Well, it’s now official. Winter is finally over and done, for lo we have entered the Season of Tree Poop: yesterday I went out to my car to find it thickly encrusted with a disgusting layer of yellow. I suppose I’m grateful that my car is a gold color, because if it was black I’m sure it would have looked even worse, if that’s possible.

“Tree poop” is the spur-of-the-moment moniker that I applied to tree pollen about six years ago when my son who had recently moved into his first house, located on a street lined with old maple trees, called me to ask “What is this disgusting yellow stuff all over my driveway??” After delivering a short lecture on maples which I’m sure bored him to tears, I ended with “so essentially it’s tree poop”.

I’ve led a charmed life until now as regards tree poop vs vehicle, because with the exception of my childhood home, which was located in a treeless neighborhood, I have always had a house with a garage. Thus I have never before had to deal with the worst effects of tree pooping. Unfortunately, the Money Pit has no usable garage – a fact which was not evident at the time of purchase, for a couple of reasons – and so my car now has to live outdoors. This is something that neither me nor my car is happy about, and not least because this neighborhood is literally stuffed with oaks… and oaks are poopers par excellence.

oak in early May

Even though my car is parked 40 feet from the nearest oak, it was still thoroughly and thickly blanketed. I hate to think about the window cleaning job I’ll face after Poop Season is over!

I suppose I should explain a little about the chronology of the Money Pit, in case anyone is wondering why some conditions here are coming as a surprise. I first saw the house in early March 2013 and signed the contract of sale later that month, but the closing (actual sale/handing over of keys) did not occur until almost four months later due to delays on the seller’s part. So I literally never laid eyes on the place between late March and mid-July. In early August the planned/known renovations began, which equated to the opening of Pandora’s Box and is how, within 90 days, the house more than earned its current sobriquet of The Money Pit. Perhaps I’ll tell that story in a future blog post if I can do it without using too many Bad Words.

It was early December 2013 before (almost) all the necessary work was completed. In the meantime my house had been up for sale — a house which everyone assured me would sell quickly. Everyone was 100% dead wrong, because it took over a year to even get an offer! It entered the fray with oppressive property taxes working against it, though no worse than comparable homes in that area; what we didn’t count on was the additional whammy of the Hurricane Sandy Fear Factor on the part of potential buyers. Although it wasn’t waterfront, it was in a waterfront area which meant it had all the inherent risks but without the benefit of dock space for a boat. On top of that, the government announced in mid-2013 that the relatively low rates for flood insurance (a requirement for anyone who’d buy via a mortgage) would soon become a thing of the past. So basically my house went from having one strike against it (high taxes) to three (high taxes + high-cost flood insurance + fears of another catastrophic coastal storm). Of course, being surrounded by huge Sandy-killed trees didn’t help the local ambiance either!

Long story short, it was November 2014 before my house was sold (at a staggering loss which practically brings me to tears to contemplate) and I actually moved into the Money Pit. I’d been living in the waterfront area home all this time for several very good reasons: the nice big attached garage, plus the fact that I could only afford to have insurance on the Money Pit (the geographic risk factor having made insurance on the waterfront area home unaffordable for the past two years). My logic was that if one house had to be un-insured, it darn well better be the house I was living in and keeping an eye on 24/7. Frankly at that point I would not have cared (and would have probably cheered) if lightning had struck the Money Pit and turned it into a pile of smoldering ashes. Plus, I loved my former house and would never have sold it if the property taxes and the insurance premiums hadn’t risen to obscenely unaffordable levels.

And so, from July 2013 to November 2014 I would visit the Money Pit once or at most twice a week, to check on things (read: discover newest unanticipated problem) inside and out. This is how I came to also discover – among other not so nice surprises – that the sellers apparantly had not pulled a single weed or maintained the lawn from the date I signed the purchase contract to the date they handed over the keys, and they apparantly had a penchant for planting the most aggressive invasive perennials known to mankind. But more on that as the season progresses!

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