Signs of the Times


The contractor was out yesterday to repair the shower and the kitchen ceiling.  I always feel a little guilty when I have someone working in my house.  Perhaps guilty’s not the right word.  Maybe embarrassed is more appropriate: I’m embarrassed that I’m not being productive when someone else is working in my house.  So, despite the chill in the air, as soon as Squints and I wrapped up school for the day, we headed outside.

We raked and pulled weeds and evicted the dandelions from the front bed.  We stood back and admired our work.  And when we called it a day, I returned to the house with dirt beneath my fingernails and embedded in the knees of my jeans. 

I wore that dirt proudly.  My badge of honor, comparable to the thin coating of Thinset and spackling compound that decorated the contractor’s jeans and his shirt and even his glasses.

* * *
Lately, our homeowner’s association board has been intently studying the issue of yard signs.  Certain signs, apparently, detract from the beauty and tranquility of the neighborhood.  Contractor signs are OK--signs for roofers or lawn care companies.  And the five-by-five sign for the company that installed my neighbor's siding is permissible.  But those signs dealing with the local school district, either pro-board or pro-teacher, are forbidden.  People have been fined for displaying these signs.  Worse, someone in the neighborhood has requested a list of the names of the violators.  
* * *

This morning, my husband and I headed to the local Amish market to pick out a rocking chair for his birthday, a gorgeous maple custom rocker made in Ohio.  While he decided upon the finish, I wandered around the rest of the store.  And then I spotted it: A wooden clothes rack.

Clothes lines, of course, are not permitted in my development.  I bend the rules a little. 

But my old clothes rack broke a few years back and I’ve been holding it together with a twisted wire hanger.  This one was so much better: Amish made; dowels at least an inch round; and bigger—at least three feet tall.   I bought it immediately.

My husband set it up while I ran upstairs to pull the laundry from the washing machine.  “Uh, hon?”  He shouted up the stairs.

“Yeah?” 

“It’s big.”

“Good!”  I ran down the stairs with the basket on my hip, eager to try out my new purchase.  “Wow, it is big.”  At six feet tall, this clothes rack could easily fit over two loads.

I hung my laundry out, carefully hiding the whites on the inside, so as not to detract from the beauty and tranquility of the neighborhood.  I stood back and admired my clothes, drying in the breeze.  This was my rebellion to the board of my homeowner’s association.

I returned to my weeding.  I trimmed back bushes; raked out dead leaves; edged a bed; removed innumerable sweet gum balls that the boys use for currency every fall when they drop from the trees.  The cat curled up on my hosta, rolling over on his back for a stomach scratch. 

I flipped laundry and weeded and edged and trimmed.  I finished two beds and sat on the back porch with my husband drinking a cup of tea and enjoying the gentle breeze.  My jeans were dirty and my muscles were sore and for the first time in a long time, I felt as if I’d earned my dinner and my rest tonight. 

* * *

Squints came home from a friend’s house.  “Mom, the neighbors want to know what the tall thing is in the back yard.”

I laughed.  I folded my laundry and took down my clothes rack.

And if I get a fine from the homeowner’s association, there just may be a For Sale sign on our front lawn next week.

Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Signs of the Times

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Signs of the Times


The contractor was out yesterday to repair the shower and the kitchen ceiling.  I always feel a little guilty when I have someone working in my house.  Perhaps guilty’s not the right word.  Maybe embarrassed is more appropriate: I’m embarrassed that I’m not being productive when someone else is working in my house.  So, despite the chill in the air, as soon as Squints and I wrapped up school for the day, we headed outside.

We raked and pulled weeds and evicted the dandelions from the front bed.  We stood back and admired our work.  And when we called it a day, I returned to the house with dirt beneath my fingernails and embedded in the knees of my jeans. 

I wore that dirt proudly.  My badge of honor, comparable to the thin coating of Thinset and spackling compound that decorated the contractor’s jeans and his shirt and even his glasses.

* * *
Lately, our homeowner’s association board has been intently studying the issue of yard signs.  Certain signs, apparently, detract from the beauty and tranquility of the neighborhood.  Contractor signs are OK--signs for roofers or lawn care companies.  And the five-by-five sign for the company that installed my neighbor's siding is permissible.  But those signs dealing with the local school district, either pro-board or pro-teacher, are forbidden.  People have been fined for displaying these signs.  Worse, someone in the neighborhood has requested a list of the names of the violators.  
* * *

This morning, my husband and I headed to the local Amish market to pick out a rocking chair for his birthday, a gorgeous maple custom rocker made in Ohio.  While he decided upon the finish, I wandered around the rest of the store.  And then I spotted it: A wooden clothes rack.

Clothes lines, of course, are not permitted in my development.  I bend the rules a little. 

But my old clothes rack broke a few years back and I’ve been holding it together with a twisted wire hanger.  This one was so much better: Amish made; dowels at least an inch round; and bigger—at least three feet tall.   I bought it immediately.

My husband set it up while I ran upstairs to pull the laundry from the washing machine.  “Uh, hon?”  He shouted up the stairs.

“Yeah?” 

“It’s big.”

“Good!”  I ran down the stairs with the basket on my hip, eager to try out my new purchase.  “Wow, it is big.”  At six feet tall, this clothes rack could easily fit over two loads.

I hung my laundry out, carefully hiding the whites on the inside, so as not to detract from the beauty and tranquility of the neighborhood.  I stood back and admired my clothes, drying in the breeze.  This was my rebellion to the board of my homeowner’s association.

I returned to my weeding.  I trimmed back bushes; raked out dead leaves; edged a bed; removed innumerable sweet gum balls that the boys use for currency every fall when they drop from the trees.  The cat curled up on my hosta, rolling over on his back for a stomach scratch. 

I flipped laundry and weeded and edged and trimmed.  I finished two beds and sat on the back porch with my husband drinking a cup of tea and enjoying the gentle breeze.  My jeans were dirty and my muscles were sore and for the first time in a long time, I felt as if I’d earned my dinner and my rest tonight. 

* * *

Squints came home from a friend’s house.  “Mom, the neighbors want to know what the tall thing is in the back yard.”

I laughed.  I folded my laundry and took down my clothes rack.

And if I get a fine from the homeowner’s association, there just may be a For Sale sign on our front lawn next week.

Labels:

1 Comments:

At March 17, 2012 at 10:08 PM , Anonymous karen said...

I cannot imagine being at the whim of an association like this. It is likely why we never considered strata.

Are you homeschooling? I (okay workers) have been renovating our place for the past, um, 8 years (don't ask) and I started to homeschool 2 of my 3 kids last September -- the last is only 4. So I know exactly what you mean about feeling like one is not "working" whilst a worker is working. Sigh.

Finally. I really need to get out into the gardens! So behind! (What else is new?)

 

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