Friday, May 13, 2011

Work: Reaping what I've sown

When I was 18, I was very, very wise.  Lucky for my husband, we met back then and I was able to share my wisdom before I grew up and no longer knew quite so much.

I taught him to love rollercoasters and Vietnamese food and tried to teach him how to drive stick.  The bulk of my efforts back then, though, were aimed at pointing out to him the wrongness of nearly every aspect of his happy suburban Long Island upbringing  in contrast to the rightness of my comparatively rural New England upbringing. 

Much to his parents’ chagrin, I preached to him the importance of being true to himself and making a difference in the world, thus ensuring that he would never find use for that suit that his mother bought him.  I also derided the inordinate amount of attention his parents and their neighbors paid to their tiny lawns.  I’d decry the wastefulness of all that sprinkler use and scoff at the laziness apparent in hiring a landscaper to mow a yard smaller than the living room.  Really, I’d sneer self-righteously, it’s just grass.  Why do you all care so much?

My mother-in-law will be happy to know that I am now reaping what I’ve sown.

I stand by the importance of rollercoasters and Vietnamese food (though I gave up on the stick and bought an automatic when Little E was a baby).  His being true to himself and making a difference in the world saves a lot on dry cleaning, so I try not to think about that suit-wearing salary we miss out on.  The lawn thing, though?  I’d like to give wise 18-year-old me a piece of my grown-up 35-year-old mind.

Five years ago we moved into our house (in a neighborhood not as suburban as his, nor as rural as mine) and suddenly, inexplicably, I morphed into a person who cared what the neighbors thought.  Thanks to my teachings, my husband did not experience such a transformation, and so while he is happy to mow the lawn, that is the extent of his landscaping efforts. He believes that green weeds, as long as they are mowed, are perfectly acceptable groundcover.  Having developed few lawncare skills in my youth, I have subscribed out of necessity to his theory.

 Unfortunately, the massive snow banks and pounds of road salt of this past winter have left large swaths of our front yard barren even to those green weeds I used to count on to fool the neighbors.  Far from being too occupied with whatever profundities 18-year-old me thought my in-laws were neglecting in order to focus on a lush yard, I find myself more than a little horrified by what the neighbors must think. 

As I am the only one in the house (though surely not the only one in the neighborhood) who cares about our lawn failure, it has fallen upon me to do something about it.  Earlier this week, armed with all of my grass-growing knowledge, gleaned mostly from a third grade art project involving a Dixie cup decorated with a drawing of a leprechaun’s face, I set out to reseed the lawn. . .or at least to send a message to the neighbors that though our lawn care is deficient we’re really not the derelict slobs our dusty front yard might suggest.

Given that I bought the cut-rate seed, skipped at least half of the preparation steps recommended on the bag, and have yet to set up (or purchase) a sprinkler, I’m not all that optimistic about what I’ll reap.  My effort, though, is clearly evident in the neatly raked dirt sprinkled with both seed and fertilizer.

I can only hope that the neighbors will give me some credit for having sown at all.


  1. We have some pretty beautiful spots like that in our yard, too. Yay snow plows. My hubs (who also grew up on LI, btw...weird), however, had a landscaping job as a teen and reads/watches more of This Old House than I care to discuss, so we're doing okay.