Living in suburbia has a culture all its own. We moved into our house in the 'burbs almost 2.5 years ago and we're still trying to adjust. Before we lived here we lived within Pittsburgh city limits (don't blame Lukey on me! I never voted for him!) on a teeny tiny lot with about 3 trees - one of which was really the neighbor's. Our lawn was approximately the size of a postage stamp (as was our kitchen) and took precisely 87 seconds to mow. Yard care was not a high priority nor a time consuming task.
The reason I tell you this is to explain why it is that when we were looking for a new house we never even considered how much yard care a given house would involve. Well, we found THE house and it just happens to be situated on half an acre and is surrounded by large maples and oaks. Like many homes in and around Pittsburgh, our backyard is a hill. We've got about 20 feet or so of flat ground directly out the back of the house and then it starts going up. So, the whole back hill is woods. The rest of the property is ringed with trees.
You can imagine what this means come Fall.
Now, it seems like the people in my neighborhood all belong to the Lawn Mafia. I'm not lying when I tell you that I once came home on a 20 degree day when it was snowing to find my neighbor across the cul de sac mowing his lawn and picking up leaves. The man is obsessed. He's the worst example but everyone around here puts in a lot of work from early spring to early winter caring for their yards, gardens, and lawns.
Us? Well, not so much. It's not that I don't want to be able to devote time to to it but we have the youngest kids in the neighborhood and it always seems like there's something else going on to prevent us from doing more than the bare minimum. Last Fall I was pregnant, had a 3.5 year old, and my husband had a broken wrist. The few nice days we had, I just didn't have the energy to spend all day on leaf clean up. This year, I have an infant, a 4.5 year old, and a husband with the Hamthrax.
To top it off, our leaves tend to blow onto the lawns of at least 4 of our neighbors. I know they don't appreciate it. Last year Neighbor Man (he of the 20 degree lawn mowing) left several bags of leaves out with OUR trash just as a silent dig to the fact that he was cleaning up our mess thankyouverymuch. This year, another neighbor has erected a leaf fence to defend themselves from our leaves.
I feel so bad, but I also feel torn. I only have so much time and energy and while I *do* make an effort, I can't seem to get completely on top of the job, and keep the house clean, the laundry done, the kids fed, and myself remotely sane. It seems like every year I throw in the towel on the leaves in an effort to keep up with everything else. You'd think that with a college degree and no job, I'd be better at this. But I'm so not. Sigh.
So, yeah, we're those neighbors you give the evil eye for bringing down your property values.
UPDATE: After writing this post I felt so guilty about not raking leaves that I went outside and raked for an hour and a half. The job isn't even close to done but it's the thought that counts, right? RIGHT?