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February 7, 2018

it's nice having a friend in the building who pulls me in on jobs once in a while. it doesn't get much more convenient than walking out the back door and into his burly dump truck. today we returned to queen anne to continue a project i helped with last fall.

i love working with wood! cedar, especially, is so beautiful--the grain, the smell, the color variation. it's so lightweight, too, which makes a difference when you're humping it up several flights of stairs on a steep hillside.

it was pleasant working outside on this day of zero precipitation (unusual for 2018), a view of the salish sea and mountains beyond, the sounds of seagulls and freight trains talking past each other in interbay far below.

yeah, lumber sure can be pretty, but then i thought about how much more beautiful the living trees themselves are and all the critters displaced for the sake of delineating one person's property from another's.

then, as if to confirm my misgivings about the waste and metaphysical triviality of the day's mission, the next door neighbor, let's call her Pretty Petty, appeared on her side of the divide to express some, well, concerns about the property line.

i wish i had filmed it, because it was a textbook example of passive-aggressive seattle at its finest/worst. to summarize a rather convoluted situation: years ago, the former owners of Pretty Petty's house overstepped their bounds and built a concrete retaining wall onto the lot where we were working, belonging to Goody Gumdrops (not her real name).

at the time, Goody let it slide, thinking it would be wasteful to demolish and rebuild the wall for the sake of a few inches. it was the neighborly thing to do. everyone was happy. but then those people moved out and the new face of seattle moved in, complete with legitimizing seahawks ski hat.

"gee, i'm surprised Goody didn't come talk to me," said the woman complaining to the hired help instead of knocking on Goody's door (she was home). Pretty Petty invoked "adverse possession," saying that because Goody hadn't taken legal action within ten years, she gave up her right to those inches, so the fence we were building was actually encroaching on PP's (vine-choked and too-steep-for-use) backyard after all and, well, you know.

"it's a really nice fence we had an issue with our other neighbor when they built theirs… it's ok now, we won, but it was a $30,000 lawsuit…" (nothing like a veiled threat to keep things friendly!) "it's no big deal, but it's weird Goody didn't talk to me first, and since the line moved because adverse possession [she really loved saying that], well, we're about to build an addition [to their already gigantic house]…"

she spoke in ellipses, sweet intimations and hints, then apologized for bothering us because she knew we were just doing our jobs, and such a good job it was she might want to hire us!

 lady, you could not pay me enough to work for your adversely possessed ass!