Life’s A Ditch

Over the past few days, Marilyn has been participating in a photo challenge on her Serendipity blog… “Five Photos, Five Stories,” which she was asked to participate in by the first name in photo prompts, Cee’s Photography Blog.  I decided to give it a shot this week as an excuse to show off a few of my non-squirrel photos that might otherwise not end up on my blog.  The rules are simple…

1) Post a photo (or more!)  each day for five consecutive days.

2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or nothing more than a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to you.

3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is supposed to be fun. It is not a command performance!

Don’t worry…. I’m not going to put the guilt trip on anyone by nominating them… you are perfectly free to latch on to this idea or not.

For Day 4, let’s set the WABAC machine to April 8, 2010… and this was the view from my bedroom window as I woke up a little before 8:00 AM:

Not a sight you generally see in your backyard every day....

Not a sight you generally see in your backyard every day….

The man in the T-shirt on the right is one of my neighbors from the next cul-de-sac down from me.  The other two people are a reporter and a cameraman for one of the local news channels.  Yes, they are standing in my backyard looking down at the ditch that borders the back of my property.

Anytime the TV news shows up, it obviously requires some backstory…

flooded ditch

I moved into my house back in May 2009, and for the first year I lived here, this was a common sight whenever we got a good, soaking rain.  The ditch runs right through the middle of my half of the “subdivision” (I hate that elitist term, but I technically do live in a subdivision even if it doesn’t have a fancy entrance or an evil homeowners association), and catches all the drainage from my end.  The water is supposed to flow into a culvert near the top of that photo, which you can’t see in this picture because it’s underwater.  Needless to say, the ditch was usually clogged up and was rarely cleaned.

A bunch of the homeowners, led by the old guy in the first photo, teamed up to raise hell to City Hall about the state of our ditch.  My neighbors claimed it was the city’s duty to maintain the ditch since it was city property.  The city claimed it was our responsibility to keep the ditch clean.  I had absolutely no idea I had just moved into Ground Zero of the war between my subdivision and City Hall until I was suddenly caught in the middle of the headache!

city crew

In late March, the city finally backed down and agreed to clean the badly neglected mess of a ditch.  Since I was at the end of the ditch where the culvert was located, and I did not have a fenced in yard, the city workers use my property as their “easement” to access the ditch.  As you can see in the photo I took above, they brought out the heavy equipment to do the job…

They also left a huge fucking mess….

And to think, I've taken many of my Saturday Squirrel pictures in this corner of the yard.

And to think, I’ve taken many of my Saturday Squirrel pictures in this corner of the yard.

That’s the same nasty ass toxic sludge the neighbors were wanting removed from the ditch… which it was, and much of it wound up left in my yard.  The ruts from the tires on their heavy equipment made the ground look more like the surface of Mars.


There are STILL scars from the wheel ruts you see above five years later.  About the only good thing about this situation was that my back lawn was so torn up, it would only take half the time to cut the grass now!

I had more important fish to fry at the time…. like twin lithotripsy surgeries I had that March and April to break up a nearly 1 inch diameter kidney stone.  But the old man down the road used his voice that speaks in riddles to raise all kinds of holy hell about the apocalyptic job they did on my yard… and that’s when he brought in the news crew.

ditch news

Not even three minutes after I took that picture, the three of them came up to knock on my front door.  Here I was, still bleary eyed and looking like a mess after getting my short Wednesday night nap, and I have a news camera stuck in my face and a reporter asking rhetorical questions about how I feel about what the city did to my yard.

I wish I could say my Millionaire appearance was my most recent moment of TV fame, but alas… this news story was.  I did not watch it.  I told NOBODY when it was going to air.  Only those who happened to be watching that channel’s news the night it was shown saw me looking like a fucking drunk hillbilly, with the old man’s hat covering my bedhead, acting like I was all lathered up about a yard I rarely even venture out into… and unfortunately, that viewing audience seemed to be just about everyone who came in to work the morning after and asked if that was me they saw on the news last night…

But….. it did get action, and a return appearance by the city the following week.


They re-sodded the part of my yard that had previously looked like a battle scene from some sci-fi movie.  That’s the only part of my backyard that gets sufficient sun exposure to grow tall grass…. and the weeds grass that grows in that patch sprouts up like fricking wildfire, usually clogging up my mower.  They were also kind enough to run their riding mower through my yard to spare me one hour long mowing session… and I even got this bonus:


They brought in a truck full of rock to make my driveway actually look like a driveway again!  Well… at least for the year or two the rocks stayed above ground.  My driveway looks more earthy than rocky again… which is nice for fooling people into thinking it’s safe to park in front of it…

Well, that was quite a strange but true story involving numerous pictures!  I have no idea what I’m going to do for the finale of this prompt series…. but like each entry in this series so far, I’ll try to find something different than before!

About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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23 Responses to Life’s A Ditch

  1. Merbear74 says:

    A fucking drunk hillbilly? Spit out my coffee when I read that one…lol.

  2. gpcox says:

    I don’t know what your finale will be either – but strange – I didn’t see a single squirrel!!!

  3. Oh that was not bad… let’s say a half YAY for your city. We had the same disaster here and after ignoring the mess for years our village came and our road turned into a nuclear test side… and that AFTER I paid 600 bucks for my sidewalk… sh*t….

  4. draliman says:

    There’s nothing like being named and shamed to get the politicians to do something. Was it an election year? You’d be surprised (or not) at the promises some of our politicians are suddenly making with only 2 weeks to go before the election!

    • Nope… I don’t think we even vote for the guy who was responsible for maintaining the ditch… he’s just appointed by the mayor. My rabblerousing neighbor pictured above did try to run for alderman in the local election earlier this month…. and got clobbered by the incumbent.

  5. fanrosa says:

    Angry old man for the win! I wish I had a neighbour like that back when the city decided to tear up a perfectly good street and dump a metric fuckton of dirt on top of my lawn…… and left my yarn looking like a sand trap at Augusta.

    Up until then, I had a beautiful lawn (courtesy of the previous owner that I’d managed to maintain). It couldn’t rid itself of the sand clogging it up and was never the same. I finally had it rocked in several years later when I hit a jackpot in Las Vegas.

    • fanrosa says:

      Not yarn…yard. Ha! Freudian slip there, if they’d dumped dirt on my yarn I would have had to go medieval on their muni asses…..

    • You’d have looked awesome on the ten o’clock news too! I can hear the bleeped out swearing from here…

      • fanrosa says:

        Ha! The first thought came to mind was I was wondering if you were one of those foul mouthed types that are usually the concerned citizens on the evening news. I was just upstairs listening to my Will Smith CD…..

        I would have had to go all Sweet Antoine Dodson on their asses because ain’t nobody got time for that!

  6. Trisha says:

    I, too, laughed at your description of yourself as looking like a fucking drunk hillbilly on the news! I think news crews have a talent for making people look/sound worse than they appear in real life.

    • Heck, any video camera has a built in talent to make me look and sound worse than I do in real life! Of course, it’s funny about sound, because we don’t hear our own voices the same way others do. I always wondered why I sounded so different but my sisters all sounded the same on tape when I had a tape recorder as a kid…


  8. We used to have a ditch just like that across our back yard. That’s because the moron that built our house paved over a seasonal stream to make the driveway, so we had Lake Armstrong at the foot of the driveway every spring, and 3 inches of water in the house to go with it. Finally, my son dug The Ditch. I had French drains put in. Then Owen dug and sump and put in a pump and FINALLY we stopped flooding. When we rebuilt our septic system a few years ago, the ditch disappeared and so far, the drains and the sump and the pump have done their job.

    When Garry was the reporter, he used to drop by the house with a crew whenever he needed an example of the power outage, potholes needing repair (our neighborhood was famous for potholes), the latest flooding, and sometimes, the latest murder (my favorite). It turned our cat, Big Guy, into a TV star. It meant me very wary of not being combed, made up and dressed any time Garry was working because you never knew when he’d bring the crew home for a live shot.

    • Our city is notorious for its flooding basements. Well, my whole area was underwater back in the days of the Ice Age (And damn near was in the Flood of ’93!) I have a basementless house now, but the house I grew up in had one… and it was effectively useless as a living area because it flooded every time it rained…

  9. gentlestitches says:

    How dare they think it was even remotely acceptable to leave your yard like that! Hoorah for Mr Rabblerouser! I would have liked to see you on the news clip. 😀


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