Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marriage the First Year - The Lawn

The Lawn – I have spent my adulthood living in Townhouses. As a single girl, I saw no reason why I should mow and shovel. I do not have the putter with the lawn gene, so purchasing a single family home seemed counter-intuitive. Because of this decision, I have missed one very important fact.

You people are crazy about your lawns! Seriously!

There is an old movie called the Stepford Wives, it is about this community where the women are programmed to be perfect wives. I have further stretched this concept to include those freaky-deaky little neighborhoods where a builder came in and spit up 18 identical homes, including identical landscaping. My situation is a little more subtle. As you drive through the neighborhood, a trend appears out of the mist. Each and every lawn is perfect. Now I’m not talking a rough approximation of a golf-course, I am talking weirdly, utterly, perfect. I keep expecting to see Willy Wonka walking towards me, telling me that each blade of grass has been manufactured and lovingly tended to by its very own Ommpaloompa. This scares me. The only variation in these sparkling emerald lawns is the shade of emerald. It is as if each homeowner had a personal consultation with a color specialist at the Home Depot. “No I don’t like the Emerald Isles, I’ll take the Pea Puree Green.”

As you progress through a 3 block stretch, you will notice that ALL the lawns look like this. Until…(insert ominous movie music here) all this sylvan splendor comes to a screeching halt, not a mild stand on your brakes halt, but a roadrunner and Wylie Coyote kind of cliff halt. Now in front of you is a lawn that looks like it has been tended to by a demented flock of sheep. While there looks to be some form of mowing done, one would posit that either the sheep or a scythe was used. As you may have guessed, this verdant mass is my lawn.

Now to be fair, there are reasons. Yes, they are mostly lame excuses, but here they are none-the-less. 1. There is a patch of totally untended, unmowed weeds by our patio. We call this the game preserve. There is a fearless baby bunny living there who loves to sit under the screened patio windows and look my cats dead in the eye while enjoying dandelion leaves. Now honestly, if you had the cutest baby bunny living in your weed patch and thoroughly enjoying the wild salad that has been spared the blade, would you cut it down? I think not…I hope not…maybe?  2. My youngest son has inherited the mowing duties this year. Our lawn is large, so we do one side of the house each week. Since my boy is a genius, he has figured out how to s-t-r-e-t-c-h that week into almost two. This means that the lawn fights back when he mows it. Now is it fair to fault him for the weird tufts that get missed between each row? He precisely lines up the lawnmower, not the blades of the lawnmower, just the lawnmower. We are correcting the difficulty, but that means the lawn has a trendy multiple mohawk look at the moment. Then there is the need to not hit the tree roots at the base of the trees, so they all sport a foot high skirt of what passes for lawn at my house. Strangely, the root circumference seems to grow each week. In only a few more weeks, he won’t need to mow at all.

Then there is the slight problem of not really having a lawn at all. While my neighbors could all passably be in a great lawn spread of Better Homes and Gardens, ours is not really grass, it is a lovely viney substance called creeping Charlie. Believe me when I say that Charlie is a creep. Then there is the clover, the violets, the stalky stemmy things that look like prairie grass. Basically, we are the botanical garden of weeds. Unfortunately, I have a hard time summoning up the desire to care that our lawn should be condemned, or possibly torched, or perhaps the earth should be salted and not grow anything for the next 100 years. Instead I have this weird fatalism about it. I drive through the pristine neighborhood and pull into my driveway and survey the land before me. Then I snort. Not a ladylike titter, no a rip roaring snort while saying “Wow, that’s a really bad lawn!” Is it wrong to take pride in being the best of the worst? I feel so deliciously anti-establishment…hmmm…perhaps I should have stayed in the townhouse.

My biggest problem is that I have a reoccurring nightmare that the neighbors will rise up, gather their pitchforks and torches and come after us for lawn abuse…it could happen…after all, it is the suburbs…