first, i want to thank everyone who responded to my last post. i got so much terrific advice, and i read every comment. you guys know so much about so many things, it just blows my mind!

so, here’s where we are with the answers:

the judge thing appears to be kosher. when one judge is away or sick or on vacation or whatever, it is common for another judge to sign orders in their stead. it is odd for them not to have told us, and especially odd for them not to have told our attorney.but the order appears to be valid. we will be showing up in court anyway on july 26th on the dog charges, so no worries there.

we found the source of the mildew smell! i washed the black rubber gasket around the drain. i poured enough baking soda and vinegar down the drain to make a 3rd grade science teacher cringe.  i sprayed the backsplash and the grout with chemicals that would make you cry (ok- it was lysol 4-in1. you don’t have to be that nervous!). i scrubbed the kitchen floor and the walls around the trash can on my hands and knees (i told you i like to clean when i’m stressed out, right?). i cleaned my cleaning bucket, and sniffed and sniffed and it was still there!  and i figured out what it was…

a few weeks ago we had a leak in our water cooler (we have a free-standing cooler, like you would find in an office). i moved out the freezer near it and moved the cooler and mopped up the water and cleaned everything behind. but there is one cabinet, which is not actually built in. we have had it there since we moved into the house, so i don’t think of it as freestanding. when the water leaked, not only did it start to mold on the floor behind this cabinet, but since the cabinet is particle board, it sucked up some of the water which was starting to rot the cabinet! we keep dog food in there, so i guess when i smelled around that place, the dog food smell covered up the mildew smell. it’s weird that i smelled it near the sink, since they are across the kitchen from each other (that would make them about 3-1/2 feet apart, lest you think i have some massive kitchen- hahahaha). anyway, as soon as i realized it was a possibility and i moved the cabinet out- lo and behold, there was soooooooo much icky stuff! so, it was found and cleaned up, and now we can move on with our carefree happy life!  😉

as far as the tomatoes, i asked my attorney to check about the 30″ thing. some places in the code seem to say it is ok, and some don’t. i know don’t what supercedes what, so i asked him to check. one less thing on the to-do list. but i really appreciate all the advice, and if i do need to trim the plants, i will know exactly how!

and, as far as me being my own worst enemy- last night i  had kind of an epiphany (meaning, i knew this all along in bits and pieces, but i finally had that AHA! moment last night…).  after almost slapping my youngest because she bothered me while i was on the phone, and screaming like a lunatic at one of my sons, who decided to play games on the phone while i was on with a radio station, and telling off my other son for not picking up enough slack while i am so busy, and getting mad at pretty much everyone i came in contact with, i went out to the garden.

if you’ve followed this blog, you know that being in the garden is my new “happy place”. so i stomped outside yesterday to hang out in the garden, and i got so mad that it was so hot out. i got mad that someone forgot to put away the hose. i got mad that my tomatoes were growing so tall and the city might have another reason to get on our case. i got mad that the sprinkler was left in the middle of the path, where someone could step on it. i got mad that we have locks on our gates so i had to go back through the house to turn on the hose and then into the front yard again to make sure the sprinkler was positioned correctly. i got mad that i decided to get wet from the sprinkler to try to cool off, and it felt like someone spitting hard in my face. i got mad that i walked into the house and my husband was calm when i was stressed out. i got mad that i had emails to return and i got mad that people asked me question while i was on the computer. i could go on and on (in fact, i think i already have!), but i think you are probably seeing a trend by now…

i tried to take a deep breath and count my blessings. at least i have air conditioning. at least we had the option to get pizza last night ( a good thing since the kids didn’t want what i was planning to make and i was pretty much useless to come up with other ideas.). my kids are healthy. our lawyer is patient and accessible. i am not bedridden with migraines this week. my husband was able to take off from work (and he actually HAS a job in this economy!) to help with the family. i could keep going, but none of it was helping me at all. i was just getting more and more aggravated.

and i realized that i have let my life get totally out of balance. i have a friend in baltimore who talks a lot on her blog about how it feels when your life gets out of balance. for me, i was about 7 clicks past that point.

so i realized that i will be cutting down on interviews. (if i have already promised you an interview, don’t worry. i fully intend to honor my commitments). i will be cutting down on radio shows. i will be cutting down on everything that doesn’t directly benefit my family. after all, doing right for my family is the whole benefit of the garden in the first place!

everything i have to say is pretty much out there. unless the city goes on another attack that we have to respond to, there isn’t really a reason to keep doing the same thing over and over again. it should potentially be very ego gratifying to be asked to do interviews, but it’s not.  i really need to put my family back to first place.  i will still update the blog. i still want you guys to follow things and be there in case things change (which they seem to do in the blink of an eye!). i will still do any interviews that i have already agreed to.

but i need to take a step back. if the city can wear me into the ground, to the point where i am in bed and non-functional, that is a big problem. if the city can make my family life start to crumble, that is a big problem. and if i get so caught up in trying to make everyone else happy, that my kids are eating donuts for lunch and i am eating ice cream for supper because i’m too tired to even eat what i cooked, that is a big problem.

so, short version- if the battle with the city is a win for the garden and a wreck for my family, then i have let them win.

and, like i said before: bullies don’t get to win.