Green Confessions and Naughty Neighbours

I’ve never mowed a lawn. I went almost thirty years having never pushed a mower, cut grass or done any sort of yard work beyond a bit of weeding. I’d say I’m ashamed but the fact the matter is lawn mowers are ungainly, heavy tools and frankly they scare me a bit with all their blustering and vrooming.

My non grass cutting life was going fairly smoothly until I bought a house. Happily this house came with a lawn mower. Unhappily this lawn mower was one of the loud, gas guzzling variety. I allowed it to sit in it’s angry den until one day I arrived home to the following note left by an anonymous neighbour.

 “You are an embarrassment to the neighbourhood. Mow your lawn! Even Gladys* did a better job than this. SMARTEN UP!!!!”

For the record Gladys is the eighty year old woman whom I bought the house from. She used a walker. Effectively my gardening skills are inferior to that of the extremely elderly.

So away I went to purchase a push mower, the kind that ran on my own sweat but hopefully not blood. I got the mower home and away I went. The satisfaction was immense and immediate. I discovered that mowing a lawn is like vacuuming but better because the effect is so drastic, one moment your backyard is overrun with weeds, the next it’s a perfectly cultivated,  fragrant paradise. I went up the lawn, and back, then turned and went diagonally across it. I swiveled the mower and made a loop-de-loop on the lawn. To finish, I made progressively smaller circles.  

A friend who had not witnessed my lawn cutting revelery came to visit on Sunday, by that point the patches I had missed in my erratic fit of yard work were becoming obvious as they seemed to grow by the minute in the sun.

“You’re supposed to mow in a pattern” he said helpfully.

“I did” I answered beaming with pride over my now not so newly cut lawn. “Paisley!”

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those kind enough to gift me a gas guzzling, terrifying lawn mower.

 

Also for the record, I am the naughty neighbour in the title. Prior to cutting it, my lawn may have looked like something that Indiana Jones would have to take a machete to while trekking through the Amazon in search of a skull, or the death star. I never watched that series of Harrison Ford movies, regardless, I’m sure my lawn made an appearance somewhere.

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A Friend Making Rockstar

I’m officially moved into my new home. So naturally I’ve begun to befriend my neighbours.

The other night, as I was walking towards my house, I spied a Jack Russel Terrier. The small dog yipped, it yapped, it howled like it was going to kill me. I continued walking. The tiny canine ran towards me while keeping up it’s oral protestations. Although it stayed a distance from my feet, the dog made it known that it wanted to tear me to shreds. As I hurried up the steps of my home, I glanced over my shoulder and saw that the furry thing was waiting at the bottom of the stairs still growling death wishes at me.

In that moment I realized that I had allowed myself to be chased home by a fifteen pound ball of fur and kibble. I turned on my heel and snarled at the tiny beast. It stepped back. I advanced towards it, still snarling. Unsure, the petite pooch held it’s ground. Undaunted by the terrier’s attempted alpha stance, I commenced my shouting, brawling chase. It was at that second that his owner rounded the corner in time to witness me wild armed chasing down of her dog.

The face my neigbour saw. I can always be counted on to make a memorable first impression. (Photo Credit : blingcheese.com)

The face my neigbour saw. I can always be counted on to make a memorable first impression. (Photo Credit : blingcheese.com)

“He doesn’t bite.” She yelled over the calamity.

As far as I could see there were two possible responses to this. Both of them truths. “Yes, but I do.” and “I knew that, I’d have punted the creature already if he did.” Neither of these seemed appropriate, so I turned and hurried inside my house.

I imagine this shall be the beginning of a beautiful friendship; she and I will be best friends forever, sharing our lives over coffee and bundt cake from now on. Or not.

Artificial Body Holes and Bravery

Despite the fact that we ceased to be students some time ago, Roscoe and I still live in the student ghetto. Our miniature porch faces onto the backyard (or rather the basketball court cum parking lot) of a frat house. Across the street is a hovel which houses, by our count, five young men who enjoy shoving foreign objects through all their extremities and tattooing the rest of their visible epidermal layer.

Head banging Brain Muncher

Our neighbour, who rarely turns down an offer of banana bread. Photo credit: Munir Hamdan)

They also take pleasure in blasting angry death metal music while I make dinner. Most of the time I don’t mind strains of “%&#K THE WORLD AND EVERYOOOOOOOOOONE” followed by intense guitar solos, but after a long day I have been known to don the ear protecting head phones worn by most construction workers.

With the exception of discovering a partially eaten hamburger on our lawn or having to walk the long route to the park while the metal heads try and film “a sweet sweet trick” on the sidewalk and part of the road, both the frat boys and the metallers are good neighbours.

The end of the school year is approaching for university students and so the other night the metallers were throwing a party. Roscoe was on call at the hospital so our family friend Gordy* was over to have dinner and help me guard against a ghost break in. Living in an eighty year old house does unfortunately come with downsides.

So Gordy and I were just returning from our after dinner walk to the river when I noticed all the people milling on the metaller’s lawn, beside a minivan which was also on the lawn. University cities love to ticket vehicles parked on lawns, it’s an easy way to add to the city budget. However this was the end of the metaller’s year, so even though I didn’t necessarily share their love of head banging guitar solos and swear words I didn’t want their revelry to be marred by a seventy dollar ticket.

So I marched my five foot two self right over to the group of them. “Oi!” I said.

Just as a reference when entering a new culture it’s important to use language from that culture to help integrate yourself with it’s people, hence my “Oi!” to begin the exchange.

“Oi!” I said as I approached a young man with spacers in his ears so large that a baby’s fist could have gone straight through them. “You’ll get a ticket if you park there, that’s my house.” I gestured to the red brick building across the street. “You’re welcome to park in the driveway as long as you leave me space to get to work in the morning.”

All of the young men turned to face me. Collectively they had enough hardware in their young heads to open a store. “Thank you so much!’ they exclaimed.

Gordy stood the whole time a short distance away, ready to jump in at any moment should the youths turn and pull a shiv out of one of their many zippered pant pockets.

“I can’t believe you just walked up to them like that” he said. Maybe it was brave, or maybe it was my near sightedness and forgotten glasses that prevented me from seeing the hypodermic needles full of meth they were holding, but in my experience if someone walks up to you offering free parking and you want free parking, you almost never can go wrong. So Gordy and I listened as screamo metal wafted in through hundred year old windows for two hours afterwards and then Gordy left for the evening. The ghosts of course then moved in, rattling our thirty year old fridge until it was all but on it’s side and tapped tree branches on the windows.

*Although Gordy is arguably the second biggest fan of The Great Unwashed his name has been changed because at some point I may want to talk smack about him and so it’s best if he has only an inkling that Gordy might be his nom de plume.

Talking smack about people may very well be The Great Unwashed’s new schtick. After finishing both the partially clothed in church post and the award post I shall be doing a new series entitled “Diana may in fact be a lemur”.