A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,
But Crashes in New Jersey

So I’ve been so busy with my gorgeous and fantabulous sister, who came in from LA for the weekend, and my depression, who also decided to FLY IN FROM HELL, that I forgot to continue the saga of the story where


One small sample of the carnage that nearly KILLED US


Yes. It was awesome. And by awesome I mean it TOTALLY SUCKED ASS.

To recap, I had JUST BEEN OUTSIDE, WITH the kids, and I decided to come back in and retile the bathroom, if by “retile the bathroom” you understand me to mean replacing 3 broken tiles in the shower surround. So there I was, RETILING THE BATHROOM, getting my thinset mortar and troweling on, and then I heard this sound that I thought was some sort of sonic boom.

I swear, the first thing I thought of was that a fighter plane had landed in our street or something and then I thought that THE TERRORISTS HAD WON. (This is what happens to people who were in NYC on 9/11…every disaster, unexpected loud noise, or confusion is somehow related to the terrorists.  I guarantee you, you throw a 9/11 survivor a surprise party and the FIRST THING they’re gonna think when they hear “SURPRISE!” is “Holy shit, it’s the fucking terrorists”.)

So I run to the front door and open it….

And notice that somehow…my house had been relocated to a forest.

The front door could open IN, but the screen door that opens OUT, could only open about 6 inches. There were pine branches every which way til Sunday and it was chaos. Even the pictures that I show you here don’t do it justice; my sister readily admitted that the photos I texted her did not prepare her for what she saw live and in person.

As it turned out, the pine tree, which was OUR tree, was felled by the massive oak tree ACROSS THE STREET, which, now that it has fallen and caused thousands of dollars in damage, is apparently owned by NO ONE, since the two neighbors whose property it MIGHT be on each claim that the tree belongs to the OTHER party.

I’m not going into the gory details of the drama that ensued in getting this all cleaned up. Suffice it to say that everyone said it was someone else’s responsibility, the cops and the county were being freaking impossible to deal with, and the trees that fell last WEDNESDAY only got removed SIX DAYS LATER, during which time I had to enter and exit my house through the garage, and the poor mailman had to leave the mail on the ground by the garage door.

The debris has finally been removed, some trees had to be cut down, and my garden was entirely DEMOLISHED. Lilies, gone. Roses, gone. Daffodils, gone. Beautiful pine with hanging branches under which I was going to place a bench for me to sit and have my leisurely afternoon glass of wine…GONE. All of it…GONE. Now, my front yard is naked, bereft and bedraggled. I swear to God if someone were to plop down an old Chevy sitting on blocks, it would look like PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE DECOR. THAT…is how fucked my front yard looks now. And so, I must immediately get about the business of replanting some bushes and flowers and anything that will make it look LUSH out there because I like LUSH. What I have now is more like DESERT. Or Ghetto Yard. Take your pick.

But at least the bathroom has been re-tiled. Now, on to the fireplace. I am retiling the fireplace and when I say re-tiling the fireplace I mean RETILING THE FIREPLACE. It is currently surrounded by brick. Someone tried to assure me that a brick surround is oh so in fashion, and they are absolutely right, if by “in fashion” they mean “in style 20 years ago but not now“. Brick surrounds on fireplaces is passe, my friends, and so DONE. The folks at This Old House had this to say on the subject right on their website when I looked up how to tackle this project:

“The time for those exposed bricks framing your fireplace, with their pocked faces and rustic finish, is long past. Nights by that fire practically screamed for a glass of Chablis and the soothing sounds of Lionel Ritchie. Now you’re more about dinner parties and family holidays in front of the hearth. But before you go at the bricks with a paint roller and some white semigloss, consider the more elegant cover-up of art tiles.”

I was down with this program long before I read this article – as in about 4 YEARS ago – but I’m so glad that This Old House agrees with me, particularly because they also tell me HOW TO DO IT. DUH. So I have purchased the tiles and some of the tools and will post before and after pics so you can see how I take my fireplace from Old School to Zen School.  Although I do have to say that the dinner parties and family holidays in front of the hearth bullshit, for me, not so much. For me the fire is more just a relaxing part of my Zen Palace and I want it to look less like a goddamn Colonial house and more like a serene and up to date part of my modern decor. Which is coming along in stages.

Slow stages.

Very slow stages. Sort of like Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, is how slow I’m talking.

Anyhow, that’s another post and now I can add the now-barren garden, which was wiped out, to all the work I need to do around here.


My front door is in there somewhere…really, I swear it is.




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But Crashes in New Jersey

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