Dirty Lawn Care
How to Resolve a Dispute with your Neighbor
My immediate neighbor has the largest, most unkempt tree known to man. As a result only half of my yard and none of her yard has even a single blade of grass. A problem by itself, but more importantly, she pays
someone to mow her dirt.
There are some important points to note about my neighbor so that this story is fully understood.
1. The first time I ever lay eyes on the woman who lives next door was about 4 weeks ago when I finally got so angry with her "landscaping crew" that I went and knocked on her door to discuss it with her.
2. The first time my husband saw the woman who lives next door was ten minutes after we pulled the moving truck in (about a year and a half ago), when she came over and exclaimed, "Oh! I'm so glad to see a strong man is moving in that may be able to help me out with some things." I, incidentally, had just gone to the store for Gatorade. She proceeded to tell my husband how she was disabled (my husband speculated that she was disabled purely for her obesity), was unsuccessfully attempting to get disability benefits, and a whole tirade of a sob story that my poor husband was unable to fully articulate to me. My initial reaction was to demand that my husband never, ever, ever tell that woman that I was a social worker. My husband's initial reaction is unknown (I was buying Gatorade), but it must have been effective enough. We didn't see her face again for a year and a half.
3. The woman who lives next door regularly goes out in her backyard (which may or may not contain grass, I am unsure), perches herself next to a small hole in the fence, and doesn't believe (or doesn't care) that we know that she is there watching and listening to us. (We have since covered that hole. Now we just hear her breathing near the fence). Incidentally, there are also two very large, very noisy greyhounds taking up residence there that just aren't as light-footed in the alleged grass next to the fence as the 400 lb "disabled" woman.
Alright, with that said, the first time my husband and I saw the woman who lives next door had a "landscaping crew," we just about fell out of our chairs, literally. We were eating a nice dinner (that I didn't cook) and we suddenly heard the loudest lawnmower on the planet start up about 15 inches from our dining room window. There was some jumping involved. Then there was some looking out the windows. Then there was a lot of laughing.
First of all, the "landscapers" (heretofore known as the Dirt Crew) parked in front of our house. As you may have noticed, this bothers me. Secondly, the Dirt Crew consisted of two meth addicts, two tweenage kids, a half running blue ford topaz (or some such car no one has ever really had), one antiquated (yet very, very loud) lawnmower that stuck out of the trunk of said topaz, a weed eater that appeared to be concocted of parts Wall-E collected, and some other unknown meth-frenzy-created lawn tools that are as yet to be identified. Third, the woman has NO grass.
Let's go back to the laughing. When we discovered that there was, in fact, a "lawn service" next door, we could not contain ourselves. It was likely the shock of seeing someone actually running a lawn mower over finely trimmed dirt that caused our delirium*. We laughed. A lot.
After about 10 minutes (it doesn't take long to get the perfect height and trim on dirt), we enjoyed a good hour of speculating on whether this was family or an actual paid for service. We made no concrete conclusion.
There then came a series of random visits by the cacophonous military-grade jet engine that was the dirt crew's dust stirrer. And then there was the night shift.
Oh yes, the night shift.
Well after the 10 o'clock news and all through the house,
'not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,'
with visions of PS3 games dancing in their heads.
Mom in her pajama pants and StepDad in his unders
had just settled down for a nice long slumber.
'When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window we flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,'
But two tiny addicts and one raucous shear.
The night shift.
So, that's where the real trouble started. Undoubtedly daunted by the complete lack of light, the dirt mowing seemed to last a good 20 minutes on that fine night. Most likely, the moon on was the breast of the new-fallen dirt and probably did give the luster of mid-day to objects below. I wouldn't know; the moon is blocked by the monstrosity that the lady next door calls a tree.
Being the highly passive aggressive couple that my husband and I are, we did not go outside and say the choice words that likely would have been said by any less passive and less aggressive couple would have said. We, instead, opened every shade on that side of the house, turned on every light on that side of the house and noisily complained to each other about the whole mess. The dedicated workers did not seem to mind. They must have been used to it, being the night shift for the dirt crew and all. I'm sure they set out to mow a lot of yard in the twilight every day.
What would you need light for anyway, mowing dirt is an art form that one must feel down in their soul to truly create a masterful work.
They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
And churned up the earth; with many meth procured jerks,
And laying the beast back in half their trunk,
Silence again fell as the topaz bumper sunk
They sprang from the shadows as the team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
We are the night shift and mowers in the twilight!*
And so they went.
The very next visit brought us all immediately to the windows as well.
It's raining, it's pouring
The crackheads are mowing.
Yes, the next visit came in the middle of a quite hearty rainstorm. At least it was a decent hour.
I was not home for the next series of visits. For that, I cannot properly portray the story in vivid detail. I will only say that the doorbell on our home began to ring anytime the topaz parked in front of our house. It is still without fail that the illustrious Dirt Crew parks in the apparently popular space front of my house. (I should get myself a parking meter). Requests for tools began to arise from the mysterious dirt people. Their Wall-E World concoctions were implausibly breaking down. I could hardly contain my shock when I arrived home each time to hear. And the infinite patience of my husband (those who know him know his infinite patience) began to wear thin when Commander In Charge of All Things Dirt Crew asked, "Do you need a lawn service?"
My husband's simple response was, "No. We have grass."
And that's when the Dirt Crew may have gotten a little offended.
For on the very next visit, they appeared to have expanded their horizons. We heard hammering and talking and general bizarre noise coming from the home of the woman who lives next door and never leaves her house. That could not have possibly been, as she is sincerely in need of a big, strong man in order to help her. And my husband was apparently the only one in existence.
But, in fact, it was the Dirt Crew. They had expanded their business to include gate repair. And we took this as an opportunity to hone our passive aggressive skills. My husband and I have never been accused of being sarcastic. We are, in fact, the antithesis of derision. At least, in my opinion. But there are times when a good dose of mockery can go a long way to solve internal turmoil and improve a business plan. Especially if your business is mowing dirt.
We were trying to be helpful.
So we opened the windows on that side of the house and went into a relentless conversation (campaign) about the finer points of lawn maintenance, tree trimming, dirt cultivation, soil versus grass, and whether dirt mowers would make good carpenters. If I remember correctly, I think we had the children sit down for a lesson on how grass needs sunlight in order to grow big and strong (and thus need actual mowing).
So, when we tired of this, we closed the windows and went on about our day.
Around dusk, I went outside in order to check and see if my fence was damaged (I mean also repaired) by the competent Dirt Carpentry crew.
'When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,'
The crew had left us a lovely gift for entertaining them all day. Seven used fence slats were laid very uniformly and neatly in our yard and across the sidewalk in front of our home. It appeared that they had been laid with care. In each of these seven slats were nails about as long as my pinky finger. They were fairly well hidden by the intricate weathering of the dying fence wood, but they were there nonetheless.
And that is how I met my neighbor.
Interestingly, the Dirt Carpentry Crew has never been seen or heard from again. On to the Southwest, where everyone's yard is made of dirt.
*Delirium: A sudden state of severe confusion and rapid changes in brain function, sometimes associated with hallucinations and hyperactivity, in which the patient is inaccessible to normal contact.
* A Visit from St. Nicholas, more commonly know today as Twas The Night Before Christmas (or The Night Before Christmas), was published by Clement Clarke Moore (July 15, 1779 � July 10, 1863) and is said to be the most parodied poem in history.