Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year of the Tunnel

Tunnel end of growing season 2012

It did not seem that monumental at the time but this spring I committed myself to gardening again. I moved the neglected raised 4 x 4 beds and built a poly tunnel over the top of them. Except for the initial $150 in plastic and PVC and rope it was mostly sweat equity. But since the mechanics lien in November 2007 was placed on my property by the contractor I had hired to build the studio I have invested no sweat and very little time, money or effort in my property except to improve the rental unit for income. Why put anything into something which could be sold out from under you at any moment?

I am not sure what moved inside of me to allow this investment, minor though it may be. And at the time it seemed to be that where I had put the raised beds was just wrong. They were so in the way. A total pain to mow around. And they collected all the blowing snow in the winter. So they had to go. And for a moment I considered doing just that; chopping them up for firewood and spreading the dirt through the grass around the studio. But I wanted to give gardening in the highlands just one more try. And the tunnel project a social media friend shared seemed doable. Something to do over the summer while I waited the third summer for a decision by the District Court judge.

There are things in life that tie you down: put your life on hold. I have been through a few in my past and frankly nothing seemed as out of my control as waiting for a verdict on where you were going to live. And in the summer of 2012 I just could not think about it any more. I buried myself in the earth with my tunnel project. I probably was bad company because I could talk about nothing else, bugged all my friends about did they want more greens, and just snapped at anyone that mentioned the court case.

November, five years almost to the day, I got a voice message from Legal Aid. The second chair during the court case was now lead as first chair had moved on to private practice. It took a little time to place the name. Took me longer to steel myself to return the call. I was so thrilled with the verdict. But I am still plodding along to get an official release of lien from the contractor from hell. But I am my house have been deemed free at last by the district court.

And so as the snow falls outside I am planning next year's garden under the tunnel. And I am thinking again of all the home improvement projects I have put off for five years. Since I currently do not have a tenant to supplement my income, and the art market is still staggering I have to look at the really cheap projects first. Meanwhile I am restoring my credit and investigating a refinance of the house to lower payments and interest rates. Could do none of that with the lien on the property.

Looking back I see the tunnel as an investment in hope. And I see that hope paying off in the final judgement.  2013 will be what I want to make it. May my garden give fruit.


  1. I remember well when the journey began, the rare highs and the many lows. It has been an incredibly long and drawn out journey and to have had to put your life on hold for that length of time was just shameful. But you saw it through and came out of it with head held high. The tunnel is a sign of your resilience and determination and should always be remembered as such. No one unless they have been there, can possibly understand the dreadful feeling of hopelessness when faced with possible loss. I faced it and lost. You faced it, had miserably low moments but always with dignity refusing to give in. You deserve a calm, drama free 2013 and you shall have it.

    1. If you haven't been there it is hard to understand. It is like being a prisoner because you cannot sell, cannot refinance, cannot move. My friend with a cancer riddled husband is in the same fix for the same length of time. Her husband does not see that he has become her warden.

      And I know, Bee you think you lost. But God abhors a vacuum and I think it is going to be filled with something wonderful. Those of us on the outside saw the toll mentally and physically your job and the people you had to work with took. I think we are both free to be all we can be now.

    2. I am sorry for your friend and understand what you are saying.

      My loss didn't refer to my job. It was our business and all our assets including our two London homes. As far as the job is ooncerned, it's merely the loss of much needed income that is the bugbear there - with hindsight I'm glad to be out of the job.

      We are indeed free and I too look forward to new beginnings!

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    4. Sorry. forgot about the previous loss. I think we are survivors. And this will be a great year. Hope you are getting retirement.

  2. Few things get my dander up more than blatant injustice in a supposedly just society. You are such a strong woman to have come through this! It is amazing what a bit of shelter does to plants. And how good it makes someone feel to be in charge of even a small part of one's food.

  3. An inspirational write. You have tunneled through to the side of light. Five years ago I was sitting in *the shack out back* ~ terrified and full of hopelessness and helplessness. I've never had anything like a home to lose, but I do know what it's like being held captive beyond all control. You always amaze me, Jacqui and I appreciate you being there for me and being such a wise friend for so long at this distance. You always give light to reason, you're strong and independent. Those are qualities I hold most high. I believe as Bee does, that you shall have a peaceful year to come.

  4. I am a firm believer of "what goes around, comes around." The person that put you through all of that hell will get his come-uppence in the end and will suffer ten fold.

    Stay strong my dear this is YOUR year.



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