Rick's List -- annual spring landscaping edition

It's time for my annual thoughts on landscaping and the fact that we don't do any:

1. Rumors abound that a new war film is about to be filmed in the region. We're hoping to rent our property out for the scenes described in the screenplay as "Exterior: bombed-out Aleppo."

2. Right behind our home here in New London — and this is true — a landscape company is headquartered. Every morning, the trucks and equipment pull out sequentially, like fighter planes taking off from an aircraft carrier. Dozens of them, off to make the world beautiful. And the poor gardeners in these vehicles have to drive PAST our house en route to their daily scheduled yards. I have reason to believe that Our Neighbor the Landscaper has a recording that plays automatically in the company vehicles — like those audio guide tapes you hear through headphones when you walk yourself through a museum exhibit.

"Gentlemen, on your right you'll see the home of Rick and Eileen Koster. Force yourself to look at it. DO IT! It's a disgrace! THIS is what can happen when human swine don't care about themselves or their community. Gentlemen, when you put on the gloves today and mount your stand-in-the-saddle automatic mowers or extend sharp-bladed poles to sculpt unruly shrubs, I want you to think about the Kosters and go about your tasks with a sense of duty and honor!"

Reasons why we haven't done anything:

1. Consider New London's mill rate. After all, this is a community whose town motto is: "We pay higher property taxes than residents of Tiburon, Nantucket and Wailea — and we're damned proud of it!" I'm hoping city assesors will see our place and, in addition to retching, lower our property value.

2. We have a towering magnolia tree. Botanists and arborists come from far and wide to study this particular tree, which somehow manufactures more blossoms than there are stars in all the galaxies. These petals fall in a fiendish pattern — a few million or so at a time and, then, when we've raked them up before they rot, a few million more fall. Well, I'm done. I don't care if the whole street starts to smell like a Civil War surgery center, I'm not doing it anymore.

3. Has anyone considered we might WANT this stylishly unkempt look, sorta like the Sid Vicious of yards?

4. Scientists are warning that this could be an epidemic season for Lyme Disease. I figure we can save ourselves a lot of time and trouble this summer if we just grow and harvest our own ticks.

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