Thursday, June 08, 2006

On Being Neighborly

Tonight, we came home to this note on our door:

Dear Neighbors,

I saw that your mower might not be working so I thought I'd see if you need it mowed.

Signed, your neighbor (whom we've never met, with a phone number provided)

Well, isn't that special? Seriously! We have about 3-4 acres, all of which gets mowed, so this is no small offer. When's the last time you offered up as much to your neighbor? When's the last time I did? Never! Guilty, as charged.

Now, my cynical self admittedly kicks in here and I'm feeling guilty about that, but there's some back story here which may or may not bear repeating.

First, our mower is not not working. It is simply out of gas and we left it where it was when this happened (in the front yard...for the record, this is not unlike our friendly neighbors to the south, in Arkansas, where most things are left out in the front yard...oh, that's not nice...but it's true ;-). Apparently, the mower in the front yard is unsightly and cause for concern, possibly bringing down property values.

Second, we are a little sensitive about people suggesting that our yard needs mowing, as if we aren't being responsible citizens. You see, we moved back to the Midwest from CA where yards consisted of rocks, natural shrubs and poison oak. Upon moving to Kansas City, we initially took up residency in the heart of the city, on a busy street (although we lived on the "lower east side" of this street, the street itself is known as a "Parkway" and for those living on the "upper west side," it's a very high rent part of town). So we moved into our cute little house on the Parkway, with grass in front and back, giant honeysuckle bushes all around, and a few shade trees...we thought we were in heaven. And the grass crazy...and we didn't have a lawn mower. In fact, we didn't even think about getting a lawn mower...until the Grass Police showed up at our door. We had no idea how particular people could be about their yards. We had no experience with the likes of home owners associations or in our case, "Neighborhood Watch Block Monitors." We left CA in part because we could no longer stand the extent to which the government gets in your business. So the Grass Police at our door was especially alarming. We were told in no uncertain terms that our grass was not to exceed 6 inches. Humiliated, we rushed off to Wal-Mart and bought a lawnmower, lest we get fined or sent to jail, we weren't sure what.

And all that to explain our sensitivity 12 years later. Now we know people who are compulsive mowers. These people not only mow regularly but they mow patterns in their grass. Our free form mowing drives these folks nuts. And I thought I had OCD. [rolling eyes]

So tomorrow we'll be sure to call and thank him for the offer (it was late when we got home tonight) and meet one of our neighbors. And if he turns out to be a kid looking to make some money mowing, then maybe we should consider outsourcing the job. I'm all in favor of that!


At 3:30 AM, June 08, 2006, Blogger Rach said...

Wow! Our country is not so worried about that sort of stuff. I guess there are people who complain but most of them do it under their breath hehe.

At 6:50 AM, June 08, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Gosh, don't you love HOAs? :) Self-appointed busy-bodies that you pay for the priviledge of having. Gah. Though I am in favor of outsourcing to teens. We have no such motivated teens in our neighborhood.

At 9:47 AM, June 08, 2006, Blogger Foo said...

I've had a similar situation arise, except that when our neighbor inquired about the condition of our lawnmower, there was no doubt that he was really saying, "I'm an anal retentive busybody, and I want you to know that I know your lawn is 37 hours, 24 minutes, and 52 seconds past due for a mowing. Give or take."

This is the guy who's so detail oriented that he blows all his grass trimmings into the gutter in front of our house.

WV: "socay". Indeed. In the grand scheme of things, it's nothing to throw an aneurism over.

At 5:08 PM, June 08, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Rach, I think that is a good thing (the not worrying part), in case that wasn't obvious from my post. ;-)

Beth, love 'em! It's one reason we moved to the country. But now I find that we still have self-appointed busy bodies around.

Foo, I wonder if your "anal retentive busy-body" neighbor knows that you read minds? Next time, blow his grass right back. There's another tool I've never quite understood...leaf blowers. Really, do people not have wind in their neighborhoods?!

At 8:26 AM, June 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, I'd send my teenager, but he's not motivated either...

my lawn...when my son's ready to mow, it's usually because the gas can is riding around empty in the trunk of my car.

At 10:06 AM, June 09, 2006, Blogger Lyn said...

Okay, I'm with you in principle - who wants Grass Police dictating your grass cutting schedule (in French, it's "mow de lawn" :-)

However...We do have a person in our n'hood who's yard is ratty, dry, weedy AND has a string of Christmas lights shaped as a star tacked to the side of his house that he keeps up year round but never lights up - even at Christmas! Realtors refer to our development as the Christmas star n'hood. Now that is tacky. So although I don't want people telling me when to mow, I am in favor of keeping the block and yards appealing. Shoot me if you must.

At 1:02 PM, June 09, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Lyn, I didn't know you lived in my neighborhood! ;-) No seriously, that's not my house. Mine is the one with all the cars in the driveway and the old bathtubs out back. Hillbilliesque is what we call this. ;-)

At 10:24 PM, June 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ohhhhh i totally think you should just go with the offer, pretend to be very thankful and let the idiot mow your yard because hey........FREE LAWN MOWING. can't beat that with a stick.

and i hope to gosh you never see a pic of my front yard. yes, ok fine...
i have a healthy competition with the old guy across the street

At 12:35 AM, June 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, right when i was posting that comment, their was someone at the door, and someone saying something to me on msn. i got all confused, and now i see that i did not finish my thought.
where was i going with this? well, lets see......the old guy across the street thinks he's better than me. thats what. just because his lawn is greener, and what not. well, i saw him sneak across to the old lady neighbors house, and i saw HER sneak to HIS house on several occasions, and she's married, so THERE. CHEATER. ICKY OLD CHEATER.

i'm done

At 10:25 AM, June 10, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Susie, it was you who left the note, wasn't it? I knew it!

Go ahead, show us a picture of your lawn. I promise not to poke fun at your perfect rows of green grass, all perfectly cut (probably with scissors, right?), grass. No. I would never do such a thing. I have my own quirks. Who's to say yours are any more OCD than mine. ;-)

But that old man across the street? Bad man!

At 11:26 AM, June 10, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

oops, got a little carried away with the word "grassss" in the previous comment. Ignore that. Read nothing into that. At all.

At 3:57 PM, June 11, 2006, Blogger EmmaSometimes said...

First of all I have seen Badoozer's front lawn and it's a freaking Yard and Garden Show display complete with personalized, hand-designed flower beds. It's gorgeous. Don't let her fool you about her yard. She is Bob Villa's get the idea.

Second, this post made me laugh a lot AND I really like you so I'm adding you to my blog peeps. That's people peeps, not the squishy easter peeps cause they don't blog.

Lastly, I would vasilate between burning a smile face in their lawn with Weed & Grass B-Gone or accepting their offer. So, what did you do??

At 5:39 PM, June 11, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Thanks, Emma! The blog rolling is mutual. I've enjoyed your blog. And I'm a big fan of Peeps. ;-)

The end of the story, I'm afraid, was not very colorful. We called and thanked him for his concern, bought some gas and finished mowing. The end. ;-)

I believe the allegations about Susie's yard. I'm hoping she'll post a picture, along with her grass and flower maintenance schedule so I might learn a thing or two.

At 5:08 PM, June 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, emmers is being gracious. my yard is atrocious compared to last year. really it is. you should have seen it in april. it looked like a jungle. it got way out of control, and the longer it went on, the harder it was to get to it. finally i had to hire a friends kid, and then finish it from there, so now, its a little more palatible. now then i USED to be anal about my yard but that was when i had nothing else to do with my time.

plus, you can make anything look better with some 99 cent flowers from wally world

At 5:25 PM, June 12, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

We still want pictures. Oh, and I could (and will) show you what does not look better with some 99 cent flowers. ;-)


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