Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Tree Falls in Nifty's Yard

Spring, that season of bursting greenery which spurs an annual ride-on lawn mower extravaganza in my neighborhood. NISTFTSA, who I’ve decided to call Nifty for short, has begun his tradition of thrice weekly two-hour rides around his half-acre patch of paradise, rusty mower grinding up sticks and burping up stones. Nifty and the fam spend as little time as possible inside their dark, dingy house, preferring to camp out on their various backyard decks for six months of the year, blasting classic rock and watching the seasons change in their above-ground pool. One of Nifty’s dead pine trees just partially collapsed, sadly only onto his own chain link fence. I admit I was hoping it would fall into Creepetta & The Hamburglar’s yard, as that right there would have been some entertainment.

Creepetta, she of the disturbingly prominent mustache that fascinates Phartacus, knows every single blade of grass that belongs to her, and will not hesitate to tell you so. When I first moved here, she leaned over the chain-link to tell me that their fence person had put the fence in wrong, so those coneflowers I was watering should actually be hers. (We did eventually put in a 6ft wooden fence along the proper boundary in back, and the coneflowers were so aggrieved to find themselves in Creepetta’s care that they migrated under the fence back here the following season.) Soon after that, I briefly parked my car on the side of the road between our two driveways while we did some yard work, and she came over to ask me if I knew where my property boundary was, because I was parking in front of her property, and two of my tires were on the edge of her grass.  The coneflowers shook their heads knowingly.

Mind you, these people have four cars (including one that’s actually a peeling storage unit stuffed with Hefty bags) and two driveways, yet they will park beside one driveway, on the grass right up next to their house, in the middle of the lawn. But not on the edge of the road. Lord no.

We had a snowfall that first winter, and after The Mister cleared our driveway, he went over to shovel Creepetta’s. Couple hours later, she came home, saw the cleared driveway, and came knocking on our door to tell us that she was “extremely uncomfortable” that The Mister had done that, because they were not elderly and could shovel their own driveway. I told her not to worry, it sure wouldn’t happen again. Gossip came back to us that she’d told her pastor about “the incident”, worried we might have been trying to peek in their windows. Of course, you know what I’ve wanted to do ever since…

Next spring, we had a birthday party for wee Phartacus, and warned the guests not to park in front of Creepetta’s house. One of them parked across the street from her driveway, and we were in the middle of cake and presents when, guess what? Ding-dong. No one’s supposed to park over there, either. (Hey, guess what else? I wrote that before “The Wizard of Oz” started on TV, and as I type the Munchkins are singing, “Ding dong the witch is dead.” It’s as though the universe hears me.)

I used to feel sorry for Creepetta’s husband, The Hamburglar, who rides his mower wearing a black, large-brimmed hat and a hospital mask. But when we were putting in a front yard fence and connecting it to their chain link as agreed (this was before the 6ft privacy fence in the back; we could only afford to sequester in stages) he came marching over, puffing and ready for a fight, to insist we pay the fencers an extra $300 on the spot to put a gate in the connecting section, in case he wanted to access the tiny triangle of his grass for any reason.

A couple years later, it seemed that our post oak was infringing on their rights, and Creepetta came marching over to tell me about her prerogative to trim tree branches that extended into the air above her property. OK. I asked that I be notified when the trimmers were coming so that I could see what they were going to do. The next week, I came home to find great chunks of the tree lopped off, and all I could think was what she would have done if I’d plucked a blade of grass out of her lawn without her written permission.

So I was rather looking forward to the day when one of Nifty’s dead trees dared fall into Creepetta & The Hamburglar’s yard. Given their distinct proclivities, it could have been an episode of “Cops”. So disappointing. The good news is, plenty of other dead trees in Nifty’s yard.

Robble robble.
That's my grass patch, bitch.

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