Friday, March 10, 2017

This Whole Story Could Have Ended Very Badly

Like every day for at least the past week, my life has been consumed with the new garden. Today was no different. It also included another run to Barton Springs Nursery to pick up the trees I had already bought, and to add to their number. Zaga took me in her truck again, and we had a wonderful, sunburned time at the nursery. The highlight of the day, however, came after we got home. Bobby, one of the main crew working at Stone's Throw for the past eight months or so, brought his drone and camera today to take pictures of the garden project from the air. He took some first thing in the morning, but they vanished. So when I got back from the nursery, he tried again. There ensued an unfortunate sequence of events involving wind, software updates, dying batteries, tripping over a wall, sending the controller flying into the underbrush, and watching in dismay as the drone flew over the tall cement wall surrounding the property across the street from us and vanished. This is property with a wall 8-18 feet tall all around it, a massive solid steel door/gate, security cameras on the wall, and an intercom out front.

Bobby and I went over and used the call button on the intercom, but no one answered. We waited quite a while and tried several times to rouse someone with no success. So I left a note in the mailbox asking the people behind the wall to please contact me so I could retrieve and return the drone, and we trudged despondently back to the garden. As we entered, Devon (who has also been working for us through our contractor Jay for eight+ months) offered to scale the wall for Bobby to retrieve the drone. Bobby was so happy at the prospect of not leaving his drone there for the weekend and possibly forever that I said I would go too (to the property, not over the wall) in case the neighbor was home. That way I could meet him and explain why one of my workmen had climbed over his fence à la Beverly Hills Cop.

Devon popped over the wall easily enough, and he found the drone, but the camera had fallen off. While he was standing in a tree on the other side of the wall looking over and explaining to us about the missing camera, the neighbor came rushing up asking him what he was doing in his yard. It is Texas, and I should have thought of guns and danger with a property so well fortified, but I didn't until I couldn't see Devon, I could just hear him and the property owner. So I went up to the door (eight feet tall, wider than a car, solid steel, on rollers with no handle on the outside) and I started banging on it asking the property owner to open the gate. He was reluctant--and I can see his point: a stranger in his yard after climbing the fence, a woman he doesn't know loudly banging on the door asking him to open up--but he finally let me in, Devon scampered off to find the camera, I introduced myself to David who doesn't seem to be a drug smuggler, a human trafficker, a coyote bringing people across the border to his compound in the middle of the night, or any of the other things another neighbor told me he was.

Bobby and Devon went back to work, and David and I talked about remodeling, crazy neighbors, miniature dachshunds, city permits, rezoning, McCallum High School (his two daughters who are 16 and 17 just started there in January after attending private school up until now), and squirrels. I ended by getting David's phone number (the intercom doesn't work so if you want in, you have to call him). It was a good chat.  When I came out of the yard I realized that the gate had been closed behind us and I had been out of sight for a good long time in what had been portrayed as a dangerous compound (by another another neighbor). Bobby was clearly relieved to see me and told me that he and Devon had been just about to storm the castle looking for me.

So while the garden project is fun, I have to say the best thing coming out of it is the people I get to work with every day. I just love them. To top it all off, Bobby's wife Haley got the early drone pictures off the camera and sent them to me tonight. What a great day!

1 comment:

Bill said...

From plan to drone.

You know, I'm surprised that Dave doesn't have a drone...