The grass is always greener…with fewer weeds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

Driving to the office Saturday morning I thought I had slept through another Isabel after passing the Hilton on Constance Road. Friday’s nor’easter was nasty enough, I thought, but I didn’t think it was that powerful.

Several of the newly-planted trees in front of the newly-opened Hilton were lying on the newly-placed sod Saturday morning while several others looked like they wanted to join them.

I can sympathize with Hilton. Landscaping and yard work can be frustrating. While I genuinely enjoy doing yard work when I’m in the mood for it, many of the things I try to do end up like the trees on the Hilton lawn.

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The bane of my existence is weeds. My yard, with half-a-dozen mulched areas-a couple of them fairly large-and a gravel driveway is like Studio 54 for weeds. It’s just a big, giant party all the time. I try to keep them under control. I spray Round-Up until my back hurts and pull weeds every time I take the dog out or go to my car until the muscles in my legs start to tremble and hands cramp up, but it’s a losing battle. It seems the more I try to do, the farther behind I get. I’ve got one particularly large mulch area that I’ve just completely abandoned. By the time I work the other areas I’m just too pooped to deal with it and end up taking my weed whacker to it once a month.

My wife and kids are embarrassed by the weeds, as am I, but I don’t know what to do about it. My next-door neighbor has about the same set up we do and his mulch and gravel driveway, as well as his lawn, are always immaculate and 100 percent weed free. He and his wife do it all themselves, too. No professional help.

&uot;Dad, why can’t our yard be like theirs?&uot; my daughter invariably asks every time we venture outdoors.

&uot;Because they’ve made a pact with Satan to keep the weeds away,&uot; I’ll say. &uot;I’d rather tolerate a few weeds during our brief time here on earth than spend eternity in the fiery pits of hell. How about you?

&uot;I guess so.&uot;

Every evening when I come home from work I’m tempted to drive into their front yard and start doing doughnuts, but that would be wrong and I’d probably get caught.

I suppose I could hire someone, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. A man should be able to take care of his lawn, just as he should take care of his family. My dad did back-breaking work in the coal mines his entire life and always managed to take care of his own lawn -of course he died at 62.

So hiring someone would just make me feel too guilty. And it’s just as well. I had to mortgage our home to pay for my Round-Up addiction and can’t afford to hire anyone.

I’ve come to believe that I must have done something horrible in an earlier life to be visited upon by such torture in this one. The only thing that keeps me going is the belief that if I persevere in this life, they’ll be something better in the next-something like a condominium.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611 or via email at