Here I am, sitting having a beer in the middle of a beautiful early fall afternoon, listening to the sounds of cicadas, bees, the soft breeze rustling in the maple tree—and two housepainters arguing about the Bills game in stentorian tones. Yes, the neighbors are having some work done. Recent mornings have been heralded by their ladders crashing to the ground as they position them around the house and their portable radios tuned—at 8:30 a.m.—to one of the more obnoxious classic rock stations.
This is all part of urban life and does not really bother me. But the one thing you have to remember about contractors is that they are the sworn enemies of any and all vegetation. It’s part of their union rules or something. When we had our brick stoop rebuilt, I found all the old bricks in a huge pile on top of what had been a promising bed of sweet woodruff, Jacob’s ladder, and martagon lilies. “You didn’t have anything there dear, did you?” the foreman asked rhetorically, smiling in his usual kind-of-cute-if-you-like-that-short-Mediterranean-type way.
You see, they are really incapable of noticing the more subtle plantings. (I’m not saying that if you stuck a basket of bright pink petunias in their face they wouldn’t see it.) So when construction is in the planning stages, it’s always a good idea to also plan how you’ll replant a few of the nearby beds that you were getting sick of anyway.
And it helps if there are a couple of hotties in the group.