Mr. McKay and I live in a townhouse (he likes to say- "This is our Tiny House," when I watch Tiny House Nation on HGTV), our neighbors are close because we share walls with them.
We try our best to be friendly. I don't need to be friends with all of them, but it's nice to say hi to the people you share a porch with. Or to know that someone will let you borrow their snow shovel to dig your car out if yours happens to break during a blizzard.
A new neighbor moved in next door to us in the beginning of the summer. She has been dubbed "the weird dog lady." I know we shouldn't talk. We can easily be the weird cat people. But, she's weird.
She's nice enough, and we have worked up to getting her to say hi. Before she would act like she didn't see us and then dart back into her house. Or wait in her car until we passed by before she got out to walk to her door. Maybe she was sizing us up. Now, she does say hello to us, but it always has a theme. She either mentions our cats, which she sees in our big front picture window, or she says something about the landscaping crew that comes once a week.
She likes to garden. Now mind you, we live in townhouses, each of us has a tiny little 2'x4' patch of dirt in front of the front window that has shrubs in it. Our community has a housing association and they send out a landscaping crew. We still aren't clear—after 7 years of living here—if it is our responsibility to weed this little plot of land, or their's.
Some people plant a few flowers in there, the lawn crew seems to leave them all alone. The most we ever do is Mr. McKay will buy new mulch every spring to throw under the shrubs and cover up the weeds that are growing there. We also have some flowers growing in a tiny sliver of dirt beside our back deck.
I am not a gardener. I don't enjoy any part of it. Dirt. Bugs. Sweat. It's not my cup of tea. We never had neighbors that did much to the outside of their house. And now this lady moves in and she's making our half-assed mulching look sad compared to her vast garden.
I don't really care if people look and judge. I have been making myself nervous that she is going to report us to the housing association for out of control weeds or dead flowers. You do not want the housing association on your back. They leave letters in your door and threaten to fine you. We have had notices about our back porch light (the globe around the bulb was cracked), ivy growing on the front of our house, and an old picnic table that our landlords left here that the association thought looked "rickety." Well, it was rickety, but it also wasn't ours.
So we have these flowers out back. And they all died. My mother in law mentioned that if we cut the heads off they would re-bloom. They also kind of spread and started growing in the cracks of our deck and I kept saying we should do something about that. (Really hoping Mr. McKay was going to take the hint because he likes doing garden-y things more than me.)
|The flowers before they died. Picture this mess but dead and brown.|
I built up the paranoia in my mind and was convinced that weird dog lady was going to report our lazy gardening skills to the housing association. This weekend the weather was beautiful, it was mild and sunny. So I ventured out back. Ten minutes into my foray in gardening I had tiny cuts in my hands, I kept screeching when a bug flew in my face, and despite the cool breeze I was sweating. But I was barely halfway through and couldn't abandon the project because then it would look really obvious I had started to make an effort and decided against it.
Forty-five minutes later all of the dead flowers had been removed. Weeds had been pulled up and things looked tidier. Whether or not the flowers would re-bloom was yet to be determined, but I had dirt under my nails and grass in my flip flops so I was done.