Their lawn is a flawless expanse of green. Not a weed in sight. They don’t have a lawn service, he does it all himself. Sometimes he mows three times a week. And he has decorative sprinklers that he moves at precise intervals so that each square inch of grass gets the same amount of water. My yard is brown. The only green things are weeds. The backyard is a poop minefield with conspicuous yellow patches at Boss’s “favorite spots”. It gets watered when it rains, and it gets mowed when Michael feels like it, or when he reminds John to do it. I don’t even know how to start the mower.
My neighbor’s dog passed away shortly after our dog Millie died, but Belle was always a well-mannered dog, walking calmly around the neighborhood on her leash and chasing a frisbee in the backyard. Our dogs can only be walked by a full-grown man with excellent upper-body strength, because even with choke collars, spiked collars, harnesses, and gentle leaders they run like escaped lunatics. They bark at the neighbors through the fence, and have no interest in chasing anything that doesn’t have fur or feathers.
Our neighbors have a detached garage, and so do we. But while theirs hold two cars and a collection of shiny tools that I suspect are stored alphabetically ours holds rusty junk and the occasional wild animal.
Even in the winter, when every other car in town is splashed with mud and brine, theirs are clean and shiny. I haven’t figured this one out yet, but I suspect garage elves.
As soon as temperatures rise in the Spring they suit up and go out bike-riding together. Matching bikes, matching helmets, matching outfits. It’s kinda creepy.
Every time I try to grow tomatoes the squirrels eat them. But they never eat my neighbor’s tomatoes. Last year they were handing me bags of fresh veggies over the fence because their little raised bed had produced too much for just the two of them. This only reinforces my belief that the Mutant Ninja Squirrels are out to get me.
They plant a lot of flowers in the Spring. They have a lovely perennial garden at the back of their yard (near my yard’s ever-growing brush pile), but they also fill window boxes on the garage and pots and hanging baskets on their deck. We both have a fondness for million bells, but somehow even with Miracle Grow mine never tumble enticingly from the pots like theirs do.
Their house is like something you’d see featured in Southern Living, maybe under the heading “Simple Cottage in Kentucky”. It’s an old house, with small rooms that looked dark and cluttered when the previous family lived there. But this couple has made stylish use of every square foot.
You know how sometimes it’s hard to tell which driveway belongs to which house? Not on this street. Their driveway is always smooth and black and perfectly edged. The flowers beds are edged, the mulched areas around the trees are edged, I’m waiting for am elaborate topiary to appear any day.
In short, I’m jealous. I want a perfect house and a perfect yard. But I love my dogs, even though they have no manners, and I’ll choose reading a good book over housework and yardwork every time. I just hope they aren’t looking across the fence in their matchy-matchy outfits thinking, “What a bunch of slackers!”
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