Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Don't Want To Be My Neighbor: Reason 9,724

Remember in my last post how Mary was lamenting my neighbor's lack of "sunflowers"? Well, said neighbor's husband put the idea in our heads to pay our children 25 cents a "sunflower" for picking them off before they went to seed. His rationale was that doing so would lead to fewer "sunflowers" in our yard. I know the real truth, however. The dude is into self-preservation. Well, maybe not self-preservation, but verdant green carpet-like lawn preservation--his, not ours, obviously.

My husband thought this was a great idea. I did too, with one small reservation: we'd be depleting our bank account just to rid ourselves of "sunflowers". I countered that perhaps a dime a flower would be better on our pocketbooks.

We broached the idea with the children the other night over dinner. After I told them that we'd pay them to pick "sunflowers", Maggie immediately responded that she "had enough money", thankyouverymuch, and would not be participating in this particular money-making scheme. James and Sean both perked right up at the idea of cash (to be converted immediately into video games) and enthusiastically volunteered their help. Mary, not to be left out, offered her services as well, because she's "really, really good at picking flowers, Mama."

With visions of Little House on the Prairie-esque family cooperation, I decided that on the next nice day, we'd start.

That day arrived today. I decided to go out a bit this afternoon and get started, thinking that as the children came home from school, they'd all jump right in. And here is where I'd like to insert a great big HA!

True to her word, Maggie was not about to lift a finger on this task. She walked back from the bus stop, said "Hi Mommy! Havin' fun?", kissed my cheek and went into the house to find a screen of some sort to occupy her.

Mary flitted in and out of the house alternating between picking random "sunflowers" and delcaring herself the "best flower and weed picker" and stepping on my fingers as she looked for her next victim.

The boys came home from the bus and scared the bejeebers out of me, because by this time, I wised up and put on cruddy clothes and my ipod (Because really, there's just not a better way to pick "sunflowers" than listening to the "party" playlist on the ipod and shakin' my tush. ) and couldn't hear their approach. So when James' feet appeared in my line of vision, I let out a little squeal--okay, a big squeal, but it didn't sound so big to me what with my earbuds in and all...

James offered to help. He said "Um. I'll pick 10 and you can give me a dollar."

Wait, what? Was this our bargain?

"You're stopping at 10?" I asked.

"Yeah, give me a dollar and I'm good," he said handing me his flower heads.

I was still scratching my head over this when Sean, not to be outdone, said "I've picked 11. You can give me 1.10." (Yeah, when money is involved, my kids are math geniuses. Put them in charge of this economy and we'd be turned around inside a week!)

Then they both went inside leaving me to my task and dashing my dreams of being "Ma Ingalls".

Our house sits on about a half an acre. I worked about an hour and a half. I think I cleared about a 1/16th of an acre--and that's probably being generous.

Just in case you think I'm exaggerating, (who, me?) I've included some pictures for your enjoyment.

This is what the grass in the neighbors' yard on the left looks like:And this is what the neighbors' yard on the right looks like:And this is what our yard looks like (this shot is about 1 square foot of many bajillions of square feet in our yard):This is what happens after you pick dandelions. My hands are still stained even after vigorous scrubbing. Now they're not quite so vibrant. They look more like nicotine stains--like I've been smoking 2 packs a day for 40 years. Lovely.

And here, here is my bounty:Anyone know how to make dandelion wine? Because I'm thinking that when I'm finished, my crop could make a cellar's worth.

Also, 10 cents a flower? Yeah, right. More like a penny. My children would have more money than me!

I'm thinking that I just might plop that bag on my husband's desk and ask him to pay up. I have a feeling he'd tell me the check is in the mail.

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