When I began the evening classes for our required 50 hours of samfunnskunnskap (Norwegian tongue-twister for Social Studies/Civics class) two years ago with my fellow blogger and favorite partner in crime here in Haugesund, ((btw, you should check out her blog, Life n’ Whatnot, but not until you are finished reading this first)) I thought our teacher, Keren, was joking. Or at least exaggerating a bit. It turns out that she really wasn’t…
One evening, while learning about how all things nabolaget (the neighborhood) usually function here in Norway–i.e. how to establish relationships with/handle problematic neighbors, what days and hours are acceptable to use your electrical yard tools without alienating your new neighbors, and the importance of doing your share in the dugnad (the mandatory, annual freshening up of the ‘hood)–Keren explained that Norwegians are notorious for pretty much working year round on improving their houses or their yards in some way or another, with the exception of taking the usual breaks for traveling to the mountains to ski, or south to ‘syden’. (For the definition of what ‘syden’ is, click here: https://takkfortipset.com/2015/10/06/norwegianisms/.) I laughed quietly to myself, raised my eyebrows and did a slight eye-roll and thought, “Yeah, ok lady… Who in their RIGHT mind would enjoy spending that much time working in their yard, repainting their house/fence/garage for the 100th time, building a garage or outdoor patio, or remodeling their kitchen or bath? And on a fairly scheduled rotation?!”
Apparently, lots of them do.
Like my husband.
And our neighbors. On both sides.
Until May of this year, I didn’t really let our eyesore of an overgrown, weed infested yard bother me too terribly much. Now, thanks to these neighbors, I am really beginning the loathe it. They made some truly astonishing Architectural Digest type transformations in both their landscaping and outdoor building this year, and ever since then, it’s slowly been giving me a complex.
Now when I speak of our overgrown, weed infested yard, you need to understand this: I’m not talking about a few stray weeds popping up here and there which would make one believe that the owners have been away on vacation all summer long. I’m talking about weeds that look like the owners have been away on vacation since 1985. Plus, whoever lived here before had obviously skipped the feng shui landscaping and maintenance class for new homeowners. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. At all.
Whereas this particular type of hot mess would certainly have earned us some kind of HOA citation delivered via certified mail in the States, luckily no one has said anything about it here. Well, at least not to our faces. Yet. Everywhere you look, there are lovingly, well-manicured lawns in our neighborhood, which are ironically, easily viewed from our living room windows. These hardworking people who make our neighborhood a true pleasure to drive through are probably just the sweetest people you could ever wish to meet, but I imagine (often–because I am that paranoid sometimes!) while out on their daily post-dinner walks, that they chuck a thumb in our direction and say to each other, “Hmmmph. You would think that after living in that house for 2.5 years, that they would have done SOMETHING to clean up that yard! I mean really, she’s not working a full time job–what the heck is she doing with all of her time anyway??”
I gotta tell you, my husband wonders that exact same thing every once in awhile.
Now, if this situation could have been solved with a mere lawnmower, believe me honey, I would have done that a looooooooooong time ago..but we live on a decently sized hill with an impressive downward slope, which makes up about 90% of our yard. So as you can see, mowing is not an option because of the amount of time alone that it would take to finish the job. Also, a lawnmower of any kind is really just out of the question due to the deep-and deceptive-incline. Safety first, and all that. Also, the fact that you would need about a GAJILLION miles worth of extension cords in order to reach every corner of our yard with our lawnmower is way beyond ridiculous.
A good example of ‘safety first’ when it comes to the slope in our yard (and yes, I am speaking from experience): what would appear to be a nice, firm piece of solid, grass-covered ground to the normal human eye, is, in stark reality, a soft, spongy moss and weed covered dip that precedes the hidden tree stump that the previous owners neglected to remove 15 years ago. I don’t know about you, but images of me losing a limb to a lawnmower instantly spring to mind..and that’s just one of the reasons why I wouldn’t dream of mowing our lawn.