We moved into this house when Curly was 6 months old. At the closing, the seller's realtor smiled at us from across the table. 'You are going to love this house. It is in a nice, quiet neighborhood.'
Coach and I exchanged a quick glance. We thought the same thing. Quiet neighborhood? Not for long. We wondered how well the neighbors would tolerate our 6 little rascals.
A few years later, I got a letter in the mail. The association wanted me to know that neighbors had complained about our property. We were being sited for having dying grass.
Our grass was dying. In our defense, it was the end of summer. It was dry. I had literally gone for a walk the day before and when I returned I asked Coach what the deal was with our yard. We had huge patches of dry grass. Coach pointed out that it wasn't just us. It had basically happened overnight. Lots of our neighbors were experiencing similar lawn issues. It had been a very dry August. I doubt they all received the same letter.
The letter didn't stop at the grass. It went on to point out that we had too many toys left out in our yard. If our dry lawn situation (which was similar to so many of our neighbors) shocked me as an issue worthy of complaints, then toys on our lawn totally blew me away.
|A typical afternoon in our yard circa 2008.|
I continued to circle the house. The side of the house that faces the neighbor's house (opposite side from the side entrance/garage door) is where our water spicket is located. There under the faucet near the coiled up hose was a toy dump truck. The horrors. It was practically touching the foundation. I can't imagine that many people could even see it.
|Curly and Reg looking at our deck in 2010. |
Note the playhouse. For shame!
That was it. Perhaps the complaint was lodged on a day when there were more toys scattered around the yard. Typically we ordered kids to put the bikes and bats and balls away when we called them in for dinner. I don't think there was a day when the basic stuff didn't get tucked back into the garage. The only things that appeared to have been overlooked for several days or maybe over a week consisted of a dump truck and a scooter. I didn't count the stuff on the deck and the playhouse in the yard. Those things belonged exactly where they were. Did my ass hole neighbors think we were going to pull a playhouse into the garage every night?
After assessing the yard, I stood in my kitchen. Shaking. I peered out from behind the wooden shutters. I felt violated. Who behaved like this? I called Coach at work. He agreed it was nuts. Everyone in the neighborhood had patches of dry grass. It was tough to prevent. He also felt our toys were under control.
Then I did the only thing I felt was reasonable. I informed my little toddlers that we were going to play a game. We were going to drag EVERY SINGLE EFFING TOY out of our garage and spread them around the lawn. Reg and Curly were probably about 4 and 2. They loved this game. It was a blast.
I left the yard littered with our toy explosion for days. It felt good. It felt right. It felt like I had sent a message. 'Up yours.'
I really wanted to stick a sign in the yard that read: 'If you think this is bad, you should see the inside of the house.'