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Readers Blog: Memories of niceness and other life

I think my lawn hates me


I think my lawn hates me and I really don't understand why.  I have tried to love it, I have tried to nurture it and I have even treated it with chemicals strong enough to kill small mammals (no really, that stuff is nasty strong so how it makes grass grow, I don't know) in order to preserve its green beauty.  So let's face reality - a well-kept lawn has been, is, and will remain another important step in establishing your credibility in suburbia.  Since my move back to the ‘burbs less than two years ago I have been trying to accustom myself with the appropriate rituals and rights of passage that every homeowner must strive to achieve.  You might be familiar with a few:

Christmas lights:  Not too many (you'll only start a Christmas lights ego war) Not too few (this isn't a Charlie Brown Christmas) but whatever you do, don't leave them up too long or you're bound to look silly and oh yeah, you're trashing the neighborhood. 

Garbage cans:  Placed in an orderly fashion curbside (not too far on the yard and not too far on the street but alas, curbside).  Put them out too early (before dark, day before) and you look silly and are thus trashing the neighborhood.  Put them out too late (3 minutes after the truck you didn't know had already passed) and you are looking silly and trashing the neighborhood.  Put them away as soon as you get home (leave them out past dinner on pick-up day and you're just asking for trouble as you are again, trashing the neighborhood)

**In Addition - Recycle bins: Use them - if for no other reason than to look environmentally in-touch (but only have them out on pick-up week for recyclables and you know the consequence of your actions).  Although all other garbage can be placed in the cans in no particular order there is something about recyclables that asks for proper positioning and placement - bottles must be standing (not laying) and boxes must be flat (not open) and if all else fails for gosh-sakes don't leave the caps on your milk containers - folks, these are not recyclable

Storms:  Watch them - It is expected that in at least one summer storm you must stand in the shadow of the entrance to your garage with the door open (stand too far in the garage and you're a wimp - stand too far out and you're an overambitious thrill-seeker and no one likes braggers).  Address the storm with a thoughtful gaze which gives the appearance of thoughtful calculation (what you are calculating is not as important as the image you are portraying - that of a quiet confidence that YOU have prepared your home for survival and YOU have properly projected the strength, speed and length of the storm and at anytime are prepared to retire to your basement and with the help of your handy transistor radio, warn the rest of your suburbanite peers of the dangers that lay ahead)  It's all about the image folks and addresses the storm is one of the best ways to impress your neighbors. 

Lawns: Mow them, trim them, and treat them (don't and you are trashing the neighborhood). 

Perhaps the confusion that I have been stuck in is because the latter instructions are a little on the vague side.  A little more commentary on how to achieve this valuable credential in my Advanced Studies for the Appropriate Suburban Life and I would be far better off.  It's not that I haven't tried though with my lawn - you see that's where all the frustration really ahs come from.  In the past year or so I have spent considerable time on my lawn; I've tended to the proper moving, trimming, and watering.  I've read and followed instructions on the appropriate fertilizing, sodding, and seeding.  Although this has only led to sweating, cursing and weeping.  The fact of the matter is the more time I spend on my lawn the less time I enjoy the lawn.  But there are certain motivations that haunt me. 

Not only do I have the influence of my other suburbanites and their living-room window judgments passed on my but I have the woman of my household holding the most primitive of carrots on a stick ahead of me.  You see she has told me several (hundreds) of times that a well-tended lawn is a major turn-on.  Of course she also thinks bald men are sexy so you can understand that this semi-vain man holds certain female's attractions in question.  However, if I keep chasing after the first turn-on (the well-tended lawn) I'm soon most certain to achieve the later turn-on (baldness) so one could say that it's a win win...still, you can't blame me for wanting it all.  Besides, these once flattering locks of red and brown are much too young to be taking a trip to the big white afterlife.

And it is not that I haven't tried to spend the necessary time on achieving lawn greatness - it's just that I only have so much time.  The lady next door to me has the most beautiful lawn on the block.  Now I must tell you that she's in her 70's and does nothing all day except sit with a rake and a bucket tidying up the great green.  (At least it's an old woman - I'd really start to get worried if it was a bald old man with a great green - my wife would be a' calling).  The best part about our home is that we have a large lawn.  The worst part about our home is that we have a large lawn.  It's a double lot and the size is considerable.  However, this of course means that I have to spend a minimum of 2.3 hours every week behind my push mower - and I do mean every week, miss one and its 3-4 hours the next week.  This time table does not allow the additional time needed for trimming and sweeping and setting sprinklers in the evening. 

Always the activist, I'm also the proud holder of equal opportunity growth.  I have crab grass, blue grass, thick grass, thin grass, tall grass, short grass, sod grass and no grass.  Until my most recent victory I also had steroid grass - I swear there were times when I had to mow a certain section of the lawn three times a week because it grew 3 times faster than the rest of the lawn.  In between these extra mowings I also had to collect the trimming and dispense appropriately (in the correctly marked containers to be left on the side of the street during the appropriate yard waste pick-up weeks *This according to my Everything You Need to Know About Living in my Neighborhood Guide...and Not Trashing It).  I still have other parts of my lawn you'd think were part of some archeological dig.  Every time I mow I uproot more and more rocks - all of which fly in different courses but all of which lead to either my shins or my car. 

I am trying to do my best to fit in, keep up with the Jones' and play nice with the kids next door but let's face it, there are times that I think my lawn hates me.  For only my lawn could have such an impact on social importance, follicle strength and bedroom value.  However, every Tuesday I find myself out there, in the thick of it, loving the beast, feeding the beast and attempting to tame the beast and if nothing else, I'm just trying not to trash the neighborhood.







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