Friday, November 16, 2012

Lagging Behind the Neighbours

No matter where we have lived we have always ended up being the neighbourhood misfits. I think this might have something to do with the fact that when we were in our active parenting years we had five kids living under our roof. When you think about the shoes, boots, jackets, bikes, hockey sticks, etc. that accompany just one child through their growing up years, then multiply that by five, well, you can see how things might have had a tendency to not always be neatly sorted and stored.

In my defence I would like to say that we might have had 20 pairs of shoes scattered around our front door and another 10 pairs heaped in a pile on top of the shoe rack, but we almost always could find the pair we were searching for. This shot was taken a couple of years ago. I have no explanation for the empty rack. Or the top one.




I thought that once the kids moved out our days of being the neighbourhood misfits would be behind us. I was wrong. Now the issue is our backyard. I have two garden boxes that take up most of the flat space, the slope is sprinkled with various grasses, bushes and trees, and the upper part is a dry-land xeriscape. It is the xeriscape that is the source of the problem.

The neighbours on the other side of the xeriscape are a very nice retired couple. The problem is they are perfectionists. No weed would dare make an appearance on their property. The lady spends countless hours worrying about her flowers and their location. She is constantly moving them around to get the right colour combinations, and when we have a backyard chat she spends great amounts of time telling me about her plans. 

This is all fine. I get having a hobby. But here's where the problem comes in. Her anxiety over having the perfect yard has spilled over to my yard, garden and property. Countless times this past summer she would Not So Subtly tell me that I had some weeds up on the xeriscape. She would go so far as to offer to pull the weeds for me. Well, remember, I am the kind of person who the minute someone tells me to do something a switch goes off in my brain preventing me from doing the very thing they have told me to. I left the weeds. Besides, by most people's standards there were no weeds. Not only that, they were in a far corner out of my sight.

I'm not even sure what the point of this post is. All I know is when I had Fergus out in the backyard yesterday I was looking around and thinking what a relief it was to know I don't need to worry about the weeds, or pointed comments about the weeds, again until next spring. I can let my irritation hibernate over the winter.


10 comments:

  1. Haha, that sounds familiar! We're in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and I've heard several scientists tlak about the harm caused to the Bay by fertilizer and weed killer. So for a few weeks in the spring we have the prettiest dandelions in the yard...and then they turn into those fun whatever-they're-called fluffy seed dispensers. A now former neighbor hated them. They too were perfectionists and competitive. If they mowed their lawn twos days ago, they would mow it again today if I mowed our's--so their lawn would be a clean looking. My wife and I used to make bets on how long it would take them to get out their mower after I out our's away. It was a greta source of amusement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we should be neighbours Rick. It could be a reverse competition sort of thing where we could see who could take the longest to cut their lawn, and who could grow the most weeds. I am glad it is a former neighbour that you had the trouble with and not a current one. :-)

      Delete
  2. Good grief, I wonder why people feel compelled to make comments like that! If she doesn't want to look at your weeds she doesn't have to. Maybe she is a control freak, but I think it's downright rude to make pointed remarks in that fashion. Good thing we never had neighbours who were so picky about our yard, as weeding was something I had trouble getting motivated to do. That's one reason we moved to a wooded rural lot. Now we have trees and wildflowers - no maintenace required!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A wooded rural lot is exactly where I would like to move to. Hopefully we will be able to do just that in the next year or two. I hope you are enjoying your privacy!

      Delete
  3. When my husband and I moved to the American Deep South from Ohio, we were introduced to all sorts of plant life (including mutant weeds) that we'd never seen before or had never had on our property. We've been down here for three years and for the last two, my neighbor across the street has helpfully explained how we are trimming our Azaleas at the wrong time which results in no blooms. They were so wildly overgrown, you'd think they'd have been happy we trimmed them at all. After last fall's lecture...ahem, chat, I've caved in and let them grow like crazy. They look terrible, but we will definitely have some blooms in the spring for the whole of two weeks before they dry up and fall off...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get "chats" from my neighbour all the time, too. Sometimes caving in is the simpler path to take. Enjoy your blooms next spring!

      Delete
  4. You know the only solution to the problem your neighbour saw should have been contemplating a higher fence or maybe bamboo planting so she didn't have to see your garden which offended her oh so delicate sensibilities. For heavens sake woman, get a life and stop bothering your perfectly innocent misfit neighbours! I commend you on your lack of violence when faced with such comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have holes in my tongue from biting it. :-) It isn't just me she complains about either. I hear about the other people their yard borders. The sad thing is, if it wasn't for the criticism about the weeds I would say they were good neighbours. Oh well, it will be many months before I have to face listening to it again.

      Delete
  5. I would have said "Have at 'er!" No one ever offers to weed for me....

    I'm used to being a misfit though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not so sure you would say "Have at 'er." Not if you heard the way it is said, and the number of times it is spoken. The crazy thing is there are only a few weeds, and they are pretty innocuous at that. It isn't like they are huge blooming things sticking out like sore thumbs. I'm used to being a misfit too, but for some reason this pushes my buttons. Now, if one of my kids offered to weed for me I would be thrilled. Of course, I would also probably have a heart attack. :-)

      Delete