Wednesday, September 22, 2010


That is how one woman in the Hudson Bay neighborhood, our own neighborhood, now views us.
~ Mad Photography Skills by Brian VandenHeuvel ~
Alright, let me back up and explain myself...What with the brisk feel in the air, the pumpkin spice rage currently going on in my everyday (Sbux) environment, and the fall decor having hit all the stores (shoot, Costco's already skipped ahead to Christmas) I've been dieing to decorate.

The problem: decor is expensive. And expensive purchases on seasonal thingamabobs just don't jive with my lifestyle. Brian and I move often, we're currently living with very limited storage space and making an honest attempt at a budgeted life. (I say 'attempt' because I'm not yet ready to claim anything too admirable.)
The resolution: be creative, find free or almost free stuff.
My big idea: Combine the following things with confidence. Hope for success...
* Branches, there are plenty to choose from and at the right price. ;)
* Peacock Feathers on (I SO hope they're still available b/c the ones I fell in love with at Pier 1 would cost several 5 gallon buckets full o' pretty pennies. I find a fair share of spare change when emptying Brian's pockets but that would take me a while...)
* ...a few Thrift Store finds and some spray paint.

At 9:00 last night I found myself randomly inspired. The evening has consisted of nothing noteworthy so this was unexpected and exciting. I told Brian to meet me outside with Finn. I grabbed the carwashing bucket, the Maglite, and the always trusty Cutco ratchet pruner. We strolled down the sidewalk on the look out for...anything cool enough to make it into my bucket(?) With Finn in the lead, Brian by my side and the glorious lighting (thank you, moon) everything had a new sense of mystery and charm. It was magical. I was standing gazing at a tree, telling Brian how pretty I thought it's shiny leaves were in the moonlight when suddenly I looked up and startled. Slightly up hill from where we were, stood a terrifying old woman. She was illuminated by the street light and fully decked in old woman sleepwear (you draw your own mental picture, just make sure it's scary.) I quickly looked away because, like I said, it was startling. Brian looked up and was also taken off guard but played it cool and said and drawn out, "Hiiiii." (Just like that, it was funny. hehe!) But then I looked at her again and it was no longer funny. She had her feet planted firmly. She seemed unsure and threatened but like she wanted to appear in charge, she was definitely using the hill to her advantage. It was almost like she'd dubbed herself the sidewalk's body guard. Once Brian spoke to her, she quickly jumped all over us by saying, "What are you diggin' up there?!!" As if I was stealing trees or something. HA! I wanted to laugh but found myself speechless. Brian replied, "Branches." Again I had to stifle my laughter. All three of us stood awkwardly for a moment, I continued to look at the surrounding shrubs for anything funky. It was obvious that she was upset with us and she wouldn't be backing down so we turned the corner and wandered off down the sidewalk. We went one block further and I decided my bucket had been filled to my heart's content. We turned the block again, looked up and saw her peering intently at us, watching us like a hawk. We continued down "her" sidewalk toward her. As we approached her she began verbally attacking us. Thankfully it never exceeded words and although it seems silly, I was thankful that I had a grown man with me because without that little intimidation factor I would have actually been scared. She continued to spout off ridiculousness at us. I found myself appalled that she would assume these things of me. She asked us why we were digging up trees in the night. I assured her I had nothing more than clippings, I asked if she'd like to see. She quickly said, "NO!" as if I disgusted her. She told me that these were HER TREES in HER YARD. This was silly because she lives in a duplex and all the trees were obviously planted by the developer but, [shrug] whatever. I told her that I actually hadn't cut any from "her yard." (Ironically, I hadn't even stepped off the sidewalk, none of "her" trees had made "my cut.") She started getting really angry with us and continued following us down the sidewalk. She told me that this was her neighborhood and we needed to leave. I told her it was mine too, that I lived just down the street. She told me to go home. I told her that she should chill, I had just as much right walking down the sidewalk as she did. Oh, there were so many things I wanted to say! What I really wanted was to turn around and get the last word in. I wanted to say "This is America, honey! This is my sidewalk too! Why don't you just take your snooty little power trip inside and go to bed." Walking away down the street I found one more tree that coincided with my vision. I paused alongside the tree, trimmed a few branches and placed them in my bucket. Brian and I glanced back to see if Crazy Old Woman (she definitely doesn't deserve to be called a lady) had the nerve to follow us any further. What we discovered was hilarious. She had actually gone knocking and recruited a neighbor to help her do I-don't know-what, scare us away, perhaps? The two of them were standing in the middle of the street, sending warning missiles with their eyes.
Wow. How ridiculous?!!!! It's amazing how angry she was with us which in turn, had me appalled at her. As my mom would say, "Who peed in her cheerios?!" Brian and I enjoyed laughing our way home, realizing what a funny situation this truly was. Looking back, the best part is the innocence of what we were doing contrasted with how she had chosen to perceive us. To her we were intruders, thieves, hooligans. That's us the Hoodlums in the night. Watch out, Hudson Bay neighborhood, now that I've discovered the magical moonlit glow, I'm sure to be out again soon! ;)
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  1. What a great story for this time of year! You need to show us what you're doing with your great nature finds. Especially since obtaining them was an eery experience:)

  2. So funny! And I agree with your need to post some pictures of your branches. :)