The kids and I have been really enjoying being back in Buffalo! When I look at my old school paper calendar from before we moved, there was hardly anything written on it. The moment we hit Buffalo soil, the calendar has something written in it for every single day! It's been busy, but I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm back with my lifelong best friends, and close to my family. We love our home and neighborhood, and I'm able to be close to my parents who have been having lots of health issues recently. I'm happy that I live so close to my mom that I can help her with grocery shopping, taking her to doctor appointments, etc. That part's not easy (especially with two little kids home on summer vacation), but it would be way worse if I wasn't around to help. I live close enough to my dad to take a day trip to see him and my step-mom, and set up a little impromptu clam bar for us to enjoy.
Jacob has been involved in Little League (machine pitch) and his season just ended. His team, the Yankees, were in first place, won the playoffs, and even won the championship!! What an awesome first year experience for him! Matt and the rest of the Row boys were all in Little League, and it meant so much to me that he got involved (now that we're not moving anymore), and that he enjoyed it so much. The coaches were so wonderful and told me they were shocked at how far he had come from when he started until now. I told them I wasn't too surprised - he gets his natural ability from his daddy who played his whole life, and played well.
I had signed the kids up for day camp for one week in July, and that week came before we knew it. Jacob was doing the mountain-biking portion of the camp, and Sydney was doing the regular camp which also included archery, swimming, canoeing, and lots of other fun activities. They had SUCH a great time! I figured while they were gone during the day, it would allow me to take my mom to some doctor appointments without having to drag them with us, and to get my front yard project done.
When we moved into our house, there was virtually no landscaping in the front – just two scraggly little bushes. I had done some research about landscaping, plants that would be good for that part of the front yard, and getting prices for it all. It was way too expensive for me to hire anyone to do the work, so I was fully prepared to do the work myself. I had gone to a few different nurseries a couple of months ago to get some advice and look around, and I ended up getting some really great advice from a man (John) that worked at one of the nurseries. I decided that now that I was ready to embark on this, I would go back to him for some final planning advice and get the plants. When I was telling him about my plans, he asked me how I was going to remove the bushes in the front. I told him I just planned to tie a rope to them and then tie the other end to the hitch on my van, and drive. He looked a bit surprised, and finally asked, “Where’s your husband?? He should be doing this!”
Of course, that leads to a conversation that neither one of us were expecting… He told me that his dad died when he was 11, and he had two little sisters (he’s now in his 60’s). He offered to draw up a plan for me for free, and told me to come back with printed pictures to help him. Wasn’t that awesome? It gets better…
I told John that I had my "bi-annual" hair appointment in ten minutes, but when I was done, I’d swing home, print the pictures and head back over.
I had my phone off while I was getting my hair cut, so when I checked my phone when I was done, I was surprised to see that I had two messages from him. I thought, “what in the world could be so important for the nursery guy to leave two messages?”
When I called him back, he told me there were two guys in my front yard, and that they were digging up the grass and weeds in that area and pulling out the bushes! Oh my goodness!!! I couldn’t believe my ears. He said he still needed the printed pictures, so to come back with those. At this point, I was pretty sure that John was the owner of the nursery.
When I got there, he asked me what I wanted to plant, and I showed him my list. He let me know which ones would be better, and which ones wouldn’t tolerate the shade and wind they might be subject to. With his help, I picked out all the plants, and I think he must have given me an employee discount or something because I was expecting the bill to be more expensive. By this time, one of the guys had returned to the nursery from my house, loaded up the plants into the truck, and headed back to my house.
He told me that he was paying the guys to do all this work for me. They made a beautiful shaped spot in the front, filled it in with three yards of bed soil, planted the plants, fertilized them, put in mulch, and even gave me the proper watering hose to maintain them with! The one guy doing the work said in the 26 years he had been working with John, he never did anything like that before. I’ve been getting a lot of those kinds of comments the last few years (“In the blah blah blah years I’ve been doing so and so, I’ve never seen yada yada yada”), but this time it was for something great!!
My sincerest gratitude for such a hugely generous gesture…. He said no thanks were necessary, but somehow even the edible arrangement doesn’t seem enough. Now I just have to keep these things alive…. =P
My mom has been so appreciative of all I've been doing for her, and she said that she wished there was something she could do to make it up to me. I told her that I'm glad I'm here for her, and that I'm getting rewarded in other ways, too... God is good.