Unsolicited Advice

I really don't have a thick skin.  When people say mean and hurtful things to me I take it very deeply.  I wish I were different.  I know I should just brush it off and not let it bother me.  But I can't do that.  Sometimes there is a certain level of guilt that I feel if there is even a smidgen of truth.  I wish I were more able to take a deep breath and move on.  Today was one of those days that painfully reminded me about how personal I take some remarks.

We've had a green ash tree in our front yard.  This year, only half the tree leafed out.  The other half seemed to be struggling.  This tree hasn't been right for several years and it looked like this year was going to be its last.  A couple weeks ago one of the neighbors stopped Ed and commented about the tree.  This neighbor feels it is her place to point out to the rest of us when our yards don't meet her standards.  Now I have to admit her yard looks very nice.  Her husband works on it every day.  But not everyone has a green thumb, nor do they have the time or desire to work on their yards every day.  Now Ed and I don't have green thumbs.  We don't have the eye to create an asthestic border or coordinate shrubs and perennials.  Our landscaping is more utilitarian.  It frames the house without being the showcase.  We also don't have a lot of time.  Our kids are still at home.  WE both work full time, plus some.  And our hobbies lie in other areas.

Last weekend Ed and I worked on cutting the tree down until a huge storm rolled in and we called it a day.  A third of the tree was left. Given all the rain we've had it was really the first chance we've had to do any outside project.  While I was bundling the branches I was looking for evidence of what might have killed the branches.  I did not seen anything that was classic symptoms of the Emerald Ash borer, although I suspect that's what it was.  My neighbor thinks so too.  She gave me an earful this morning about getting the rest of the tree down.  She doesn't want her best tree to get infected from our tree.  I told her that her tree is very possibly already infected.  My college roommate is a forester and has worked on the EAB project for over 10 years.  She tells me that the only certainty is that all green ash trees will be gone because of this pest.  Its only a matter of time.  Anyway, after I got the EAB lecture from my neighbor, she then comments about the weeds in my flowerbeds.  And if that wasn't enough she made some remarks about my girls and the fact that my younger daughter is hanging out with my older daughter and her friends occasionally.  She also threw in a remark that I should start making my kids do yardwork to clean up the weeds. 

That's about the point I almost lost it.  After she pointed out how nice the neighbor's yard was, I took a deep breath and walked inside.  That was about 11:00 this morning.  As you can tell I'm still obsessing a bit and not over my anger.  I've decided that she is nothing but a bully and I'm her target. One of these days I'll muster up the courage to tell her off.    Maybe I should make sure I'm wearing my new T-shirt next time I see her.