least once a week. His last meal before he slipped into a coma and died: pizza and root beer.

Maybe it's something in the sauce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Conquering Mt. Timpanogos

This is Mt. Timpanogos, the second highest peak in Utah's Wasatch range. It reaches nearly 12,000 feet in elevation. I live at the base of this mountain. Every day I look up at this mountain and say to myself, "One day I am going to hike this mountain again."
Yes, again. I hiked Timp for the first and only time when I was 12 or 13. The experience traumatized me and I have been unwilling to hike the mountain again. My dad is a mountain man. He would spend every waking hour in the mountains if he could, and when we were young our family outings and vacations were always spent hiking and camping. My mom is not such a mountain woman, but for the sake of love and family she followed my dad on his adventures - even to the top of Timp. The hike is 18 miles round trip, and depending on the time of year, you may have to cross several glaciers to reach the top. (What were my parents thinking?)

I don't remember much of that first hike...I've blocked it from my memory I think. However, I do remember reaching the top and being sure that I was going to fall to my death! I have a thing with heights as it is, but to be that high up, on a tiny trail, it was almost more than I could do to not curl up in a tiny ball and cry forever!

Once you reach the 'saddle' of Timp you have another 1/2 hour hike in order to reach the summit. The trail to the summit is hard to describe, and for a bunch of young kids it seemed near impossible to survive. My dad gave us the option of going to the summit or turning back. None of us were too inclined to go back from where we had just come from and we knew that if we made it to the summit, we could slide down a glacier and avoid the trail from you know where. We chose to climb to the summit. Again, what were my parents thinking???

Thanks to a million guardian angels we survived that hike, and until this past weekend, I've never gone back. I made a goal to hike Timp this year, and I've waited and waited until someone could hike it with me. My dad, who will always be my first choice for a hiking partner, injured his back and hasn't been able to do much of any hiking lately. I waited, hoping that his back would heal, but when I heard a weather report say that we would get snow soon in the higher elevations, I knew it was now or never. Two of my sisters were willing to drop what they were were doing and agreed to hike the mountain. We started hiking at 7 am, and after about four hours we began to wonder if we were "ever going to get there."

The view along the way was spectacular, and we quoted one of our favorite movie lines over and over again: "Beautiful, beautiful, wish you were here." We laughed and laughed and blamed our shortness of breath on the altitude, and just kept hiking.

When we finally did reach the saddle we could see that a storm was moving in rather quickly. We made the decision to keep hiking. We were SO close to the summit and didn't want to turn back. We set out on the trail from you know where and what do you know, it was as scary as I remembered it! My sisters were a lot more confident than I was, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

We were somewhere between the saddle and the summit when the storm hit with full force. We were covered in clouds, we were being pelted with hail and we could no longer see the trail. Really, it disappeared. Heather climbed up a rock slide to see if the trail happened to connect on the other side, but because of the storm couldn't see a thing. At that moment, we made the decision to turn back. Before we set out on the hike our brother sent a text that said, "Have fun, be safe, and BE SMART." Turning back was us being smart. We were frozen by the time we made it off the face of Timp but we were safe and we knew we had been protected.

About 20 minutes after we got off the face the storm stopped and the clouds cleared. The rest of the hike was uneventful and by the time we made it to the trail head I could feel my fingers. The entire hike took a little over 7 hours, and it was the best 7 hours I've spent in a long time. Thanks hermanas, for being willing to help me accomplish a goal! Next year we'll do the hike again, and this time we WILL make it to the summit. Unless of course there's a storm.