Sunday, November 06, 2016
Click on the above photograph.
In between the grassy middleground and the leafy foreground, you will see a thin, green, wire fence. It is the kind home improvement stores put on sale, convincing you it can protect your vegetables. But the BUNNIES will laugh hysterically as they jump over it to devour your produce. No my friends, this is an effective, passive-agressive fence your retired neighbors put up along the property line after they have become weary of your unraked leaves blowing into their freshly raked yard.
I'll give you one guess as to whose yard is which.
That photo was taken last year. During a time when I was fiercely trying to prove I deserved a promotion by working more hours than I already had been, through lunches, over weekends and then some more, especially because I was taking two 30-minute breaks to extract nourishment from my body to feed my infant. This also happened to be when Jon and I were brokebrain from not having had a good night's sleep in more than a year (and still haven't, to this day), because our child inherited the Cadiz "what-if-something-cool-happens-I-can't-sleep-I'll-miss-it" gene. Our laundry would get laundered, dried, folded and then set on the couch until all of it had been reworn, only to be laundered again before seeing the inside of a drawer. My blessed mother would cook for us. Or we'd have take out. Or popcorn. And what little time we did have at home, we wanted to cherish the fact that our kid started talking and rolling over and crawling and falling asleep on our shoulders, even if it wasn't for long. The absolute LAST thing on our to-do list was raking the leaves.
I get it, retired people, you've done your time. Your yard probably looked like our garbage one for awhile, and now that you can tend to it in between naps and other things you get to do that make me jealous, you want it to remain that way. I know putting up the passive-aggressive fence it made you feel bad because you seem to like us. But you dislike redoing yardwork more. I don't hold it against you. That said, putting off precious family time or sleep to ensure your lawn stays pristine? That just wasn't going to happen.
When the neighbors put up that fence it made Jon laugh. Among other things, it made me feel like a failure at life.
This fall, our kid is peeing on the potty (only when there are Finding Dory stickers on the line) and negotiating specific meal ingredients (any green vegetable is considered "broccoli" and must be removed from the fork at once--that gene she got from Daddy). She is relatively content to do a puzzle with her aunt or run back and forth across the basement 45 times in front of the tv while her father watches the game. I recently hit an all-time low at work and realized there simply isn't any more I can give to this job. So I'm taking back my life--by working just the hours I'm paid for--and now there's a sliver of time to rake.
I took a day off this past week with the simple purpose of scraping all the leaves from our yard and bagging them without shortchanging time with my family. After three hours of sweating it out, the retired neighbors pull into their driveway. We exchanged pleasantries, I gave them some misdelivered mail and the lady mentioned they'd hired a service to rake their leaves this year, because on our beautiful, oak-lined street, it's simply too much work to keep up. I looked back at my yard, sprinkled with fresh leaves since I had turned around to chat. You aren't kidding, Grandma.
That lawn service's number is now stuck to our refrigerator with a giraffe magnet.