“Dude! Where’s My Car”

by ESP on September 7, 2009 · 37 comments


Well dude, it is stuck in the side of my house, apparently!

A Car Crashed into my House!

We had a bit of a scare in the patch the other night…look at my dinged stock tank…look at my demolished agave pots… look at my house!  What happened here you ask?  Well, the Chevy Tahoe that has plowed into our house image is a bit of a give-away! In fact this vehicle hit the front corner of our house with such force, it buckled and torqued parts of our house in the back!  This is what happened in-brief…12:30am: I had just finished doing yet more tweaks to this website…brushed teeth, generally shutting things down, when I heard a collision outside. I stopped in my tracks, a couple of seconds later the most amazingly loud crash shook the whole house. I thought the house was falling down and immediately went into reactionary mode, I woke my wife, scrambled for my garden boots (as you do,) and ran outside fearing the worst. I have been in this adrenaline fueled position once before in my life, a train wreck in Harrow, N.London, and strangely I remembered the feeling.

Dude where's my car?

I rounded the corner of my house to find a Tahoe was embedded, hissing, into the front corner of our house. Making the transition from the light of the house into the darkness made me struggle to really see what was going on. I smacked on the front window and asked if  the occupants were alright…I got a low, drawn out “Nooo”.  This was not good, especially with the strong smell of gas now emanating, and…no, it was wasn’t mine. I ran back inside the house, our oldest hobbit was already sitting bolt upright in our bed, the crash had immediately woke and scared her, of course the other hobbit would have slept through it, given half a chance.

“AArrr, couldn’t feel a thing”.

I ran frantically around the house looking for my cell, gave up, finally telling my wife to call 911. I ran back outside to find that an inquisitive troop of spear wielding Nabooboos had already gathered beside the now EMPTY car. The occupants had hit and run, or more likely, the “run” resembled more of a Captain Jack Sparrow swagger, judging from the Corona bottles strewn around the vehicle as they exited the scene. Among a bunch of other artifacts I found, was a CD aptly called “Ghetto Cartel” that I have kept as a crash souvenir (it will go behind glass), hey, I kept a bent metal rail-road tie from the train-wreck, why not!


The Tahoe had also clipped the rear-end of my truck and push that also into the house, pinning, along with it, our now flat recycling bin. A couple of minutes later, two fire trucks turned up, along with squad cars to block off the street. They evacuated everybody to the other side of the street, as the collision had also popped a gas pipe. I told you it was not me.


The right image shows where the vehicle hit my neighbor’s car before it hopped up the curb, demolished a Crype Myrtle, then hopped over a two foot retainer wall before hitting both our parked vehicles and finally our house!  Quite the ride.

ESP Hit and Run

The impact blew out a window, which was a shame because this glass was the original lead glass, as old as our 1890’s house. It looks like one whole corner of our house will need to be rebuilt from scratch. We can now see daylight through the wall, it is like a scout hall!  And just when I thought nothing could get more hillbilly than my water-“everything but the kitchen sink”- rainwater collection system and my duct-taped swimming pool, I now have this…

Corner House HilllBillies

“Hey would you look at that Pa, that mighty-fine house looks just like ours!”

Moving swiftly on…

While I was pulling out some of my decaying lily-pads which are now starting to wane, and not growing nearly as aggressively as they were only a few weeks back.  My hobbit unfortunately, with some excited noises and gestures, brought this little bundle of fun to my attention, floating in the ‘Bag End’ pond in Hobbiton.


My right knee twitched and immediate took control of me as it went into an uncontrollable spasm, dragging me around one of my decomposed granite pathways.  The leg finally dragged me back to where it started (out of a natural curiosity initiated by the foot). What was this? A tarantula stranded on a lily perhaps? Did it just move? I did what everyone would do…I got a rather long stick and started prodding at it.  I hooked the lily and proceeded to drag the abomination closer to the shore, I peered in closer…Oh no! It WAS moving…


Moving with little spiders and aphids that is…Brrrr…It looks like a spider covered in tiny spiders, and that is a whole bunch of spiders.

Pampas Grass

Pampas grasses continue to fill out with their feathery plumes, they look amazing when freshly opened at this time of year. The light quality has really begun to change to a more watery gold recently, but the day star has yet to lose it’s intensity. Still, if you squint your eyes at these plumes, it could almost be a frosty scene, couldn’t it?  Tell me it does…


Texas Sage Leucophyllum frutescensis blooming right now, no doubt responding to the summer showers we had last week. This has to be one of my favorites blooms on any plant, EVER!  I don’t care that it is used everywhere commercially, (sometimes really badly) it is still always a visual cleanser, perhaps even ranking up there with Amaranth?  What do you think?

Aloe variegataAloe variegata

The flower stalk on this Aloe variegata has grown at a staggering rate, I only planted this plant a few weeks back, after I got four of five divisions from one small pot.  They are all doing extremely well, this was the largest transplant from the pot.

Mexican Petunia

Another plant that immediately blooms after a little moisture…Mexican Petunia Ruellia brittoniana.
This one is contained in a larger buried rubber tank. Even with this I get the odd one popping up here and there.


Salvia is also giving some color.  The Botox Lady, has had a very disappointing year. Just when it looked like she was going to get a new hairdo for the fall the August sun came out and fried it. She may have to be bald for another year, until the adjacent ice plant starts to wander over to her scalp.  This would be perfect because she would then have small red and yellow flowers scattered throughout her green locks. She has told me in her own way (erratic large eye gesturing northward) that she would very much favour this over the starkness she is adorning right now. She has been sending Bob at Draco photo-shopped images of herself with a full head of hair in her letters, I did warn her not to jump the hair-gun…my words fell on errr… no ears?

Tribal Markings on Aloe

I came across this aloe adorned with a host of strange tribal, symbolic carvings, I have to assume this is the work of a Naboo craftsman, perhaps it is to be fashioned into a Nabooboo tribal shield, like the ones I saw getting excitedly beaten on the ground around the crashed Tahoe.  From a work of art to just, well mundane weeding work. Is anyone else completely sick of this weed? I have no idea what it is, and I do not really care…this one drives me crazy.


It loves decomposed granite and spreads like a futuristic virus. Try pulling it out when it is small and it just breaks away, it is easier when it gets bigger but by then you have veritable carpet of the evil stuff. It is simply the perfect weed. The perfect design. A perfect gardener’s nemesis


“Relax Shinzon. As your Viceroy, I advise you that this weed does not come close to you as a true nemisis”. “I am warning you Shinzon, this is more of a serious problem on the Enterprise’s botanical deck, than you could ever be!”

Barrel Cactus and annoying grass

Another major pet peeve of mine recently raised it’s ugly head once again. I thought I had caught and pulled all of this grass when I transplanted these barrels, but oh no. Now I am guaranteed at least five finger stabbings a year trying to extricate, but always snapping this closely guarded grass.


Cycadaceae (sago palm family)

I told you that the sun was still intense in Texas!

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1 Carla D'Anna September 8, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Dude! That sucks. I’m glad you and the family are (I assume) all OK.

2 ESP September 8, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Thanks Carla, it really does suck!…the good news is, is that the vehicle involved, has not been reported as stolen. So the insurance on the vehicle owner should cover us, (fingers crossed). My family is fine, though we all, including my oldest hobbit have had a run of rather weird dreams. It is funny how this sort of experience runs a slow course through the human psyche. This sort of experience makes you appreciate every single day, all together. It could have been a lot worse…thank goodness for the strength properties of petrified, long-leaf-pine walls!
Living another day,

3 Germi September 9, 2009 at 1:17 am

OMG, ESP – this is my WORST fear – my house is at the corner of a 6-way intersection, and one of those streets is a hill, and I envision people losing their brakes careening down the hill and plowing right into my home – I can’t BELIEVE it happened to you! I am so SORRY, and am very happy that you and your wife and hobbits are fine, if a little infected by strange dreams. I’d be beside myself. I’m actually beside myself just reading about it!
But leave it to you to make us laugh – the new ‘hillbilly shack’ look had me hooting and I think I even slapped my knee.
It amazed me that you just went right on and gave us a lovely blog post after recounting the Tale of the Tahoe!

Did you ever figure out what the abomination was? Ick – spiders and aphids on a soggy spidery shape, floating in a tank? Brrrr, indeed!
Oh, I think that weed is portulaca oleracea – or little hogweed. I think. It’s kind of succulent, right? It is edible and is supposed to have a piquant, peppery taste. If it is what I think it is … that is…
The blooms in The Patch are magical! It’s amazing how quickly things turned the corner after some water! Lovely rain – I wish I knew what it was like; rain … I remember something like it, once, long ago … lately here everything has been smoke and ash (LA wildfires raging up the hill!).
Again, I’m glad all is well – and thank goodness you have a tribe of vigilant Nabooboos to guard against the return of the wretch who wrecked the car, looking for his cd …
Until next!

4 Mary September 9, 2009 at 6:29 am

Gee, I think I saw this accident reported on the local news…I had no idea that the house belonged to you! I’m so glad that you guys are okay.

I think your first pesky plant is Euphorbia Prostrata, the ugly cousin of Snow on the Mountain. If it has a milky sap that’s it.

5 Chris Giaraffa September 9, 2009 at 6:57 am

Hi ESP – wow – so sorry to hear about the car incident. Did they catch the people in the car? I’m assuming it was a drunk driving incident. Were they injured? Arrested?

Yes, very good blog post otherwise – pampas grass is looking impressive. Looks like the Aloe has taken off and is in a happy place.

6 Jenny September 9, 2009 at 8:08 am

ESP- That is just awful. I hope they catch them and you don’t find out the car was stolen. I hope your house is OK. The tough part of this will be having to deal with the aftermath. Did the news media show up because I know this is the kind of thing they show on the 5pm news. I’ll be watching tonight. Is it spiders or aphids? I had root aphids last year and they looked like this. Is this a root torn up in the crash? Your photo of pampas is really super. Is this your entry for the grass competition? How you can do all that blogging after such a disturbed night I don’t know. i have that weed too, everywhere and will never get rid of it. At least it is easy to pull. Must check G’s identity.

7 ESP September 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

Hi Germi.
I cannot believe it happened to us to! What are the chances? The whole experience has a totally surreal element to it. We have for the time being, patched up the patch (ahem), and apart from an increase in the bug arena, and a rather warm breeze that now flows through our living-room, everything is okay. I also had a good laugh at the Beverly Hillbillies, it really looks like they are actually looking at the damage! Ridiculous!

The abomination was a new water-lily, at least I think. They sometimes set out new root structures like this right in the middle of the pad, though I have never seen one quite this large. The inhabitants of the arc (a lot more than two by two) I believe were aphids, though I am not 100% on this. I will look into it when I get some time.

Little hogweed? I have seen the thicker more succulent looking weed you are referring to. this one has really fine foliage and is a lot less succulent looking. Like Jenny I will look into the ID on this annoying chappie later and get back with you.

The rain, although not nearly enough was a welcome break from the scorching day-star. I have been following all of the events around the LA area and thinking of you. I hope some rain will make it to you soon!

I actually handed the CD to the chief of the tribe as a thank you for their vigilance and police statements, which they squeeked out in tiny voices, (they used a translator). Last night, way down the garden, between the pampas grasses and a miscanthus, I am sure I could faintly here the sounds of “Ghetto Cartel” accompanied with some tribal chanting! But I couldn’t be sure. Talk about surreal!

Thanks for your concern Germi.
All is okay in the patch.

8 ESP September 9, 2009 at 9:18 am

Hi Jenny.
It was quite the experience. My main concern was for the occupants of the car…It really is quite amazing that they just got up and swaggered away from all of the carnage…I guess 20 bottles of Corona will relax you for impact! You are right with the aftermath statement…all of the insurance red-tape…the re-build…the cars. It is a nightmare. The news media did not show up, but if they had they would have been kept busy around the neighborhood. The officer in charge told me that the same thing had happened to another house only two blocks away! The same night! Got to love those holiday weekends.

Half of the Crype Murtle got dragged away with the Tahoe, the other half is on the ground with about half of the root-ball exposed, really hard to move anything. What were you thinking?

Not sure on the grass competition as yet, but I think the sun is a little too blinding on this picture.

It is funny but I thought about you when I wrote the section on the little weed…I knew you have a lot of granite and wondered if you had the same little monster where you live, it really does love the granite dosn’t it! and talk about offspring.

Cheers J.

9 Cheryl September 9, 2009 at 10:27 am

What an adventure! I’m so glad that you are all alright! Sorry about the other stuff,house, cars,stock tank, plants… Now hopefully the idiot was actually insured! That nasty little plant is very happy in my decomposed granite too! What IS that stuff??
Take care!

10 ESP September 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

Hi Cheryl.
And an adventure it was! (he says in a really bad pirate accent). Not one I care to witness ever again, thank you very much! All the stuff can be fixed and replaced, that is the main thing. Fingers crossed on the insurance.
That little nasty gets into every nook and cranny, It seems to grow as fast you pull it…indeed, what IS it? I could be wrong but I do not think it is little hogweed as Germi suggested, as I have that also in the patch, it has much fleshier leaves compared to the fine foliage of this little demon.

11 Nicole September 9, 2009 at 11:57 am

OMG What a stress! I hope it does get paid for by the insurance. Love the new patch-also much easier to comment.

12 ESP September 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Hi Nicole…Me too!
Glad you like the new patch, and find it a little easier to comment on. That always bothered me about live journal. I still have a considerable amount of work to do, blogroll, formatting old posts etc, but I much happier in here.

13 Loree / danger garden September 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Well that just sucks! I must say that I agree with Germi and how you just went on to a normal post after that is amazing. So did the occupants ever turn up?

14 ESP September 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Hi Mary.
I do not think this was on the news, there were no cameras on the scene. There was another incident two blocks from my house where another car hit a house, around the same time, perhaps it was this one? and thank you.
Prostrate spurge, Euphorbia Prostrata it is indeed, complete with milky sap, thank you for the ID. I just read that this weed loves hot summers, well there you have it…no wonder it is so prolific this year.

Hi Chris.
They have not caught the people in the car, eye witnesses have reported seeing three men running up the street shortly after the collision. I find it hard to believe nobody was injured from all of the impacts, and for some reason no air-bags were deployed…none?
The pampas is on top form right now, I keep trying to get a good shot of it backlit with the setting sun, but the sun always seems to be in the way!

15 ESP September 9, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Hi Loree, can you believe it! What are the chances!
There is really nothing we can do except wait until all the insurance stuff pans out.
No the vehicle’s occupants did not turn up as yet.

16 The Garden Ms. S September 9, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Wow – how scary! I’m sure the hobbits must have been in shock.

As for the runaway drivers, I imagine they were quite sore the next day. Hope they are caught.

That abomination – plant, animal, mineral or combination – it is creepy! Ick! (Reminds me of when I was a kid and my older brother showed me a blossom of vetch with aphids all over and told me the purple flowers turned INTO bugs. I believed him for years. Could have put me off gardening! :-) )

17 Les September 9, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Major bummer man! That driver was way bogus.

I am very glad you and your people were not injured and am sorry about your house. I can tell you will recover quickly in that you managed to continue the post and talk about plants. There is a house in town here on a notorious bend that has had more than one car crash into the porch. They ended up “re-landscaping” and large boulders became an integral part of the perimeter plantings.

18 Pam/Digging September 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Hmm, I like Les’s “large boulders” suggestion for the Patch’s front garden. That’ll show ’em next time they try to crash your party. I am flabbergasted by your story, the audacity of the drivers in running away (and leaving their car!), and your ability to carry on with your post. You are made of stern stuff, ESP! Glad to know you all are OK, if a bit shaken.

And yes, I have that same little weed in my decomposed granite. It’s impossible to get rid of.

19 ESP September 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Hi Les…wheeey bogus dude! (a lot of other expletives jump to mind, but I better keep them to myself).
I must say the crashing sound, (and being so close to the impact) is something I will never forget. They must have been hurting the next day, I am suprised that they are not in a hospital ward, or perhaps they are?
I am totally with you on the boulder front, though the speed that this Tahoe was going, if he had hit a boulder he would have probably got some major air and ended up coming through the roof, bad Santa!
Thanks for your words of encouragement Les, no-one was hurt, everything else can be fixed. Oh and I can talk about plants until the cows fall asleep!

20 ESP September 9, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Hi Ms.S (is that what I should call you?) :-)
The elder Hobbit was shocked immediately, she is still digesting what has happened, she keeps going over to the damaged wall, saying “are the men going to replace this “whole” wall daddy”?
Too funny on the older brother front, hey, that is what brothers are for! I should know, I was the perfect brother, wasn’t I sis?
Don’t get me started on the runaway drivers, with their ghetto CD’s, it will all come out in the wash…it always does in the end.
Good to hear from you Ms.S

21 ESP September 9, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Hi Pam.
I know! wreck your big car into my house then run away? “Why you little”…. (insert Homer here)
The little weed as Mary kindly ID’ed is Euphorbia Prostrata…(insert the “Why you little”…homer quote again), and it IS impossible to get rid off you are correct, an unassuming little weed that has developed a unique evolutionary trait that allows it to avoid a gardener’s gaze, and iminent extraction. How does it do this? It makes itself low, spreads itself out wide and thin, and tries to look inconspicous! It works.
All is fine in the ESP.
Cheers Pam.

22 Bob Pool September 9, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Wow, uh, I mean wow. Unbelievable. Living in the country almost my entire life, I just don’t think about these things. You should consider moving out a little bit. Trust me, it’s safer in the country. Also you can shoot your squirrel problem away and procure supper at the same time.

I’m just glad every one came out all right. I am some what surprised how the responders can’t believe the people in the car ran away. Do they not read your blog? Are they unaware of the jungle and the tiny savages lurking just around the corner of the house? Who said they ran away? Witnesses? I say no one ran off. The carcasses, or their tattered remains are probably close at hand. My imagination runs rampant with the possible scenarios of savagery if they were still alive and the, dare I say it, NABOOBOO tribe got there first. If indeed they did run away, can any one here blame them?

The rest of the blog was great and the pictures of the ESP sea monster, or in this case, tank monster were interesting. I will be watching all future ESP pictures a little closer than in the past. I will be looking for tiny little polished skulls placed around their stone idol, sometimes referred to as Botox Woman. In the mean time look for smoke, smell for cooking meat, around the deep, dark shadows of, of, of, East Side Patch.

Glad you guys are all right Phillip, Bob

23 ESP September 9, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Bob, sometimes I think you know the patch better than I do…I think you must have a tribal “contract” with the Nabooboos? Do you? Has it anything to do with the photoshopped letters the Botox Lady, (their stone idol? hilarious), has been sending you? I have it on the highest tribal authority that “Draco the “Bob”” is to be respected, and sacrificial offerings administered, whenever, and if you ever, visit the patch. Apparently you are to be treated as a “tribal dignitary,” you will have to drink heartily from the finest bamboo Naboo vessels (filled with an extremily potent salvia based brew), and then dine on tiny skewers of goldfish cooked en papiote in Hoja Santa leaves! Ahh, all hail the power of the “Botox Lady”! :-)

Thanks Bob, your reply had me laughing out loud. The polished skulls? How did you know? It took my mind off the hole in the wall!

24 Cheryl September 10, 2009 at 8:32 am

Maybe the car was too old for air bags?
Curious now, do you have a Scottish accent? A Scottish/Texas accent? ;>)
Perhaps a moat instead of boulders. Oh wait. You’re in Texas. Never mind.
Thanks for the ID on the euphorbia prostrata. It has beed duly photographed , labeled and stored for future reference. (like in 10 minutes when I’ve forgotten the name)

25 ESP September 10, 2009 at 9:00 am

Hi Cheryl.

The Tahoe was a 2001 so maybe you are right!
I was born in England grew up in Scotland and have now been in Texas for about 15 years. The combination of all of the above has turned me into an Australian or New Zealander apparently, that is where most people think I originate from. It is funny but I think my Australian accent is the worst! (all shrimp and barbie’s and way too many ‘little beauties”) I have an English accent, though I do have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the thickest of rural Scottish farming accents!
I have had it with the euphorbia prostrata this year, and with “out of control” drivers…I do like your moat idea, after all an Englishman’s house is his castle, you know.
Evaporation would be an issue though…mmmm.

26 Vicki in Michigan September 10, 2009 at 11:27 am

Some drunken teenage moron in an extra-large (used to belong to the city) pickup smashed into the poured-in-place concrete steps in front of my house (nearly 30 years ago). He was still gunning it after the crash … you could tell from the plowed furrows in the yard.

He smashed the steps up under the porch, but the house itself (antoher 1880 model!) was unscathed.

My house was not on the corner, but one in from the corner. The moron came roaring down the hill, tried to make the corner, and smashed into the porch steps (thank goodness for poured-in-place concrete!)……………

It was the middle of the night. I thought it was an earthquake……………….

The little jerk tried to drive away, but the truck was undriveable. He lost his wallet in our yard, which made it easy to tell our insurance agent who to call when we spoke to him the next day.


All right, all you drunken driving morons — time to get OUT of the gene pool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glad you all are ok. !!!!

27 Meredith/Great Stems September 10, 2009 at 12:17 pm

ESP, what a scary night you had. I can’t believe the car occupants disappeared so fast. But thankfully everyone in your family is ok, though you might be sore (in more ways than one) after all the repair work ahead of you. Yes, large boulders might be the way to go. I’m so glad to learn the name of the little weed that keeps cropping up all over my garden area. It ranks third on my list, behind Nutsedge and Bermuda Grass.

28 ESP September 10, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Hi Viki.
It sounds like you can relate to the experience we have just been through, I think that I will also retain this memory for the next thirty years, especially the sound…the sound is what was the most disturbing aspect of the whole thing for me…bloodcurdling! (I love this word). The latest development today is that the person who is listed as the owner of the car, told their insurance company that they reported the vehicle stolen last week! Mmmm, I think not, considering that a police officer ran the plates that night and told us the car was not, or had been reported as stolen. 10 out of 10 for effort though, I am sure this has never been tried before…not. I am sad for the house, standing here for over a hundred years then a stupid drunk driver of all things crashes into it and creates all this damage.
Thanks Viki.

29 ESP September 10, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Hi Meredith.
A scary night it was in the patch indeed (insert a bad Yoda voice).
I can’t believe how fast they vanished as well!
Eye-witnesses have come forward and reported that three men were seen leaving the scene of the crash, one of which was in shock and totally disorientated…no wonder! It could have been a lot worse, for both parties. At least no-one was hospitalized, which still amazes me, considering how violently the vehicle struck a multitude of stationary objects.

I was finally happy to find out the name of this little weed too…it is not the most ugly of weeds, I must say, with it’s low and spacial growth habit, it is an inconspicuous chappy. I think your assessment ranking is right on, although I would place bermuda grass a definite first place…this grass needs a gold medal for excelling in the annoyance factor.

I am interested as to where you got your wildlife certified badge for your website? I went to the site but could not find any code? Did you do it yourself? I want one!

30 Wanda & John November 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Send me your e-mail and I will send you the plant photos. Loved your yard.

31 ESP November 8, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Hi W&J!
I am happy you came both came over to the patch! Sorry the mosquitoes drove us inside, I cannot wait for them to DIE!

My e-mail address is :

Getting mentally prepared for Shadow Glen next week…

32 kat December 7, 2009 at 7:06 pm

OMG i’m so sorry a car hit your house!!!!! Terrible, terrible, but I think the really disturbing thing here is the spider covered in spiders… That’s like my worst fear covered in worsterer fears.

33 ESP December 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Hi Kat.
I know, I am just happy no-one was injured and our house did not blow up. The spider covered in spiders is the stuff of nightmares I have to agree…shocking.
Sweet Dreams Kat :-)

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