23 April 2012
Part of our lease agreement requires agreeing to specific minimum amounts of yard maintenance, as well as adhering to all of the rules and requirements of our subdivision’s HOA. Neither the lease nor the HOA are particularly forward-thinking in any respects, so instead of doing the sensible thing and turning our lawn into a .2-acre swath of reclaimed xeriscaped blackland prairie, we are instead honor-bound to not change anything and regularly pour (in our case, minimal and early-morning drip-hosed) water into the thirsty grass that should, by all rights, be left to mind its own business and go dormant in the summer heat.
I can already hear some of you urging me to fight the dominant lease- and HOA-imposed landscape paradigm, but, you guys, we have already ceded two security deposits in the past two years, due to Pete’s ability to find jobs at intervals that do not coincide with the duration of our leases. I’d like to at least try and go legit for once before cheerfully jettisoning yet another thousand-plus dollars, you know?
I thought that we’d been doing pretty well on the HOA front, what with me scrupulously keeping the trash and recycling bins away from street view and all. Several weeks ago, however, we got a nagging little email — routed, of course, via the leasing agency via the owner via the HOA — letting us know that we had unacceptable numbers of yard weeds and needed to mow the lawn.
This was, of course, two weeks after Pete took care of said weeds, then mowed down the resultant carnage. (If “carnage” can be described as looking like a packet of prewashed mixed salad greens left in the fridge for one week too long, that is.) They also mysteriously CC’d this email to my father, who, as a seventy-odd-year-old Ohio semi-retiree whose only presence on our lease is as an emergency contact, has really only the most perfunctory interest in our lawn maintenance.
Given this background, you can understand why our back neighbors are my new heroes. I don’t know them, but I already think that they’re pretty great, based on what we can see over the backyard fence.
Behold: the perfect image of suburban defiance. They can regulate your front lawn, but they can never take your backyard!