You've seen it. Driving by there is an old crushed velvet couch on the front porch with springs and stuffing hanging out of the misshapen cushions. It's a lowrider because the feet have long since disappeared. Maybe it's the 12 inch grass that hasn't been mowed or the field of bright dandelions across the lawn. How about the torn screen door hanging by one hinge? Or the carport that is filled with mountains of junk and no room for a car? Or the faded garage sale sign from two months ago?
You know, THAT house. There is one in every neighborhood.
I have slowly come to realize that we might be THAT house. Yes, we are THOSE neighbors. The ones that make property values plummet and everyone else cringe. Or mumble to each other. The ones with noisy kids playing baseball in the street and unfamiliar cars going in and out of the driveway 28 times a day, sometimes more.
We have lived in our home for six years. The first few years I meticulously planted colorful annuals in the front yard for all to feast their eyes on. Sunday mornings were my gardening time. I was already sweaty and stinky, a perfect time to get dirt under my nails and stickers in my flip flops. Each year I have enjoyed it less and less, gradually replacing the brilliant purple lobilia and yellow marigolds with dependable perennials that magically return to life as soon as the snow melts. There are subtle blooms appearing in my yard from summer to fall and all they ask from me is a regular drinks of water, a once a year pruning and a weekly trip around the flowerbeds to pull rogue weeds.
Today I dug out the garden tools, spent about three hours pulling winter weeds and sizing up what needs to be done. It has been decided. My sister has some cannalily bulbs waiting for me that will be planted, but I'm not sure where yet. The squash, pumpkin plants and wild roses will once again grace the dirt patch in the vacant lot behind our yard. They are easy, simply irrigate once a week and don't forget to pick the bounty. That's it.
We moved to this quiet subdivision to escape yard work. I admire the beautiful landscaping and clever, decorative fixtures that adorn the earth-toned cookie-cutter homes on our street. But I refuse to become a slave to it. Summer is on the way and we have pools to swim in, soccer games to watch, softball games to play and long bicycle rides to enjoy.
And afternoon naps to take on the front porch couch.