Monday, May 12, 2008

Neighborly Love

I feel violated.

And, it's partly my fault.

When I got home today and checked the mail, there was a note in the mailbox. It was printed out on white paper. It was folded up in half and then in half again. It opened, "From the ********** Neighborhood Association:" (I'm leaving the neighborhood out). Right there, I got a little nervous.

The note went on to say, and I'm paraphrasing, that my lawn was disgusting and that I needed to take care of it. That my lawn was driving down the property values. That if I didn't want to take care of my lawn, I should move.

Yes, I have a dandelion problem. Part of my front lawn is more dandelion than grass. Weeds happen. And, it's true, the dandelions were tall and plenty. It's nice to know that someone is paying attention to us.

Though, I guess they didn't notice the grass was cut last weekend. I guess they didn't notice the rain on Friday and Sunday. I guess they didn't notice me spraying dandelion weed killer on Saturday. I guess they didn't notice my son cutting the grass on Saturday and running out of gas while my wife and I were away. I guess they didn't notice my wife has not been home for nearly a month. She's been waking up to go to work until 5pm then heading to the high school to work on costumes until Midnight. In the last week, she was there until 4am. But, I guess they didn't notice that.

I guess they are so absorbed with my lawn that they neglected to notice all that. Not to mention the other lawns in the neighborhood that have dandelion problems. I guess they didn't notice that because of my wife's hard work, that I've basically been a single dad for a month. I imagine they didn't notice their dogs crossing the street and pooping in my yard (that's not to say the people across the street left the note; their dogs crossing the invisible fence and the street to poop on my lawn is something I notice). I guess they don't notice that when *I* walk our dog, I carry a baggy with me and pick up after him - ON MY OWN LAWN! Nevermind that the neighborhood dog's seem to think my lawn is the place to poop on.

Friends, I feel violated.

For what it's worth, the lawn is completely cut now. We've had time to finish it (since it's not raining).

Well, the note still bothered me. I brought it to my neighbor since he's on the Homeowner Association Board. He is the neighbor who cuts his grass every other day. Yeah. Every other day. Believe it or not, I do respect that. It's not what I want to be, but it works for him.

I showed him the note and he agreed that it's not from the Homeowners. It's not on any kind of letterhead or even signed by anyone. It would be one thing to get an "official" letter from the Homeowner's Association. That would be embarrassing. But, it's very obviously not. It's very obviously someone in the neighborhood. And, that's what is especially bothersome.

This, however, is not embarrassing. It's creepy. And the worst part of it is that whoever left us that note now thinks we can be intimidated. After all, the grass was cut the same day. Worse yet, now that my wife is done with the show, we have time to weed the strawberry garden by the door. And, I have had plans to buy a weed-whacker with our economic stimulus money. I had already bought a hedge trimmer with some Christmas money. The fact of the matter is we have been on the verge of yard work beyond just mowing. Just needed the time.

But, now that we have time, this neighbor is going to think it's all because they left me a note. And, that's the saddest part of all. That's the part that makes me want to let my lawn turn to complete shit.

But, I won't.

If there's a lesson to be learned from this, perhaps it's the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37 In this passage, Jesus asked what must we do to inherit eternal life? He responds basically, "Love God with your all," and "Love your neighbor as yourself." I'm not making the obvious point. The next words to Jesus are, "But, who is my neighbor?" and Jesus responds with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In the end, the neighbor is the person who had mercy on a man who was robbed. But, it's the last 4 words that have the most meaning,: "Go and do likewise."

I read that passage and I realize I haven't been a good neighbor. I'm not referring to my lawn aesthetics. I mean, we've been here for two years and we don't really know anyone. We've had a few conversations with the lawn guy, mostly about our dogs. We don't see our other neighbor much. We like her though. She's an artist and from Russia. But, that's about the gist of it. I couldn't tell you the names of the people in the cul-de-sac across the street.

And there is probably the root of all problem. Whoever left us this note doesn't know us. Granted, no one has made a real effort either way. Still, I can't help but feel that we could have done more and could do more to be... neighbors... and learn to care for the people here.

UPDATE (5/14/08): We found out yesterday that we weren't the only house hit. Our Russian neighor came over and told us she had gotten the same letter. The worst part for them is her son got the mail that day. He gave the note to his mom and said, "I think we have hate mail." Poor kid. The President of the Homeowner's Association also called to assure us that the note was not from them and there were several houses that got the same note. It's at least nice to know we weren't the only target. But, that several homes got this note means there's the neighborhood has worse problems than our lawns.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Thoughts on Barack

I voted for Obama in today's primary.

A bit odd because I have been leaning toward Huckabee strictly because of the Fair Tax. When he ended up bowing out, I figured I would see survey the situation when the Indiana Primary rolled around. That was today. Hillary vs Barack...

I don't think I could vote for Hillary for any reason. Perhaps, if she supported the Fair Tax, but I don't think I could trust her support. I really don't want her to be President and if she's doesn't win the primary, all the better. But, I wanted my vote to mean more than just voting for the other guy. I mean, I still wanted to make a good decision based on my beliefs, morals and what I think is good for the country. Not just pull the lever on the person I dislike the least. This is something that has weighed on me for a while.

My biggest issues in this race are taxes and the economy. On the first issue, I will vote for who ever is down with the Fair Tax. Obama has not come out either way on the issue and last I saw was "still studying it." Let me tell you, if he gets the nomination and promises to pass the Fair Tax, McCain will lose.

The ecomony is in rough shape, but I don't think it's the gloom and doom that's been reported. Sure, gas prices and food prices are rising, but that has a lot to do with China and India's growning consumption, too. Actually, I think passing the Fair Tax would do wonders for the economy. But I digress, this is about Obama.

The thing that appeals to me the most about Barack Obama is that I feel he will talk to me like an adult on tough issues. I feel that he will listen to both the right and the left, and despite his way-left leanings, will make the best decision based on input from both sides of the isle... without getting in to a screaming match. That's what I hate about the political climate today. The divisiveness is not going to get us anywhere.

There are issues that are not black or white (or left and right or red and blue). There are ways to deal with those grey issues without insulting someone who thinks differently.

And, that's what most appeals to me about Obama. I can see him reaching across the aisle and says, "Yes, that's a great idea from the right." Conversely, I can see him saying, "I think that's good idea, person on the left." And, those decisions would be made after listening to all sides of the issue and making the best decision for the country.

I don't get that with any of the other candidates.

And, that is what I'm looking for in politics - Intellegent discussion and from that intellegent answers and solutions. Obama is easily the best bet to bring that around.

That is a change I would be quite welcome to see.