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Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The Weeds That Devoured Westfield

Anastasia here, and I’m frustrated.

We used to have next-door neighbors who took great pride in their backyard garden. From my kitchen window I could gaze out at a cornucopia of beautiful flowerbeds as I scrubbed pots and pans. Unfortunately, a few years ago these neighbors sold their house and moved away. More unfortunately still, the people who bought that house have left the lovely yard go to pot. (No, they’re not growing pot; that would be illegal in New Jersey. I’m talking about the other type of pot, the kind that grows out of neglect.)

My driveway butts up against the edge of their backyard. There’s no fence or wall blocking what has become a jungle of weeds. Some of these weeds are seven and eight feet tall. By the end of the summer they’ll probably grow another five feet or so. After all, weeds grow, well, like weeds, right?

I could understand if these neighbors were elderly and couldn’t keep up with the demands of yard work. If that were the case, I’d do the neighborly thing and pull the weeds myself, even though circumstances don’t allow for me having much in the way of free time (thanks to Dead Louse of a Spouse leaving me up the wazoo in debt and two steps away from living out of cardboard box if I don’t spend every available minute moonlighting to make ends meet.) But these people are not elderly; they’re at least a decade younger than I am.

They could hire someone to do the work for them. Finances are not an issue for them. They have money to spend on fancy cars and expensive furniture. Neither is time an issue. Not only is the husband a stay-at-home dad, the wife’s mother lives with them. Both are able-bodied and quite capable of pulling up weeds. So could their kids with next to no instruction because there’s nothing but weeds in the yard at this point. All the flowers are long dead.

I’ve tried talking to my neighbors. The neighbors who live behind them have also tried because the weeds are spreading into their yard. The weeds are also pushing up through the asphalt, destroying my driveway, a driveway I can’t afford to repave (again thanks to Dead Louse of a Spouse.) The weed seeds also blow throughout the neighborhood, creating more yard work for all the other neighbors.

I have to wonder why people who refuse to take care of their property buy homes in the first place. Why don’t they buy a condo or move to an HOA community where their fees would pay for landscaping upkeep?

Have you ever had to deal with neighbors like this? Anyone have any suggestions?

For those of you unfamiliar with the Dead Louse of a Spouse reference, you can learn all about my circumstances in Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series by Lois Winston. The book is currently featured in SleuthingWomen: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries boxed ebook set, for the phenomenally low price of just .99 cents.

As a working mom I'm clueless about my husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips, and my comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves me with staggering debt, our two kids, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. And that’s all before I'm accused of murder!

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Maggie Toussaint said...

Weeds never need any encouragement. They just grow and grow. I feel your pain.


Thanks, Maggie! I've often wondered as to the purpose of weeds. I don't think they have any purpose in the circle of life. So why do we even have them? I guess it's one of life's mysteries. But speaking of mysteries, you better believe Lois will be putting this in a book at some point!

Camille Minichino said...

Gloria Lamerino, who appears in SLEUTHING WOMEN ("The Hydrogen Murder") finds herself disagreeing here. After all, a weed is just a plant that grows without all the fuss needed for other plants. She doesn't understand why people bother to pull up one freely growing set of green leaves and plant another of the same color. A lot of work for nothing. Weeds get bad press and Gloria feels sorry for them.

Heather Haven said...

I'm with Gloria Lamerino. One man's weed is another man's blossom. Although, I'm not too crazy about Dandelions (allergies). And don't get me started on neighbors who let bamboo go wild. Given enough time, that stuff could fell a skyscraper. But keep trying, Anastasia.


Well, Camille, all I can say is I'm glad Gloria doesn't live next door to me. Can you imagine it? Weeds to the left of me! Weeds to the right of me! I'd have Little Shop of Horror type nightmares!


Heather, we do have some bamboo in the neighborhood, but luckily, those neighbors take care of their yard and don't allow the bamboo to get out of hand. Although, I wouldn't be upset if the bamboo overran the weed house. I'd much prefer bamboo to what's there now! Maybe we'd even have some cute little pandas move in. ;-)

Vinnie/www.vinniehansen.com said...

Hah! You haven't seen my neighbor's yard. Or their house. Equally as baffling. A mother and daughter live there, the mom retired from a good county job and the daughter gainfully employed. And yet they are letting everything collapse around them. Their roof is missing shingles and surely must leak. We are waiting for the black tarps to appear. The weeds are nothing compared to the rot, termite damage, and mold on the house. But, at least, we have a fence between us. We're glad they're to our side rather than across the street where we'd have to look at the property all the time.


Ugh, Vinnie! I feel your pain.

Camille Minichino said...

I'll be posting my Defense of Weeds tomorrow and will send the link, in hopes of converting some of you. :) (Thanks, Heather!)