The grass is always greener

I thought I was bad.

I’ve mentioned before how I’m a little anal about the condition of our lawn. In all actuality most of it was an act – I do care about our lawn very much, as in I care if there are unsightly yellow spots or if it’s too long. But I’d never go so far as to have it chemically fertilized once a month or get the lawn scissors out to get the exact corners every week. I like the lawn to look nice, but no matter what, it’s still just lawn.

In fact, what happens almost every year is this:

1. Initial reaction. After the snow clears, I begin to take notice of our lawn. I notice the yellow spots that Becket has made by repeated urination. I see matted down areas where we consistently walked over packed snow. I begin to worry that this is the year that our lawn will be taken over by dandelions and clover, leaving nothing but an unwieldy patch of random foliage, none of which is actually “grass.”

2. Panic. As the days get warmer, the grass continues to be a dead mass. Sure, it’s too cold for the grass to grow at any normal rate, but that doesn’t stop me from full “lawn panic,” which includes at least, if not all, of the following things: natural organic fertilization; lawn thatching; planting grass seed in any small bare area; constant reminders to myself that everyone else will have a pristine lawn while mine continues to turn eight shades of brown.

3. Realization. The dandelions show up, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I begin to mow once a week, and come to the conclusion that it’s green, it’s growing, and it’s just fine. I trim every time I mow in an effort to keep it as immaculate as possible, but I’m not worried about the state of the lawn itself.

4. Boredom. I mow only when the lawn is long. I trim only once every other time I mow. My lawn is only at its best when people are stopping by. It still looks good, but it’s not even a small concern to me anymore. It has filled out fine, all of my worrying was for naught, and so I concede that the lawn has won over my anxiety for another year. I begin to worry about more useful things, like ticks, or Miami Dolphins’ running backs.

I am currently on stage four.

My neighbor, however, is always at stage one.

It’s funny, actually. He makes my lawn neuroses look almost normal. He has mowed four times in the past two weeks, trimming and sweeping every single time. I have seen the lawn care van in his front yard at least twice a month since the summer started. He sprays his lawn with some kind of grub mixture – the kind in the green bottle that has eighteen different warnings about improper ingestion. Once, we caught him sprinkling his lawn at midnight on a Saturday. We’ve been without rain for roughly one day in the past month and a half, and he’s out there throwing more water on the lawn. He’s only in his early thirties, I’d bet, which makes it even more weird.

Kerrie says they had a dog for one day, but had to take him back. I suspect that the dog, presented with the perfect lawn, deposited a small prize, and our neighbor killed him.

The real story, though, is that today I found myself with a better-looking lawn than him. I had just freshly mowed, and his lawn was still a little long. It was wonderful. I made a note to myself to take a picture and post it tonight along with this.

But, alas, when I came home, he had mowed everything up, stealing an opportunity by me to one-up the neighbors who’s primary objective is to consistently one-up our lawn. I’ll be damned if he’s going to do it all summer, though.

Well, if I ever get up from this computer long enough to trim the yard, that is.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 7th, 2005