Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hit 'n' Run

We had a hit and run at our mailbox at the end of last week. No, it wasn't teenagers out hitting them with bats, a drunk driver, or even a speed-crazed cyclist. This hit and run came in the form of a letter in the mail.

The envelope was hand addressed to "Neighbors" at our address. In the corner where the return address goes, they simply wrote the name of our subdivision. When I opened the letter this is what I found--and I'm giving it to you verbatim, capital letters, punctuation and all:




HAVE YOU LOOKED AT YOUR MAILBOX???? Does it need to be Replaced or a Repainted post?

Call: MAIL BOX SOLUTIONS # xxx-xxxx(takes 1 week for new mailbox)

HAVE YOU LOOKED AT YOUR SHUTTERS?????? Do they need replacing or Painted? Do it.

Home Depot and Lowes sell replacements and a Painter is only a phone call away.

DOES YOUR YARD NEED FERTILIZER AND TRIMMING OF TREES AND SHRUBS??? I BET YOUR NEIGHBORS WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOUR YARD CLEANED UP :). Mulch is a wonderful addition for your yard and you can make it a family day, spreading the mulch. Time to remove dead trees in your yard.

PAINT YOUR FRONT DOOR. A new fresh coat of paint looks great on anything. Try a new color to match your home.


Next to the bit about the shutters and the fertilizing and the really sweet line about neighbors liking to see our yard spruced up, they hand wrote giant asterisks in poison bright green.

This did not come from our homeowners association. It wasn't written on the HOA letterhead, and frankly, the HOA letters are better written. This is from one of our neighbors. One of the people that we see daily. Someone we wave to on the street. People we smile at.

And get this! They didn't have the cranial capacity to mail one to everyone to cover themselves. So far, out of all the neighbors we talked to (including the suspected neighbor), we are the only household to receive one. Nice, eh? How's that for a little passive/aggressive epistle writing?

The thing is, if these concerned neighbors had come down and spoken to us--even if they had been blunt and said something along the lines of "Dude, your yard looks like crap. It's bringin' me down. When are you gonna fix it? Any plans?" we would have politely enlightened them to what's been going on at Casa Ganey and what our To Do List looks like. And probably we would have told them all the things we (and by "we" I mean my husband) had to do to this house just to make it habitable. Things like: spending a week tearing out drywall and fixtures from the finished basement and ridding it of mold. Tearing out the hardwood flooring on the main floor that was buckled and destroyed because the previous owner didn't pay his sewage bill and the utility company put a block on his sewage pipe, causing the waste to back up ALL OVER THE FLOORS. We had to get rid of mold here too. Then we had to lay new hardwood flooring. We had the sprinkler system fixed. We installed a new sump pump that isn't reliant on electricity, so our basement will stay dry and not be a breeding ground for mold again. We had to get the heat to work--we still don't know if our a/c is working, we're waiting on really warm weather (which will probably happen when my husband is out of town on business and happily ensconced in a hotel with the thermostat set at "meat locker"). We had to fix leaks in the roof. And that's just stuff we've done since October.

If this person had come down and spoken to us, they might have discovered that my husband had just seeded and fertilized the lawn. Thereby rendering it plain ol' stupid to put weedkiller down, as it would kill the grass seed. They also might have seen him cleaning the mildew and fungus off of the corner of the house and over the windows. He probably would have told them that we've purchased paint for our shutters and door and it's sitting in our mudroom and will be applied in the next few weeks after he's pressure washed the shutters and door and when (please for the love of all that is holy!) it STOPS RAINING long enough to see the sun! And oh, yeah--he's doing it himself not hiring someone. Because we don't have a money tree in our backyard to hire it done (and our neighbor apparently won't share the bounty from his/hers).

I love how they write "Do it." after talking about painting the shutters. The little " :) " kills me--like they don't really mean to be jerky and the little smiley face is the proof. And the part about making spreading mulch a "family day"? Apparently, they don't know my family very well. If they need evidence, I point them to this post. But possibly my favorite part of the letter is the last part. You know, the one where they wish us a HAPPY SPRING but didn't include an exclamation point. They must have used them up in the body of the letter.

We've thought about how to respond and our ideas have run the gamut from the mean--when we know the writer, let's copy this letter and send it back to them with proofreading marks on it and suggestions for how to write a persuasive letter--to the funny--donning a uniform and pretending to be a survey taker and then having them hand write the word "neighbor" for comparison--to the hillbilly--getting an old recliner or two, placing them in the front yard, then sit around in them--my husband in a grubby t-shirt and cut-offs and me in a tube top {HORROR!} and cut-offs with a cooler and beer and then proceed to yell at our kids. Calling them names like Cletus and Cooter and Sissy and Pearline.

In the end, we've decided that we'll let our HOA know that someone is trying to do their job (and making a mess of it) and let the HOA figure it out. And we'll also just try to be neighborly and kind, because it's the right thing to do, and show our neighbors that we know there's a good bit of work to do around here by continuing to work on our house, as much as we can with the time and funds available to us.

But even after all of that, our lawn is not going to look like green carpet. This is a home with children. We expect our children and their friends to run across it and even ride their bikes over it occasionally. We have a dog. There will be, um, natural fertilizer. We will keep it picked up. And, yes, there will probably always be dandelions. Oh, we'll do lawn maintenance, but we won't be taking it to the Nth degree. Because, frankly, when it comes down to it, there are more important places to spend our efforts; we tuck them in every night.

**Still working to fix comments. You may comment or contact me via email if you like. Thanks!

blog comments powered by Disqus