Photo: Steve Bender

See what happens when you don't mow your lawn and let weeds grow up all over the place? The city places an embarrassing sign in front of your house. This is Grumpy's neighbor and Grumpy would like to know how you feel about it.

But before we continue, a brief word to anyone contemplating a diatribe against having lawns. This post does not concern that, so don't waste everyone's time with the same, tired argument you feel compelled express every five minutes. Thank you.

The Back Story Grumpy didn't turn in these neighbors. Somebody else did and I'm glad. They've been nothing but bad news ever since they moved in. They don't maintain the yard. They take in unsavory types to live there. One group hung plastic over the windows so you couldn't see in and left the lights on 24 hours a day (Gosh, what could have been going on inside?) A car caught fire in the driveway and burned into a black lump. They left the hulk there for weeks until ordered to haul it away. They refuse to take their stuffed garbage cans to the street and let trash blow all over the neighborhood. (Grumpy did complain to the city about that.) They leave newspapers on their driveway until they dissolve.

Then there was the time at Christmas when they nailed up "No Trespassing" signs around the yard. HO! HO! HO!

Oh, don't let me forget the dozen times the sheriff has been there to serve papers or the time I came home to find five police cars with lights flashing parked in front and the whole SWAT team armed with assault rifles surrounding the place. Exciting!

The Now Story The lawn has not been mowed once this year. (Fortunately, it's Zoysia, which never gets more than 4-5 inches tall.) Weeds, trees, and bushes are growing it. Cheap, empty flower pots have been sitting by the steps for a year. Lest you think the yard doesn't look bad enough to warrant the sign, let me present another view.

emPhoto: Steve Bender/em

Yep, that's wild goldenrod blooming in the middle of that mess. Hey, maybe they just love native plants!

What Would You Do? Talking to these people accomplishes nothing. Think we should be nice and pull their weeds for them? We've done that and the weeds grew back. Think we should roll their garbage cans to the curb because they're too lazy to do that? We've done that too. Think we should peel the papers off their driveway and recycle them? Been there. Done that.

Neighborhoods with active homeowner associations generally look better. But I've heard horror stories about heavy-handed associations issuing citations for really piddly stuff. Our association doesn't do that. It mostly maintains the neighborhood entrance and repairs street signs.

Which of these two neighborhoods would you like to live in? One that issues lots of edicts, but looks nice? Or one that lets you do what you want and looks seedy?

Grumpy wants to know.