Funny story really. My son’s friend was hanging out here the same time my parents from West Virginia were spending the weekend to visit. Well, it’s Sunday afternoon and they have their stuff packed by the door while we play one last game of train dominoes. So by their last trip to the car, three pairs of shoes sat there. I knew my stepmom was going to wear one of them back and a second pair were boots. Put the boots in a Kroger sack and noticed my Dad was already wearing a pair of shoes and put the black guy’s shoes in a sack. They head back to the mountains.
About 45 minutes later, my son’s friend is looking for his shoes.
Yeah. They’re on a 2.5-hour journey to Wellsburg. The best little town that could – if I ever did see one. I hope to rebuild it someday.
I forget these kids at 14 years old are wearing 11.5 guy shoes. Oops. But in my defense, my Dad did pack them in the car. (It was worth a validation blame attempt.)
So this kid I mean, young guy is awesome about it. I try to offer him a pair of my son’s to walk in. We’ve got a few pairs. He was like “no thanks, I do, too. Not wearing your shoes. I’ll call my mom for a ride.”
Then his mom doesn’t answer and then I think – “Good. Duh. I should take you home. You were going to walk home and now she’s gotta come. No, I got this.”
He’s appreciative and I drive the like five blocks up since he has no shoes. I tell him I am so sorry again but I’ll get them shipped back. Couple days at best.
He didn’t have a care in the world and laughed about it and said, “It’s totally fine. Look at the story I get to tell.”
I told him he was a great guy. We would’ve responded exactly the same way but it’s not every day you meet someone else who will. That’s character. At that moment I reminded myself again how fortunate we are that our son really has good friends. The kind you want him to grow up and deal with life with.
That’s my hope in the world. We can’t predict what life events will happen to each of us or how it will affect us. There’s so much out of our control that the only thing we can do to keep a strong level of sanity raising kids is to know you’re imperfectly loving them in the most authentic joy journey together as you can. What you see is what you get with us. we have things we are dealing with and searching for self-improvement too. And I will help them find a positive solution to anything I can. It’s much more important that during their independent years they are building memories while learning to fly with decent, imperfect and full of character friends from the same imperfect people doing the best they can. In other words, if your genuine kind kid is friends with genuine kind kids, no background matter. They’ll get through with the extra help of one another. It’s the parents who have kids with shitty friends I feel bad for. Not where they live or have for parents.
Like Jack and Dianne. Lol. Doing the best that we can.
Lots of laughter around here for sure.
Anyway, the reason I was even writing this was to talk about a whole different thing.
During the five blocks, something caught my eye. The house. The one we walk by all spring summer long and drive by it in the fall. Ok. Basically every time we drive by it I mean.
If yardscaping were a high school test, disclaiming I have no idea what the person’s circumstance is even though this has been consistent since we moved here six years ago so it must be long term tragic.
I’d give them a D+. What’s sucky is it has a longer lot and some wood fun space which is rare and could be a cool thing people go by and say, that’s so cool.
But no. It’s I don’t rake until the grass grows past their ankles in the spring and they have to mow. Then the leaves are gone. The woods which begin 12 feet from the street are abandoned woods, letting nature in a 12×40 space in suburbian Pinterest land be an unrecognized state preserve for the national kitty cat society.
And the house has needed power washed for at least three years. Heck get some house cleaner and a garden hose at least.
They were decorated for Easter. I don’t mean a cardboard bunny taped to the door or a new festive wreath.
Cute lights strung through the front little trees and lighted Easter eggs hanging from the limbs and stuff in the door.
Now, when I say cute, I mean it is. I mean, I do not decorate for any holiday but Christmas and at this point, it’s the tree and ¼ of the ornaments. Why? Because no one cares. Bree did, so for her sake, I always had the bare minimum to appease the theme. Like Halloween, Easter, winter stuff had an office paper box size of stuff. Christmas, four tubs and a tree.
Now? Three Easter baskets, a tree and two tubs. Thanks, Marie Kondo.
So, I appreciate the people who love to decorate the seasons. No disrespect or judgment. So when I say it’s cute. It’s cute, ok? I just wouldn’t anymore because it’s all on me.
Hence, my point.
Someone in that house decorates for seasons and is seasonally correct in displaying them. Which means they use a ladder at times and also have to remove and pack it timely.
So there’s a big disconnect and based on conversations with other couples whether I’d give them a C- or A+ on their yardscaping, I have my theory as to what is going on.
- The husband won’t do it or gives a crap and she refuses to do yard work but loves holidays.
- She’s a single mother. And does not do or care about yardscaping.
- Single or married, they weren’t raised in a home with yardscaping and only learned how to skim past HOA fines to motivate them.
That’s all I can come up with. And sometimes I think about how I want to just show up and do their yard work. I love yard work. There’s something extremely satisfying about working on your land whatever size it is and creating your place of solace. It’s way funner to mow, weed eat, trim, mulch, wash…etc versus “getting your steps in”.
A couple of years ago, our previous neighbors that we miss regularly paid our son $25 to keep the yard up. They were empty nesters and had no desire. Mark and I did it a lot of the time. It has nothing to do with our son – he learned how to mow and care for yards that year and did a great deal. It’s our love of yard work. Twice I kept going and did the neighbor on the other side of them because he had broken his leg and had a stay-home girlfriend who really, really did not want to do it but would when it got high. I enjoyed it so much I mowed all three lawns. When I was single prior to meeting Mark, I had the cheap $139 Wal Mart special mower that didn’t mulch and a double lot on the corner. I was proud. Bought it when I was 19 years old and working third shift as a security officer in a tribal casino. Anyway, as a single parent with a toddler working third shift, I’d get so mad if I had to let it go a day or two over and then have to rake it because there would be clippings too heavy and could kill the grass under. I have to think both Mark and I grew up with Dads that had high standards of yardscaping pride of ownership.
Plus anxiety of being a slacking neighbor.
I enjoy the instant gratification of it. I’ve always wondered how my little brother could become a popular oil painter with seriously breathtaking landscape accuracy. I can’t let the paint dry.
I want results within the same day or I don’t stop til it is. I’m acrylic paint and hot glue gun kind of girl.
Some people get pissed when you do that though. Like, it is awesome when it’s a veteran with his broken leg, a senior citizen or a single parent. Whatever validation you can put in that blank. Because you increase your chances of pissedoffery if it’s just cause they don’t do it and you go do it for them. Like you disrespected them by being kind and insinuated their yard looks like you should run through it with butterfly nets and lighting bug jars.
I think about how I appreciate Mark and my marriage and agreeing on the importance of yardscaping. I appreciate his openness to my project ideas when I can convince him that it’s worth the effort. I’d do it myself if I knew I could. But he needs to build a patio off the deck around the fire pit. Just saying. I’ll dig and stuff. But I’m just his skilled apprentice. I’m Podrick.
I love yard work.
Here are my three choices.
- I clean it all up. Take the risk of a dude with a shovel coming out at me. I’ve never seen who lives there. And tried to solve my theories when I’ve seen the garage rarely opened.
- I can tell myself this amazing story I made up in my head so every time I pass the corner lot place 100 times a year I’ll be at peace for doing absolutely nothing to help out this festive eyesore.
- Or, I could knock on their door with my work team holding a legit video camera and pretend I’m from a DIY pilot show and that they were randomly nominated by their neighbors to receive a free yard makeover as long as they sign a contract to maintain it afterward and my right to the footage. Then, do before and after shots of how I totally made it a sweat project Pinterest Paradise that the passerbys will light up the Nextdoor neighborhood app like a viral Facebook post of puppies acting cute. Then, I’ll nominate these strangers who slack for the city’s best yard improvement award (I’ve already won it, so I can’t do it again) and have them hopefully quote my pilot show service for the support. Finally, I could get hired to do it to the other 100+ houses in this massive subdivision for a very reasonable payment plan. Plus, just by my lack of participation and curious observation of the people in this area say on the neighborhood’s app, there’s a big spin idea for a new Netflix drama idea I have and could pitch if they give me a jingle on the Twitter.
Ok. Which one?