Monday, April 16, 2012

Yardwork and me--a history

Yardwork. Gardening. Landscaping. Call it whatever you want. It's not my thing. I love the warm weather, but I'd rather be outside swimming or going for a walk or trying some sort of sport than I would mowing the grass or weeding.

Growing up, I did my fair share (actually, it was probably much less than my fair share) of yardwork. My parents have a pretty large yard. Well, the front yard is smaller, but the backyard is big. The house is built on a hill, so the backyard slopes downhill and then levels out at the bottom (yielding a perfect flat space to play kickball, install a basketball goal, or set up a trampoline--all things that happened when I was growing up), running into a small wooded area and a creek. In addition, there are two decks: the upper deck is off of the first-floor dining room and the lower deck is off of the walk-out basement. It's a great house for a party. It also requires a lot of outdoor maintenance.

When my brother, Max, and I would get put to work in the yard, he usually did a little better with the chores (despite being several years younger than me). I would work diligently for about half an hour, then I'd get bored. I had no interest in mowing the grass, planting flowers, or weeding. If I was mowing, I was stuck finishing that job, because it'd be pretty noticeable if I just stopped. Otherwise, after my 30 minutes of work, I'd head inside to eat a bowl of ice cream and either read a book or watch TV.

Like I said, the yard was pretty large. If my parents were working in the backyard and I'd been given a job in the front, or vice versa, it was easy to go inside without being noticed. They couldn't see me, and it was too far away to yell for me. Plus, they were busy doing their own work, so it wasn't like they were going to stop and come find me. Unless I timed it badly and they were just finishing up a task and coming to my part of the yard, I was usually safe inside for a good 30 to 45 minutes before they discovered I was missing. They'd call into the house for me to come back and help out again, and I'd say, "I'll be there in a minute!" That usually bought me at least 15 minutes, and sometimes more. In that time, they could get a lot of work done, meaning there was less to be done once I finally did go back out there.

Sorry, Mom and Dad.

Fast-forward to a few years ago, when I was in the market for my own house. One of the things on my list was a small yard and minimal landscaping, something that would be easy to maintain. I'd grown up and knew that yardwork was just one of the many responsibilities of being a homeowner. But I knew I had no interest in it, so I wanted something that would require minimal work.

And that was exactly what I got when I bought a condo. There's an HOA fee that we pay every month, and that covers much of the work (like mowing, raking, and putting mulch around the trees), as well as other maintenance- and weather-related issues (plowing or shoveling snow, salting the roads, putting new roofs and siding on each of the homes on schedule, taking care of the pool, etc.). It's great--the people do a great job, and it's worth every penny. The neighborhood looks really nice.

But we're responsible for the landscaping around the house, meaning that mulching and weeding are things I still have to do. Fortunately, I don't have to do much in the way of flowers, as the previous owner(s) planted perennials that look good every year. Also, we don't have a big house, so there isn't too much space to cover. We put down mulch once a year, weed every couple of weeks or so, and that's it. That's my kind of yard!

But that isn't all. David moved in to the condo with me when we got married, but before that, he had (and still has) his own house. He rents it out, and while the tenants are responsible for mowing, we have to do the rest of the work. We've already made a few trips to the house this spring to do some weeding and picking up sticks. (Oh, and we bought a new lawn mower, as the old one died at the end of last summer).

Actually, before we got married and David moved in, I still helped him regularly with yardwork at his house. It certainly wasn't because I enjoyed it, but because I was being a nice girlfriend. David jokingly nicknamed these times "date days"--if doing yardwork isn't a good date, I don't know what is. I joked back by asking if he'd be taking me to dinner at the Speedway down the street for a hot dog once we finished the work. (He never did. But sometimes we went to Qdoba.)

I still think I've gotten better, though. I don't look forward to date days, but I don't complain about them, either. And a couple Saturdays ago, I was the one who suggested we do some weeding and trimming and general clean-up here at the condo. And I was the one who suggested mulching the following weekend

Of course, the fact that it only takes about 30 minutes for the two of us to get all the work done doesn't hurt, either.


  1. I have an embarrassingly overgrown front garden right now. I keep saying that as soon as the weather permanently improves I will go out there and do something about it--yard work is NOT my thing, either. My husband just bought a riding mower for our yard, and asked if I'd want to mow over the summer. I said no thanks. :P

    30 minutes--I'd say you have it good! :)

    1. Yeah, I keep blaming the weather, too. I don't know what I'm going to use as my excuse when summer is officially here! Good answer on the lawn mower.... I would've said the same thing! 30 minutes is great.... one of the perks of having a condo. I'm not sure what I'm going to do once we're in a house!