Beyond being ‘architecturally unsympathetic,’ and corralling my family near to or in the house, it is not just us who find the fence confining and inconvenient. Down the east side of the home, on the ‘free and full use’ side of the fence, lies the Sewer Grinder Pump: kind of like a hybrid of a Disposall and a sump pump, it takes the ahem, solids and wastewater from the home’s plumbing, grinds it into a slurry and pumps it up and out to the street. This was a City requirement for the build which I paid for on construction, and I pay a regular bill to the City for it as well; in
turn the City owns it and agrees to maintain it.
Up to this point in my life I had thought that you flushed your toilet, and your kid’s toy, or your baby alligator, or ‘whatever,’ swirled away buh-bye. A city fellow, I was unaware of such machinery as the Sewer Grinder Pump. So when the City came out to inspect my plantings and told the builder and me, “we’d like to see several inches of mulch on both sides of the fence,” and then told me I had free and full use of that 5 1/2 feet, I thought, ok–that’s where the ornamental plantings go.
A couple months ago, I arrived home to see a City truck on my driveway. I came around the house to see a pile of uprooted azaleas, fothergilla, and black mondo grass; a mound of mulch; and two polite gentlemen reaching into the forgotten Sewer Grinder Pump performing maintenance. “We had to pull up some plants,” they told me. “And this was covered in dirt.” The builder had his crew distribute mulch as the City directed, and apparently the pump access was buried. I made it worse by planting on and around it. “We have a hard time getting to this area. We’d like you to move this fence, it seems too close to the house anyway.” I explained the mulch, the fence, the plantings. “I guess you’re gonna have to move the plants, then.”
So, free and full use on “my” side of the fence, except for that area too. I squeezed the plants into my crowded front beds so the City could have access to the area the City had entirely conceded to me. City of Sammamish, I’d like you to meet the City of Sammamish. I bet you have a lot to talk about.