Musings on the Art of Yardwork

(Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect the perfectionists)
People always tell you to move into a house previously owned by anal people. We did, and everything was going quit well until…(dun, dun, dun!) we realized they were also extroverts! As trivial as this may sound, it is in fact, a lethal combination.

In many ways, moving in after these perfect housekeepers, neighbors and all-around humanitarians, has proved unexpected negatives for those of us that are a bit more laid-back. I like to think of myself as the ugly, unsocialized step-sister of the neighborhood; or, as Edwin Fletschbaum the IV that didn’t make it into Harvard like all of the Fletschbaum’s before him: a disappointment to the neighborhood standards.

Every time I run into one of our neighbors, they always feel obliged to tell me what wonderful people the Larsons were and add an almost (but not quite) inaudible sigh to make sure I understand how much they are missed. They remind me of how much time they spent in the Larson’s home and loved the decor and always came over for a good chat. Our neighbors are still in denial. It’s like when people automatically enter sainthood by dying–no matter what kind of ingrates they were in life, they’re still held in the highest esteem. The only problem is, the Larsons were the perfect neighbors*. And we’re the people who killed them and tried to take their place.

All this brings me to a story from yesterday. As I was cleaning up winter’s left-over party favors from the yard, with the birds singing alongside me and squirrels helping me rake up my pile of leaves (I added that last part for effect), George, taking his usual bicycle route, struck up a conversation with me that went something like this.

George: Hello there! I knew the neighbors who lived here before you. They were some good neighbors. We really miss them. They really took nice care of the place.

My thoughts: Yeah, I know, everyone keeps reminding me of that fact. A club for disappointed neighbors is being formed. You should join.

What I said: Yes, the Larsons are some really sweet people. (I did mean that part) You know, they live right down the road now.

Thoughts: If you want them as neighbors so much, you should take your bike over and visit them and see how nice their new yard is kept.

George: Yes, I know. And thank you for picking up the sticks in the yard, that makes it look much better.

Thoughts: What?! As if the snow didn’t just melt five days ago. He must have been on his bicycle everyday this week, looking at our yard, clicking his tongue wondering why we’ve let the yard go to pot.

What I said: Hehe, yep.

So here’s to imperfection! Cheers!

*Looking up the term “perfect neighbor,” it states: The Larson’s: sociable, neighborly, perfect gardeners.

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